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					      Newsletter 1. November 2008




       Shropshire Ecological Data Network
                                    Introduction
Ecological data in Shropshire: Its collection, storage and use has been a complex
subject for many years but things may be getting clearer. This newsletter has been
produced to help those involved with biological recording keep up to date with recent
changes and progress and also pass on news of exciting new finds.


    What has prompted this                       Past attempts at creating a
      renewed interest?                                Shropshire LRC

Local authorities have a greater              Previous attempts at establishing a
demand for biological data - This is          Shropshire Local Records Centre have
partly due to legislation like the Natural    focussed on the standard model of
Environment and Rural Communities Act         creating one large database located in an
(2006), policies like Planning Policy         office of one of the key partners being
Statement 9, and also the new                 slowly populated with data from as many
„biodiversity indicator‟ upon which local     sources as possible. Sticking points have
authorities can be rated (National            been financial as well as issues over the
Indicator 197). It is also due to greater     location of such a centre, who should host
awareness of protected species issues         it and what control over the data local
when undertaking local authority              groups might have.
functions such as considering planning
applications, undertaking maintenance         Many existing records centres spend
works, and promoting new                      considerable time (often unqualified
development.                                  volunteer time) typing in species records
                                              from a wide range of sources. This
Natural England has a commitment              results in error-ridden databases that are
to support local biological record            usually, but not always, passed to county
centres - For a few years Shropshire          recorders to validate and then get passed
has missed this funding because we            back to the centralised LRC. As well as
don‟t have a formal „Local Records            breeding bad records this system can
Centre‟, so the money has been spent          involve duplication of effort and can
elsewhere. NE has now agreed to               distance recording groups from the users
provide funding for development work.         of the data.


                     Contact Details for the Shropshire EDN
Dan Wrench, SCC Biodiversity Officer Dan.Wrench@shropshire.org.uk
Pete Boardman, FSC and current chair of SEDN - pete@field-studies-council.org


  The latest proposal by the Shropshire Biodiversity Partnership

More recently the idea of a „virtual Local Records Centre‟ or Shropshire Ecological Data
Network has been proposed. In practice this would still mean that records need to be
aggregated but the method of doing this may not follow standard practice.

Our aim is to help county recorders do what they do best. That is - manage and
      Newsletter 1. November 2008


validate their data. County recorders and other recording groups would ideally provide
updated datasets every year (or more frequently where possible) to a database
dedicated to storing just validated records. These records could then be used to best
effect by conservation organisations, planners, consultants and of course members of
recording groups. All existing un-validated records (such as many records on Wildlife
Site files) would be gradually passed to county experts for validation.

The difference with the standard model is that the most up-to-date and primary
databases are held by the recording groups and the centralised database is updated by
agreement with recording groups. All raw data should be passed to the recording
group for processing (often via SWT) – although, for recording groups with less
capacity, assistance can be provided for digitising records. Data for groups that do not
have local expertise will be passed to national schemes for validation.

The Shropshire Wildlife Trust has been establishing data exchange agreements with
many recording groups with the aim of establishing such a „clean‟ validated database.
A great deal of progress has been made with the majority of groups having signed up.
In return the Shropshire Ecological Data Network will arrange support for local groups
in the form of funding for atlas projects and even travel expenses for specific survey
work.

We believe a biological records centre should do more than pass on records. Amongst
other things it should use the data to produce biodiversity opportunity maps used in
planning policy, it should identify gaps in the data and commission new survey work
(preferably by local experts), and it should support field recording, training and
publications by recording groups.


 DRAFT data flow chart for the                                Records direct to
 SEDN – comments welcome                                      groups or via SWT

                  Natural                 Statutory      Local
                 Shropshire               agencies       authorities           Consultants
                   maps




               NBN                         SWT                   SWT
               Gateway /                   validated             unvalidated
               BRC / BTO                   database              database
               database

                                                                Validation
                                                                process

                                    Shropshire species
                                    groups or National
                                    Schemes


              Ideal flow of data:

         Current and potentially
         un-necessary data flow:
      Newsletter 1. November 2008



                 Financial set up                            News from
                                                             Shropshire Wildlife
The Shropshire Wildlife Trust (SWT) and Shropshire
County Council (SCC) ecologists have been busy
                                                             Trust
highlighting the requirement for local authorities to
                                                             The Trust has recently
have access to ecological data in the hope that they
                                                             appointed Robin Mager as
might help fund the management and dissemination of
                                                             their Planning & Data
data. All local authorities in Shropshire have agreed to
                                                             Systems Officer. A key part
do this and have paid into a joint fund for the supply of
                                                             of Robin‟s work will be
data covering protected species, BAP species, habitats,
                                                             assisting the development
and landscape character. The creation of a single
                                                             of the SEDN and
unitary authority in March 2009 does, however,
                                                             developing the data
generate uncertainty over future funding.
                                                             exchange agreements.
                                                             Initial tasks include
Natural England is also providing financial support for
                                                             assessing the quality of the
development of the SEDN and Shropshire County
                                                             existing data held by the
Council, Shropshire Wildlife Trust and the Biodiversity
                                                             trust, „cleaning‟ the data,
Training Project (Field Studies Council & HLF project)
                                                             updating with the back log
are providing staff time to support SEDN development.
                                                             of new data and providing
                                                             new releases of data to
At present the funds are being spent on:
                                                             those participating in the
                                                             data exchange agreements.
 Support for staff dealing with species data (SWT),
  habitat data (SCC) and landscape data (SCC).
                                                             In addition to the species
                                                             data Robin will also be
 Uploading plant records to the National Biodiversity
                                                             updating Wildlife Site
  Network gateway (http://data.nbn.org.uk)
                                                             boundaries and developing
                                                             guidance for planners on
 The Brown Moss pilot project (Alex Lockton).
                                                             the use and interpretation
                                                             of biological data.
Funds are also available for support of recording
group‟s activities. We hope to consult active groups on
                                                             So don‟t be surprised if
what sort of support, if any, is required and an event is
                                                             Robin contacts you in the
planned for later this year.
                                                             not too distant future to
                                                             exchange some
When I say „we‟ at present this means a sub-set of the
                                                             information. If you want to
Shropshire Biodiversity Partnership plus a few other
                                                             contact him beforehand
key people. This group is currently chaired by Pete
                                                             then email:
Boardman of the Field Studies Council‟s Biodiversity
                                                             RobinM@shropshirewildlifet
Training Project.
                                                             rust.org.uk



Recent updates to the species maps available from Natural Shropshire include the
233 Craneflies recorded in Shropshire. This data has kindly been supplied by Pete
Boardman and forms the basis of the first county atlas of craneflies in the UK. Copies
of this atlas (part funded by the Shropshire Biodiversity Partnership) are available from
Kate Cheshire at Preston Montford Field Centre (kate.pm@field-studies-council.org).
      Newsletter 1. November 2008

               The Natural Shropshire web site & maps
This web site is maintained by the Biodiversity Officers (Dan Wrench and Fran
Lancaster). It is used as a communication tool for the Shropshire Biodiversity
Partnership and some species recording groups.
The site provides:
    A list of all known „County Recorders‟ or key experts for species groups in
      Shropshire.
    A web page or link for many species groups
    Maps of known records for many species groups
    The Species Biodiversity Map. Listing all the species uploaded by the species
      groups for a given tetrad. It also lists which are UK or local BAP species.
    A list of all Shropshire, and UK, BAP habitats and BAP species – with links to
      further information.
    Specific projects led by the Shropshire Biodiversity Partnership
    Reference documents and minutes relating to the partnership
    Events – A map of where many species recording groups are leading field
      excursions

Species Maps are a quick reference for active species recorders and land managers.
For active recorders there is nothing like a blank area on a dot map to help get records
sent in. For land managers it can be extremely useful to know if, for example breeding
lapwing are known for the area. Not least because Land Agents, Ecological Consultants
and Natural England already use the maps to help inform options for environmental
stewardship schemes.




 Free Mapmate Training for Species                       Species currently
  Recorders and Recording Groups                         mapped on Natural
                                                         Shropshire
This Mapmate course will the first course to link        Fungi – BAP species
directly into the Shropshire Ecological Data             Lichens – all species
Network, and therefore begin the task of plugging        Mosses & Liverworts – all
the gap between those people out making biological       species
records and those with the skills to incorporate         Plants – BAP species
them into databases so that the records do some          Dragonflies – all species
good locally.                                            Craneflies – all species
                                                         Big-Headed Flies – all species
                                                         Thick-headed Flies – all species
The 3rd December 2008 training is already fully          Hoverflies – BAP species
booked but we hope to run several more Mapmate           Moths – all species
days in 2009, these will be advertised in January as     Ladybirds – all species
part of the Biodiversity Training Project 2009           Reptiles – all species
programme.                                               Birds – BAP species only
                                                         Mammals – Water Vole,
    If you are interested in attending a Free            Dormouse & Brown Hare
      Mapmate course in 2009 or for more                 Hoverflies – all species
  information please contact Pete Boardman               Long-horn Beetles – all species
           pete@field-studies-council.org
                                                         Coming soon are:
                                                         Butterflies – all species
       Newsletter 1. November 2008

                  News from the Recording Groups
Recorders contact details:

Shropshire Mammal Recorder           John Mackintosh       Sustainability@shropshire.gov.uk
Shropshire Bat Recorder              John Morgan shropshire.batrecords@blueyounder.co.uk
Shropshire Bird Recorder             Geoff Holmes          geoff.holmes4@tiscali.co.uk
Reptile & Amphibian Recorder         SWT            enquiries@shropshirewildlifetrust.org.uk
Butterflies (Acting county recorder) Nigel Stone           njstone@hotmail.com
Moths                                Tony Jacques          b-mcvc40@talktalk.net
Ladybirds                            Ian Thompson          salopladybirds@f2s.com
Diptera (True Flies)                 Nigel Jones           nigel@insectpix.net
Bees & Wasps                         Ian Cheeseborough ian.cheeseborough@yahoo.co.uk
Craneflies                           Pete Boardman         pete@field-studies-council.org
Fungi                                Roy Mantle            Roy@homepcemail.co.uk
Shropshire Ornithological Society Leo Smith                leo.smith@dsl.pipex.com
Shropshire Barn Owl Group            John Lightfoot        j.lightfoot@tiscali.co.uk
Shropshire Invertebrate Group        Nigel Jones           shropsIG@insectpix.net
Shropshire Dragonflies Group         Ian Cheeseborough ian.cheeseborough@yahoo.co.uk
Shropshire Botanical Society         Sarah Whild           s.j.whild@bham.ac.uk
Shropshire Lichen Group              Roy Mantle            Roy@homepcemail.co.uk
Whitchurch Community Water Vole Project
                                     Malcolm Monie         Watervoles@monies.me.uk
Upper Onny Wildlife Group & Upper Clun Wildlife Group
                                     Leo Smith             leo.smith@dsl.pipex.com



                                 Moths (macro-moths)
                          Tony Jacques - b-mcvc40@talktalk.net

Tony has recently started the new role of county recorder for moths and would, of
course, welcome any records. A new species for Shropshire found this year by Tony is
the micro-moth Phlyctaenia perlucidalis (1380). This species is nationally scarce and is
typically found further south and south east in the UK. The larvae are thought to feed
on various thistle species. The first records of this species in the UK were made at
Woodwalton fen in June 1951 to 1957. Further updates on this species will be added
when available.

Other interesting visitors to Tony‟s moth trap were 3 Feathered Thorn (Colotois
pennaria). This species is listed as common and widespread in Adrian Riley‟s “A
Natural History of the Butterflies and Moths of Shropshire” but other than Tony‟s recent
find there appears to only one current record. The low number of records may be due
to the late flight period of mid September to early December. Mercury vapour moth
traps used at this time of year would be likely to turn up more records for Feathered
Thorn.

Older records for moths have not yet been added to Natural Shropshire but earlier this
year the Shropshire Biodiversity Partnership provided funds to Adrian Riley to digitise
all the Lepidoptera records used in his book. Adrian was good enough to include a vast
number of additional records some of which are very recent. These records were
passed to Butterfly Conservation for processing and are now being added to records
held by Shropshire Wildlife Trust. We hope to present all these records on the Natural
Shropshire web site in the next few months.
      Newsletter 1. November 2008

            Micro-moths                                Bees, Wasps and Ants
           Godfrey Blunt –                              Ian Cheeseborough -
        A.G.Blunt@wlv.ac.uk                       ian.cheeseborough@yahoo.co.uk
There are a number of ongoing            The      number     of   species   of   aculeate
micro-moth      surveys.   Cameraria     hymenoptera recorded in Shropshire now
ohridella is being surveyed as it's a    stands at some 270. The split is roughly 140
potential pest of Horse Chestnut. It     bees, 120 wasps and 10 ants. Each season
first appeared in Britain in 2002,       adds to our knowledge of what species are in
and by 2006 had spread to                the county and where and 2008 was no
Shropshire.     In 2008 it is well-      different. Two species of bumblebee, Bombus
established     in   certain  areas,     ruderarius and Bombus hypnorum were
particularly around Shrewsbury. It       recorded in the Bridgnorth area. B. ruderarius
makes distinctive blotch-mines in        had not been seen in Shropshire for some 30
Horse    Chestnut     leaves,  often     years and B. hypnorum has spread from the
several to a leaf.                       south of England since its arrival from the
                                         continent in 2001.
The Hawthorn Ermine Yponomeuta           Two further species will be completely
padella appears to be highly             unknown and probably not recognised by
localised in Shropshire, despite         many people as bees and wasps, but make up
being given in textbooks "common"        part of this fascinating order. Anoplius
national status.    Its larvae form      concinuus, a spider hunting wasp and Andrena
distinctive webs on roadside hedges      tibialis, a solitary mining bee, were recorded
in spring and can be conveniently        for the first time in Shropshire this year. Both
recorded by car. In Shropshire it        species are considered nationally scarce in
occurs sparingly in a few well-          Britain.
scattered regions, especially in the     Shropshire is continually turning up new and
south-east, but there are large          interesting species due to its variety of
areas where it seems to be absent.       habitats and the fact that relatively little
                                         recording has taken place in the past.

                                    Cranefly Recording
                      Pete Boardman - pete@field-studies-council.org
Following the publication of the Shropshire Cranefly Atlas recording has undergone a
bit of a lull. I am however still as proud as I was of the publication as when I first saw
it, as the first modern county account in Britain. The data has been passed to the
National Cranefly Recording Scheme for inclusion upon the NBN Gateway, and is also
to be found on the excellent Natural Shropshire website too.

Most specimens collected during 2008 (including a major set by Nigel Jones) have yet
to be identified, a job I generally set a side for the dark winter evenings, though as I
write this there are still plenty of craneflies around, the autumn Tipula species and the
odd Dicranomyia species are still active. Most obvious at the moment are the winter
gnats (Trichocera sp), familiar to many naturalists as groups of craneflies that gather
in sunny spots and dance together in competition for females over the autumn and
winter months, and several of the different species we have in Shropshire will continue
to do so until the spring craneflies arrive once more. One of the good aspects of
looking at craneflies is that there is always something to look at – even in the winter.

During 2009 I intend to get more recording done and will be targeting some of the
gaps that the atlas indicated, as well as searching for some of the rarities that recent
work by other dipterists have highlighted.
 I am always keen to see specimens collected by other recorders, and some species
                       can be identified from photographs.
     Newsletter 1. November 2008

Recording Shropshire’s Flies (Diptera)         is intended to restore sites to their former
              Nigel Jones -                    broadleaved status. Shropshire also has
   nigel.jones@naturalengland.org.uk           many small dingle woodlands where
                                               scarce flies of old woodland habitats are
The history of True-Fly (Diptera) recording    found. A 2006 survey of Shropshire
in Shropshire is sporadic at best. However,    quarries provided records of over 320
more recently there has been some              species from twenty sites, including very
determined effort to study the county‟s Fly    interesting flies such as the “Red Data
fauna, notably by Cyril Pugh, who in the       Book 3” status flesh fly Macronychia
mid twentieth century collected many           polydon and the scarce Conopid fly
diptera and latterly, Pete Boardman has        Conops strigatus - a parasite of wasps
pioneered cranefly recording. Other fly        and bees. This survey gave an indication
families have received some attention,         of the potential value of Shropshire‟s
particularly, since 1990; Nigel Jones has      disused and working quarries.
recorded Hoverflies and a group of Diptera
families known as the Larger Brachycera
                                                         Mammal Recording
that include Horseflies, Soldierflies and
                                                          John Mackintosh -
Robberflies. Presently there are probably at
                                                      mackintosh@metronet.co.uk
most three or four entomologists actively
collecting   and    recording    Diptera  in
                                               Mammal recording in the County is
Shropshire, so progress in improving our
                                               currently being refreshed in a number of
knowledge is slow. Most records of flies are
                                               ways.
submitted to the recording schemes for
                                               The patterns of data flow are being
various families of flies. These schemes are
                                               tightened up so that records receive more
managed via the Dipterists Forum, a
                                               validation before being entered. Existing
national society that promotes the study
                                               collections of records are being compared
and recording of all Diptera.
                                               to ensure that there is agreement
                                               between them and to allow us to create a
Apart from craneflies, the picture we have
                                               definitive set.
for most Diptera remains very scanty.
                                               The rate of acquiring mammal records has
Whixall Moss is well recorded and in the
                                               always been somewhat patchy as the
south, Wyre Forest is well worked but
                                               number of people involved has been low.
between these two outposts is a fly terra
                                               One remedy is to enlist the aid of other
icognita. Any dipterist visiting Shropshire
                                               organisations active in the countryside.
sites could well be an entomological
                                               BASC members, for example, have in the
pioneer. Undoubtedly Shropshire has great
                                               past provided very valuable information
potential for many discoveries of scarce,
                                               on the distribution and density of Brown
interesting flies or sites that hold an
                                               Hares in Cheshire. We are hoping to be
outstanding range of species.
                                               able to have a similar scheme to improve
                                               the Shropshire Brown Hare map.
The work that has been undertaken has
given us a tantalising insight. In recent
                                               An exciting development, at the moment,
years it has become clear that many
                                               is that Harvest Mice, which have been
Forestry Commission holdings, where
                                               regarded as extinct in the County for
previously ancient woodland has been
                                               decades may still be with us. Over the
afforested with conifers, still harbour a
                                               last few years a number of woven grass
good range of Diptera associated with older
                                               nests have been found that look very
woodlands as well as new species
                                               promising.      Confirmatory    evidence,
associated with conifer. Notable amongst
                                               however, is needed as other small
these sites are Bucknell Wood, Sunny Hill
                                               mammals may make similar nests. We
at Clunton and Eastridge Wood near
                                               are trying to recover hairs from nests for
Habberley. An interesting study for the
                                               microscopic examination and of course
future will be to monitor how these faunas
                                               hoping for a sighting!
respond to changing management, since it
      Newsletter 1. November 2008

                                       Hoverflies
                    Nigel Jones - nigel.jones@naturalengland.org.uk
The hoverflies, family Syrphidae, are relatively well studied in Shropshire. Nigel Jones
has made over 5,500 individual records of around 180 species, plus the NBN Gateway
presently holds 2,800 further records. Other naturalists have made numerous notes of
hoverflies encountered, but most of these records need to be collated for recording
schemes. Most celebrated amongst Shropshire‟s hoverflies is Chalcosyrphus eunotus, a
denizen of streams in ancient woods that has a strong association with the Welsh
Marches area. C. eunotus is a rarity across most of Europe and Shropshire appears to
be a real stronghold for this enigmatic fly. Amongst the showy species, the magnificent
hornet sized Volucella zonaria arrived in the county for the first time in 2006, with a
second sighting in Shropshire BAP officer, Dan Wrench‟s garden in Shrewsbury in 2008.

                                         In recent years the Field Studies Council‟s
                                         Biodiversity Training Project has given
                                         county naturalists an introduction to hoverfly
                                         recording. For anyone considering tackling
                                         this attractive fly family, support can be
                                         found via the Hoverfly Recording Scheme or
                                         via the Shropshire Invertebrates Group who
                                         are always happy to assist budding insect
                                         recorders.

                                         Do contact Nigel Jones or Pete Boardman if
                                         you have any records of hoverflies, or other
                                         flies, we‟ll do our best to assist you in
                                         confirming your identifications.
Volucella zonaria. Photo by Dan Wrench

An excellent two day introductory course to hoverflies is being held in March 2009 by
               the Biodiversity Training Project at Preston Montford.



                           Whitchurch Water Vole Project
                      Malcolm Monie - watervoles@monies.me.uk
This year we the project has been looking at the boundaries of the water vole
population in the wider Whitchurch area. Survey activity has been mainly in the north-
east and the south-west directions. This has involved cross-border co-operation,
something which is likely to increase.

A survey day jointly with Wrexham and the Environment Agency Wales was held on
and around Fenns-Whixall Moss. This produced a number of previously unrecorded
populations on both sides of the border.

A day just north of Whitchurch, but in south Cheshire, was negative for water voles
although good habitat was found but also mink prints. We are now working with
Richard Gardner, North West Lowland Water Vole Project Officer with Cheshire WT, in
looking at south Cheshire and links to the Whitchurch population.

All the Water Vole data collected by the project since 2006 has now been fed into the
record systems held by Shropshire Wildlife Trust. Water voles on a farm between
Northwood and Whixall, 10.5 km from the centre of Whitchurch, are currently the most
distant colony for which we have survey evidence and habitat corridors to link them to
Whitchurch population.
     Newsletter 1. November 2008

                                     Ladybirds
                        Ian Thompson - SalopLadybirds@f2s.com

The expected Harlequins have not shown themselves, or not been recorded in high
numbers in Shropshire. There are a few records from Alveley Country Park and the only
record of them getting into houses in small numbers was from Ironbridge. This lends
some credence to the hypothesis that the most likely route from Worcestershire is via
the Severn valley since the South Shropshire hills and the Wyre are quite a barrier to
many species. We have also recorded the first larch ladybirds in Shropshire in 2008, this
is not a new species but has never been officially recorded before.

               What Can Be Achieved – The Upper Onny Case Study
                       Leo Smith - leo.smith@dsl.pipex.com
The Upper Onny Wildlife Group was formed in 2003, and has carried out a Breeding Bird
Survey each year since 2004, concentrating on Curlew and Lapwing. It covers about 122
square kilometres, between the Long Mynd and the Welsh Border. Most of this area is
within the Shropshire Hills Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the
Shropshire Hills Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA).

The area has been divided into 30 2x2 km squares and each member surveys a square
looking for the target species. If they are located, a semi-professional ornithologist
undertakes a follow-up survey, locating the birds and monitoring breeding success.
Farmers with the species nesting on their land are contacted, advised of their presence,
and encouraged to take appropriate conservation measures. Natural England HLS
advisers are actively involved. The most important farm for Lapwing has joined HLS,
which is funding management of cattle pasture for the birds‟ benefit, and another
important farm has extended a Countryside Stewardship Agreement to improve
management of arable land for Lapwing. Other farms have also taken conservation
measures. The Group has also developed a Programme Of Action, to promote the
conservation of Lapwing and Curlew, which has been implemented with the extensive
and valuable support of Partner organisations, including the AONB and Natural England.
This work appears to have helped arrest and reverse the decline of Lapwing in the area
– the population was 19 pairs in 2004, 18 in 2005 and down to only 13 in 2006, but it
then increased to 17 pairs in 2007 and 26 pairs in 2008.

Monitoring of Curlew by the Group over the same period suggests that 4 pairs have been
lost, a 10% reduction in population now down to around 35 pairs. A leaflet, Please
Conserve Our Curlews, providing advice on grassland management, has been produced
with the support and endorsement of Partner Organisations – AONB, NE, RSPB, National
Trust and FWAG.

A similar organisation, the Upper Clun Community Wildlife Group, was launched in 2007.
It is working closely with the local SWT Branch. It highlights the potential for involving
people with limited scientific expertise in active conservation work without the need to
make a big commitment of time, or doing physically demanding work. The Group found
20-22 pairs of Curlews in 2007, but only 14-17 in 2008

The members of the Ludlow branches of SWT and SOS, together with the Craven Arms
local RSPB Group, carried out a Lapwing survey in their area in 2007, reinforcing the
evidence of serious population decline in another part of the County.
The Upper Onny Wildlife Group has proved that local people, supported by professional
  workers, and with the help of Natural England, can reverse the decline of Lapwings.
Training for members of all these Groups, on finding and recording Lapwing, has been
 carried out with the support of the Field Studies Council Biodiversity Training Project.
     Newsletter 1. November 2008


                   Shropshire Botanical Society – Alex Lockton
The Society has 120 members and holds six field and two indoor meetings a year; it also
produces a newsletter twice a year, which non-members can read on the web site.

The Botanical Society has a database of 360,000 records of vascular plants in Shropshire
and adds 20,000 each year, as well as adding historical records. One current source of
these is William Hamilton's 1909 Flora of Shropshire, containing 2,100 pages of species
accounts that all need to be transcribed. Another is the Herbaria at Home project, which
digitizes herbarium collections at museums and universities. The Botanical Society, with
support from SEDN partners SWT, SCC and NE, has spent £10,000 photographing
herbaria with significant collections from Shropshire which is yielding valuable records.

Before joining the SEDN, the society provided data enquiries directly to consultants, but
now has an agreement with SWT to supply data in return for an annual fee. This is less
than used to be made from enquiries but means a smaller workload for volunteers. It
also means SWT has access to the definitive data for vascular plants in the county and
can provide a better level of service to enquirers, hopefully helping to promote nature
conservation. NE and SCC also get access to the database and all SEDN partners can
send records and, if necessary, specimens to the county recorder.

This is an efficient and effective model, but does mean that each group needs to be able
to operate a database which communicates with the other parts of the network and
needs to be willing to do so. It is easier to work on your own without the complications
of politics or money but if you can work with other people and want your own work to be
put to use, the SEDN is a unique opportunity. There is no other county where expert
volunteers are involved in the records centre in this way and the benefits work both
ways. By devolving the work to the societies, the funding organisations are taking a risk
but one that is already repaying them handsomely. We are already talking about vastly
more records than could conceivably be held by an LRC after just a year or two of
operation and all of them validated by experts. It will be interesting to see if it works. It
may create opportunities for naturalists to do much more than ever before.
  Visitors are welcome at meetings even if they are not members, but it is polite to ask
first (there's always a contact name on announcements). http://shropshire.bsbi.org.uk/



              Ongoing projects of the Shropshire Invertebrate Group.
                                   Godfrey Blunt
Insect migration has been monitored annually since 2003 through specifically targeted
field meetings and members' reports. In 2008 we did not have a specific field meeting,
but members report that autumn 2008 was marked by a regular southward passage
through the county when the weather has been good. Large White and Red Admiral have
been the most numerous, with Small White and Migrant Hawker reasonably frequent.
Migration was noted from late August to the middle of October. Migration at Alveley also
included single examples of Hummingbird Hawk and a Darter sp.

In 2008 SIG undertook a moth-trapping programme at Attingham Park, as this
potentially rich locality has surprisingly been little trapped in the past. Early results
show a good diversity of broad-leaved woodland moths, though nothing dramatic as yet.

Plant galls and leaf mines are another ongoing project. A field meeting to Bury Ditches in
October found this to be an excellent site for plant galls and leaf mines. Our visit did not
turn up anything especially rare, but the variety and abundance, particularly on Oak,
was impressive.