Wildlife in our community

If you would like to send information or short articles for possible inclusion on this page please e-mail them to info@withamstaple.com

Topical issues are aired and forthcoming events detailed each month in The Witham Staple printed magazine: 

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A list of contacts for local interest  and community groups is updated in September each year:

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The Witham Staple is mandated to reflect what is happening in our Lincolnshire community (i.e. the villages of Aubourn, Bassingham, Carlton le Moorland, Norton Disney, Stapleford, Thurlby, Witham St Hughs and the rural areas surrounding these villages).

 

Countryside Events

West Kesteven Wildlife Watch

Natural World Centre - Whisby

 

Some wildlife articles published in the Witham Staple over the years:

Request to Cat Owners

Roger Chaplin's Recent Bird Observations

Owls

Swifts

Big Wood Goes Bats

Disappearing Wildlife?

A Village Without Trees?

Country Life

Beautiful Bird

Visiting Raptors

Birds & Butterflies Time Summer's Arrival

Hummingbird Hawk Moth Sighted

Britain's Butterflies Under Pressure

Musk Beetle Spotted in Bassingham

Zebra Butterfly in Bassingham

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Swans by the Witham at Aubourn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Countryside Events 

West Kesteven Wildlife Watch & RSPB Wildlife Explorers

The Witham Staple Magazine periodically provides contact details for the latest events.

 

Account of past event:

Rauceby Woods Contribution from young leader, Jake Beaty “The group met at the car park on 18th September 2011 and set off for a nice walk through the woods about an hour and a half long, quite sunny but a little bit chilly out of the sun. We saw a pond which is normally there had dried out. Near the pond was an old well with the bucket still inside it, but you wouldn’t want to drink the water! After walking on a bit we came to an amazing viewpoint overlooking the A17 and RAF Cranwell. We took pictures of leaves on the trees, we saw eighteen types of tree including hawthorn, both native Oak species, Ash, Willow and Sycamore. We found a woodpecker’s hole and bracket fungus. “

The woodland was very dry indeed and we could easily hear and see the Woodmouse that looked at us from the thin, dry undergrowth. The violets were wilted, the blackberries not fruiting and the elderberries were tiny, only about two millimetres across. One of the Ash trees at the wood edge was so poorly grown with thin, soft leaves that it almost looked like a Mountain Ash, only distinguished by its characteristic black-tipped buds.

At the end of the event, Donna presented Marianne with a badge and certificate with thanks for ten years of voluntary service as an RSPB Explorers volunteer Leader. Encouraged by Brian Tear of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, Marianne started the Wildlife Watch Group in 1991 which graduated into a group combined with the RSPB Explorers eleven years later.

 

 

 

 

2004 weather was good for fungi!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For further details and booking of future NKDC’s Out And About Events, contact the Sleaford Tourist information Centre (Tel: 01529 414294).

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Natural World Centre Whisby

 

The Natural World Centre,Moor Lane, Thorpe-on-the-Hill, Lincoln LN6 9BW, Tel: 688868, or email: whisby@leisureconnection.co.uk 

visit: www.naturalworldcentre.co.uk  or pop into Reception! Visit us on Facebook: Natural World Centre and Twitter @WhisbyNatureP

The Witham Staple Magazine periodically provides contact details for the latest events.

Exhibition: Taking A Step Back In Time

The Natural World Centre is to host a brand new exhibition showing the history of Whisby Nature Park set to open in 2017. The Natural World Centre is asking members of the public to share their interest and memories of Whisby Nature Park and to contribute to their ‘History of Whisby’ exhibition. The exhibition will focus on the development of the site and is hoped to be displayed at the Natural World Centre in early 2017. It is hoped that the exhibition will be made up from a combination of contributions from the public who have been involved with the parks development or who have visited over the years. It is intended to be a celebration of the site and have a real visual element showing visitors the history of the site and how it compares to today.

Contributions can be in the form of documentation, imagery, articles, film or audio footage. The team are also collating individual stories and memories to add a personal touch to the development of Whisby. They are also welcoming any artefacts, materials, equipment or items which can bring the story of Whisby alive.

For further information, or if you have anything you would like to contribute, include or show, please contact Ann Worrell on 688868 or email whisby.exhibitions@1life.co.uk In fact, if you feel you can contribute in any way, please contact us.

[WS May 2016]

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Request to Cat Owners

 

There has been a plea from local residents to all cat owners. If you don’t already would you please consider fitting a bell to your cat’s collar. This will help prevent the unnecessary killing of the local wildlife. A cat’s instinct is to pray on the wildlife but your domestic cat only does this for play and not to survive! The hunting and playing around with garden birds and other wildlife by your cat leaves an end result which is not very kind to the wildlife in our gardens. A simple bell attached to your cat’s collar will give the wildlife a sporting chance at least.

[WS Nov 2008]

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Big Wood Goes Bats!

It is now just over 6 years since Hill Holt Wood undertook an extensive woodland management plan at Norton Disney Big Wood, up until that point no management had taken place for years and the area was overrun with bramble and bracken but especially Rhododendron. The wood was also closed to the public, so this potentially vibrant local amenity wasn’t available to the local residents and wider public.

The aim was simple; to improve the habitat and therefore the biodiversity and also to ensure that it was accessible for the local community and general public to enjoy.

At Hill Holt Wood we believe in ‘benefit stacking’ which means that every activity that we undertake has multiple benefits. At Big Wood therefore we initiated a mental health recovery programme and under supervision, encouraged the service users to undertake the woodland management. Their mental health started to improve and the woodland began to recover also, so a win win.

In order to support a complex and rich diversity of plant and animal life, woodlands need to be well managed. Ideally you want the 4 layers of trees and plants; Climax- mature Oak and Ash trees. Understory- Hazel, Holly, which are shade tolerant. Field Layer- grasses and wildflowers and the Ground Layer- mosses and lichens and fungi. Each layer supports different invertebrates which in turn support larger and larger animals which make up the food chain.

We concentrated on removing the rhododendron which is a toxic, invasive species and only supports 5 insect and mite species. Compare this with an Oak tree which can support up to 423 insect species! We also coppiced the Hazel stools which had become derelict and would fall apart and die in time and also coppiced and thinned some poor Ash trees, whilst clearing the Bracken. This all had the effect of opening up rides and glades, increasing the light at ground level which in turn increased ground flora. So you get the flowers and fungi which increase the insects and butterflies which in turn increases the bird and bat numbers and species and ultimately the larger mammal species.

All good work but has there been any evidence of an improvement in bio diversity? Initially there were only 30 bird species recorded but our latest survey results showed just over 100 species as being recorded, a massive improvement. But it is the number of bat species that have been the biggest success, Matt Cook who is a Natural England Licensed Bat Ecologist has conducted some surveys and the results are impressive he says “We had an incredible nights batting last night and you have a very special woodland reserve for these nocturnal critters. We caught all 11 species that you can realistically catch in the East Midlands, in less than a km square - common pip, soprano pip*, another Nathusius' pip, brown long-eared*, Daubenton's*, Natterer's, whiskered, Brandt's*, noctule*, a juvenile Leisler's, and no less than 6 barbastelles*! 5 of which were breeding females (the * denotes breeding females). I've not had a night as diverse as that before. Whatever your management plan is there it seems perfect for bats! He is keen to undertake some studies of the bats at Big Wood which is part of a national survey and feels that Big Wood should gain SSSI status.

I would say that this is irrefutable evidence that the work we have undertaken has had enormous benefit to the flora and fauna at the wood. It is there for everyone to enjoy and is open to the public 7 days a week, come and have a look round, it’s a lovely walk, especially at the end of the wood where the mature oaks surround the Wood land burial area and it will begin to look even more stunning as everything awakes from its winter slumber.

Oliver Woodman

Head of Operations at Hill Holt Wood

[WS April 2016]

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A Little Visitor

A little owl has become a frequent visitor to my garden just lately. It is often perched on an old, twisted branch of Hawthorn that catches the warmth of the afternoon sun. Its head swivels to the side, then behind and back to the front again, eyes blinking, looking down into the grass for worms and voles. The small birds vacate the feeders and set up a noisy racket in the hedge. An army of blackbirds hop around in the branches surrounding the owl. They try to mob it and annoy it into flying off, but it stays put. Sometimes it sits on the garden fence, repeatedly jumping down onto the grass in a rather clumsy style, like a blackbird drumming the ground to make worms appear. Other times it will sit preening its feathers and wiping its beak on the wooden rails. I noticed it sitting on the grass, looking intently at the movement of a mole pushing soil to the surface. Suddenly it fixed me with its yellow eyes and, feeling vulnerable, swiftly flew off. I could hear its ‘kip,kip,kip’ call from the safety of a nearby tree. One day it appeared to be asleep on the usual perch, face squashed onto its chest, in a broad V shape. I approached it for a closer look. The yellow eyes, ringed with black, opened suddenly and gave me a startled, enquiring glance. It stretched its short, stocky legs and dumpy, almost round body and elongated itself so that it looked bigger. The flight feathers were cream spotted on a liver-brown background with a lighter, fluffy layer underneath, topped by a wavy, dark brown pattern running down the length of its chest and body. Still it did not fly off, even though I was only two metres from the tree. I backed away slowly, trying not to frighten it. I think it could be related to a pair of little owls often to be seen in the early evening, sitting, side by side, in a tree further along the fen road.

Diane Bailey  [WS June 2004] 

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Swifts

Once more the swifts have been spending the summer with us and are already returning to their winter quarters in southern Africa. I hope Bassingham children learn something about these wonderful birds, also known as Black Martins or even Devil Birds, because of their amazing ability to store in their bird brains the details of the long journey back to the Bassingham roofs under which they were hatched. From here they dropped out of their nest and never touched earth again. Some brain, to find their way here again — and without calling in on the way for a coffee, or at McDonalds or at a garage for fuel! Their joyous screams, as they perform their aerobatics high in the sky, only cease when the two eggs they lay hatch and the feeding of the young becomes a task that allows no time off for slacking.

Think about the incredible job of parenthood in summer days when feeding starts about four fifteen in the morning and doesn’t stop until dusk around nine thirty. No wonder they are ready to fly off again back to Africa in August!

Frank Hoar [WS Sep 2003]

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Disappearing Wildlife?

I recently read that our fields and gardens are largely empty of wildlife. I open my curtains to a comical sight: a squirrel, grey, with a chestnut head, is racing towards the branches of the sycamore tree. Curiosity satisfied, it slowly, cautiously crawls down the trunk, then dashes a few feet into the dried up herbs of last summer. It plays a solitary little game, bucking and frolicking as if to a concerto. Then it’s off across the garden, effortlessly scaling the stable wall to check the bird feeder for peanuts. I notice the kestrel sitting on the fence near the road. It is looking intently into the grass for mice. Suddenly it drops down, then swiftly flies off towards the farm buildings, breakfast in its beak. Pheasants hungrily feasting off the new season’s grubs and shoots, moving in a wave across the grass. Late morning, I stop to watch a stoat purposefully scurrying along the line of the fence with a pheasant egg precariously crammed in its mouth.

It’s afternoon and a black, white and red woodpecker, followed by the green variety have a good feed on the peanuts. Although sparrows are supposed to be endangered, I count about thirty on the feeders, in the hawthorn hedge and disappearing underneath the pantiles of the house roof. I also see French partridges, green finches, chaffinches, robins, blackbirds, blue tits, and two perky little wrens hunting behind the clematis plants for moths.

As the sun sets against a fiery sky, two pigeons sit cooing to each other; the lapwings in the field over the hedge tune up again; they will continue into the night. Add to this the beautiful, clear evening song of the blackbird. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to catch sight of a shadowy fox slinking past the gate at night.

It’s mid-April. The swallows will arrive soon to nest in the stable and to share the insects with our resident bats. Every morning I shall be treated to a flying display by the squadron of young swallows, and every evening the male bird will serenade from my house roof. These are just some of the species of wildlife to be found in Bassingham Fen.

Diane Bailey [WS May 2003]

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A Village Without Trees?

I write to appeal to residents of our rural villages to please consider the benefits of trees to our way of life.

Over the last couple of years I have been alarmed and ultimately saddened by the loss of significant trees to the heart of our village in Bassingham. While I recognise issues of insurance, light, disease, damage, death and more recently the high demand for firewood, I firmly believe that trees should be viewed far more positively and certainly as real assets to all our villages. It should be remembered that mature trees have, in virtually all cases, been planted for our benefit by previous generations and should not simply be viewed as problematic but justifiably as important contributions to our heritage and village character.

Not in many residents’ lifetime will certain trees reach maturity even if we choose to plant them tomorrow and worryingly, it seems our mature trees are being lost at such an alarming rate there seem few signs of residents willing to plant specimens to take their place. Trees along with hedgerows define our villages and are not only beneficial to wildlife, but help with flooding, privacy, soil erosion, sound and wind protection while also helping to create village charm and character.

As hedges are being replaced by fences and significant trees simply being lost forever, this steady, urbanising effect of our beautiful green spaces will without doubt, slowly erode the character of our village to all our detriment both present and future.

Ian Vickers

[WS April 2016]

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Country Life

It must be that time of year; I have a spring in my step! It is the time to get out the cycle and put the exercise one away for a few months. Have you walked or cycled down Bassingham Fen recently? So much peace, quiet, panoramic views, soothing birdsong, all create contentment and a sense of well-being.

The birds have started nest building. My favourite is the lapwing or pee-wit, as some people call it, recalling its cry. Many come back to their old nesting sites year after year. Being a wading bird, they like wet, boggy ground. Before egg laying, they perform wild acrobatics above the nesting site. They lay four pear-shaped eggs, buff in colour with heavy black blotches. They are laid in a hollow on the ground with the tips of the eggs pointing to the centre. Lapwings like bare land next to a grass meadow, where they take the young to feed immediately after hatching. On many occasions, I have seen a nest in a field that I am preparing to sow. I mark the site and then drive round it, or in certain circumstances remove the eggs and then replace them after I have passed over the nest. The bird will come back and sit happily on the nest again.

Did you know that the lapwing has a crest on its head? This is erect when the bird is on the ground and flat when in flight. Hence the old country riddle ‘What is down when it’s up and up when it’s down?’

After all the walking I plan to do this summer, my step is more likely to be a shuffle than to have a spring in it...

George Marsh [WS May 2002]

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Beautiful Bird

There is a beautiful hen pheasant in my garden, she has been attracted here by the seeds that drop from the seed feeders. She walks around with such a gentle elegant step and has the loveliest tortoiseshell mottled feathers and the brightest eyes. Now and again she gives herself a shake and her feathers billow out like a giant ruff, I am watching her now as I write. She has become very confident and is nearing the door when she sees me in the hope that I will feed her, which I gladly do. Last week she brought two cock pheasants into the garden with her, the sun was shining and it lit up their glorious iridescent plumage. Then I hear the noise of the "sports guns" in the far distance. The idea that I should pick up a gun and shoot dead these glorious creatures, not to provide my family with food, but for "sport " is utterly unthinkable.

Christine Forster [WS Apr 2011]

Birds in the Garden

There are Reed Buntings in my garden, attracted by the millet seed that is scattered on the tops of the high shrubs. The female is beautifully speckled and the male is so smart with his finely defined black head and bib. They are a delight with their ever twirling tails they sit on the long strands of millet and feed off the tiny seeds dropping to the ground to feed on any that may have fallen.

Just place a bunch of millet seed in your garden and they are sure to find it and are a joy to see, the little sparrows like it too. Last year some of the seeds self set and I had millet growing in the garden throughout the summer, an added bonus.

Christine Forster [WS Mar 2012]

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Visiting Raptors

At around dusk, a barn owl circles the field at the bottom of my gar­den. It is every inch the majestic, pale phantom, gliding on silent, dark-barred, creamy, spangled wings. It searches the grass for mice, rats and voles with unnerving dark, glassy eyes in a white heart-shaped face. ‘Then it disappears and can next be seen scouring the sandbanks and drains of the fenland and the banks of the river like some ghostly plane.

The kestrel often sits on the top of a pointed willow stick along the road. This is a good vantage point when it is hunting voles in the grass verge. It also sits on the fence rail of my garden in the early morning, hoping to catch voles and mice unawares. If unsuccessful, it tries another method of hunting in the lane: it will hover continuously for ten minutes at a time, wings high and tail spread out in a beautiful fan shape, dropping down a little, then hovering again, then finally dropping straight down behind the hedge. One afternoon I saw the bird alight on the grass next to my window. It too was fascinated by soil being thrown up into the air above a molehill. I was surprised at the richness of the brown feathers with their black bars, contrasting dark outer wings and black tips to the tail feathers. Then two round, ebony jewels, set in a noble head, looked up at me. It was strangely thrilling to meet the eyes of a wild creature, just for a second or two before it spread its wings and hastened away towards the nearby farm buildings.

Diane Bailey [WS Oct 2004]

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Ears Open, Eyes Wide - Summer has arrived

In fact, it's been arriving in small instalments for some time now. The swallows arrived on cue, back on the 17th April, and have been twittering away every day, perched on the telephone wires for a rest. They came nine days before the bird that everybody can recognise, by sound at least: the cuckoo, seeking out the nests of dunnocks, meadow pipits or bramlings to lay its eggs in. Then the house martins got here on the 2nd May and were soon busy building their nest under the eaves. On the 4th May we had the rare treat of a pair of turtle doves, the smallest and most beautiful of the pigeons, who stopped off in the walnut tree at the bottom of the garden. You're lucky if you see them, though you sometimes hear their distinctive gentle purring song in summer copses and woodland edges. Even more elusive is the nightjar, a nocturnal feeder like the tawny owl. It has an unmistakable, continuous eerie churring song that changes pitch as the bird turns its head! A friend reports hearing it as she was cycling quietly towards Haddington one evening some weeks ago. 

Usually last of the swallow-like birds to get here, the swifts appeared on the 11th May, though it'll be mid-summer by the time they're high in the sky screeching as they race at amazing speeds in search of insects. All these migrants travel vast distances between their wintering grounds in Africa and their summers in northern Europe. All the more amazing when you realise that, for instance, young cuckoos find their way to Africa for the first time without any adult company! 

Another welcome sight heralding summer are the butterflies, who seem magically to wait their turn, one species at a time, as if to enable us to appreciate them better: brimstone, small tortoiseshell, small white, holly blue, peacock, comma, red admiral, painted lady and so on - suitably pretty names for beautiful jewels on the wing! If you grow in your garden a few of the plants they like, they'll be sure to pay you more than the odd visit over the summer. 

Stan Underwood [WS June 2005]

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Roger Chaplin's Bird List - Updated Regularly (See Below)

Roger lives in Carlton Le Moorland and compiles a monthly bird list mainly around the areas of Carlton and Norton Disney, in particular from his garden in Westhall Close and on his journey to work at the quarry area of Norton Disney. One of the main reasons for the list is to monitor the rise or decline of bird life around the quarrying industry.  This list monitoring some 70 bird species is now included on our website (www.withamstaple.com under the "News" section on the "Wildlife" page).

 

With so many species in decline it is important that we find out why and, if possible, what can we do to encourage birds to come back to the area? With the disappearance of many hedgerows parts of the songbird population has been in decline for many years, but Roger's list suggests that their numbers might be picking up a little. The increase in wetland area's and clearer drains and dykes have encouraged the wader and water fowl population to take up residence in large numbers, for example the Oystercatcher mainly a sea bird has been around Norton all year and is possibly nesting there this year.

 

In early May a Little Stint paused by for a rest and feed by a gravely shore.  He probably came all the way from Russia to visit our part of the world -"what an honour!" Also noted were the pair of Gargany drakes all the way from Spain, the sand Martin all the way from Africa to nest in their hundreds in sand banks…. the list goes with much many more interesting sightings.

 

Roger is interested in sharing this information and hopefully encouraging more people to either make a list or pass on bird sighting information.  With such collective information we should be able to predict more accurately on a local scale when to expect the visitors to arrive each year and to monitor more accurately rises or falls in their numbers.  The Witham Staple website is pleased to publish such information.  

 

Contact us by e-mail or contact Roger directly (Tel: 789 249 and mobile: 0771 436 3275).

 

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Roger Chaplin's Bird Observations

November/December 2007

A beautiful barn owl seen most evenings in the bushes on Norton Disney road near the Bassingham junction, I was watching him last Friday after visiting Norton village Christmas fair, good views of him for a good 3-4minutes, I know it doesn’t sound a long time but in bird watching terms it is. Fieldfare and Redwing are birds to look for at the moment, although you can hardly miss them if you look in the fields around the villages, The fieldfare is a bit bigger than a song thrush and the redwing just a bit smaller but at first glance they do look like the thrush, on closer inspection the fieldfare has a grey head and rump and what looks like bigger breast spots, the redwing has a brown back with a nice white stripe running across the top of the eye from beak to back of the head but a distinctive red patch under the wing, these welcome visitors come to us from north Russia and Iceland, but can fly as far south as North Africa, and the fieldfare come all the way from Scandinavia,
Still plenty of Buzzards around near Norton big wood and Tonges wood, if you hear a “ peee-uuu”sound in the air just look up and more than likely it’s a buzzard, majestic flight and usually being mobbed by the crow/rook population. A visit to a quarry site today 16/12/07 with a member of the BTO (British trust for Ornithology) to count birds and species in the area this produced:
30+ Pochard duck
300+ tufted duck
3 Mute swan
10 cormorant
12 black headed gull
20 great black back gull
6 little grebe (dab chick)
10 mallard
10 + coot
1 grey wagtail ( very nice, and close by as well)
1 green woodpecker
1 great spotted wood pecker
And on the way back home 3 jay bird
Not bad for a couple of hours in the fresh air in this lovely part of the country, and all for free.
If any one who had the bird nest boxes earlier this year have still got them up keep an eye on them as some birds may well use them as night roosts, and please let me know if young birds were raised in them this season just out of interest.
 

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Hummingbird Hawk Moth Sighted

On 19th July (2006), Michael & Christine Herod of Linga Lane Bassingham sighted this impressive moth hovering amongst their Phlox. A letter to the Lincolnshire Echo from B. Taylor of Aubourn (28 July) suggests it was hovering there amongst the geraniums. D. Rowland of Bassingham caught one on camera in August and the picture was printed together with an article in the Lincolnshire Echo on 12th August. 

The wings beat so fast they make an audible hum. They fly during the day and can be seen throughout lowland Britain in the summer. Hummingbird hawk moths cannot survive the British winter, so migrate to and from southern Europe in autumn and spring.

The caterpillars, about 50 mm long, are colourful. They have a green or reddish-brown body with white dots, white, dark and yellow horizontal stripes and a blue, yellow-tipped horn". Claire and Nick Buck spotted one, about 6cm long, on an ash tree branch in Bassingham Fen early in September (2006), while walking their dog. They managed to take the stunning photograph shown below:

From the RSPB website (www.rspb.org.uk) I have gleaned the following information: 

"It is so named as it can be easily mistaken for a hummingbird as it hovers, probing flowers for nectar with its long proboscis. In fact, it is smaller than any hummingbird. The wings beat so fast they make an audible hum. They fly during the day and can be seen throughout lowland Britain in the summer. Hummingbird hawk moths cannot survive the British winter, so migrate to and from southern Europe in autumn and spring. The caterpillars, about 50 mm long, are colourful. They have a green or reddish-brown body with white dots, white, dark and yellow horizontal stripes and a blue, yellow-tipped horn".

See item below for more information about moths and butterflies.

[WS Sep 2006]

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Britain's Butterflies Under Pressure

Britain's Butterflies are Under Pressure. Just 56 butterfly species are now resident in Britain, a 2006 study by the charity Butterfly Conservation ( www.butterfly-conservation.org ) has shown. Five species have become extinct in Britain during the past 150 years. Lincolnshire has lost 15 species. The main reason/or the decline, the report suggests, is the intensification of agriculture, urban spread, and the accompanying destruction of the butterflies' traditional woodland habitat. 

However, as pointed out in a summer 2006 article in the Daily Telegraph, warmer summers have led to an increase in the number of foreign butterflies and moths being attracted to Britain from North Africa and elsewhere. Three such species to look out for are: 

the humming bird hawk moth (macroglossum stellatarum) see more above;

the painted lady (vanessa cardui), from North Africa; 

the clouded yellow (colias croceus) from the Mediterranean. 

Two useful websites for identifying and learning more about the moths and butterflies found in the UK are: 

www.ukmoths.org.uk 

www.britishbutterflies.co.uk 

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Musk Beetle Spotted in Bassingham

Mike & Christine Herod of Linga Lane Bassingham photographed an unusual beetle in their garden in late July 2006.  With the help of Madeleine Vickers and the lincolnshire based National Wildlife Helpline Service (contact:  roger@wildlifehelpline.org.uk ) they received the following confirmation that it was a musk beetle from Dr Roger S Key, Beetle Recorder for The Lincolnshire Naturalists' Union ( www.lnu.org ) :

"I can confirm that this is the musk beetle (Aromia moschata) - the species seems to be starting to do a little better in Lincolnshire again after an apparent absence of nearly 50 years. It seems to have a couple of 'headquarters' in Lincs now - in the fens near me in Crowland and in the area to the South and West of Lincoln - although both of these areas are only based on a few records only. It would be nice to find where they are breeding - usually in willow/osier in timber between 3 and 6 inches thick - low down on boughs that are somewhat stressed (e.g. - the self-thinning that willow pollard crowns undergo as they get larger and a max of half a dozen of the regrowth shoots survive, the rest turn sickly and die - ideal habitat for the species".

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Zebra Butterfly in Bassingham


While out walking on Sunday 26th August 2007 Ron Scatliffe of Lime Grove spotted this stunning exotic butterfly in my garden on High Street Bassingham, the butterfly was approximately 3" across and had a lovely floating habit when in flight. We think it was an American Zebra butterfly. We thought how interesting this sighting was and decided we would share it with the readers of the Witham Staple.

 

Christine Forster [WS Oct 2007]

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Witham Staple Web Editor can be contacted by e-mail: info@withamstaple.com