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Abdon and Heath Parish

Wildlife Group

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Abdon Wildlife Group

Meetings and Events 2018:

Thursday 8th February - Abdon Wildlife Group, 7.30pm Abdon Village Hall.

Meetings and Events 2017:

Thursday 16th November 2017 - Indoor meeting 7.30pm Abdon Village Hall. Attended by Penny, Trish, Dee, Miles and Karl, plus useful comments sent in by Mariel. After each of us had recounted some personal wildlife highlights from 2017, we moved onto the future. There was unanimous agreement that our monthly field meets are great, and should continue. It would be better to plan more in advance, so that the meets can be advertised.

We had some discussion on collecting data and sending records to organisations managing databases.  Previously this had all been done by Peter, and all records went to iRecord. To continue this would be burdening one person with a lot of work, and also iRecord  might not always be the best destination for our data. We decided we need to allocate specific groups (e.g. birds, fungi, butterflies etc) to different individuals, who would then feed the data to the most appropriate database.

Discussion on the future of the group. In 2016 we set a target of recording 1000 species within our tetrad, and went out and surpassed that. In 2017, we added to that list, and did a number of walks, seeing what we could find, helping one another with identification. What next? Do we build on our list, and to what end? Submit records to iRecord, or other databases? Bring in experts to help us learn more? Visit another wildlife group to see what they do? Feed data to existing groups (Plantlife, SWT, BTO, Bat Group, Mammal Soc, etc) requesting help with special surveys? "Annual outing" e.g. to a NNR or a RSPB reserve. Ideas for indoor meetings? Also, we need to consider the running of the group. If you cannot make the meeting, but have something to say, please send your views to someone who will be there. If you are coming, bring along your personal wildlife highlights of the year to share, in words or pictures. 

October 2017 - Repeat visit to Clee Liberty, where last year, among much else, we found the peculiar "Scarlet Caterpillar Fungus".  Meet Sunday 22nd October, 10.30 at Heatham Gate (map ref SO 572850), to finish by 1pm.

Saturday 23rd September 2017 - Sally Russell will lead us on a walk through broadleaf and conifer woodland, and along field boundaries on the Boyne estate at Hillside. Hopefully good for fungi, and we may also visit a pool (dragonflies?). Meet for 10.30am start at car parking area for "picnic site" (map ref SO 608872). The walk is on the downhill side of the road. Finish by 1pm. Please let either Sally or myself know if you intend to come, so we don't set off without you! Kind regards, Karl Liebscher.

August 2017 - Four of us enjoyed a walk through part of Powkesmore. Thankyou, Trish.  Good sightings of Small Copper, Small Heath and Gatekeeper butterflies. Sneezewort, Corn Mint and Wood Horsetail were among the plants we found.

Sunday 23rd April and Sunday 14th May 2017 - Two visits to Ashfield's Coppice (otherwise known as Karl's wood) to examine the Spring flora and fauna 10.30am - 1pm. Meet at the entrance to the wood - map ref SO594893 - on the north side of the road between Ditton Priors and Stanton Long - a wooden gate adjacent to posh metal gates labelled 'The Outrack' (There is room for 2 to 3 cars on the verge outside and plenty of room inside the gate for more.

Thursday March 30th 2017 - Abdon Wildlife Group meeting, 7.30pm Abdon Village Hall. This will be the last indoor meeting before we resume our outdoor programme and so we'll look at some of the more interesting species we encountered last year and a few of the early finds so far this year. Hope to see you there.

January 2017 - A very happy new year to all! I've spent several days over Christmas compiling the records we made during the last year (and a few from previous years) and adding them onto an iRecord account I've set up in the name of the AWG. iRecord is an online wildlife recording website that feeds records entered on to it towards the NBN Gateway and National Recording Schemes. This enables the records we made to have the widest possible use by others. The total is an impressive (or at least I think so) 1068 species made up of: Birds - 78, Amphibians - 4, Mammals (not including humans or sheep!) - 18, Higher Plants - 244, Lower Plants - 191, Fungi & Lichens - 75, Invertebrate - 458.

Undoubted stars of the show were the ring ousels seen by Iain and the Small Eggar moth caterpillar found by Penny. Small Eggar is a nationally scarce moth species with very few Shropshire records. My personal stars of the show were the glow worms that Don and Jo Brooks very kindly invited me to see in the summer. Perhaps in the summer of 2017 we could do a more coordinated glow worm survey? I also really enjoyed our trip to Clee Liberty Common in October to look for fungi and seeing the Scarlet Caterpillar Fungus. My biggest disappointment was still not having seen a Tree Sparrow yet (though a couple of people did) and that no reptiles were recorded. I suspect there must be common lizards up on the hill in sheltered spots, and the odd grass snake in the more low-lying areas of the 9 tetrads. It would be great to record these in 2017.  The lower plant list was made up of a report carried out by a national expert (Des Callaghan) who surveyed Brown Clee in early 2014. Given how recent that survey was (and the important things he found there) it seemed churlish not to include it.

A very big thank you to everyone who took part in the survey! It would be great to keep it going in 2017. Having set up the iRecord account I will show those interested how to use it at the next meeting, which will mean you will be able to add your own records as you record them either from your own computer or via the app from a smartphone, it really is very easy to use and we can all share one account.

November 2016 - How you can add your sightings of hedgehogs to an important national survey currently being carried out by the Mammal Society. An easy survey to do - they even want to hear from you, if you've seen no hedgehogs: When did you last see a hedgehog? The Mammal Society's Annual Hedgehog-watch

October 2016 - Thanks to those people who came to the September meeting recently. We talked about the future of the Group and have a programme of events now going forward until the end of the year, with plans for the New Year too. The first of these events is for the October meeting, now an outdoor event, to be held on Sunday 23rd October from 10.30 am to 1.00 pm or so (or shorter if it is cold, wet, foggy, or miserable). Please bring appropriate clothing, and footwear, and a snack if you fancy. The route is 2km in length, but with looking for things we anticipate 2 - 2.5 hours.  The idea is to look for fungi, leaf mines, and galls, plus any other late wildlife. Thanks very much to Karl for finding a route for us.  We will be starting at the Heatham Gate entrance to Clee Liberty Common (map ref SO573850) and returning to the same point at the end. 

If you have wildlife sightings from the 9 tetrad project we've been running I'd really like to receive them in the next few weeks if possible. I'd like if possible to compile our final list and present something about it in January.  Miles came up with a great potential project concerning monitoring curlew and possibly lapwing that looks very exciting and incredibly worthwhile, so we'll talk about this, and how it might work over the winter period.  Please remember Penny has put a board up in the Village Hall on which you can add photos of any wildlife you've seen this year or mystery species that need identifying. I look forward to seeing you at one of the forthcoming meetings and receiving your records.

September 2016 - I hope you've all had a good summer of wildlife, and with autumn now with us (meteorologically at least it started on 1st September) it is time to start thinking about a winter programme and to put together our Abdon 9-tetrads lists to see what we've found between us during 2016. The agenda for the September meeting will be to arrange what we want to do for the remaining meetings for the rest of 2016 (please do bring any ideas, wishes, offers of talks & walks with you) and beyond, and to start to look at our lists. Please also bring any relevant information pertaining to your lists / species queries etc, or if you have any photos of wildlife you've taken in our area this year that you'd like to share please email them me ahead of the 22nd, or bring them on a memory stick on the night. 

June 2016 - I hope you are enjoying the summer and still recording wildlife in your garden and whilst out an about around the nine tetrads?  Many thanks to those who came to the churchyard on Tuesday evening for our second botanical foray, despite the unpromising outlook it dried up enough for us to spend an hour or so recording. We now have 93 species of plant listed for the Churchyard over two visits as compared to the 125 species from the 1997 / 1999 surveys which I think compares well and shows that there hasn't been much change over the intervening 17 or so years. Unfortunately the heavy rain over the preceding days had flattened the sward in the uncut areas so we may have missed some of the plants in the lower sward and even taller plants like knapweed were a little difficult to find. We also found 7 species of snail and slug on a single gravestone, which was quite impressive.  As the season has been progressing I've been keeping a tally of what Karen and I have been finding and what some of you have been telling me you've been seeing, or photographs you've sent me. This list currently stands at 423 species which is made up of 56 species of bird, 151 plants / lichens / rusts / lower plants / fungi, 12 species of mammals, reptiles and amphibian, and 204 species of invertebrate. These numbers will be an underestimate of the true picture but give an indication of what's out there. Please do keep recording and noting down your finds.

May 2016 - Following our start of the churchyard survey please find attached below the species list I promised. To remind people (and for those who were unable to make it), the full list (minus species in red) are the species originally recorded in 1999 by John Thompson and John Bingham. The species in red are species we have added that they didn't record, and the species with a date by them were the ones we recorded as a group. Hopefully at our next meeting we can tick a few more species off and the vegetation will be a bit more developed so that we can tackle the vetches, grasses etc more confidently. The species list to date (based on the species Karen and I have recorded, the churchyard survey, and some of the stuff you've told me you've had) now has gone just beyond the 200 mark. This will be an under-estimate as there will be species you've seen that I don't yet know about to I think we've started well.

April 2016 - I saw my first house martins overhead this weekend and wrens, blackbirds, and jackdaws are all busy nest building here at the Old School House. I did a bit of recording and compiling a summary of my own records for this year and those that Penny and Felicity submitted and I'm delighted to say we have passed the 100 species mark! Only another 900 to go :-) People seem to be seeing their first swallows this week, and we've at last had siskins in our garden, plus a rather lovely marsh tit. Hope you are seeing some interesting things too.

March 2016 - Abdon Wildlife Group recording map. The map is shown below (the blank version).  It defines our biological recording area, chosen at our meeting on Thursday 7th April. We also gave ourselves a target of identifying 1000 different species in the area during 2016!  Ian Roberts suggested a good idea for enabling the excel table to be sorted more easily by group. He suggested that people might like to insert a column and note "bird" or "plant" etc. If you are not sure how to do this it is pretty straight forward. Click at the top of Column A to highlight the whole column then right click your mouse and click on "insert" from the offered options. This will insert a new Column A and sheet everything else to the right. Then in the top row of the new column insert the word "Group" so the columns read "Group" "Taxon" "Vernacular" etc. 

Abdon Wildlife Group recording area Abdon Wildlife Group recording area
Churchyard survey May 2016 Churchyard survey May 2016