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David Brear dbrear at wharfe.demon.co.uk
Mon Apr 20 16:51:36 EST 1998

Volume 9 Number 4  1998

Magnesian Limestone Grassland and its Conservation
John Drewett
Drewett sketches the geological basis of this comparatively rare
environment, together with the landscape it forms. He lists the
characteristic species, in the Southern Magnesian Limestone Natural
Area, and in the Durham MLNA; he also describes some of the best
grasslands within the Areas. Conservation of this limited resource
aims to expand existing grasslands as well as maintain them.

Through a Naturalist's Eyes
Robert Burton

Squaring the Circle - bias in distribution maps
Tim Rich
Rich explains the limitations of 'dot' maps as accurate representations
of plant species' distribution. 'Maps indicate only presence, and say
nothing about absence...A degree of standardisation in sampling is
long overdue'. He discusses various ways in which recording may be
biassed: by recorder experience; by time of year/species visibility; by
periodic recorder activity. He presents the 'Midhurst exercise' as an
experiment in recording. The degree of expertise of the pairs of
recorders was by far the greatest factor in variation in coverage. Less
than 1% of species were recorded every time the area was swept; on
average, pairs recorded only 42% of the species available.
Recommendations for improving the quality of records are given.

Twitcher in the Swamp
Peter Marren

Identification: Fritillary Butterflies
Martin Warren
Field key and tips, habits, life-cycle, habitat requirements, causes of
decline, dispersal and mobility, similar species. Separate accounts of
the eight species, with some beautiful artwork by Richard Lewington.
Notes on where to send records and recording packs available from
Butterfly Conservation.

The Peregrine Falcon in Shropshire - Whatever Next?
John Tucker
Tucker reviews the early and recent history of the peregrine, together
with their part in the banning of organochloride pesticides. The process
of re-colonisation from unaffected populations in Scotland and Wales,
including the 1987-97 spread into Shropshire, is described and
illustrated. The bird has benefitted from its recent relationship with
man, with artificial cliffs providing nest sites and racing pigeons some
of its food. However the efforts of pigeon fanciers to protect their birds
threaten the spread of the peregrine. The likely pattern of future
populations is examined.

The Scottish Wildcat - a cat with an identity crisis?
Andrew C Kitchener
The problem of conserving a creature which is inadequately identified
leads to a review of its history and interaction with/persecution by  man.
The relationship of the Scottish with the African and Asian Wildcats is
discussed, together with their spread and the relationship with the
domestic cat. A set of differentiating characteristics includes markings,
cranial volume, skull sizes, and limb and gut length. The author refers
to a report by Balharry and Daniels investigating whether cats could be
distinguished by these characters, the result of which was to suggest
that they could not. Morphological examination of museum specimens
suggests otherwise, however. Although individual characters cannot be
used to differentiate cats, the presence of all five characters can name
a Wild Cat. Lastly, strategies for conservation are considered.

Habitat Management News
Compiler William J Sutherland
The need for cattle grazing of saltmarshes for Redshank; how roadside
verges function as wildlife corridors;and problems and advantages of
mechanical harvesting of wild plant seeds.

Reserve Focus: Dunkery and Horner Wood NNR, West Somerset
Bob Gibbons
A fine landscape area at the north-eastern corner of Exmoor. History
and management; wildlife (the reserve is species-rich, with 240
woodland lichens alone, and 440 fungi); visiting arrangements.

Wildlife Reports
Compiler Andrew Branson
Weather Reports: record-breaking hot January and February!
Mammals: small mammals in woods and on the road; dead wallabies;
Cetaceans: do porpoises migrate?
Birds: mild winters mean fewer finches at feeders; early breeders;
seven species at lowest levels since 1983; but better breeding last
Reptiles, etc: encouraging reptiles in artificial habitats; and what to do
about people that don't like frogs and snakes.
Butterflies: warm weather with Painted Lady, Orange Tip, Small White
and Large White in February; Gardens and Butterflies in 1998. 
Moths: rediscovered Blair's Wainscot; success with Reddish Buff.
Marine and freshwater life: 8.8kg. Zander, bigger to come; other non-
native successes; declining Salmon and Eel; warm water helps
Rockling, Snake Pipefish, Greater pipefish and Golden Grey Mullet.
Flowering Plants: Juniper Action Plan reveals senile woods;
Twinflower's low seeding levels perpetuated by isolated colonies.
Fungi: Kew publishes monograph on Chanterelles and tooth fungi;
boletes benefit from warm summers.

Conservation News
Compiler Sue Everett
Three-year moratorium on genetically-modified crop seeds?
Government acts on nitrate leaching.
BSE: a crisis for conservation?
Do fungicides kill frogs?
Fish wiped out: pollution or algae?
Woods and water; Baroness Young goes to EN; open doors at SERP
and CC; countryside access; over 3000 goosanders, mergansers and
cormorants killed in Scotland in last five years.
Welsh meadow ploughed.
Twyford wildlife land for car park development at county ratepayers'
CPRE launches Green Belt Charter.
Countryside Survey 2000 launched.
Wildlife work in limbo pending Chunned rail decision.
Opportunities for charcoal production from wildlife sites.
Natura 2000: summary, newsletter, web site.
Wildlife law: Leek Moors damaged, then protected; law protects old
quarries; new protection for threatened species; £1000 fine for
disturbing badgers; £100 fines for digging snowdrops; Biocidal
Products Directive.
Marine and Coast: Ban on toxic anti-fouling paints? Sea Empress
official report - 'it could have been worse'. No more tugs to prevent more
Sea Empress accidents? Sandeel quota. Salmon farming sediments
dangerously high.

Book Reviews
Dandelions of Great Britain and Ireland; Notes on British and Irish
Orchids; The Ferns of Britain and Ireland; A Dictionary of Plant-lore;
Larger Moths of Surrey; The Moths and Butterflies of Cornwall and the
Isles of Scilly; Red Data Book of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly; Wildlife
Under Threat: The rare and threatened wildlife of Berkshire,
Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire; Field Guide to the Dragonflies and
Damselflies of Great Britain and Ireland; Atlas of grasshoppers,
crickets and allied insects in Britain and Ireland; Provisional Atlas of the
Aculeate Hymenoptera of Britain and Ireland: Part 1; Wicken fen - the
making of a wetland nature reserve; Revival of the Land: Creag
Meagaidh National Nature Reserve; Fragile Environments: The Use
and Management of Tentsmuir NNR, Fife; Dorset's Disappearing
Heathland Flora; Rothschild's Reserves; The Bird Collectors; Wildlife
Crime: A Guide to Wildlife Law Enforcement in the UK; Non-native
marine species in British waters: a review and directory; Biological
Invasions; The Colour Identification Guide to Caterpillars of the British

Jane Young bemoans inadequate field skills; Collecting is necessary -
J W Phillips; Holistic agriculture: subsidy choices -F W Grayson.
                *               *               *

I have no connection with the publishers of British Wildlife, which is 
'an independent bi-monthly magazine covering all aspects of British
natural history and conservation'. I hope this summary may be of
interest; any opinions expressed here are my own.
David Brear
dbrear at wharfe.demon.co.uk

The Wild Flower Page

wharfe - a resource for British heritage

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