Some people are commenting that there aren't many butterflies around. Patrick Barham, writing in The Guardian, says not to panic! We see a first flush of the hibernators - brimstone, peacock, small tortoiseshell - when the warm weather comes, along with the orange tip, that harbinger or spring. But then the early ones get down to reproduction, so in June it's caterpillar time. Some are incredibly well-camouflaged, such as the orange tip. Others are bristly, to put off predators. Or weird shapes and colours, like the vapourer moth.
Then, come proper summer (we hope!) out come the flashy newly-emerged main summer brood and maybe the migrants such as the painted lady.
It is thought that this may be a spectacular summer for butterflies: let's hope so. And please send us your photos to email@example.com.
Anyone looking up - keep an eye open for what The Guardian newspaper calls 'the Ferrari of the skies' in this piece. The hobby has distinctive black and white striped underside.
We are very sorry to announce that David Rear, a dear friend of the Society and a stalwart committee member, died just over a week ago (not, as it happens, from the corona virus). This is a deep and sad loss.
On behalf of the committee, our Chairman Peter Shallcross wishes to record our appreciation for the huge contribution David made to the Society, and to the cause of conservation more widely in the local area.
Apart from the natural world and conservation, David had wide ranging interests; everything from aviation to music and sport. He had a passion for cricket (he was a member of Surrey Cricket Club) and soccer (Wycombe Wanderers where he spent his early years, later Chelsea), a taste for musicals (a particular fondness for Doris Day), for Dad’s Army, and for cryptic crosswords.
He retired to Tisbury after a career teaching in west London, during which he took part in and helped organise numerous voluntary conservation projects and acquired a diploma in conservation and ecology. His arrival on the committee fifteen-odd years ago greatly strengthened the Society, in particular its campaigning on conservation matters.
A quiet and modest man (the photo of David at the Community Day in the Nadder Centre had to be taken surreptitiously!), he had a prodigious memory and would happily help less experienced companions, teaching them to identify all they saw or heard. His particular passions were birds and butterflies. He frequently led excursion trips for members (a favourite place was Grovely Wood) and he spent countless hours working on the conservation of the adjacent Oysters Coppice.
We shall miss him, his knowledge, campaigning zeal and perseverance, attention to detail, experience and ideas, enthusiasm, sense of fun; above all, the person he was.
The worrying news of criminal action by scaffolders blocking off swift nests in Guildford that blighted last Sunday's World Swift Day, has happily resolved with the latest news from Ed Mayer of Swift Conservation that the top level of scaffolding has been removed, the Swifts can get in and out of their nests, and a vigil every evening has been set up by a local activist to monitor the nests until September. So it should be OK for this year at least.
If you'd like to share the magical experience of rearing a young swift to release, enjoy these two videos, one from Spain with English subtitles (if ever I need cheering up, that does the trick - my apologies, the link doesn't work from here so go to Old News and scroll down to the 9 March 2020 item to find one that does), and one in Russian which doesn't need them!
And in case you missed it, here is the contribution from Jane Goodall, Patron of World Swift Day:
But if you find a young swift fallen from its nest, best contact the Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital - they rear several every year.
The global Dawn Chorus project has published the map of where recordings were made, and there's one looking extremely like Tisbury. Was it you?
The Guardian newspaper reports on this wonderful project, the brainchild of bioacoustician Bernie Krause and Prof Michael John Gorman of the Biotopia Museum in Munich.
Better still, it will happen again next year ...
Andrew Graham treated himself to a moth trap to help while away the hours of lockdown. I absolutely love them for their sheer beauty and, especially, wonderful names! There are far more moths in this country than there are butterflies, and here are just some in and around Tisbury right now - thank you, Andrew.
Andrew explains the how, why and where of reporting on moths and other wildlife, on the Wildlife Reporting page.
Hover your cursor over the photo to display the name.
Click once to enlarge to full size.
If it's not me, Elizabeth, website editor (keen but ignorant), I'll say so.