Posts Tagged ‘Brexit’

Updates & Volume 10 of T&HM Papers

September 5, 2017

Apologies for the lack of posts but things have been very busy recently, not least the days & nights with [fantastic] Fern-owls.  Also things like the great turn out to the Hen Harrier Day in Sheffield, and indeed elsewhere over the weekend of 5th and 6th August.  Congratulations to the organisers BAWC, Sheffield Environmental and Sheffield WT.  Pleased that the Sheffield event attracted around 350 people to listen to (image below right) l-r: Liz Ballard (S&RWT) Dave Dickinson (Sheffield Environmental) Dr Ross Cameron (Sheffield University) Dave Wood (Sheffield Bird Study Group) Dr Mark Avery (author of best selling Inglorious: conflicts in the uplands), Blenaid Denham (RSPB Skydancer Project Officer), Natalie Bennett (Green Party) and Iolo Williams of Springwatch fame question the impact that driven grouse shooting continues to have on upland moors.

Then there was the Birdfair 18 – 20 August at Rutland Water, another fantastic opportunity to acquire some bargains, to network and to hear some excellent talks as well as the great debates around the future for the environment and wildlife.  “The Politics of Wildlife Protection in Britain” and “Brexit and the Environment: the way forward” were both excellent but it was a shame that the MP scheduled to appear had to send apologies.  The debate would might be better described as a discussion around how the speakers thought that we (yes, that’s all of us) could contribute to raising the profile of wildlife and the natural environment amidst the plethora of other (rightly) high profile topics such as the future of the NHS etc.

Then there’s the fieldwork to continue and the ongoing issue of trying to understand the issues around the local badger populations which continue to receive unwarranted attention.  Is it because Government are sending out an unsavory message through rolling out extensions to the badger cull in the south west counties (and the Welsh Government too have decided to cull in some areas despite the previous successes without culling)? It is interesting that there are people who have cancelled family holidays to areas where culls are being rolled out, likewise people are beginning to look closely at animal welfare issues around the dairy industry.  None of this is helpful in so far as farmers or poor brock are concerned.

Amidst all this we’ve managed to get Volume 10 of Thorne & Hatfield Moors Papers in print and in no small part down to the tenacity of our Editor Dr Paul Buckland.  In keeping with tradition it has a wrap round photographic cover, comprises of some 140 pages with 10 papers (containing colour photographs), a short note and a book review.  The Executive have decided to offer the latest volume at below cost, and are offering it at £5 plus £1.70 s/c p&p.  If readers would like a copy then please send a cheque made payable to T&HMC Forum for £6.70 to Publications, PO Box 879, Thorne, Doncaster, DN8 5WU.

Volume 11 is already in hand and will focus on Hatfield Moors so if any reader has any research or observational note relating to Hatfield Moors then please give thought to submitting it to the Forum’s Editor for consideration.  Guidelines to Authors are available upon request or can be found in the various Volumes of the journal.


Lest we forget the evidence?

May 27, 2016

Amidst the mayhem of ‘Brexit’ claim and counter claim and the call, nay plea for science, facts and evidence a group of us spent a pleasurable day learning about Auchenorrhyncha the other day.  An introduction in a classroom type setting, a field session at a nearby peat / fen land SSSI then back to the microscopes.

Some forty species of Hemiptera were recorded including uncommon species and species local to the Humberhead Levels.

As anticipated entomologists are often interested in more than one discipline so other taxon were recorded including odonata with an early Brachytron pratense being observed on Hawthorn blossom.

In terms of a biodiversity site inventory,  we are building one up steadily with a good amount of very useful data.  The site is certainly a promising one and we hope to undertake a mothing session soon  and given the different habitat types present there is clearly potential for interesting species to be discovered from the site.

Dolycoris baccarum 160520 HGF mh

 Dolycoris baccarum.  The excellent British Bugs website offers a vernacular of Hairy Shieldbug, whilst other sources offer that of the Sloe Bug.

Zicrona caerulea 160520 HGF mh

Zircrona caerulea aka ‘Blue Shieldbug’, the metallic hue on this specimen appears to favour green?

The work ongoing on this wetland site of considerable nature conservation interest is such that it has received funding for implementation of a Water Level Management Plan. Further to, this raises the issue of survey and monitoring pre and post implementation?  Failure in either aspect raises the issue of evidencing value and impact of works?  All too often in our opinion is the dash to spend the cash on engineering projects without first understanding or appreciating the assemblages present and their importance in national, regional or a local context.

Other survey work is ongoing on the periphery of Thorne Moors SSSI, again this work relates to fen habitat and species.

Cocksfoot moth19052016

The danger or risk of using a vernacular or common name for a species is illustrated above by the Cocksfoot Moth nectaring on cardamine!  To give it its scientific name of Glyphipterix simpliciella (Stephens) ensures that anyone in any country in the world is able to understand what species is being discussed.

R punctatus  S&CF 160523 hrk 470 b

Another species slightly off piece is Rhacognathus punctatus, or the Heather Shieldbug.  This specimen was swept from an area of fen, some distance from any calluna so the moral of the story is perhaps twofold?  Common names can risk confusion and invertebrates don’t read books ….

Images: Dolycoris baccarum, Zircona caerula and Glyphipterix simpliciella courtesy of Martin Warne, Rhacognathus punctatus H R Kirk.

Thanks also to Jim Flanagan and Stuart Foster for their excellent tuition and involvement with the workshop and field work which thus far has seen forty species logged, impressive for an afternoon ‘bug hunt’?


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Mark Avery

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I write about politics, nature + the environment. Some posts are serious, some not. These are my views, I don't do any promotional stuff and these views are not being expressed for anyone who employs me.

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