Clee Hill Butterfly and Moth Group

The Clee Hill butterfly group was established in February 2012 by Mike Williams from Butterfly Conservation with the aim of surveying the local area for 5 target species: Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary, Dark Green Fritillary, Green Hairstreak, Small Heath and Wall Brown. Surveys were undertaken in 2012 and 2013 (see full reports below), and another survey will be taking place in 2014. The Clee Hills area is relatively under-recorded for butterflies and we believe there may be a lot more yet to discover.

Chimneysweeper Moth

Chimneysweeper Moth

The group has now extended it’s surveying activities to include moth recording. A brand new moth trap has recently been purchased and we now have all the equipment to undertake moth trapping. If you wish to borrow the moth trap and have a go at identifying and recording moths please contact Mike Williams.

The group welcomes all butterfly and moth records from the Clee Hill area, including garden sightings. You can use this recording form: Butterfly Recording Form. Please send any butterfly or moth records you make/or completed recording forms to Mike Williams. Post: Annesbrook, 2 Dewberry Close, Stourport, Worcs, DY13 8TB.

Rush Pastures Management Factsheet. Butterfly Conservation have created this factsheet which provides guidance on rush pasture management – with the aim of benefiting wildlife.

Clee Hill Big Butterfly and Moth Survey 

2012

In case anyone didn’t notice, it rained rather a lot this summer and, apart from ruining many a holiday, it also made the first year of the Clee Hill Big Butterfly Survey a challenge, to say the least. Our first planned training day on 3rd June was a complete wash-out with torrential rain and wind and was rearranged for 15th, when exactly the same thing happened! Nevertheless, despite these challenges, butterflies were eventually seen and some valuable records were gathered. Clee Hill and Catherton Common were split into 28 1km recording squares and volunteers were sent a map and recording form covering one or more squares. Regular emails were sent to let people know when target species had been spotted and to generally encourage recording.

Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary

Response was mixed, with some squares receiving several visits but, in other cases, volunteers struggled to find a time when good weather and their own availability coincided. As far as the target species were concerned, we received no reports of Wall Brown (which may now be extinct in the area) and only a couple of reports for Dark Green Fritillary, both from the Shropshire Wildlife Trust reserve at Cramer Gutter. There were also few reports of Green Hairstreak, whose main flight season coincided with the worst of the weather. Much more encouraging were reports of Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary from a number of new areas and a possible first record for its close relative Pearl-bordered Fritillary, which we hope to confirm next year. It was good news as well for Small Heath which was widely reported.

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Dark Green Fritillary photographed at Cramer Gutter by Andrew Heideman

A full report of the 2012 survey compiled by Mike Williams is available here: Clee Hill Big Butterfly Survey Year 1 final report

A big thank you to all those who took part.

2013

Disappointingly, a delayed Spring meant late emergence for a number of species and it was not until June that the butterfly season began to get into its stride. Nevertheless, we received a number of new 1km square records for three of our target species: Green Hairstreak, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary and Small Heath; and generally improved numbers at some of the locations where these species had been recorded the previous year. The July heatwave produced a real bonanza of butterflies especially in gardens, where Peacock and Small White did particularly well. There were also records of several species that had not been recorded in 2012: Holly Blue, Small Skipper, Common Blue and more surprisingly Marbled White (at Lower Birches), Silver-washed Fritillary (at the Novers) and Wall Brown (at Titterstone, first record since 2006). All were very welcome sightings and evidence of how butterflies can respond when weather conditions are suitable. There were even records of Clouded Yellow, a migrant butterfly to the UK, which this year was present in above-average numbers. More disappointing was the absence of any records of Dark Green Fritillary after just one sighting in 2012. Overall, records were received from 19 recording areas compared to just 13 in 2012.

Green Hairstreak photographed at Cramer Gutter reserve in 2013

Green Hairstreak photographed at Cramer Gutter in 2013

Our summer programme of events did not enjoy the best of the weather with just 3 species recorded on a well attended walk at the Novers in May and no Fritillaries but plenty of orchids, moths and a splendid tea to enjoy, courtesy of Kay & Harry Downes, in June. Fortunately, our final walk led by Andrew Heideman and Gareth Thomas on 7th July turned up trumps with as many as 20 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries being seen on Catherton Marshes and Cramer Gutter.

A full report of the 2013 survey compiled by Mike Williams is available here: Clee Hill Big Butterfly Survey Year 2 final report

To see photos of the Clee Hill Butterfly Group’s 2013 Events click here

2014

Marbled White photographed at a private site on Catherton Common, July 2014

Marbled White photographed at a private site on Catherton Common, July 2014

In contrast to 2013, emergence dates of species was slightly ahead of schedule this year. New squares were recorded for four out of five of our target species. The one exception was Dark Green Fritillary which was not recorded for the second consecutive year and, after only a single sighting in 2012 may now be lost to the area. Much more encouraging was the report of Wall Brown at a second location near Whatsill and confirmation of a small population in the quarries at the top of Titterstone Clee on our butterfly walk in August. Marbled White was recorded for the second year running in a different location and it may suggest that this species may eventually become a permanent resident.

Lesser Swallow Prominent Moth

Lesser Swallow Prominent Moth

2014 was our first year of moth recording. With the aid of a grant a Skinner type moth trap was purchased for the use of members, together with a Moth ID guide, specimen pots, several butterfly nets and a GPS. It was decided to run a moth training event for those interested in taking part in survey work and this took place on 9th May at the home of Kay & Harry Downes . This event was supported by Tony Jacques, the Shropshire county moth recorder, and was attended by 9 people. An introduction was given to moth identification and the safe use of the equipment. As a result of the meeting, a rota was drawn up so that all those who had undertaken training could borrow the equipment over the summer months. A moth recording form was produced and circulated for people to enter their records

A full report of the 2014 survey compiled by Mike Williams is available here: Clee Hill Big Butterfly and Moth Survey 2014.

2015

The Clee Hill Big Butterfly and Moth Survey is running again in 2015 and there will be a number of group activities taking place during the survey season. Please get in touch if you would like to take part. mike@stagborough.fsnet.co.uk

Butterfly and Moth Group Events 2015

Clee Hill Butterfly & Moth Group Summer Programme 2015

 


Page updated: 12/03/2015 by AH