Worcestershire Record No. 3 November 1997 p. 9
We are constantly seeking different ways to increase the quality and quantity of recording on wildlife reserves and August 1997 saw a new venture for the Trust. We hosted a joint meeting with the Amateur Entomologists Society (AES) and the British Entomological and Natural History Society (BENHS) at the Devil's Spittleful and Rifle Range reserve. Joint meetings of this type have many benefits not the least of which is the social opportunity to meet fellow enthusiasts, particularly those from other parts of the country. Experts in different groups add significantly to the records from the chosen site and the less expert can learn more in a single day from the practical experience than from many hours on their own with books and keys.
Members met at the Blackstone Rock car park in the morning and walked down to the reserve. The weather was reasonably fine with sunny intervals, which augured well, and even before we got to the site some members had got detached from the group, having been side-tracked by the finds along the way. The morning and first part of the afternoon were spent recording after which we split up for people to do their own thing before returning later in the evening to run moth traps. Unfortunately, owing to other commitments, I was unable to attend the moth trapping session but I understand the meeting finally broke up about 2 a.m.!
This is the first meeting of the type I have attended and I found it a most stimulating and enjoyable experience. I still have some of the specimens I collected waiting for identification but I feel this just prolongs the enjoyment by giving me something to do in the long, dark winter evenings (at least that's my excuse for not having completed the work sooner!). I sincerely hope we will be able to arrange more events of a similar nature in the coming year, possibly by having a "blitz" on a particular site to cover as wider a range of species as possible or by having more focused recording e.g. flora, insects, birds etc.. The events will be social as well as scientific with the idea of putting people of similar interests in touch with each other and to introduce some of the learners to the experts. I admit details are not yet finalised (no real excuse for this one except eating and being merry over Christmas and the New Year!) but keep an eye open for more information either directly from the BRC or through the Wildlife Trust Newsletter.
The author was on a steep learning curve at the Devil's Spittleful and now gives one piece of practical advice to those novices like himself attending a day's recording meeting for the first time. Be ruthless when it comes to deciding what to take with you! My large bag contained my lunch, cans of drink, photographic equipment, collecting equipment, jars, pots, etc. plus notebook and pens. Believe me, by the end of the day I had a decided list to port and a tendency to walk in circles!
As might be expected, most the records obtained were for common or relatively common species though there were a few more interesting things as well. Martin Harvey, Habitat Conservation Officer for the AES later sent a list of the 84 insect species recorded. These included many moths from the night's trapping. The following insects were designated as national status:
Red Data Book 2Philanthus triangulum (Bee-wolf) See elsewhere in this newsletter.
Notable/NbEnargia paleacea (Angle-striped swallow)
LocalColeoptera - Cychrus caraboides, Tytthapsis 16-punctata, Attelabus nitens. Lepidoptera - Catoptria pinella (a pyralid moth), Quercusia quercus (Purple hairstreak), Aricia agestis (Brown Argus), Lymantria monacha (Black Arches), Eilema complana (Scarce Footman), Tipula cava (a crane fly), Sicus ferrugineus (a fly), Ammophila sabulosa (Red-banded sand wasp)
I am also grateful to Martin Harvey for his help in arranging the meeting and to Dave Scott, Warden at Devil's Spittleful and Rifle Range, for acting as leader on the day.
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