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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.

Abdon Wildlife Group 2018 Programme of Activities - attached below. There is something happening every month, and more! Things start very soon with a training session for those who can help Miles with the curlew survey. Expect at least one update a month, with final details of each Field Meet, and other events. Download the programme now, print it, put it on the wall, put it in the diary!

Thursday 15 March - Lapwing and curlew survey meeting, 7.30pm, Abdon Village Hall.  To go through the survey method and allocate survey areas to helpers.  Currently we have around 7 people who have volunteered to help but we could do with more.  The surveys can be carried out by 2 or more people covering an area together.

The survey is due to the dramatic reduction in numbers of these birds in Shropshire.  This survey requires 3 visits to an allocated area in the Abdon Wildlife Group's area of operation around 1 April, 1 May  and mid- June. Each visit will take around 3 hours.  You do not need to be an experienced birdwatcher to do this.  The aim of the survey is to find out how many  breeding pairs of Lapwing and Curlew there are in our area and where they are.  The results will be used to promote their conservation.  The surveys and conservation work across Shropshire are being run by the Shropshire Wildlife Trust and Shropshire Ornithological Society.  

Saturday 28th April - Dawn Chorus walk, 5am followed by breakfast at The Willows Cafe. 

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.


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