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Geoff Heathcote Alasdair Aston Adrian Chalkley Michael K i r b y Adrian Chalkley

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Paul Lee


Rasik Bhadresa Patrick Armstrong Colin Hawes

Eric Parsons

Adrian Chalkley

Cover drawing: Willie Lott's Cottage, linocut by Anne Beaufoy ISSN 0959-8537 Published by the Suffolk Naturalists' Society c/o Ipswich Museum, High Street, Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 3QH Registered Charity No. 206084 © Suffolk Naturalists' Society

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David W a l k e r Ancient House L o w e r Street, Stutton Suffolk I P 9 2 S Q Quercus 121 S P R I N G 2010 The prospects o f the Society have improved significantly since the gloomy A u t u m n 2009 edition o f the newsletter. Enough people have offered their time and commitment to enable Council to operate: there are nominations for the three main officers' posts. We should all be grateful to these members. However, at present it looks as though there w i l l still be some vacant positions for ordinary members. The field meetings programme is being re-introduced and Council has arranged a suitable insurance policy to provide cover for injury to members i n the event o f accidents. The incoming chairman w i l l address the issue o f rebuilding, on a better footing, relationships w i t h satellite groups such as the geologists. They ought to elect a representative to sit on Council. Discussions have already begun on ways to put on major events such as the biennial conference. Council has approved the establishment o f a standing editorial panel to assist w i t h and enhance the production o f Suffolk Natural History ('Transactions'). So, changes are under way, and even though we're not out o f the woods yet, there are reasons to be optimistic. It's open season on scientists at present. Everybody's at it. I f y o u don't like the evidence, ignore it. Or sack the scientist ( i f you're the Home Secretary) or k o w t o w to the farmers and cull the badgers. Some o f the scientists have only themselves to blame, like the climate boffins at U E A w i t h their attempts to conceal a w k w a r d data. O f course the doubting public loved this. Another thing: 2010 is the International Year o f Biodiversity, the year by w h i c h biodiversity loss was intended to be reduced to zero. But the sad truth is that the latest reports show species loss to be accelerating, at a disastrous rate. Here in the U . K . we have a General Election in a few weeks time, yet none o f these issues is even on the agenda for discussion, as i f they don't matter. W h o w i l l care about the size o f bankers' bonuses when the G u l f Stream stops flowing and cuckoos don't call any more? W i l l it all be O K as long as you can still drive to the take-away on a Saturday night between The Lottery Show and 'Strictly'? We do have the power to change things, but not by staying silent. A s k questions at the hustings.

*** This edition o f the newsletter is as much about people as natural history - natural history people o f course. I hope it w i l l encourage members to attend the A G M . Y o u r support is especially important this year. White Admiral No 75



Perhaps the Editor w i l l publish this note as I am a Rivis Vice President o f the "Suffolk Nats", but I know I am also a dinosaur, in rather inactive o l d age, and it is a long time since I attended a Council meeting. O l d age has few advantages but it does mean that you have seen great social changes and met a lot o f interesting people - I can just remember our Patron's father, the then Earl o f Cranbrook when he was President. That was w e l l before 1977 when Howard Mendel joined the staff o f the Ipswich Museum. He soon became a member o f the Suffolk Naturalists' Society. I was sorry to learn that H o w a r d had, after many years, given up his post as our Treasurer, and also as A c t i n g Chairman, and I want to give h i m m y personal thanks for all his work, and the thanks o f the Society. Perhaps I should not refer to H o w a r d as m y friend as we did not meet socially, but I have been at many meetings w i t h h i m and we always got on w e l l . I have attended many committee meetings where some members never contribute new ideas, and that can never be said o f Howard. I was always particularly grateful for his work as Treasurer. I w i s h I had his financial skills. On general policy matters Howard is also never short o f suggestions and, even i f y o u do not agree w i t h h i m that can be very valuable. F r o m the outset Howard was keen to promote the publishing activities o f the Society and i n 1986 set the standard w i t h "The Butterflies o f Suffolk", written j o i n t l y w i t h Steve Piotrowski. This was followed in 1992 by the excellent "Suffolk Dragonflies". It is a while since I attended a Council meeting but I am w e l l aware o f the difficulty in getting members to take office. It was therefore good o f H o w a r d to act as Chairman for a while and I hope the Society manages to find a satisfactory and long serving replacement soon. 1 have pleasant memories o f Council meetings and can encourage S.N.S. members to serve on the Council. I can still picture Francis Simpson, quietly dozing, Howard w i t h his pony tail hair style ( I am only jealous Howard) suggesting new investments which I d i d not understand, and discussion on useless Health and Safety issues, which helped to destroy field meetings. However, the Society and the study o f natural history in general have changed greatly since I first joined. So, Howard: thanks, and good luck w i t h the ' B u g H u n t i n g ' . Geoff


SUFFOLK NATURALISTS' SOCIETY A N N U A L G E N E R A L M E E T I N G 2010 The A G M w i l l be held at 7.30 p m on A p r i l 21st 2010 A t the Holiday I n n , Ipswich Up-to-date information on S N S events can be found on


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Mouse Mouse, as an element of landscape, Unusual; a crackle in the hedge Becomes bold by starlight, Hesitates, Takes stock of autumn Then leads her scampering brood Handfuls past heaven Foraging Fierce and Fearless into the wood You dare at last to breathe: The terrible marauders passed you by As scarcely worth a bite. Alas dair Aston

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Often when I visit rivers in Suffolk to survey for invertebrates, local people passing by w i l l come over and have a look at what I find in m y nets. This frequently leads to their reminiscences about what they found 'when 1 was boy fishing in the river As often as not they lead on to describe numerous native White Clawed Crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes (Plate 1, p. 17) scuttling away from lifted stones. Unfortunately, as most people are aware, this is a rare sight these days. Crayfish plague was inadvertently introduced many years ago along w i t h foreign or alien species to stock crayfish farms. The aliens, especially the N o r t h American 'Signal' (Pacifastacus leniusculus) quickly escape, and as they can travel overland, colonised new sites. They soon out-competed any smaller natives susceptible to the plague, to w h i c h aliens were immune. To add to the problem, crayfish plague spores are easily introduced to previously clear waters when fishermen restock fish or move fishing gear around without proper cleaning. Fortunately the spores appear to survive for only about 16 days in the absence o f a suitable host. This means that restocking w i t h native species is possible but is only worthwhile i f future sources o f plague are eliminated as far as possible, which in practice means at a remote site w i t h no public access to minimise accidental contamination. Almost all o f the crayfish I have seen in the last 20 years or so in the county have been Signals and it is generally realised that without our intervention the native White Clawed species is in serious and possibly terminal decline. However, there is hope for the Suffolk native. Firstly, although for over ten years there was only one k n o w n stream in the county where native crayfish survived, in 2008 one other site was discovered in a totally separate river system. So we now have potentially two populations to w o r k w i t h . Secondly, in 2009 the Suffolk Biodiversity Partnership started the first stage o f the Suffolk Crayfish A r k Project. This project is intended to last for five years and the aim is to preserve populations o f relatively local provenance by transferring them to ark sites. These sites w i l l be in both still waters and rivers away from populations o f signal crayfish, where new populations can be established. During 2009 funding was obtained from Suffolk Environmental Trust, the Environment Agency ( E A ) , Essex & Suffolk Water and Suffolk Biodiversity Partnership's Project Fund, w h i c h enabled the team to get started. A single isolated still water site w i t h a very enthusiastic landowner was then found and chosen to start the project. Before any w o r k could be undertaken the team had to be trained by E A specialists in crayfish survey techniques. Then surveys o f the receptor site and nearby rivers were carried out using traps and by hand searching and netting. O n l y when these locations were confirmed free from alien crayfish could the translocation process begin. Sites found to still have native crayfish were trapped i n a methodical manner. The animals collected were all checked that they were large enough to be moved safely and were in good health. Just-moulted individuals w i t h soft shells and very young animals were put back where they were found, under bricks or


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overhanging vegetation or even large pieces o f t i n . (Invertebrates often utilize habitats which most o f us w o u l d otherwise describe as j u n k . I always spend time investigating river rubbish!) Fortunately, a range o f suitable individuals were found , juveniles as well as small and large adults. Eventually, in August 2009, 185 specimens were translocated to their new home, a private lake. The lake was prepared by installing crayfish refuges around the shore in the shape o f broken up land drain pipes, bundles o f branches tied together (faggots) and custom-made 'panpipes', made o f fired clay. After a suitable settling-in period a return visit in October showed that one o f the panpipes had been occupied by one o f the crayfish. The panpipes are the easiest refuge to monitor, w i t h least disturbance to inhabitants. N o w as we start 2010 the next stage o f the project starts by sorting through and visiting several new sites which have been suggested f o l l o w i n g the media coverage o f the original release. The A r k team intend then to conduct a second release towards the end o f summer 2010 in at least one new site, all the time monitoring the first release and o f course the original populations, to ensure that they are not suffering due to the introduction o f translocated stock. The Suffolk Biodiversity Partnership consists o f conservation organisations, statutory bodies, local authorities, businesses and not-for-profit organisations working throughout the county o f Suffolk on behalf o f w i l d l i f e . The U K ' s Biodiversity Action Plan is delivered at a local level by members o f the Partnership. For further information visit I f y o u are, or k n o w of, a fisherman then information on how the fishing community can help protect our native crayfish is available at: http:// To read further on this subject the Buglife website is a good place to start: + Action/ Conserving+our+Crayfish I f you own or visit a site and think y o u have seen native crayfish, or i f y o u o w n a large pond, lake or gravel pit which y o u w o u l d like considered as an ark site then you can contact the ark team by emailing or telephoning the Environment Agency on 08708 506 506.

Adrian Chalkley Freshwater Invertebrate Recorder

W E A T H E R STATION CRASH Adrian says " M y weather station has packed up! I t stills shows current weather but no longer records anything. It is many years old. So the weather data for 2009 w i l l have to be the last, I ' m afraid". Downloadable data up to the end o f 2009 are available from White Admiral No 75



A friend, remembering m y interest i n antlions, sent me a slide he had bought on e-bay. The slide was made by H . W . H . Darlaston, whose entry i n Bracegirdle (1998) M i c r o s c o p i c a l M o u n t s and Mounters reads: "Herbert William Hutton Darlaston (1867-1949) was a cashier in a firm of musical instrument makers when he met J. W. Neville in 1887. He gave him an interest in microscopy and taught him to mount. His increasing skill led to many requests for slides, and about 1905 he set up as a professional full-time mounter. He advertised in English Mechanic from 1902, at 20 Freer Road, Birchfield, Birmingham. He had a subscription slide circulation scheme in 1907, and became very knowledgeable about entomology and aquatic life; many flea mounts were made by him for Miriam Rothschild. In the 1930s his premises flourished, but did not revive after WW2. Slides with his label are quite commonplace, and all of high quality. " For me, the slide is a glimpse into another w o r l d o f natural history both i n the way i n w h i c h it was prepared and for w h o m . To mount such a specimen must have presented particular problems. A n t l i o n larvae o f the size on the slide ( 1 1 m m from the t i p o f the j a w s to the t a i l ) are at a late (probably t h i r d ) instar. A larva o f this size taken f r o m its natural habitat has an abdomen w h i c h is about as deep as it is w i d e . The slide is made o f fine glass w i t h polished and chamfered edges and has no sign o f a c a v i t y . The space for the specimen was estimated by measuring the distance from the slide to the upper surface o f the cover slip, about 0.5 m m . A l l o w i n g for the thickness o f the cover slip meant that the specimen was arranged i n a very shallow space. T o mount the larva must have i n v o l v e d the removal o f m u c h o f the gut, a task i n v o l v i n g some skilled micro-surgery. Finished w i t h a neat r i n g o f black sealant i t made an elegant s l i m mount. The j a w s o f the larva are shown in a l l their fearsome detail but other features are distorted by m o u n t i n g . I n life the front legs are held alongside the head to increase the area o f the ' s h o v e l ' used for f l i p p i n g sand over its head to dig its pit. The sensory hairs w h i c h occur i n tufts a l l over the body are crushed and do not suggest their function o f detecting movement o f an approaching prey


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through v i b r a t i o n in the sand. T w o elliptical labels at either side o f the specimen have the legends i n neat but faded copperplate h a n d w r i t i n g " A n t L i o n " and " L a r v a o f M y r m " , the latter only partly decipherable. W h o , I wonder, w o u l d buy such a slide and for what purpose? I t must have been made between about 1905 and 1940 and at this time antlion larvae were not yet found i n E n g l a n d ; imagos were occasionally b l o w n over from N . Germany or the Netherlands. I t was therefore u n l i k e l y to be an object o f study for the field naturalist. Some interest w o u l d no doubt be engendered by the K i r b y and Spence textbook, Introduction to Entomology, w h i c h was one o f the first popular textbooks and ran to several editions. M o r e recent entomology books such as the New Naturalist v o l u m e by A . D . I m m s make no mention o f i t . K i r b y and Spence were clearly very interested i n the antlion and they describe i n detail the m o r p h o l o g y and lifestyle o f this strange insect. D a r w i n took a copy o f the book w i t h h i m on The Beagle and there is a fascinating account o f the a c t i v i t y o f an A u s t r a l i a n antlion w h i c h he watched from a 'sunny bank' i n N . S . W . I f the insect d i d not occur i n England at this t i m e , where d i d the specimen come from? The label may indicate that i t was a Myrmeleon formicarius larva, w h i c h is c o m m o n i n S. Europe. The Rev. W i l l i a m K i r b y saw i t at Fontainebleu although he lost his specimen on the j o u r n e y home; the larva mounted by Darlaston may have been i m p o r t e d from France. There seems to have been a considerable trade i n slides o f this sort and I wonder whether they were objects for serious study or for c u r i o s i t y along w i t h the other interesting b i o l o g i c a l or m i n e r a l objects? A larva o f this size taken from its natural habitat has an abdomen w h i c h is about as deep as i t is w i d e . Michael




Experts have told o f their surprise after witnessing a rare "divorce" between a pair o f swans at the Gloucestershire w i l d f o w l sanctuary. The B e w i c k ' s swans have returned to winter at the W i l d f o w l and Wetlands Trust centre at Slimbridge, but both have brought new partners. It is only the second time in more than 40 years that a "separation" has been recorded at the centre. Staff have described the new couplings as "bizarre". It is not unheard o f for the birds, w h i c h usually mate for life, to find a new mate but it tends to be because one o f the pair has died, they said. D u r i n g the past four decades 4,000 pairs o f B e w i c k ' s swans have been studied at Slimbridge, w i t h only one previous couple moving on to find new partners. From BBC SciTech White Admiral No 75


news feed 24




In White Admiral 74 I wrote a report on the London Freshwater Group field trip to Bio' Norton Fen where it was mentioned that one o f the invertebrates found was the Sphagnum Bug, Hebrus ruficeps. This minute fen dwelling bug had been recorded by Claude Morley at Thelnetham i n 1942 and the National Biodiversity N e t w o r k website mentions two further records on the Suffolk Coast in the 1980s. A s a result of the article in W A 74 I was contacted by Dr Peter K i r b y who had seen these newer specimens and was able to confirm the exact locations o f these finds. His information suggests that it may be possible to locate populations in the coastal strip in suitable habitats between Aldeburgh and Southwold. Peter has reviewed the habitat details o f other existing records and although Hebrus is usually found amongst Sphagnum at the margins o f acid water, this association is not as exclusive as it may seem. In fact i t has been found in habitats w i t h brown mosses or w i t h no mosses at all in acid, non-acid and even in saltmarsh situations. Having copied these new details to N i g e l Cuming, the SNS bug recorder, we hope that further searches in 2010 w i l l shed more light on the current county distribution o f this elusive creature. A l l o f w h i c h emphasises to me, once again, that writing up your finds i n White Admiral is always worthwhile and can turn up useful leads from unexpected sources. Adrian Chalkley Freshwater Invertebrate Recorder


I f it sounds too good to be true that's because it was for the 'tourist' concerned. It was 'a one way ticket to ride' for a j u m p i n g spider hitching a lift on a bunch o f grapes. The spider involved was a male Pantropical Jumper Plexippus paykulli (Savigny & Audouin, 1827), approximately 1 c m in length, and its journey ended in an Ipswich supermarket. As the common name suggests, this species is a member o f the family Salticidae, the j u m p i n g spiders, that rely on their exceptional eyesight as well as their bionic leap (the equivalent o f y o u or I leaping 30m or more from a standing start) to stalk and capture prey. Although originally an inhabitant o f the o l d world tropics, the Pantropical Jumper has been spread by man and its global distribution now includes Greece, Spain, Israel, Japan, Nepal, India, Singapore, Australia, southern U S A , Central America and South America to Paraguay. The male spider is a particularly handsome beast w i t h three broad white stripes running the length o f the body and contrasting strongly w i t h the almost black colouration between them. The legs are pale but w i t h distinct black streaks, 8

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especially strong on the front pair o f legs. The Ipswich spider was a recently dead male and although the abdomen was badly squashed the patterning on the head and legs was clearly visible. Even more importantly the palps at the front o f the head were perfectly intact. The structure o f these palps, w h i c h are used i n reproduction, could be compared with Metzner's drawings (1999) to confirm the identity o f the species. Interestingly Sue Telling, the purchaser o f the grapes, first noticed a silken retreat attached to the stem o f the grape bunch and had not seen the spider. When Colin Hawes passed the grapes to me the squashed spider was immediately visible i n the bottom o f the bag. W i t h i n the silken retreat I found a moulted carapace and other body fragments. The spider had only recently emerged from its retreat either i n the supermarket or possibly during the journey home only to be crushed b y the movement o f the grapes or more likely by contact w i t h a hard surface e.g. a supermarket shelf or kitchen table. Empty grape boxes i n the supermarket warehouse marked Brazil suggest this may have been the source o f the spider although there was no country o f origin on the bag o f grapes containing the spider. Most sources refer to the Pantropical Jumper being associated w i t h man-made structures much like our o w n Zebra Spider Salticus scenicus. One relatively recent reference reports it from citrus groves in Florida ( M u m a , 1975) but I have found no mention o f it being found on grapevines. A n association w i t h man-made structures such as the posts and wires used to support vines could account for its presence on grapes. However, it may be more widely associated w i t h vegetation than has been reported. The perceived link to man made structures may result from the ease o f observation o f this diurnally active spider on such structures. The specimen has been deposited i n Manchester Museum. References Metzner, H . 1999. Die Springspinnen (Araneae, Salticidae) Griechenlands. Andrias 14: 1-279. Muma, M . H . 1975. Spiders i n Florida citrus groves. Florida Entomologist, 58:8390. Paul Lee


' A Flora o f Suffolk' was published o n the 16 March. Martin Sanford's & Richard Fisk's book is a tour de force. This w i l l be the definitive Suffolk flora for a generation. Beautifully produced, engaging text, crammed w i t h useful information, helpful maps, top quality illustrations, and embellished w i t h thoughtful touches throughout a j o y to own. A proper review w i l l be i n the next White Admiral. See p. 19. David Walker White Admiral No 75



It was in early 1982 when I was finishing m y PhD that I was lucky to secure a j o b as an Ecology tutor at Flatford M i l l Field Centre. I remember having to travel to Preston Montford, the Head Office o f the Field Studies Council for the interview. I sat at the end o f a long table. The affable Charles Sinker, then Head o f the FSC, sat at the far end, D r A n d y Hodges, recently appointed Warden at Flatford M i l l , on his right. I can't remember much about the interview other than saying at one point, 'in pursuit of nature, it was extremely important to get down on one's hands and knees'. As I remember these words, I believe Eric ( A r n o l d Robert) Ennion, the first warden o f Flatford M i l l Field Centre, w o u l d have been proud o f me. T o study nature, he had said 'a seeing eye' and 'an inquisitive disposition' were the only real essentials. Knowledge simply fell into stride as y o u went along (The British Bird 1943). A n d this was before he started at Flatford... Born in 1900, Eric Ennion was raised in B u r w e l l i n Cambridgeshire. As a boy he was particularly enchanted by birds and had a passionate need to draw them. Nevertheless, he followed i n his father's footsteps and read medicine, completing his training at St M a r y ' s Hospital i n London. He married Dorothy Parke i n 1925 and in the following year, j o i n e d his father's practice. Nonetheless, he dedicated his life to watching, sketching and painting birds - travelling to Scotland, Wales, the Netherlands and even Iceland in pursuit o f birds and by the end o f the thirties, was exhibiting his paintings i n London. He was also busy w r i t i n g articles for magazines and in 1942, his book Adventurers Fen about his beloved B u r w e l l Fen, i n all probability his finest, was published. H a v i n g decided to pursue a l i v i n g as an artist and writer, Eric sold o f f the medical practice. But instead, by a twist o f fate, he landed a j o b as a warden at Flatford M i l l . Eric had not only helped Francis Butler when he was setting up The Council for the Promotion of Field Studies (the precursor o f the FSC) but was instrumental i n obtaining the lease in 1945 o f Flatford M i l l from The National Trust to run it as the first Field Centre. Flatford had its first resident students in M a y 1946, Dorothy taking on the domestic side. The concept o f where and how to look, o f enhancing enjoyment through investigation and intensifying admiration via a better understanding was firmly established. I t was this more than anything that attracted both the experienced and non-experienced visitor alike as time went on. More


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centres were opened and when I j o i n e d , the FSC had ten centres but I do remember thinking it was a great privilege to be w o r k i n g at the pioneering Flatford M i l l . On arrival, I immediately fell for the place: lovely countryside, beautiful habitats w i t h i n easy reach and nice people to w o r k w i t h . D r Laurie Friday, the other tutor at the M i l l at the time was simply wonderful and provided an excellent introduction to field centre life. It was then that I was filled in about Eric Ennion. A n d I was also sadly to find out that this much loved bird enthusiast and w i l d l i f e artist had passed away not so long ago in early 1981. Anyone who knows about field centres or has worked in them, w o u l d know that during the winter (December-February) a lot o f repair and decorating goes on and everyone throws themselves into getting the centre ready for the start o f the new season in Spring. Tutors were responsible for the teaching rooms. In those days there were three; the very large room on the first floor (originally where all the m i l l i n g took place in John Constable's time), the preferred room for art courses, and t w o rooms on the ground floor, one next to the library and a smaller one beyond, accessed via the board walk over the River Stour. The b i g art room already had a name, fittingly 'The Constable R o o m ' . It was in m y first winter at Flatford that having painted all the walls and the ceiling white and all the w o o d w o r k a sunny y e l l o w in the room next to the library, I thought ' w h y don't we give it a name and how about Ennion?' A n d so it was that this bright and vibrant room came to be called The Ennion Room. From then on it became m y favourite teaching room. This too was where Eric Ennion w o u l d have paced up and down w i t h his students before embarking on a daily voyage o f discovery all those years ago in the 1940s! References Busby, John (1982). The Living Birds of Eric Ennion. Gollancz, London. Ennion, E.A.R. (1943). The British Bird. Oxford University Press. Field Studies Council website: Walthew, Bob (editor) website dedicated to Eric Ennion: http:// Rasik


Contributions to White Admiral Deadlines for copy are 1 February (spring edition), 1 June (summer edition) and I ' October (autumn edition). st



The opinions expressed in White Admiral are not necessarily those of the Editor or of the Suffolk Naturalists' Society. White Admiral No 75

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SUFFOLK REMINISCENCES What Suffolk and the Suffolk Naturalists' Society have meant to me

The news that the Suffolk Naturalists' Society was i n danger o f disintegrating, announced by the editor o f the White Admiral recently (Newsletter, A u t u m n 74, 2009) came as a shock. I've been a member o f the Society for around 45 years, although I don't think I've ever attended either a field meeting or a lecture arranged by the Society; but then I've lived in Australia for nearly 35 years. Although I have visited the U K from time to time, visits to Suffolk, at least since the early 1970s, have been snatches o f a few hours at a time. M y most recent visit, on a 'beaut' summer day, a few years ago, was to Hitcham churchyard, to take a few photos and collect 'atmosphere' for something I was w r i t i n g about the Rev. John Stevens Henslow, Rector o f Hitcham for 24 years, Professor o f Mineralogy and Botany at Cambridge, and mentor and friend o f Charles Darwin. M y love affair w i t h the Suffolk countryside commenced in early summer 1947, when I was five. W e l l , twenty years before that really, because m y father, the Revd Edward Armstrong (1900-1978), was a young curate in Ipswich in the 1920s, and he bird watched, and took photographs o f birds in East Suffolk, whenever time away from his clerical duties allowed. Dad sometimes thought o f himself as 'the last o f the English parson-naturalists' (although he wasn't, quite, and he was Irish). The observations he made, and the photos he took, in those Suffolk years, played an important part in the development o f his career as a naturalist - particularly as an authority on bird behaviour. A stream o f books and scientific papers on ornithology followed over the next 50 years: his last paper was completed the day he died. It is appropriate, then, to recall that many o f m y earliest explorations o f the Suffolk countryside were in his company. I t was he who taught me a delight in nature. I recall a five-mile walk across the heaths and marshes near Walberswick - we saw a bittern, marsh harriers and bearded tits, and heard the squeal o f a water rail - that took place when I was about six. In those days stone curlews nested on almost every heath along the Sandlings coastal strip. Redbacked shrikes were common. A n d I can recall many 12

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evenings when we spread ' D i m p ' on our faces and wrists, and waited on the heaths for nightjars to start chirring. We were seldom disappointed: sometimes there w o u l d be several flying in their distinctive flip-flop manner, w i t h i n a few metres o f where we crouched amidst the heather and bracken (an essay on the Suffolk nightjars w o n me a school prize). Alas, recent issues o f Suffolk Birds suggest that all these species are now much less numerous. Usually we stayed for our holidays i n summer, camping, staying in a caravan or cottage, for about three weeks in July or August. But sometimes we had a short visit in spring, and w o u l d wander through the woods, listening to bird song (his book A Study of Bird Song, 1963, owes quite a bit to observations made in Suffolk, and the nearby counties o f Essex and Cambridgeshire). Dad pointed out the distinctive notes o f w i l l o w warbler, blackcap and chiff-chaff on our walks, and we w o u l d rejoice i n the call o f the cuckoo now, I understand, much less commonly heard i n the Suffolk countryside. M y father had an incredible knack o f imitating the cuckoo's call by b l o w i n g into his cupped hands i n a particular way. Once, when we were birdwatching in an East A n g l i a n woodland he had three o f four flying around, all calling to this apparently invisible competitor in a most desperate manner! Another favourite bird was the heron. I n those years there was a ' H e r o n r y ' - I believe the name still lingers - near Blythburgh, and once or twice we visited this busy locale, and saw young birds being fed i n many dozens o f nests. The stand o f ancient pine trees where the herons bred has long been silent. But I hope turtle doves still nest i n the hedgerows close to where we camped, and that occasionally one can still see a redstart dashing i n and out o f a roadside hedge. A n d despite the losses, there have been gains: there were no avocets or egrets in 'our' part o f Suffolk in those days. In these wanderings ( i n the 1940s and 1950s) Covehithe, Walberswick, Dunwich, Southwold, Westleton, Blythburgh, and Minsmere were the main foci o f our explorations. I learnt the importance o f accurate identification o f plants and animals, o f detailed observation and recording, and began to understand the w a y i n which different parts o f the natural w o r l d related. Soils, vegetation and animal life were interconnected. The way in w h i c h the land had been used by humans over the centuries profoundly influenced the biota. Yes, we (my brother T i m and I ) collected (butterflies, moths, and plants) more than w o u l d now be considered appropriate. But that was one o f the ways in w h i c h we learned identification, and yes, to appreciate the detailed beauty o f Creation. I d o n ' t think we overcollected. I learned taxidermy from a century-old book and skinned a number o f species o f birds I found dead. Thus the ground was tilled. A n d so after reading geography, geology and botany at the University o f Durham, on returning to East A n g l i a , what could be more natural that for m y doctoral studies I should attempt to write a thesis on the land-use history and ecology o f the East Suffolk Sandlings that I remembered from m y childhood? As w e l l as field-work ' o n the ground' I studied archives, o l d maps and old game books in the Ipswich and East Suffolk Record Office, and elsewhere, White Admiral No 75


and tried to show how the pattern o f land use ( w i t h sheep being rotated from heathland, arable land, and drained marsh pasture) 'held the system together', and contributed to the ecological complexity o f the region. When the sheep disappeared, grazing rabbits helped to maintain the open character o f the heaths. But after myxomatosis in 1953, invasion by scrub commenced, and many changes in the ecology o f the whole region occurred. The game-books showed how as rabbits disappeared from game-bags, hares increased. A graph showing these changes correlated closely w i t h changes in the abundance o f nesting heathland species o f birds (the data for w h i c h I extracted from, amongst other sources, Suffolk Naturalists' publications). Everything is connected to everything else.

•I* "ST

The thesis was completed, and some o f the results o f m y researches appeared in my first published paper, in Transactions, 1971. A book on the land-use history o f the Eastern Counties (The Changing Landscape, 1975) followed, published by a Suffolk firm. After I had left for Australia, a period o f study-leave in England allowed an update in the Transactions for 1984. Even long after m o v i n g to the W i d e Brown Land I've managed to find an excuse for contributing a few trifles to Transactions or the White Admiral. I read every issue o f these periodicals and Suffolk Birds w i t h nostalgic pleasure, for Suffolk and the Suffolk Naturalists' publications contributed to the start o f m y academic career. The ecological ideas that I picked up 'through my finger nails' in the East A n g l i a n countryside, I ' v e tried to convey to hundreds o f students over the years, and to apply to environments in Australia, the Americas, and on remote islands, tropical and sub-antarctic, i n the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. Maybe I ' l l never attend a meeting o f the Society. But I ' l l keep up my subscription as long as the Society exists (and there is breath in m y body, and money in m y account). A n d there are old maps o f Suffolk on the w a l l o f my study in Nedlands. Patrick Armstrong Adjunct Professor o f Geography Edith Cowan University, Western Australia Address for correspondence: 18 Cooper St, Nedlands, Western Australia, 6009 Patrick's slightly quirky biography of Charles publishedfor Darwin's 200 birthday in February, lh


Darwin, 2009.

D a r w i n ' s Luck,


White Admiral No 75

S P A N I S H B L U E B E L L S - a threat to Britain's native bluebell

The Spanish bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanicd) and its cultivated varieties were introduced to Britain more than 200 years ago and are generally found in gardens and parkland, where they have been planted for aesthetic reasons. It appears, however, that most plants in gardens are i n fact hybrids (Hyacinthoidesx massartiana), which are the result o f cross-pollination between the Spanish bluebell and the native bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta). Pure Spanish bluebells are quite scarce. Regrettably, Spanish bluebell hybrids can also now be found i n ancient woodland, secondary woodlands, other w i l d l i f e areas and on roadside verges, through deliberate planting by members o f the public trying to ' i m p r o v e ' the woodland flora or by inappropriate dumping o f garden waste containing viable bulbs. The main concern o f some conservation organisations is that the Spanish bluebell and its hybrid, both o f w h i c h produce highly fertile seed, might become invasive and spread in areas where the native bluebell is already present, leading to the latter being 'hybridized' out o f existence. However, although there is evidence that the hybrids are rampant weeds in gardens, spreading easily by seeds and offsets, there is as yet no empirical evidence for hybrids out-competing our native bluebell in the w i l d . Nevertheless, care should be taken to avoid accidental translocation o f bluebells into the w i l d . I f you dig up bluebells from your garden or land, do so when the plants have finished flowering, w i t h their leaves intact, leave them i n the sun to dry out and then bum them. Dispose o f any seed heads carefully and ensure that they are not dispersed with garden waste. Identification Native bluebell

Spanish bluebell

Flower blue

Flowers pale blue (but may be lilac, pink or white) Flowers arranged all around the stem, more erect* Flowers larger than the native bluebell Flowers more open and bell-like* Little or no scent

Flowers hang from one side of the stem Flowers smaller than Spanish bluebell Flowers tubular Highly scented

The identification characteristics marked w i t h an asterisk are the most useful. Acknowledgements:; hyacinthoides non-scripta.html I thank Martin Sanford for commenting on and i m p r o v i n g the text. Colin Hawes ' White Admiral No 75


and tried to show how the pattern o f land use ( w i t h sheep being rotated from heathland, arable land, and drained marsh pasture) 'held the system together', and contributed to the ecological complexity o f the region. When the sheep disappeared, grazing rabbits helped to maintain the open character o f the heaths. But after myxomatosis in 1953, invasion by scrub commenced, and many changes in the ecology o f the whole region occurred. The game-books showed how as rabbits disappeared from game-bags, hares increased. A graph showing these changes correlated closely w i t h changes in the abundance o f nesting heathland species o f birds (the data for w h i c h I extracted from, amongst other sources, Suffolk Naturalists' publications). Everything is connected to everything else.

The thesis was completed, and some o f the results o f my researches appeared in my first published paper, in Transactions, 1971. A book on the land-use history o f the Eastern Counties {The Changing Landscape, 1975) followed, published by a Suffolk firm. After I had left for Australia, a period o f study-leave in England allowed an update in the Transactions for 1984. Even long after m o v i n g to the W i d e Brown Land I've managed to find an excuse for contributing a few trifles to Transactions or the White Admiral. I read every issue o f these periodicals and Suffolk Birds w i t h nostalgic pleasure, for Suffolk and the Suffolk Naturalists' publications contributed to the start o f m y academic career. The ecological ideas that I picked up 'through my finger nails' in the East A n g l i a n countryside, I ' v e tried to convey to hundreds o f students over the years, and to apply to environments in Australia, the Americas, and on remote islands, tropical and sub-antarctic, i n the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. Maybe I ' l l never attend a meeting o f the Society. But I ' l l keep up m y subscription as long as the Society exists (and there is breath in m y body, and money i n m y account). A n d there are old maps o f Suffolk on the w a l l o f m y study in Nedlands. Patrick Armstrong Adjunct Professor o f Geography Edith Cowan University, Western Australia Address for correspondence: 18 Cooper St, Nedlands, Western Australia, 6009 Patrick's slightly quirky biography of Charles published for Darwin's 200 birthday in February, th


Darwin, 2009.

Darwin's Luck,


White Admiral No 75


Scientists say that Eel populations in the River Thames have fallen by 9 8 % in five years. Numbers fell from 1,500 in 2005 to just 50 last year. Conservationists fear this could have a knock-on effect for other species in the river's ecosystem. The Zoological Society o f London records the numbers by capturing eels i n traps before releasing them. Adrian Chalkley says that automatic eel counters are installed in the River Stour at Flatford M i l l Field Studies Centre and regularly count eels passing by to monitor the population i n this river system. The Environment Agency has launched a five-year River Basin Management Plan to improve water quality in the East o f England's rivers, lakes, coastal waters and groundwater. 758 rivers w i l l benefit from the £ 2 5 4 , 0 0 0 plan by providing a better environment for fish, invertebrates, diatoms, macrophytes and phytoplankton. 'Beetle N e w s ' is free and online in p d f format. Available from and now in its fourth edition, this newsletter is w e l l worth downloading. The debate on whether or not to introduce the White-tailed eagle to Suffolk is heating up. In a recent article i n the East Anglian Daily Times former Director o f the S W T , Derek Moore, made his support clear whilst excoriating opponents o f the proposal. Tiny radio transmitters on Green Darner dragonflies migrating d o w n the east coast o f America have shown that they can fly as far as 137km in one day. Maybe Colin Hawes should do some performance enhancement training w i t h his Stag beetles? Migrating insects have an inbuilt compass that helps them ' h i t c h h i k e ' on the fastest winds enabling them to cover 1,000 miles more quickly than birds. Using radar equipment researchers observed migrating butterflies and moths, including the Red A d m i r a l , using w i n d currents to travel at more than 60mph, reaching their destinations in just a few days. "The insects have 'a compass sense' that enables them to select winds w h i c h w i l l take them in their chosen direction", said D r Jason Chapman, from the Rothamsted Research Institute. On N e w Year's Day N i c k Mason received the f o l l o w i n g e-mail message from his friend Keith Bailey: " W e were out w a l k i n g this morning and watched a large red tail Bumble Bee buzzing around a flowering Gorse bush along the track west o f the playing field! Quite amazing..." B T O ' s annual report on bird ringing for 2008, published last December, revealed new longevity records for 16 species. Several o f these were also European record breakers: Bar-tailed G o d w i t (34 years old), Turnstone (22), Hobby (15), Rednecked Phalarope (12), Cetti's Warbler (9), Lesser Whitethroat (9) and Bearded Tit (7). The full list can be seen on w w w . b t o . o r g . 'The language o f birds is very ancient, and, like other ancient modes o f speech, very elliptical: little is said but much is meant and understood.' Gilbert White 16

White Admiral No 75

White Admiral No 75


White Admiral No 75

A Flora of Suffolk is now published. This book is a must for anyone who enjoys the Suffolk countryside and is interested in w i l d flowers. Attractively illustrated throughout, w i t h a lively text, useful identification tips, historical notes and anecdotal information on past uses.

A Flora of Suffolk

It covers over 2,500 species and hybrids o f plants and 400 mosses recorded in Suffolk and includes information on the status, habitats and history o f each species. Over 1,000 maps, many w i t h coloured underlays showing associated soils, show the distribution o f species w i t h more than a dozen records. s t

The pre-publication offer ended on 3 1 March. It is now available for £40 (inc. p & p ) . Please send cheques payable to 'Suffolk Flora Fund' to 78 Murray Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP3 9 A Q . SNS Members w i l l have two further opportunities to buy the book at less than full price: th

The official book launch w i l l be on Saturday, 17 A p r i l i n the L o w e r Tudor Room at Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich from 12.00-2.00 p.m. The Flora w i l l be on sale for £ 3 5 . This w i l l be a chance to meet the authors, obtain a signed copy and to meet some o f the botanists involved in the recording work. A l l SNS members are invited to j o i n this celebration o f this landmark publication o f Suffolk natural history. s l

Another opportunity w i l l be at the SNS A G M on Wednesday 2 1 A p r i l (see p. 2) at the pre-publication price o f £ 3 2 . 5 0 . There w i l l be a talk about the Flora and a chance to get involved w i t h your society.


White Admiral No 75


J O A N and N I C K H A R D I N G H A M

Imperceptibly, propaganda pervades the fibres o f societies. Words and images have been bombarded upon populations throughout history. Whereas the strident N a z i and incessant communist have harangued generations, the 'enterprise' culture carries its dogma imperceptibly to the consumer. Less means more. The fewer the fatter. T i m e is money. To be successful you have to be ruthless w i t h the environment, employ fewer people and spend every w a k i n g hour making money. In practice, become thoroughly noxious, greedy and anti-social to achieve, meet the challenges and become a success. Selfishness and greed are the watchwords o f 'success' today. Now what is all this to do w i t h people like you and me, y o u may be asking? D r i v i n g over to Needham Market to interview these two 'Profile' victims I was reminded o f a statement I had heard earlier by some doubtless worthy farmer on the radio. He described, among other things, how he could not afford to employ any staff because he managed less than 500 acres o f land. I did not attach any particular significance to it until later that morning when I recalled the statement and realised that it was one of those classic economy of truths that we absorb continually without hesitation, but is this really enterprise calling? I think that there are some enterprising folk about who are quietly knocking much o f all that into a 'cocked hat' and I w o u l d like to introduce you to two o f them. Joan and N i c k Hardingham are a couple who farm 45 acres o f boggy land, renting a few more in the valley, five acres o f woodland and five acres o f m i x e d habitats. A d d to that a farm shop, 400 laying hens, a flock o f sheep and 40-odd beef cattle, looked after by daughter Eleanor and husband, half share i n a couple o f pigs, a few bantams, ducks, goats and turkeys, sweet corn, potatoes, raspberries galore, strawberries, blackberries, more soft fruit, pumpkins, and squashes o f all shapes and sizes, jams and handmade ice creams, and you have some idea o f the scale o f their operations. They employ three people full-time, many others part-time and divers mobs seasonally. In addition, they have converted old dairy buildings into units that are providing a start for a handful o f small businesses that include a pottery, a gift shop, an 'eco-shop', a cake business, a garden shop, a bakery, a tea-room, and a cycle tour operator. Joan and N i c k are buzzy, busy people and so are the others in the little community that has grown up around them. They have always managed to get their work done and find time to spend w i t h their family, employ others, become involved with the greater community and demonstrate their commitment to the 'greening' o f the environment. It is a way o f life that has obviously not bankrupted them. They are a strong family whose public spiritedness has been o f significant value to groups like the Suffolk Naturalists' Society (SNS), Suffolk W i l d l i f e Trust (SWT) and Friends o f the Earth (FOE). They have been active members o f FOE for many years. Joan served for some time as a local Watch leader for the Royal Society for Nature Conservation and was Chair o f the S W T Stowmarket local group, n o w volunteering for the RSPB's Young Explorers' Club at Minsmere. She has been an SNS Council member since 1991 and held posts o f Secretary, Chairman and Suffolk

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Young Naturalists' organiser. I f home is where y o u were hatched, then 1 suppose y o u can consider both Joan and Nick foreigners. N i c k spent his childhood in India and Joan hers i n South Africa. Joan was born and raised in a small village about eight miles outside Pietermaritzburg i n 1952. Her m u m was a schoolteacher and her dad a c i v i l engineer. As a child, Joan was surrounded by wildlife on a scale that it is difficult for us to imagine i n Britain and it fascinated her. D u r i n g their breaks, her parents took her to many o f the famous African game reserves. Unfortunately, the gathering storm o f hostility in South Africa towards the white minority brought her idyllic childhood to an end. Her mother had been w i d o w e d some years earlier and realised that it was not sensible for Joan and herself to continue their relatively isolated existence in a country being progressively riven by ethnic violence. They emigrated to Britain and began a new life in Portsmouth. Joan was then 12 years old. She hated the British climate and admits today o f becoming ' g r i z z l y ' in cold weather. W i l d l i f e was hard to find here, too, but her m u m soon became involved w i t h the Portsmouth Natural History Society and 'dragged' her gloomy daughter around to their field meetings. Grudgingly, she was introduced to a completely new flora and fauna. As a G i r l Guide, Joan was perhaps more enthusiastic and during her school years she received the Queens Guide award. She completed her schooling at Portsmouth H i g h School for Girls and went on to gain a Zoology degree at Bristol University. It was there that she met N i c k . After gaining a Diploma in Education she began teaching i n Poole, Dorset. D u r i n g this time she and Nick were married. His career soon took them o f f to Belgium where he was engaged on the development o f the herbicide, glyphosate ('Roundup' or 'Tumbleweed'). Although they enjoyed l i v i n g in Belgium they became unhappy w i t h the demands o f Nick's career conflicting w i t h their family life. They had by then begun a family with the arrival o f a daughter, Stephany, w h o was to be later followed by t w o others, Eleanor and A m y . In the meantime, the notorious house price boom had taken place i n England and the small house they had bought earlier had increased in value substantially. They decided to return to England and purchase some farmland w i t h the windfall from the sale o f their house. Farming was not a subject that was entirely new to Nick. His family ran a fruit farm and he had gained an MSc degree i n Crop Protection. W i t h the capital they were able to assemble, they were able to buy A l d e r Carr Farm beside the River Gipping just outside Needham Market. A t that time pickyour-own was very popular and it was w i t h this kind o f business that they began to realise their ambitions. The early days were w o r r y i n g for them. The greater part o f their year's w o r k was manifested by crops o f attractive soft fruits during the summer months and they found their generous attitude towards certain w i l d l i f e sorely tried. Dear old Blackbirds loomed into the picture i n unimaginable numbers. Fruit not damaged or consumed by the birds, withered on broken sprays or took direct hits from avian droppings. N o t surprising then that Joan developed a remarkable anecdotal understanding o f certain bird population dynamics i n her locality. It is interesting that she has observed a marked decline i n the number o f Blackbirds i n the 22

While Admiral No 75

last decade. She attributes this to the ascendancy o f Magpies over the same period. Certainly Magpies and Sparrow Hawks are made most welcome on their farm. Little did they know what they started, but the pick-your-own culture had begun to wane when they embarked upon their adventure. It became clear that diversification was necessary i f their efforts were to remain profitable. The farm shop was established. Initially they thought that it w o u l d be a success w i t h the sale of only their o w n produce, but they soon discovered that it was virtually impossible to produce crops in an effective succession. One year, five different varieties o f cauliflower, all sown at different times, conspired to flower w i t h i n a week or so o f each other. The gluts they tried so hard to avoid came upon them w i t h depressing frequency. Finally, ideals had to be tailored i f the operation was to remain viable. They reluctantly turned to wholesalers and local growers to buy excess output and provide them w i t h supplies to overcome the shortfalls o f their o w n efforts. Other ideas have been employed to supplement the income o f the farm. What started as a family food produced by N i c k from an old recipe o f his mother's has become a major part o f the farm's income. I n 1995 he was inspired to embark upon icecream making following a surplus o f raspberries one year. W o r d soon got around about it and N i c k ' s flight o f fancy soon mushroomed into a lucrative gallon by gallon operation. He has now hung up his ice cream apron and Stephany has taken over, making it her own business w i t h her partner. Joan's pride and j o y is the old alder carr that they have generously preserved over the years. A mixture o f w i l l o w , alder and hazel coppice is interspersed w i t h cherry and guelder rose and other broad-leaved trees and shrubs. In times gone by, the alder provided charcoal for a gunpowder works upstream at Stowmarket. The carr was once one o f a number on the banks o f the Gipping. It may be possible for the old wood to become a viable w o r k i n g coppice again as there is a modern market for barbeque charcoal. It's another idea that they are exploring. Other areas not i n cultivation include rough meadowland interspersed w i t h ponds and dykes that provide essential drainage for the low lying lands o f the farm. These wetland areas, grazed only in summer and cut for silage, are a source o f considerable natural history interest. M u c h o f the land is dry sandy soil over gravel, a difficult medium to grow vegetables and fruit, so in the last five years they have returned to traditional mixed farming w i t h livestock to improve the soil. The farm is under the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme, so woodland, hedges and ditches are treated w i t h respect for wildlife. . Quite apart from the work and enthusiasm that the Hardinghams have brought to the environment through their direct efforts and dedication to groups like the SNS, it is a great credit to them that their enterprising spirit has contributed significantly to the welfare and livelihoods o f so many people. I hope that others w h o are similarly gifted with a flair for enterprise w i l l seek to emulate them. I think it is badly needed today.


Parsons (First published

While Admiral No 75

in White Admiral

35, updated by Joan

Hardingham) 23

Insects and more... th

Suffolk Naturalists' Society 5 Drawing and Photographic Competition 2010 This is our opportunity to encourage future naturalists, to raise awareness and get youngsters to ask those questions naturalists automatically ask: What is it? What does it eat? H o w long does it live? Where does it nest? H o w does it develop and change through its life? The a i m is to create excitement and purpose in looking at the insects and other invertebrates to be found anywhere in Suffolk; bringing out hidden talent in observation, drawing or photography. The competition is open to children and adult members o f the general public, natural history societies, schools, S W T Watch and other children's groups, not just SNS members. The deadline for entries is 4 p m on Friday, 10 September 2010 and the awards w i l l be presented at a location and date to be arranged. th


The Royal Entomological Society's National Insect Week, 21st - 2 7 June 2010, is aimed at promoting insects to the general public. Information about how amateurs can start studying insects can be found at The remit for the SNS competition is broader and includes all invertebrates (because inevitably there are good entries that are not strictly insects). There are three sections to the SNS competition. 1. T H E B I G B U G D R A W I N G C O M P E T I T I O N Open to children under 11 years. A picture, in any medium, showing one or more invertebrates found i n a garden or park, field or woodland. This can be an attractive but not necessarily accurate depiction o f any stage o f the life cycle, alone or in the habitat. Include the common name/s and where observed. The judges w i l l be looking for evidence o f observation o f living creatures rather than artistic skill, not copies from books. 2. T H E I L L U S T R A T I O N C O M P E T I T I O N Open to 11 years and over. A depiction o f an invertebrate or any part o f its life cycle, accurate in the scientific sense and showing any definitive features so that it can be readily identified. Include the Latin name, any common name and where it was observed. The judges w i l l look for evidence o f close observation o f l i v i n g creatures, not subjects copied from books. 24

While Admiral No 75

3. T H E P H O T O G R A P H Y C O M P E T I T I O N Open to 11 years and over. This should depict an invertebrate, or any aspect o f its biology or lifecycle, presented in its final printed format on photographic paper. It should include the Latin name and any common name, plus where and when it was observed. Judges w i l l be looking for evidence o f close observation, technical expertise, good composition or the capture o f a difficult subject. GUIDELINES •

W o r k may be entered by an individual, (child or adult) or through an organisation e.g. a school or W A T C H group. • Entries should be on A 4 or A 5 paper.

On the back add: the name, age and address o f the individual (and group, i f appropriate); phone number; the name o f the creature/s and when and where they were seen. • Entries should be sent to: Competition, Suffolk Naturalists' Society, c/o The Museum, H i g h Street, Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 3 Q H no later than 4 p m on Friday, 10 September 2010. • Entries w i l l be returned i f a suitably sized and priced, stamped, addressed envelope is provided. th

SCHOOLS: NATIONAL C U R R I C U L U M S C I E N C E K E Y S T A G E S 1 AND 2 Aspects o f National Curriculum Science at key stages 1 and 2 could be covered by encouraging pupils to enter the competition. For example, i n Unit 2 B Section 2 one o f the objectives is that children should learn to observe and make a record o f animals and plants found in the local environment and in Section 3 that they should use drawings to present results. Unit 4 B Section 3 also expects that children should learn to observe the conditions in a local habitat and make a record o f the animals found.


A first, second and third prize w i l l be awarded in each category as w e l l as highly commended i f thought appropriate. The prizes w i l l be natural history books, and equipment for studying invertebrates. Winners' certificates and prizes w i l l be presented at an awards ceremony to be held at a venue and time to be notified to the winners when there w i l l be activities related to studying invertebrates. The East Anglian Daily Times has fully supported the competition in the past and assisted in judging. M a n y o f the pictures and the awards ceremony in the past have featured in a full colour spread in the newspaper The Suffolk Naturalists' Society reserves the right to use the pictures in its publications and promotions.

White Admiral No 75


SNS F I E L D M E E T I N G S P R O G R A M M E 2010

Members' Spring E v e n t - Saturday 8th M a y 2010 This is a three-part event. 1. 2.00pm. Guided tour o f Priestly Woods, Barking to see spring flowers in this ancient woodland. Meet i n the car park at Barking Church. 2. 4.30 pm. Tea at Alder Carr Farm. Opportunities to discuss and identify items seen during the walk. Telephone 01449 721751 to book tea or risk cakes being sold out! 3. 5.00 pm. Informal talks and slideshows in the barn at A l d e r Carr Farm. B r i n g items to talk about, or photos on memory sticks or CDs. Ramsey Wood R S P B Reserve, near Hintlesham - Saturday 5th June 2010 This meeting offers the chance to visit and record at Ramsey and Hintlesham Woods, two adjacent sites o f ancient woodland close to Ipswich managed by the RSPB. Meet at the nearby Wolves W o o d car park (Grid reference: T M 0 5 4 4 3 7 ) at 2.00 pm, from here members w i l l be shuttled d o w n to the site as car parking is limited near the woods. The afternoon w i l l be spent recording and we w i l l meet up again in the wood at 5.00 p m for tea and an opportunity to share any discoveries o f the afternoon. The meeting is open to recorders and members o f all levels o f experience and offers the opportunity to accompany those recording particular taxa. For further details about this meeting contact Tony Prichard (Telephone 01473 270047). Arger Fen and Spouse's Vale - Saturday 3rd July 2010 These two sites, managed by Suffolk W i l d l i f e Trust, form part o f the Arger Fen SSSI. Ancient woodland dominates those areas higher up on the valley sides, w h i l e the lower areas contain a mixture alder carr, fen and wet meadows. A n area o f naturally regenerating woodland has been created to j o i n the t w o main woodland areas. This is an under-recorded site and the S W T are particularly interested in obtaining records for the regenerating woodland. The meeting starts at 2.00 p m and members should meet at the Arger Fen car park (Grid reference: TL930352). Available parking may be limited at the weekend so car sharing is advisable. We shall meet again at the car park at 5.00 p m for tea and to share any items o f interest from the afternoon. The meeting is open to recorders and members o f all levels o f experience and offers the opportunity to accompany those recording particular taxa. For further details about this meeting contact Tony Prichard (Tel 01473 270047).


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Bentley O l d Hall Woods - Saturday 10th July A guided walk around this ancient woodland to look for White Admiral butterflies and other wildlife. Meet at 2 p m at Bentley O l d H a l l ( T M 119 397). Please contact the leader Colin Hawes i f y o u w i s h to attend. 01473310678.


Butterfly Field Activities SNS members are always welcome at the field meetings o f the Suffolk Branch of Butterfly Conservation, and particularly so for the annual D i n g y Skipper H u n t in the Kings Forest area in M a y , and for the annual Silver-studded Blue count at Minsmere in June. Those events are: Dingy Skipper Surveys in the K i n g ' s Forest and 'Center Pares', Elveden Friday 21st May - Friday 28th M a y 2010 I f you are able to assist please contact Rob Parker, telephone 01284 705476, i n advance for further details. The 22nd M a y event in the K i n g ' s Forest w i l l include appropriate training for those not already familiar w i t h Erynnis


Silver-studded Blue Survey, at Minsmere R S P B Reserve Tuesday 22nd June 2010 Meet at 10.00 am at the Warden's Lodge (on R . H . side just before Reserve car park). Map Ref: T M 470671 (Landranger 156) Leader: Rob Parker, telephone 01284 705476 Bring packed lunch. Back-up day Monday 28th June The full list o f events may be found at Please let the leader know o f your intention to attend, so y o u can be advised i f the programme changes. In addition to programmed field meetings, there are opportunities for keen butterfly watchers to help out w i t h walking butterfly transects. In particular, transects at the following sites could use some assistance: Fynn Valley (Tuddenham St Martin to Playford stretch) Hasketon (new transect) Knettishall Heath (new transect) I f you are interested in participating at any o f these sites, please contact Rob Parker 01284 705476 or

White Admiral No 75


R E S P O N S E S T O T H E E D I T O R I A L I N W A 74 A number of members were sufficiently perturbed about the situation of the Society outlined in White Admiral 74 that they took the time to ponder possible solutions and then write and tell us. Council was grateful for their letters, and has taken on board the views expressed. They are reproduced here. I read your editorial i n White Admiral w i t h some concern. To be honest, I was expecting bad news after Tony Prichard made a brief comment about SNS during the most recent committee meeting o f Suffolk Butterfly Conservation (where I took over as Treasurer earlier this year after the previous treasurer stood down) last week but it sounds a bit o f a mess. I live in West Suffolk (Wickhambrook) and I ' m not exactly overenthusiastic about meetings in the east o f the county which seem to have been a long way away and on inconvenient days (though mercifully infrequent) for Butterfly Conservation. I also have reservations about taking on another treasurer role i f the accounts are going to be complicated (especially i f it is because o f needless bureaucracy) but I do have the time to look after your accounts i f you need someone and the role is not overly time intensive. I used to be a relatively senior investment banker in the days when it was respectable and I ' m sure I can do the j o b . I f you are desperately short o f candidates could y o u let me know what commitment w o u l d be required and let me see last year's accounts. I ' d hate to see the society wound up for lack o f community/ membership support. Graham Simister The remarks in your editorial make compulsive and distressing reading, and propel me to write a few lines. I do so, however, w i t h some hesitation as a beginner in your field, so please forgive me i f m y thoughts are way o f f beam. On the other hand, perhaps I am typical o f some others in what I w o u l d like from SNS, so I w i l l risk it. Some background, so you can see where I am coming from The flora and fauna o f Suffolk have become part o f my life. I j o i n e d SNS (and SOG) on coming to live in N E Suffolk on retirement from the Foreign Office twelve years ago, having learnt about both institutions from enthusiast friends in the previous decade. M y wife and I have done a B T O breeding bird tetrad survey for ten years, and some winter bird and one Nightingale surveys. M y wife has worked at RSPB Minsmere as both staff and volunteer (and head o f volunteers); and recently I have done my o w n research on rookeries i n my area (and sent a draft article to Andrew Green, SOG N E area recorder for possible publication). Thus we take part in some things, but over these years I have not participated i n SNS meetings or field activities. I suppose there have been various personal and w o r k excuses, but actually it is mostly because part o f m y enjoyment o f communing w i t h nature is to be able to do so by myself, or w i t h m y family only, and w i t h field guides! My needs I n that context SNS has provided me w i t h exactly what I have wanted:


White Admiral No 75

interesting, well written and thoroughly enjoyable articles, long and short, accessible to a layman in your reports and notes on the flora and fauna o f m y county; a line to persons with w h o m to make enquiries about the natural history o f the place where I have chosen to live ( I have made enquiries about beetles, snakes, hedgerows and trees), and a source o f valuable reference books ( I have most o f your publications). The books provide precisely what I want because British Isles-wide guides are much less practical w i t h a wealth o f data w h i c h tends to confuse rather than help. I only want to know about what is in front o f me here. Incidentally I w o u l d add that I think the publications, all o f them, are beautifully produced and a pleasure to read and handle as w e l l as indispensable help. A n d i f further guides are on the stocks, for instance on hedgerows, that w o u l d be a treat. Two problems: societal change and competition I am sure you have wrestled w i t h ideas such as the f o l l o w i n g , but it seems to me that there are two problems. First, societal change has left people encouraged to sip at many springs, rather than find pleasure in persisting at one. Second is the proliferation in the last two decades o f other interested bodies keen to construct their o w n (valuable) empires in the same field, but which do not a l l or automatically lead to consistent research o f the kind SNS undertakes so w e l l ; in other words - SNS's competition. I n N E Suffolk, for example, the work o f S W T , English Nature, RSPB, Coasts and Heaths, regional and county government, CPRE, several coastal protection associations and other similar organisations crosses w i t h that o f SNS. Quite a few o f these organisations ( S W T , for instance) have excellent programmes and facilities for introducing new comers, encouraging eco tourists, m o b i l i z i n g eco warriors, arranging talks, leading outings and expeditions at every level and for every kind o f consumer. But that is not SNS's business. SNS in the waist of the sand-glass M y feeling is that SNS should leave field trips to such groups, and should concentrate instead on carrying out consistent data gathering and research, and recruiting new people to contribute. This w o u l d mean adopting a sort o f sand-glass waist approach, a middleman role between institutions and the Suffolk public. In a downward role SNS w o u l d be supporting and assisting (even advising) w o r k i n the region by institutions, academic and expert, regional, national and even European. Persons involved locally w i t h SNS could thus be offered a chance to become a valuable part o f a wider expert outreach. The recent collaboration w i t h the London Freshwater/Linnaean society seems a good example; and I am sure there are already close links the relevant departments o f U E A , Essex, Cambridge and other neighbouring universities and institutes. In an upward role, SNS could help bring on the new enthusiasts and develop research skills. SNS might invite schools and colleges to identify promising and keen young naturalists who want help beyond what staff and parents can give them, and who want to do more than go on countryside w a l k s - and w h o have an attention span o f longer than 30 seconds - and send them to j o i n existing experts i n field studies or wider SNS research projects. Similarly, SNS could invite the competitor

White Admiral No 75


organisations (above) to identify persons w h o w o u l d like to go a stage further w i t h their o w n nature studies (a sort o f adult learning programme). The main point w o u l d be that SNS should concentrate on the w i l l i n g and able only, and be able to focus on what it is able to do best - good research (so vital for tackling today's monster ecological problems). A n d that w o u l d all suit m y selfish wishes - because there w o u l d be ever more and better SNS material and help available. Jamie Bruce Lockhart M y motive for j o i n i n g the SNS originally was i n the hope that I could turn to them when I needed some help, as I remain only a novice. This at the beginning happened when I was looking at dragonflies - H o w a r d Mendel was very good when I called i n at the museum. However, I recently sent, I think five e-mails to the bird recorders asking for advice about birds I had photographed at A l t o n Water. I received only one reply. I may have sent them to the w r o n g person. However, it only takes a few seconds to send a reply saying, "Sorry I am the w r o n g person" or " I haven't time to deal w i t h this" but to ignore a request totally and then send out a subscription form for the following year is really a bit much. Russell Edwards In response to your editorial in White Admiral: a) I joined 'Suffolk Nats' at the prompting o f N i g e l about three years ago at a hedgerow survey at National Trust Farm at D u n w i c h . b) I joined to expand m y knowledge o f other groups. I k n o w something about bats and dormice. I have started on the long roads to flora, otter, water vole and birds [but] I have no knowledge o f inverts (except butterflies, moths and dragonflies) mosses, fungi etc. I tried to j o i n one o f the field meetings in 2007- held I think by Ray at Newbourne, but it was cancelled. I w o u l d like to attend field meetings to expand m y knowledgebut an invitation to Juliet's to record something was frightening. Yes, I have been to meetings and occasionally read White Admiral, but that's not really m y aim. I have expanded m y natural history w i t h the help o f many wonderful people including Simone, M i c k Wright, Penny Hemphill, Susan Stone and Stuart Gough. But I have a long way to go - where do y o u suggest I begin? I ' m not sure w h y you halted field meetings? But without them I have no incentive to help i n other ways. I ' m not sure this helps, but y o u asked! Margaret Regnault I was saddened by the editorial in the last issue o f White Admiral. Y o u are right i n that the situation that SNS faces is that shared by many others that I k n o w o f across a wide range o f interests. Perhaps as w e l l as needing new blood the committee that remains needs to find out w h y people are members. Just for interest and something news-wise they might not get elsewhere or what?


White Admiral No 75

H o w many members like me do not live i n Suffolk and are members for o l d time's sake or to keep up a link w i t h somewhere that has touched their lives. I worked in Ipswich for 20 months after a year at Otley College: the county made an impression on me from September '88 to June ' 0 1 . Should SNS just do what it appears people want for now in the bird report etc. until more interest arises or what is the thing? I think y o u need to k n o w more from the members - a short targeted questionnaire might help, w i t h a draw prize o f a year's free membership. Should the A G M not just be w i l d l i f e related? I f all else fails is there anyway that S W T could host SNS given the specialists w i t h i n it w h o can help, as I am sure they do already to the wider county picture. Malcolm Busby As a geologist (and not particularly a bird or plant man) I believe 2009 to have been a disaster so far as SNS is concerned: 1. Abandoning the geology 'special interest' group was a terrible thing to do, and I registered my strong opposition to this at the time. I f i r m l y believe that Geology is very much part o f Natural History and it has played a part in SNS for many years ( I still have copies o f Harold Spencer's long papers in the Transactions). It is perhaps a little misleading to say that "subsidiary groups have gone their o w n way": we did not do so w i l l i n g l y but were simply told that such a group was no longer needed. The group no longer exists, o f course, in any form and I ' m afraid that SNS lost much good w i l l amongst the geological community, and not just locally. 2. I was quite amazed that SNS abandoned field meetings. What is the point o f Natural History (including Geology) i f y o u can't get out to see it i n the field? I used to assist or co-lead field meetings w i t h Bob M a r k h a m for SNS and d i d at one time write them up for the W A or Transactions; attendance may sometimes have been small, but it was always worth it and always enjoyable. There are Geology clubs and societies, big and small, all over the country running field meetings ( w i t h cheap and effective insurance) so w h y can't SNS? I guess there are sufficient volunteer leaders available? Personally speaking, while I am not particularly interested in oak galls or warblers, I would be interested in fungus forays and 'food from the w i l d ' ! On a more positive note, I like the White A d m i r a l as a vehicle for comments, notices and less formal notes and articles; and the Transactions for the more heavy stuff; and I believe it is right to keep them that way. Having been asked to comment on the draft, I was particularly pleased to see that SNS published Richard West's long paper as a 'special': it was something o f a coup to have secured this as there were other organisations that w o u l d w i l l i n g l y have seized the chance! Long may the Suffolk Naturalists' Society continue, but y o u are right, it does need revitalising! Roger Dixon


White Admiral No 75



C h a i r m a n : Joan Hardingham - nominated by Adrian Knowles, seconded by M a r t i n Sanford. Hon. Secretary: Gen Broad - nominated by M a r t i n Sanford, seconded by A d r i a n Chalkley. Treasurer: Graham Simister - nominated by Tony Prichard, seconded by A d r i a n Knowles. Ordinary Members: Rasik Bhadresa - nominated by D a v i d Walker, seconded by Colin Hawes; Mark Nowers - nominated by T o n y Prichard, seconded by C o l i n Hawes.; Adrian Knowles - nominated by Joan Hardingham, seconded by C o l i n Hawes. The candidates who have not previously served introduction to themselves. They kindly provided

on Council were invited to write an the statements below.

D r Rasik Bhadresa Rasik Bhadresa was born i n Kenya and spent his early life i n the foothills o f Mount Kenya. He read Botany and Zoology at K i n g ' s College London in the early seventies, followed by an MSc in Plant Sciences. B y a stroke o f luck, he was offered a research post (as part o f a Desertification team) to study the effects o f grazing animals on the vegetation i n the semi-deserts o f North-East Iran. After a most fulfilling time in Iran, i n late 1978, he began an enriching study o f plant-rabbit interactions on a heath i n West Sussex, w h i c h led to a PhD in early 1982. A t this point, he secured a post in 'Constable Country' as an Ecology tutor at Flatford M i l l Field Centre. This was a wonderful opportunity for discovering Suffolk and its natural history. From 1989 to 2005, he taught Biology/Science at East Bergholt H i g h School, a most rewarding experience. I n the nineties, he chaired a local Suffolk Wildlife Trust ( S W T ) group for a number o f years and was a warden o f Groton Wood. He also served on the S W T council for six years. I n 2002, he became involved w i t h artworks, a leading East A n g l i a n art group o f w h i c h he is the Treasurer. Since 2005, he has also been realising his lifelong ambition to write.

M a r k Nowers A lifelong interest in birds was first inspired by a summer-plumaged Turnstone on Barmouth beach in the very early '80s. Then came an awakening to the wider natural w o r l d sometime during m y teens w i t h regular conservation w o r k parties 32

White Admiral No 75

'back home' in Surrey, but birds still persisted. RSPB volunteering started in 1991 with annual working holidays to Loch Garten until 1996 and then a gap before coming to my senses and throwing o f f the shackles o f hum-drum administrative work to attend Merrist W o o d College in Surrey in 2000 for a year to 'study' habitat management. Employment w i t h the RSPB came immediately thereafter and I became warden at Wolves Wood in November 2002. The role has since expanded to cover the Stour Estuary. A lot has happened since then, w i t h the acquisition o f Hintlesham Woods, Cattawade Marshes and a new w i l d l i f e garden project at Flatford all coming online. First and foremost, I consider myself a voice for the natural w o r l d and I look forward to doing all that I can to promote the fabulous, positive work o f the SNS.

G r a h a m Simister Graham Simister has lived in West Suffolk for over 25 years. He was educated at Cambridge and Harvard Universities and spent most o f his career w o r k i n g in Finance in London, Frankfurt and N e w Y o r k for Citibank, H S B C ( M i d l a n d ) and Nomura. His last two finance jobs were head o f Investment Banking in Germany and Head o f Fixed Income in New Y o r k , both for Citibank. Since retiring from finance in 1995 Graham has worked simultaneously w i t h a number o f smaller companies i n the U K and elsewhere as advisor and/or non-executive director. He was a director and then Chairman o f Brady PLC a risk management software supplier based in Cambridge for a number o f years until 2008. He owns a small farm in Wickhambrook, Suffolk which is managed under the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme. He is also Treasurer o f the Suffolk branch o f Butterfly Conservation.

White Admiral No 75



Enormous hatches from galls other than the K n o p p e r I n White Admiral 74 Michael K i r b y wrote an interesting article i n w h i c h he estimated the total number o f Knopper Galls on his oak tree to be in the order o f 91,000. Whilst estimation in this way is not an exact science it gives a useful w a y to obtain an idea o f the enormous populations that must exist o f these tiny insects. I t may interest readers to find that similar results can be obtained when estimating numbers o f Spangle Galls. I n the spring 1993 edition o f White Admiral, number 25,1 reported on using the spangle galls on a local oak tree i n maths lessons i n the school where I was teaching. The galls were as follows: Common Spangle: Neurosterus Smooth Spangle: Neurosterus

quercushaccarum albipides

Oyster Gall: Andricus anthracina




Silk Button Spangle: Neurosterus numismalis (Fourcoy) Estimation was done in a very similar fashion to Michael's whereby the children calculated the average number o f galls on a leaf and multiplied up to give an average branch followed by m u l t i p l y i n g by the estimated number o f branches on the tree. The calculations certainly produced an appreciation o f large numbers, gave the pupils practice in w o r k i n g out averages and in using calculators, a l l o f w h i c h went down w e l l w i t h Ofsted as was intended. I t should be remembered that in this case the four different species were treated together. When the results were calculated the estimated number o f galls on the tree amounted to 7.4 m i l l i o n ! When repeated three years later, the same calculations on the same tree gave an estimated 7.2 m i l l i o n . As Michael said o f his Knopper Gall survey, even i f these numbers are out by 100%, 3.6 m i l l i o n galls per tree is a staggeringly large number. I look forward to reading more o f Michael's research on this matter and, given that the oak trees i n m y garden harbour all the species mentioned above together w i t h oak apple, marble and artichoke galls, m y admiration for the stamina o f these mighty trees is a l l the greater. Adrian


Sheila Stebbings W i t h great sadness we report the death o f Sheila Stebbings. Sheila died peacefully at home w i t h Bob at her side on 2 5 January 2010. We extend our deepest sympathy to Bob and the family. th


White Admiral No 75

Birds ( N E )

Green, Andrew

07766 900063

andrew@waveney 1

Birds (SE)

Mayson, Scott

01394 385595

Birds ( W )

Jakes, C o l i n

01284 702215


Bullion, Simone

01473 890089

Algae ( freshwater)

Belcher, Dr. Hilary

not by phone

By post: 23 Pepys, Girton, Cambridge CB3 0PA

Dragonflies (Odonata)

Adrian Parr

Plant Galls

Bowdrey, Jerry

d. 01206 282936 e 01255 862507


Aquatic Inverts

Chalkley, Adrian

01787 210140


Fisk, Richard

01502 714968


Hitch, Dr. C.J.

01728 832817

no e-mail


Killeen, Ian

Aculeate Hymenoptera

Knowles, Adrian


Cuming, N i g e l

01284 810465 01473 310179 01206 330019

Marine Life

Broad, Gen

01473 400251 mobile 07894 885337

Spiders and other arthropods

Lee, Paul

01473 327835


L i n g , Stuart

01473 402306


Nash, David

01206 391744


Reptiles/Amphibians Norton, Rosie

01728 660369.

Lepidoptera - Moths

Prichard, Tony

d 01473 696313 e 01473 270047

Flowering Plants & Ferns

Sanford, Martin

d. 01473 433547 e. 01473 712069


Mahler, N e i l


Parker, Rob

01284 705476

Freshwater fish

Strachan, P

01638 712894

no e-mail



The Suffolk Naturalists' Society offers five bursaries, o f up to ÂŁ 1 0 0 each, annually. Morley Bursary - usually awarded for studies involving insects (or other invertebrates) other than butterflies and moths. Chipperfield Bursary - usually awarded for studies i n v o l v i n g butterflies or moths. Cranbrook Bursary - usually awarded for studies involving mammals or birds. Rivis Bursary - usually awarded for studies into the County's flora. Simpson Bursary - in memory o f Francis Simpson; this w i l l be for a botanical study where possible. A n y member wishing to apply for a bursary should write, w i t h details o f their proposed project, to the Honorary Secretary. As applications are normally considered at the Council meeting in M a y o f each year, proposals should be w i t h the Hon. Sec. by 30th A p r i l . Applications made at other times w i l l be considered but, even i f considered worthy o f an award, may not be successful i f all the bursaries for the current year have already been taken. The following two conditions apply to the awards: 1. 2.

Projects should include a large element o f original w o r k and applications must include a breakdown o f how the bursary w i l l be spent. A written account o f the project is required w i t h i n 12 months o f receipt o f a bursary. This should be in a form suitable for publication in one o f the Society's journals: Suffolk Natural History, Suffolk Birds or White A d m i r a l .


F O U N D E D I N 1929 by Claude M o r l e y (1874 -1951), The Suffolk Naturalists' Society pioneered the study and recording o f the County's flora, fauna and geology, to promote a wider interest in natural history. Recording the natural history o f Suffolk is still one o f the Society's primary objects, and members' observations are fed to a network o f specialist recorders for possible publication before being deposited in the Suffolk Biological Records Centre, w h i c h is based in Ipswich Museum. Suffolk Natural History, a review o f the County's wildlife, and Suffolk Birds, the County bird report, are t w o high quality annual publications issued free to members. The Society also publishes a newsletter, White Admiral, and organises t w o members' evenings a year plus a conference every t w o years . Subscriptions: Individual members £ 1 5 . 0 0 ; Family membership £ 1 7 . 0 0 ; Corporate membership £ 1 7 . 0 0 . Joint membership w i t h the Suffolk Ornithologists' Group: Individual members £ 2 6 . 0 0 ; Family membership £ 3 0 . 0 0 . As defined by the Constitution o f this Society its objects shall be: 2.1 To study and record the fauna, flora and geology o f the County 2.2 To publish a Transactions and Proceedings and a B i r d Report. These shall be free to members except those whose annual subscriptions are in arrears 2.3 To liaise w i t h other natural history societies and conservation bodies i n the County 2.4

To promote interest in natural history and the activities o f the Society

For more details about the Suffolk Naturalists' Society contact: Hon. Secretary, Suffolk Naturalists' Society, c/o Ipswich Museum, High Street, IPSWICH, IPI 3QH. Telephone 01473 433550 The Society's website is at

Profile for Suffolk Naturalists' Society

White Admiral 75  

Spring 2010

White Admiral 75  

Spring 2010

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