I'm following up the two notes I circulated a year ago (Butterflies
& Moths) with a single note covering both groups and introducing
the dragonflies, a new part to the project and one where there is plenty
of scope and few experts. We still need more help with all three groups.
As far as butterflies were concerned the weather in 1977 was certainly not up to the two previous years so that it was often more difficult to get records of the less plentiful species, particularly during visits of limited duration. However, many good records were made and the situation of a year ago is updated by the following notes. None of the six species recorded from over half the 10km squares has reached the 100% category but:
Of the less common species there have been a gratifying number of new records although a few of these relate to 1976 sightings.
Finally, the three rather doubtful species, each of which has a different status:
The Biological Records Centre (BRC) at Monk's Wood plan to publish their distribution maps of the butterflies in 1980 so we have one, or at the most two, more years to make sure that Cheshire is properly represented.
Moths - 1977:
A year ago I outlined a plan by which, with the facilities available,
we should be able in reasonable time to get a good picture of the distribution
of the macrolepidoptera in Cheshire, over 400 species being involved.
I have had one or two offers of further help but unfortunately have no more traps available at the present time.
There have been several really interesting captures in 1977 including Alder Kitten, Pale Pinion, Red Underwing, Waved Umber and Leopard. This confirms that the policy of aiming to get a really representative sample, albeit mainly very ordinary, does turn up a few unexpected things which would otherwise probably remain undetected.
A new organiser has been appointed for the National Odonata Mapping Scheme and he has issued his first Newsletter. This shows first, that progress is a long way behind that for the butterfly project and second, that recorders are few and far between. The first provisional maps appeared in 1974, four years after the first butterfly maps, and they showed a much lower level of recording. It is evident that recording in Cheshire has been particularly weak, even for the common species. Even by the end of 1976 no species had been reported for more than seven of our thirty 10km squares and this in a county inundated by ponds, meres, canals, rivers and peat bogs.
This can therefore, only be an appeal for help, we know we have one or two good species but we don't know the distribution in Cheshire of any of them. Identification of many species is fairly simple, some are quite unmistakable, and in doubtful cases the capture of a single specimen (preferably male) will soon resolve doubts. Present records suggest that not more than 18 species occur in Cheshire (less than half the National total) but so far no more than six have been reported in any one square.
Further details will be sent o anyone willing to observe and record, but at present records are so few and far between that almost any record at all is likely to be an addition to our knowledge as we have only 40 records out of a potential 540 (30 squares x 18 species).
The relevant literature is either out of print or rather costly (the newest volume on the Odonata costs £9.75). I am hoping to prepare a bibliography together with a few simple notes to enable the non-specialist to make reasonable records. Anyone interested please let me know but don't expect anything by return!