Worcestershire Record No. 19 November 2005 p. 3


Geoff Trevis, Chairman.

The twelve month period to the end of October 2005 has again been generally successful for recording in Worcestershire. The committee has met on six occasions and has been concerned mainly with organising and monitoring our recording days and projects.

Three recording days were held, at Burley Dene Meadows on 11th June, Bushley Green on 2nd July and Arrow Valley Country Park, Redditch on 6th August. Species lists for these days are published elsewhere in this journal but it is fair to say that for none of these was the weather kind, which meant that entomological results were rather disappointing. This was particularly so at Burley Dene Meadows. In addition, members of the committee undertook two recording days at Cherry Orchard, Worcester the results of which are again published elsewhere.

Of the projects, those covering veteran trees and mammals have been the most successful though members are again urged to send in records. There are many veteran trees yet to be recorded so do not assume that any in your area have been covered. Similarly, there are gaps in the records of mammals, in terms both of species and geographical areas. More data are needed and the mammal survey is to be extended to enable their collection. Mike Averill has organised surveys of the club-tailed dragonfly Gomphus vulgatissimus on the Severn and the Avon near Eckington whilst Harry Green has been surveying old orchards for the noble chafer Gnorimus nobilis. The committee has also received reports from John Tilt about the butterfly recording transects arranged by Butterfly Conservation. The survey of breeding birds on the BTOs red and amber lists has been the least successful of our projects with very few records being received. The project will be re-launched in 2006 with recording criteria and the forms revised to make them more user-friendly.

The annual meeting in March was again well attended. The guest speaker, Matt Shardlow of Buglife, gave a much appreciated talk and he was followed by presentations from recorders in Worcestershire who amply demonstrated the depth of expertise we have.

During the year the county BAP Partnership appointed Becky Lashley to develop the vision mapping process in parishes in the old Forest of Feckenham. Becky is based at the WBRC and has attended a committee meeting to bring us up to date with her plans and progress. We anticipate that in 2006 recorders will be involved in helping with survey work and helping communities to undertake their own surveys.

The major purpose behind establishing Worcestershire Recorders was the need to support Simon Wood and the WBRC, in particular to help with increasing the database. Simon has reported separately about the WBRC but your committee has been actively considering how our support can be improved. Recording tends to cover honey pot sites, such as nature reserves, already known for their biodiversity and often already protected. What the WBRC needs is records from previously un-recorded areas, especially those designated for development by local authorities. It is from these areas that clients will want species lists and currently there are often few records available. We hope to begin to address this issue in the coming year.

As part of every committee meeting we keep our natural history focus by reporting some of the more unusual things we have seen or heard about. This year the outstanding event was the huge influx of waxwings which appeared everywhere. Your chairman must be the only person not to have seen one, always arriving where they had been shortly after their departure. Several invertebrates have continued to show increases in population size or a spread into the county, for example Roesel’s bush cricket, several species of bees and wasps, and the hoverflies Volucella inanis and V. zonaria. This may be due to global warming but we must be careful in interpreting data as we may simply be seeing an increase in recording activity! Perhaps the most surprising find was a stag beetle larva in a rotting branch on the ground in a Wyre Forest orchard. We are not sure whether there is a relict population there or whether the beetle has spread into the area. However, members are asked to look out for stag beetles when in the forest.

Finally, I want to express my thanks to all the members of the committee for their unfailing support and regular attendance at meetings. With such a dedicated committee I am sure we can look forward to continuing success in the future.

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