Visit How Stean Website for my monthly wildlife blog (http://www.howstean.co.uk/)
This is my first attempt at a blog to replace my weekly column in the local paper, as such it may fail because frankly social media remains mostly a mystery to me, so your help and advice would be appreciated, as would your sightings, questions and photos. Experience will hopefully show me how to deal with everything so please be patient.
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Mild Enough For Insects, Wow!
During the all too brief periods of sunny weather have you enjoyed the last of the butterflies and other insects? Spent the weekend with friends Josh and Sue and visited a massive defensive hillfort, Stanwick Camp (http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=21862) set in a valley bottom near Forcett in North Yorkshire. There we saw some ivy covered in hoverflies, possible the drone fly Eristalis tenax, which will fly until December if the weather suits. You can tell the hoverflies from the bees because flies, to which hoverflies belong, have two wings and almost all other insects, including the bees, of which there were also many, some laden with pollen, have four wings. The most spectacular insect however were the pair of red admiral butterflies, albeit looking somewhat tatty, but what a sighting on 8 November. Red admirals are migratory butterflies which can’t over winter in this country, although climate change may change all that. These insects may be a second brood, although they looked decidedly scruffy or worn, as lepidopterists call the situation. This indicates that they may well have flown a long way either from abroad, they originate in Mediterranean countries, or after hatching in this country. Recent research suggests migratory butterflies may actually return to their place of origin so who knows what will happen to these lovely creatures. What insects have you seen this November?
The Tail Of A Butterfly
Butterfly Conservation have reported a new butterfly in Britain, well sort of new to Britain. The Long-tailed Blue butterfly, a Mediterranean species, it was first spotted on our shores in 1859. Since then they have re-appeared in very small numbers. Things changed this summer with over 60 butterflies being spotted, although sadly on the South Coast, not here in North Yorkshire. The eggs they laid have been hatching this month. Sightings of any of our native blue species are extremely unusual in November, so if you do spot a blue butterfly then the chance of it being a Long-tailed Blue is high. The males are a pretty lilac-blue and the females a more muted blue and brown. The giveaway is the wispy ‘tails’ on the trailing edge of its hindwings. Please let Butterfly Conservation (and me) know if you are lucky enough to spot one. Visit (http://butterfly-conservation-news.org/DGT-3SEB8-0CFWJFUX34/cr.aspx) for more butterfly news.
Reporting Wildlife Crime
I just discovered a website devoted to wildlife crime, it was ‘tweeted’ to me. A benefit of social media I (reluctantly) guess. It’s called WildLifeCrimeAware the lack of justice for wildlife criminals. So what do you do if you think you have found a wildlife crime, well the acronym OPLR may help you remember, Observe Photograph Log Report. The next question is who do you report to (http://www.wildlifecrimeaware.org/)? Well sources include, The Police, RSPB, RSPCA, League Against Cruel Sports and Wildlife Crimewatch. North Yorkshire has a number of the local Wildlife Crime Officers (http://www.northyorkshire.police.uk/wildlifecrime), they can be contacted via the 101 telephone number.