Most of the Birds, Plants and Butterflies surveyed are target species in the Shropshire Biodiversity Action Plan. Four years results (2007 – 10) have now been presented in Annual Reports to Public Meetings. All members carrying out the surveys have received personal encouragement, training and support.The Lower Short Ditch / Turbary SWT Nature Reserve was surveyed in 2007, mainly to find the typical heathland birds. The extremely important local Snipe population at Rhos Fiddle SWT Nature Reserve was resurveyed in 2009, and 4 pairs were found, more than in 2004 and 2007.
The Bird Group
Found only two pairs of breeding Lapwing in 2007 and 2008, none at all in 2009, and only one in 2010. Lapwings are on the verge of local extinction, unless immediate and effective action is taken to save them. Curlews have continued to decline as well – even fewer were found in 2010 (9 – 11 pairs) than in 2009 (10 – 14 pairs), which was less than 2008 (14 - 17 pairs) and 2007 (20 - 22 pairs). At the current rate of decline Curlews too will be locally extinct within a few years. Another 13 species were also surveyed in 2010, mainly those using “wetland” habitat. Well over 60 people have undertaken surveys or provided information. Also, 14 breeding pairs of Dippers were found in 2009 and 2010, but only 1 pair of Barn Owls. Red Kites returned to breed in 2007 after a gap of over 130 years, and 4 nests were found in 2009 (3 were successful) and 2010 (two successful).
The Plant Group
Searched for 36 different plants in 2008, 12 typical of each of grassland and woodland, together with the 12 started in 2007. In 2009 and 2010, full surveys were carried out at existing Wildlife Sites and other areas identified through the previous work. Ninety target species, the Shropshire ‘axiophytes’, were recorded in both 2009 and 2010. These plants are good ecological indicators because they are uncommon and indicate unspoilt habitat that has escaped agricultural improvement, usually because the ground is too steep or wet. Fourteen existing Wildlife Sites and an additional 23 other sites were visited in 2010, and 11 potential new Wildlife Sites have been identified. Altogether, over 50 recorders have undertaken surveys, and many other people have provided information.
The Butterfly Group
This group started in 2010 and embarked on a survey of fritillary butterflies, finding several important sites for Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary.
2012 Survey programme
Survey activities for 2012 have already been arranged. This will include surveys for;
- Lapwings, Curlews and other birds
- Ancient trees
- Wetland and Wildlife Sites
To see the full programme, or to get involved click here.