Sunday, 20 December 2015

Butterflies and Moths, Squirrels and Pine Martins,

Butterfly Conservation have published their report The State of
UK's Butterflies 2015

This report, the fourth on the state of the UK’s butterflies, comes at a time of particularly dramatic change. Agricultural intensification and other land-use changes have caused extensive wildlife declines in the UK, which show few signs of recovery despite the best efforts of conservation organisations and substantial government expenditure.
Now, in the age of austerity and with drastic cutbacks in government funding for the environment, the prospects of halting the decline of wildlife and achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets set by the global Convention on Biological Diversity for the year 2020 look poor.
In addition, new research findings suggest more significant negative impacts of climate change and pesticides on our wildlife than had previously been realised, threats to essential ecosystem services such as pollination as a result of biodiversity decline, and an increased awareness of the importance of nature for human health and well-being.
Set against this bleak backdrop are some significant changes for the good. Participation in long-term recording and monitoring of the UK’s butterflies has never been stronger. In addition, new schemes such as the Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey and Big Butterfly Count have been successfully established, enhancing knowledge of the changing fortunes of our butterflies and involving tens of thousands of new recorders.

Download the whole report here.

For a related, though rather different, read try Michael McCarthy's The Moth Snowstorm.

McCarthy warns us off ecosystem services and reminds us of the joy of nature.

The 'snowstorm' of the title refers to the masses of moths that motorist used to encounter at night 40 years ago, now but a distant memory.

Another brilliant and beautiful book of loss is Horatio Clare's Orison for a Curlew, the search for the Slender-billed curlew, Numenius tenuirostris, perhaps the world's rarest bird.

More than rare in Lincolnshire, but with signs of recovery elsewhere in the British Isles, is the Pine Marten, Martes martes.  The realisation that reintroduction of Pine Martens could tip the balance against grey squirrels in favour of reds is encouraging to those who look to a re-wilding of our land. Follow these links for the story: 

Rewilding - It's all about bringing nature back to life and restoring living systems

Imagine our natural habitats growing instead of shrinking. Where space for nature is expanding beyond small pockets of reserves. Imagine species diversifying and thriving, instead of declining. That’s rewilding.

We could be a country in which bare lands spring back to life and are filled once more with trees and birdsong. We could be surrounded by the thrum of insects, colourful butterflies and moths, wildflowers and fungi. We could have beaver, boar, lynx, wolf and bluefin tuna all at home in Britain. Where they belong. Living with us. And that’s just the start.

Rewilding offers hope for wildlife, for humanity, for the planet. It’s our big opportunity to leave the world in a better state than it is today. To turn our silent spring into a raucous summer

Happy Christmas, Biff Vernon

Friday, 4 December 2015


A group of LAG members  walked a few metres from the car park to a sandy ridge where we set up the telescopes. The tide was definitely out with waves breaking on the water’s edge about a kilometre away. But there were exciting flashes of flickering white across the intervening sand and lagoons as small flocks of Dunlin, Knot and Oystercatchers wheeled up and back in the sunlight. However, the species that held our attention, for nearly an hour was the Brent goose. Skeins of these small, elegant black geese with their white rumps flew in from the sea at various heights and whirled around the marsh as others flew out to the water’s edge and back: a memorable sight! RWW