Minutes of the Scarborough Field Naturalists Meeting held on 1st October 2013 at 7-30pm, at the University of Hull Scarborough Campus
27 (13 members, 14 guests)
Apologies for absence: David Bowen, Ian Glaves, Pauline Popely, Brian Walker
Whitby Naturalists’ Centenary Symposium to be held on 23rd November 2013 at the Whitby Museum. There will be talks from a number of distinguished speakers with a wide range of expertise. Details are on the Whitby Naturalists’ website.
Ryedale Naturalists have a fungi foray on Saturday 12 October near Ashberry. Details on their website.
Whitby Naturalists have a joint fungi foray with the North East Fungi Study Group at Mulgrave Woods on Sunday 13 October. Details on the Whitby Naturalists’ website.
Records / sightings:
Cedric Gillings: Levisham – 50 Golden Plover. Thornton Dale / Dalby – Buzzard.
Janice Morritt: Ellerburn – Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail. Near Fox and Rabbit, 36 Pied wagtail.
After a short break the meeting continued with an illustrated talk by Paul Evans from Buglife on their B-lines project
Buglife was set up 10 years ago to enable the conservation of all invertebrates. The B-lines project was started 2 years ago in Yorkshire, in conjunction with the Co-operative Group, and is expanding into other areas including County Durham, Lancashire, Cumbria and the South West of England.
There are more than 40,000 invertebrate species in the UK, and many of these are under threat as never before. Invertebrates are vitally important to a healthy planet – humans and other life forms could not survive without them. The food we eat, the fish we catch, the birds we see, the flowers we smell and the hum of life we hear, simply would not exist without bugs. Invertebrates underpin life on earth and without them the world’s ecosystems would collapse.
30% of our crops and 80% of our wild flowers require pollination. Honey bees are well known pollinators, but can only pollinate some plants. So we also rely on our native invertebrates. These include wild bees (bumble and solitary), butterflies, moths, wasps, hoverflies and beetles. But over 250 of Britain’s insect pollinators are in danger of disappearing. Since the 1950s hoverfly and bee communities have gradually become dominated by a few common species, with 29% fewer bee and hoverfly species occurring in 10x10km survey squares after 1980
- Bumblebees: 25 species in the UK – 6 are rare. Population down 80% over the last 50 years.
- Solitary bees – 225 species, in serious decline
- Hoverflies – 281 species, in serious decline
- Butterflies: 60 species but 70% of butterfly species are declining significantly
- Moths-c2400 species, but more than 66% of larger moths have declined since 1970s.
Causes for decline – loss of 3 million ha flower-rich grassland since 1945, leaving a fragmented 100,000ha. Agricultural intensification, use of pesticides and herbicides.
Though 10,000 ha have been created through agri-environmental schemes, more is needed. The B-lines project aims to create a network of permanent flower-rich grassland, connecting existing remnant flower-rich areas by new corridors, 3km wide, to allow invertebrates to move across our landscape and reverse declines.
- Castle Howard Arboretum – changing the mown lawns into wild flower meadows by resowing or planting in native plants using locally sourced seed. Restoring Ryedale’s Lowland Meadows project – from Stamford Bridge, along the river Derwent to Malton, over Howardian Hills to Helmsley. Local schools have been recruited into the project, growing plug plants.
- Richmond, Swaledale: Restoring former wild flower-rich meadows. Method – collection of seed from the local flower-rich hay meadows, break open the relic grassland and spread the seed. Newly sown meadows contain roughly 60 plant species, compared with 200 in old meadows. Older farmers often refer to the flower-rich grassland as ‘hospital fields’ where they put ailing animals to recuperate.
- Urban projects: Leeds Get Britain Buzzing project – integrating B-lines into urban areas, and linking urban areas with urban linear parks along the river courses, green roofs, involving local authorities verge and greenspace management to increase wild flower grassland.
After a question and answer session the meeting closed at 9.00pm.