WHITE ADMIRAL Newsletter 80
SUFFOLK NATURALISTSâ€™ SOCIETY
CONTENTS EDITORIAL REPORT ON THE 2011 CONFERENCE POEM English Walks NESTING BIRDS IN STRAWBERRIES THE JAPANESSE PINE SAWYER MEMBERS’ EVENING OCTOBER 2011 NALL’S GLOSSARY OF THE EAST ANGLIAN DIALECT BOB MARKHAM - THE HALSTEAD MEDAL AWARD QUICK QUIZ FIELD EXCURSION, WEST AUSTRALIAN SUBBRANCH GEO-SUFFOLK’S PLIOCENE FOREST INTERPRETIVE PANEL SILVER-WASHED FRITILLARY MAKES A WELCOME RETURN TO SUFFOLK NATURAL HISTORY EQUIPMENT - WHY CHOOSE A MICROSCOPE? IS A PET FOR LIFE EVEN IF IT IS ONLY A CHURCHYARD BEETLE? SNIPPETS A HERBALIST’S VIEW OF THORN-APPLE LETTERS, NOTES AND QUERIES The size of the human population of the Earth
David Walker Alasdair Aston Liz Cutting Jim Foster David Walker Geoff Heathcote
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Cover photograph: Shield bug on blackberries by Rasik Bhadresa 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
SUFFOLK NATURALISTS’ SOCIETY David Walker 30 Reade Road Holbrook Suffolk IP9 2QL Quercus121@aol.com AUTUMN 2011 Council has spent quite a lot of time recently in a rather unsatisfactory and inconclusive debate about whether or not it would be (a) desirable and (b) proper to pay SNS Recorders for organising and running workshop-type events to help members to develop or improve their identification skills and thereby lead to an increase in the level of recording. This arose from a recognition that the Society could do more to further its constitutional commitments, especially the one “to promote interest in natural history and the activities of the Society” and also because the Treasurer has worries that we are saving our money instead of using it to promulgate the aims of the Society, thus running the risk of displeasing the Charity Commissioners. However, is there any evidence that a significant number of members want to be trained in ID skills? Field outings are often poorly attended, and when the programme was cancelled a couple of years ago there was no howl of protest from the membership. Aren’t most members happy to support someone else to do the recording, as long as it is done effectively, and then be told about the results through the publications? The existing system of recording and compiling of records in conjunction with the Biological Records Centre seems to operate pretty well. We know what wildlife is coming and going in Suffolk – go to a members’ evening for confirmation of this. Another cause of frustration for Council is that, despite increasing the size of awards from £100 to £500 and promoting their availability, and whilst more are being taken up, the uptake of bursaries is still not 100% . The criteria for gaining an award are not excessively demanding or exacting, so one must conclude that bursaries are satisfying the needs and we should be content with that. It is clear that the national situation of economic austerity is going to last several years. Government has already cut funding for NGOs including conservation and wildlife bodies, which like the arts and culture are not considered essential to economic growth, and has signalled that more belt-tightening is necessary. So shouldn’t we keep our powder dry for the moment, hang on to our financial resources but be ready use them for needs that are sure to emerge, probably quite soon? Who knows what we might help stay alive in Suffolk. We can change our Constitution to facilitate this if necessary. *** White Admiral 80
Continued on p.2
The blind prejudice of some of my fellow humans never ceases to dismay me. This morning I read with incredulity one of the columnists in a national broadsheet (Alexander Chancellor, Guardian G2 section, 25 November 2011) applauding the demise of the adder Vipera berus, now an endangered species and already extinct in Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire. “ Adders are not nice” he said, “they are small and mean and poisonous” On he went: “Hooray, say I… is every species to be protected? Should we start a campaign to protect the wasp?” Yes and yes, say I - let’s have more wasps and fewer journalists. I am sorry that this issue of White Admiral is late. I have been busy moving house, and to make matters worse have been without access to broadband. Please note the editor’s new address on p.1. David Walker
REPORT ON THE 2011 SNS CONFERENCE This year’s ‘Linking Landscapes’ conference at the Seckford Theatre in October was a splendid event indeed. All of the speakers gave excellent talks. Steve Aylward told us of the Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s schemes for buffering reserves to assist species like the dormouse. John Cousins emphasised how he encourages his tenant farmers to use fewer chemicals and wider field margins. Aidan Lonergan outlined the work of the RSPB in co-operating with other bodies to provide communication corridors and create new sites where old ones are threatened. Chris Baines, reflecting how attitudes have changed, recalled opposition to plans for the riverside nature reserve at Melton and shared his dilemma about how to remain true to his belief in contraception whilst chairing a conference for the Vatican. Matt Shardlow spoke up for insects and bemoaned their relative lack of legal protection compared with other groups. Richard Mabey, as fearsomely intellectual as ever, spoke passionately about his support for re-wilding schemes and related their successes and failures in Holland and the USA. Oliver Rackham, controversial too, prompted many probing questions from the audience. This is just a snapshot - you will be able to read it all in the transcripts when they are published in 2012. The conference was not only a great success for the SNS but also a personal triumph for Rasik Bhadresa who had organised it from start to finish with great efficiency and no fuss, but maintained a modestly low profile on the day. David Walker
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English Walks Your feet could tell the way the landscape altered After your eye had taken in the sky And massing clouds had broken up and faltered Your feet could tell the way the counties lie. One was a steady slope where sheep unnumbered Moved at a steady pace away from rain And light broke loose, its suddenness encumbered By solid flocks that kept it back again. Another was a ring of chimes and churches Hidden by woods and folded under hills, Telling the times through wind-assisted lurches – Bells into clamour, clamour into stills. The last was heavy clay that clung together Leaf on the boot and moisture to the dry So that you had the edge on any weather – And knew the truth of how the land would lie. Alasdair Aston
Contributions to White Admiral Deadlines for copy are 1st February (spring edition), 1st June (summer edition) and 1st October (autumn edition). The opinions expressed in White Admiral are not necessarily those of the Editor or of the Suffolk Naturalists’ Society. White Admiral 80
NESTING BIRDS IN STRAWBERRIES I am fortunate to be able to visit Lodge Farm in Lindsey whenever I wish, to explore and enjoy the birds and other wildlife. This is a small farm, where strawberries are the main crop, grown in raised beds in polytunnels. A member of LEaF (Linking Environment and Farming) and in ELS (Entry Level Scheme), there are plenty of features on the farm that are wildlife friendly. These include trees, a large pond, a specially constructed beetle bank, parts of fields and margins sown with winter bird mix and phacelia, plus barn owl boxes and plenty of field edges, corners and other areas that are not over-managed. Species recorded last year included turtle dove, spotted flycatcher, linnet, yellowhammer, starling, snipe and lapwing. Barn owls regularly nest in one of the specially made boxes and the farm buildings provide excellent sites for nesting swallows and house sparrows. Although the farm is not organic, pest and disease control is managed according to Integrated Pest Management principles. A few birds sometimes nest in the table-top strawberry beds; usually this is blackbirds. This year there was something else red apart from strawberries! Well ok, -red listed. A pair of Spotted Flycatchers had selected tunnel 24 for their family home. When I arrived in mid July, my first visit for a month, they were busy feeding their nestlings, snuggled up between two strawberry plants. Although they hunted outside the tunnels (a large white and a ringlet butterfly were noted among their prey), they also spent quite a bit of time hunting inside the tunnels, where, I imagine that the greater humidity would be conducive to a good population of flying insects. The strawberry plants are sprayed every week â€“ presumably the female just sits tight whilst this happens. Other than that, there is little to disturb them until the crop is harvested, which commenced a few days before fledging. Under the tunnels there is no rain and little wind. The overhead sprinklers, which are used for misting the plants after planting, provide excellent perches from which the birds can hunt. Whilst Spotted Flycatchers are usually regarded as birds of open woodland, parks and large gardens, and their favoured nesting sites are often ledges against buildings or maybe a pollarded tree, they do also have a bit of a reputation for quirky nest site selection e.g. wall-mounted flower baskets or the top of a gargoyle on a church. Strawberry beds seem an unusual choice. The youngsters fledged on 22nd/23rd July. A week later I saw at least one juvenile and one adult in the hedge/bushes along the edge of the field near tunnel 24 and another juvenile in the bushes in the garden. So, at least one brood of this enchanting little bird was successfully fledged on the farm, in a conventional farming system. I am grateful to Andrew and Gill Sturgeon for the opportunity to wander the farm at will. They also produce very fine strawberries! Liz Cutting
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Above: Spotted Flycatcher parent
Left: Nest tucked in between two strawberry plants
Below: Tunnel 24
Photos by Liz Cutting ÂŠ White Admiral 80
THE JAPANESE PINE SAWYER â€? another unusual beetle imported into Suffolk
I write the nature notes for our monthly village magazine and occasionally I am brought specimens to identify; often these are hawk-moths. However, on the evening of 22nd August 2011 a local couple brought a more unusual species. It was obviously a longhorn beetle but one I was not familiar with. Looking through my literature I considered it to be a Timberman Beetle Acanthocinus aedilis (L.). In Britain, the species only occurs naturally in the pine forests of Scotland although vagrants turn up from time to time in other parts of the country. The specimen was photographed and released the following day on the trunk of an oak tree in our garden - we do not have any pine trees. On 24th August, after downloading photographs of this with other shots, I decided to contact David Nash. He requested a photo, which was duly sent, and the specimen if available. Returning to the said oak tree I found the beetle in the same spot where it was released. In fact I do not believe it had moved. It was recaptured and the next day handed to David in exchange for a coffee. From the photograph he thought it was a kind of timberman beetle but with the specimen hoped to make a positive identification. The previous evening I had visited the couple who informed me that it was found on a sill in the internal lobby of the house. I inspected two large pallets in their garden but could not trace any exit holes. On enquiry I found out the gentleman concerned worked for a company in Stowmarket that imports equipment on pallets from Europe. I can only assume that it had hatched out in the yard and hitched a ride in his van or on his clothes or belongings and thereby found its way into the house. Further investigation by David revealed that it was not a European species but from Asia, a native of China and Japan. His friend, Martin Reizek, a specialist on Palaearctic longhorns identified it as a Japanese Pine Sawyer Monochamus 6
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alternatus (Hope). This beetle is classified as a pest species because it carries in its gut a nematode worm, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus that can cause pine wilt disease. The longhorn itself, although a woodborer, does not cause undue damage to pines. I understand the name sawyer has been used to describe the larvae because they frequently make loud “sawing” noises while they are feeding. Pinewood nematodes have caused the decline and death of numerous pines in Oklahoma and throughout much of the rest of the U.S. The disease is unique in its complexity, since it involves a plant-parasitic nematode, one or more insect vectors (primarily pine sawyers), wood-staining fungi, and possible other organisms. Other species of Monochamus are native to the U.S. but the Japanese Pine Sawyer is not established at present. One can only assume that the European suppliers to the Stowmarket company source their wood for pallets from China. Man has transported species either intentionally or inadvertently across the world for hundreds of years but with so much global trade the incidence is nowadays far greater that previously. I thank David Nash for his assistance with the identification and for his helpful comments on this article. Jim Foster, Stonham Aspal
MEMBERS’ EVENING, 23rd OCTOBER 2011 The twenty or so members who attended the members’ evening at the Holiday Inn were rewarded by a particularly enjoyable event. The first half of the meeting was given over to a quiz organised by Adrian Chalkley, who asked questions based on the slide show that featured as the interval entertainment at the conference. With answers divided into two or three parts involving (a) common names (b) scientific names and (c) unusual features of the specimens on the screen there was something everyone could attempt and nothing that everyone got right! Short talks by members after the socialisation break were excellent. Proving that David Attenborough doesn’t have a monopoly of good wildlife filming, Neil Sherman showed video clips of wildlife, including foxes, muntjac and otter taken after dark with his new IR camera. Tony Prichard told us about Plume moths. Colin Hawes described how to use toupee tape to attach Stag beetles to aluminium wands and then accurately measure distances flown by males seeking females - one had flown round in circles for the equivalent of 9 kilometres! Rob Parker detailed the ups and downs of Suffolk butterflies this year (sadly more downs than ups). Julian Dowding gave a progress report on the buckthorn for Brimstones project. The talks concluded with Martin Sanford who, in his usual articulate style gave an interesting update on plants that have been recorded since the completion of A Flora of Suffolk. It was a very good evening. More members should attend these events. David Walker White Admiral 80
NALL’ S GLOSSARY OF THE EAST ANGLIAN DIALECT In 1866 John G. Nall published his extremely erudite Chapters on the East Anglian Coast, in two volumes. Then in 2006 Larks Press reprinted Nall’s glossary of the East Anglian dialect from the second volume. Most of the words listed by Nall are no longer used, although I find myself using some with no knowledge of their origin, and a few have become more popular, although not necessarily in the same sense. For example: CUTE - shrewd, sharp - “A common Americanism, of East Anglian origin”. Do the old names of plants and animals matter to a naturalist today? Perhaps not, although many have charm and are well observed, e.g. GO-TO-BED-AT-NOON for Tragopogon pratensis, with the alternative, GOAT’S BEARD, are apt. What does come across strongly is which plants, insects etc. were then of local importance in agriculture or the fisheries. Nall worked mainly in the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft area at a time when herrings were of particular importance. He probably tells you more than you want to know about them, e.g. a LAST OF HERRINGS: “Nominally 10,000 fish; but commonly counted in long hundreds of 132 amount actually to 13,200, or 14 barrels”. Soil conditions were clearly defined, e.g. CAPPER: “The hard, wrinkled, cracked crust formed on newly harrowed land by a fall of heavy rain quickly absorbed and evaporated”, and CLAGGY: “ Clay clogged with moisture” (from Anglo-Saxon ‘claeg’, clay). Weeds were of great importance before the use of herbicides and many had local names. In Simpson’s Flora of Suffolk (1982) he gives the local English names of many plants and points out those he considered local to Suffolk. I published a list of them with some additional comments in Suffolk plant names (Go steady on the paigle wine!) White Admiral 49 (2001) and I also listed many more in What’s in a name? (Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 25 1989). I will give here those from Nall which I found interesting which neither Simpson nor I have recorded previously. The quoted comments are from Nall unless stated otherwise: BOODLE, Corn Marigold (Chrysanthemum segetum) - “A great plague to farmers”. Simpson comments “A weed of light arable fields. Sometimes very abundant. More widely distributed in East than in West Suffolk. It grows in great abundance around Dunwich and is known locally as the ‘Dunwich Buddle’.” CAMBUCK, dried stalks of Hemlock (Conium maculatum) and other dead ditch plants. “Until lately much used in East Anglia to light pipes with”. CANKER otherwise COPPERROSE or HEADACHE, Common Poppy (Papaver rheas). I do not know the reason for these names (except the sap of a poppy that will give you a headache) but CANKERS are caterpillars in parts of East Anglia. COCK-BRUMBLE, (Rubus fruticosus) is very variable, including many forms and hybrids). Nall gives this local name to the Hawk’s-bill Bramble, from its curved spines. It is impossible to know exactly which bramble he refers to. 8
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DICK-A-DILVER, Periwinkle (Vinca sp.) - from garden escapes. “Probably from its abounding in East Anglia in the delves or ditches, ‘Delph’ or ‘Delf’ are common terms in the Fen lands.” Simpson does not give the fens as a habitat for periwinkle nor suggest that it is common. Nall probably got the identification wrong. It is equally confusing when Nall gives DRAWK, the Common Darnel-grass (Lolium perenne) which is Simpson’s Perennial Rye-grass and his L. temulentum is Bearded Rye-grass or DARNEL. Clearly early plant records must be viewed with caution. For example, GATTER-BUSH/ ATTRIDGE/GADRISE were used to name Guelder Rose (Viburnum opulus) or Spindle (Euonymus europaeus) - gatterum is a green lane in Lincolnshire. However, they do show there was interest in the plants at the time. FLIGGERS, Yellow Iris / Yellow Flag, (Iris pseudacorus). The local name comes from FLICKER, a fluttering movement. GALE, Sweet or Bog Myrtle (Myrica gale). Simpson says it is now very rare but Nall recorded that “It was once grown in very largely for fuel in the Anglian Fen districts and was formerly used in lieu of hops to give an intoxicating quality and bitter flavour to ale. GOSLINS, Willow catkins (Salix) – “From the resemblance to the soft down and yellow colour of young geese.” THE CUCKOO FLOWER - Canterbury bell (Carnpanula medium). LAND-WHIN, Rest harrow (Ononis spinosa). LUCK, Kidney vetch (Anthyllis vulnerary). Simpson gives many local names to the numerous plants in this group. NAKED-BOYS, Autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale) which flowers without leaves. Simpson says it was formerly frequent and often abundant but now very local or rare due to loss of habitats. PIPPERIDGE, Barberry (Berberis vulgaris). Simpson gives this as a Suffolk name but not its origin: French ‘pepin’, a pip, and ‘rouge’, red. SENCION, Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris) from ‘synchone’, a herb. TITTLE (i.e. ‘tickle) -MY-FANCY, Wild pansy (Viola tricola). Simpson gives the equally charming Suffolk name of ‘Kiss-me-at-the-garden-gate’. TUTSON (Hypericum androrosaemum). Simpson gives this common name but not its origin. French ‘tutsayne’- wholesome, and the scientific name from Greek ‘androsaemum’ - man’s blood, from the claret colour juice of its ripe capsule. The herb was used to stop bleeding. VIRGIN MARY THISTLE, Silybum (Carduus) marianus. Simpson gives the similar ‘Holy thistle’. Fungi Fungi must have formed part of the diet of East Anglians and Nall gives FLAPS as the local name for large, broad mushrooms, but he mentions only two species, JEWS-EARS (Auricula judae) “Found on the elder trunk, the tree on which Judas is said to have hung himself”, and FAIRY BUTTER, (Tremella mesenterica) “A species of tremella of yellowish colour and gelatinous substance found on furze and broom, and the roots of old trees, and after heavy rains and putrefaction reduced to a White Admiral 80
colour not unlike butter.” He also records FARRISEE-RINGS, from ‘Farrisee’, a fairy in Suffolk, as “The green circles in pastures”, but he would not have connected them with fungi. Birds I gave the Suffolk names for some birds in my “What’s in a name?” article, and more are given in Notes and names of birds from the catalogue of the Suffolk Museum in the 1840s by Paul Gowen and me in The Harrier (1999) S.O.G. Bull. 117. Nall points out that all small birds are called DICKYBAHDS in East Anglia and elsewhere and very many are given human first names. Wilbraham’s Cheshire Glossary (1818) gives: Jack Snipe, Jack Daw, Tom Tit, Robin Redbreast, a Magpie is always called Madge, a Starling, Jacob, a Sparrow, Phillip, and a Gold Finch, Jack Nicker as local names. Returning to Suffolk, Edward Moor’s Suffolk Words and Phrases (1825) gives Jack Curlew, Jenny Wren and Betty Tit. Here are a few bird names from Nall, not mentioned in the other articles: BAY-DUCK, Shellduck - from its bright bay colour, the shade between red and brown (French –‘bai’); BILLY-WIX, an Owl; BOTTLE-BUMP, the Bittern, the ‘bump’ from its dull, hollow cry; DIDAPPER, Little Grebe, also Dab-chick, Didopler or Dive-an-dop, (from Swedish ‘doppa’ to dip); PIE-WIPE, Lapwing or Peewit; SEA-PYE, the Oyster Catcher; SPECKE, the Woodpecker, from the German ‘specht’, to peck, also the WOOD-SPRITE. Amphibians MARCH-BIRD, also FEN-NIGHTINGALE, a frog; NATTER-JACK, the Natterjack Toad, Bufo calarnita. Nall in 1866 claims it was “common in the district of the Broads. Distinguishable by its short hind legs, prominent eyes, yellow lines along the back and black bands on the legs.” From Gnattter to chatter; PADDUCK, a toad, from Dutch ‘padde’ a toad. However, in Essex also the frog. Insects HAHNET, local pronunciation of Hornet. “Nine hahnets ‘al sting a hoss ta dead” is a Suffolk saying. MILLER, sometimes used for a moth, “probably from its mealy appearance.” CHOVY, “A small beetle, swarming like a plague of locusts in gardens and orchards in hot summers, in the sandy districts. It is common there to drive ducks and swine into the orchards and shake the insects from the trees to be devoured”. Sir T. Culham notes it in his History of Hawstead, Suffolk. Presumably a chafer beetle, but the species is unknown.
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Fish BREIT / BRETTCOCKE, a turbot. Young turbots are BRADCOCKS, probably from their shape (‘braedd’, broad); BUTT, A flounder; PETER FISH, John Dory. “Having one black spot on either side of the body conceived the perpetual signature from the impression of St Peter’s fingers”; SMOULD, Sand-eels (Ammodytes lancea) “Taken out of the sea sand with forks and rakes about Blakeney and Burnham. A small slender fish about 3in. or 4in. long, as big as a small tobacco pipe; a very dainty dish”; TANTICKLE, the stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeate) from its spines (from AngloSaxon ‘sticel’, a prick); WEAZEL-LING, The lamprey (Gadus mustela) “Salted and dried becomes a good Lenten Dish”. Mammals The old Suffolk names for mammals, such as OLD SARAH for a hare (and sometimes BANDY from the curvature of its legs) and FLITTER MOUSE for a bat, are probably known to most members, but RINKIN for a fox (from the German ‘rein eke’) was the only Suffolk name in Nall’s glossary which was new to me. However, he does show how local names can cause confusion. He gives MOUSE-HUNT, “The stoat, the smallest of the weasel tribe”, and also MINIFER, “The white stoat or ermine, the smallest of its species”, where he must mean the weasel. Finally, to make things even worse he gives LOP-START or LOBSTER, “the smallest [of] the weasel tribe, the stoat or mouse-hunt”. It was generally thought in East Anglia that small weasels were a separate species – ‘mouse hunters’. Naturalists could not satisfactorily record plants and animals today without ‘scientific’ and generally accepted ‘common’ names but it would be a pity if purely local names were lost. Similarly, when most of us do not know Latin or Greek we often do not know the origin of the scientific names. Geoff Heathcote
Dr Geoff Heathcote died on 23rd November 2011 aged 84 years.
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BOB MARKHAM ‐ THE HALSTEAD MEDAL AWARD Many of you will know Bob Markham, a member of the SNS since 1956 (he joined when he was still at school after being encouraged to join a field trip to Great Blakenham by the indefatigable H.E.P. Spencer) and one-time Council member. Bob has been awarded the prestigious Halstead Medal by the Geologists’ Association (GA) for “work of outstanding merit to further the objectives of the Association and to promote geology”. The objectives include the promotion of interest and awareness in geology by arranging field trips, demonstration and publication. The medal was named after the late Beverley Halstead, himself a highly respected, influential and well known geologist, who Bob first met while leading a field trip to a Crag pit in Chillesford. The award presentation was made on May 6th at the GA’s AGM at Burlington House, London. Bob has had a long interest in geology, developed while still at school. He graduated from Queen Mary College, University of London, in 1961 and worked initially at Norwich Castle Museum. In 1965 he moved to Ipswich Museum, taking over from Harold Spencer, as Keeper in Geology, where he stayed until taking early retirement in 1995. Since then he has continued to support the museum as a ‘volunteer’. He has made frequent contributions to White Admiral and last contributed to the Transactions with articles in 2005 and 2007. He has also led countless field trips for SNS, the most recent being on July 31st to Orford and Bawdsey. In the 1960s he founded the Ipswich Geological Group, which later evolved into the special interest Geology Group of the SNS. He is currently chairman of GeoSuffolk, founded in 2002 as a re-invention of the Suffolk RIGS Group, and has steered many of the group’s widespread activities over the last ten years. Bob’s service to geology is recognised elsewhere: erstwhile member of the GA Council, a long involvement with the Quaternary Research Association (QRA) and Tertiary Research Group, and a recent President of the Geological Society of Norfolk, which he joined as a member in 1961. He was also part-time lecturer for the University of Maryland at USAF bases in Suffolk, an unusual post which he thoroughly enjoyed. Bob has a long list of publications to his name: co-author of the GA guide to the Estuarine Region of Suffolk and Essex in 1973; the guide book for the International Union for Quaternary Research X Congress in 1977, for which he was a Section Leader for the excursions to East Anglia; the QRA field guide to the Quaternary of the Lower Reaches of the Thames in 1995 are just examples. He was also editor (and major contributor) to the Bulletin of the Ipswich Geological Group, first published in August 1966 and continuing regularly for nearly 20 years. The Bulletin contained a mix of site records, articles, bibliographies and other geological information. More recently he instituted the regional GeoEast (The East of England Geodiversity Partnership), for whom he produced in 2008 a leaflet “Chalk in the East”, which won a ‘highly commended’ rating in the ENI Challenge, and, together with his wife, 12
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Caroline, produced the acclaimed “Earth Heritage Suffolk” hand-book in 2010. He has also written several leaflets for GeoSuffolk (which are available on-line). It is thus most appropriate that Bob’s long and distinguished career should be recognised, and most fitting that the help and encouragement he has always given to others should be acknowledged. The award of the Halstead Medal by the Geologists’ Association is fully deserved. Roger Dixon
Bob Markham at Butley Mills White Admiral 80
Photo: Roger Dixon
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QUICK QUIZ Identify the specimens in the photos. Answers on p. 25 (Please do not write in if you disagree with the answers!) Photos 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, and 8, by Rasik Bhadresa; 3, 4, 9, and 10 by David Walker
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FIELD EXCURSION REPORT, WEST AUSTRALIAN SUB‐BRANCH, SUFFOLK NATURALISTS’ SOCIETY
West Australia Sub-branch Co-ordinator and his wife exploring Cable Beach the easy way.
The landscape surrounding the Cable Beach Club is very striking... White Admiral 16
Broome, September 2011 A few weeks ago, the Co-ordinator of the Western Australian sub-branch of the Suffolk Naturalists’ Society, and his spouse, went to stay for just under a week in Broome, in the Kimberley Division, in the tropical north of Western Australia (WA) (18°S, 122°E), approximately 2 hours by QANTAS jet north of Perth. The expedition stayed at the Cable Beach Club (a beautiful establishment, now owned by a Malaysian concern, but founded by Lord McAlpine in the 1980s). The 25 acres of grounds of the hotel were laid out with a wide range of tropical trees and shrubs, including many species of palms, frangipani, Ficus and Acacia. There were pools and fountains. The accommodation was based on the traditional Broome pearlingmasters’ homes, with trellised verandas. The whole property was decorated by artefacts and antiques from all over south, south-east and east Asia, and had a delightful tropical, colonial feel. (I thought, briefly, that I saw my erstwhile literary colleagues Somerset Maugham and Graham Greene chatting behind a frangipani near the Sunset Bar one evening, but I could have been mistaken.) Within minutes of arriving I saw a white ibis flying over, and a Brahminy kite soaring nearby. There were groups of rainbow rosellas (brightly coloured small parrots), noisily fluttering between the palms, and the occasional chestnut-coloured agile wallaby scampering below them. One evening a possum, grey-brown, with eyes the size of 20-cent pieces, stared at us from just over a metre away. It was fine and warm (maxima about 32-35°C) the whole time. The surrounding landscape is very striking. The vegetation is pale green pindan, low, coarse scrub, about two metres high, with eucalypts, acacias and hakeas. The soil is red, but even redder are the low sandstone cliffs that border the most brilliant aquamarine sea you can imagine. Along Cable Beach itself is a broad, white strand; on the opposite side of the Broome peninsula is Roebuck Bay (named after the Dutch ship that first explored these parts), which is fringed by a band 50-100 metres wide of mangroves, of a much brighter green than the pindan nearby. The mangroves were full of tiny birds: ‘whistlers and honeyeaters’ but on the mudflats beyond were hundreds of thousands of waders - godwits, sandpipers, knot, plovers, greenshank – ‘refuelling’ on their migrations from Siberia, China and even Alaska, towards south-west and south-east Australia, and for some of them, on to New Zealand. I picked up the tiny dead form of a red knot; it had a combination of several coloured plastic rings (bands) and one aluminium ring on its legs. Further enquiries revealed that it had probably been ringed nearby a year or two before, but had been to China and back at least once. As the tide came in and the mudflats were covered, the waders flew overheard in great chevrons to feeding areas elsewhere. Few night-clubs exist in Broome; drinking a cocktail in the Sunset Bar, watching the trains of camels that each evening make their way along the beach carrying visitors into the sunset, is a near as one gets (and yes, we did have a camel ride, it was fantastic). Moyra went again for an early morning ride, with the sea almost invisible through the mist of a Yorkshire-coast-like sea fret! It soon cleared. Camels, brought to WA in the nineteenth century from Afghanistan and what is now White Admiral 80
Pakistan, opened up the desert outback of northern, central and western Australia. One evening we went to see the phenomenon locally described as “the staircase to the moon”. At certain combinations of tide, moonrise and moon phase, the full moon rises from the mudflats and sandbanks of the bay, the reflected undulations in the sand and mud presenting a peculiar “staircase” effect. That night the moon appeared bright red through the mist; I thought the effect was over-promoted, but the evening was misty, with smoke blowing from bushfires inland. The sunsets over the Indian Ocean were better. There was much more: dolphins and humpback whales offshore, two pairs of ospreys (sea eagles) sharing a single nest on a lighthouse, dinosaur footprints in the bright red sandstone, pelicans and fiddler crabs, bee-eaters and bower-birds, tales of the bombing of Broome in 1942 (Australia’s Pearl Harbour), and a taste of mango beer from a local micro-brewery. All members of the expedition enjoyed and benefited from the excursion. Patrick Armstrong Hon Secretary, West Australian Sub‐Branch, Suffolk Naturalists Co‐ordinator, Field excursion programme
GEOSUFFOLK’S PLIOCENE FOREST INTERPRETIVE PANEL On June 16th this year GeoSuffolk members led a Suffolk Naturalists’ Society field trip at Rockhall Wood geological SSSI in Sutton. This site has important exposures of Suffolk’s unique rock, the Pliocene Coralline Crag, birthplace of our modern flora and fauna. Dating at about 4 million years old, Coralline Crag has an abundant fossil marine fauna; some extinct, many extant. There are also records of fossil pollen, including from a bore hole put into the Coralline Crag at Orford by Professor Richard West in 1968. The pollen record shows that land areas close to the Coralline Crag sea were forested, and with a much more varied tree flora that at the present day. Most of the fossil pollen can be identified only at generic level, and there are many species of tree belonging to these genera which are native today in forests around the world. Under the guidance of Barry Hall, horticulturalist and member of GeoSuffolk, and with permission from the landowner and Natural England, we have planted a number of these ‘Pliocene’ trees in a designated area of the Rockhall Wood site. Familiar genera such as Pinus, Ulmus and Quercus stand shoulder to shoulder with exotics Pterocarya, Sequoia, Sciadopitys (today represented by only one species, S.verticillata, endemic to Japan) and many more in this small recreation of the Pliocene ‘Paradise Lost’. 18
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The SSSI is on private ground, but a public footpath running past gives good views of the ‘Pliocene Forest’ and in July this year GeoSuffolk placed a panel highlighting this innovative interpretation of the fossil record next to the path. It is packed with information about the Pliocene, its fossil pollen and its trees and can be downloaded on www.geosuffolk.co.uk. Better still, why not take a walk along the footpath east from Shottisham past Wood Hall towards the River Deben and pause at TM 304441 to read the panel and view the ‘Pliocene Forest’? C J K Markham SILVER‐WASHED FRITILLARY MAKES A WELCOME RETURN TO SUFFOLK Climate change appears to be good for the Silver-washed Fritillary, Argynnis paphia, which used to grace Suffolk woodland in the 1940s and 1950s, but has suffered a long absence since then. Recently, it has been strengthening its colonies in the south of England, and in 2007, a couple of stray males turned up in Suffolk. At the time, these were put down to overspill from a re-introduced colony in Essex, but a few more in a private wood near Stowmarket gave cause for hope in 2009. That hope turned to excitement in 2010, when the butterfly had a very strong year across Essex, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire, and suddenly turned up in a dozen places in Suffolk and Norfolk. It is a woodland species, and several of the sightings were in woods that seemed to offer good prospects for breeding. The early hot dry spring of 2011 brought more success than anyone had expected. Searches of the prospective breeding woods in late June discovered A. paphia flying in numbers that proved that colonisation had taken place last year. At the time of writing, they have turned up in 13 Suffolk woods, and pairing has been observed in at least one of these. Two strays have also turned up in gardens. The woods in question are mainly large oak woodlands, and are spread across the county. Most of them already support colonies of the White Admiral too. Some that are accessible include: Bradfield Woods (Suffolk Wildlife Trust), Wolves Wood (RSPB), Theberton Wood (FC), Minsmere (RSPB). Another good wood is Stour Wood (RSPB), which is just into Essex. Two of the private woods have public footpaths going through them: Pakenham and Norton, both in the west of the county. The butterflies are on the wing until late July, and lay their eggs close to violets the larval host plant. Why not visit a wood near you next summer, spending time in sunny glades with violets. If you find any Silver-washed Fritillaries, you can report them via the Butterfly Conservation website: ww.suffolkbutterflies.org.uk Rob Parker White Admiral 80
NATURAL HISTORY EQUIPMENT ‐ WHY CHOOSE A MICROSCOPE? Take a trip to any nature reserve and you'll see fellow naturalists equipped with the latest gadgets. GPS, to plot position; binoculars of course; a digital camera, possibly a digital SLR with an assortment of lenses such as macro, zoom or wide angle. More and more often you will also see birders lugging a massive tripod and telescope too. However, I suspect the number of us who count a microscope as essential equipment is very firmly in the minority. In Victorian times of course no self respecting natural historian would be without a microscope in the study. This article hopes not only explain the benefits of such a close up view of nature but, hopefully, to persuade more of you to consider adding a microscope to enhance your natural history pastime. Types of microscope Our Victorian forefathers would have almost exclusively used a compound microscope. This is the type that many people will remember from the biology lab at school when trying to assemble a glass slide and fragile cover slip without squashing the specimen in the process. Next came the problem of adjusting focus and illumination whilst interpreting correctly what you saw because the magnification was so great. I have seen this likened to identifying the White Cliffs of Dover from two inches away! Compound microscopes are generally used at magnifications anywhere from 40x all the way up to a maximum of 1500x. This depends on the subject and needs very small objects that are at least semi-transparent. Light from a mirror or lamp beneath the object is used because at these high magnifications the working distance between the subject and the lower or objective lens is extremely small so overhead lighting becomes difficult. A compound microscope also produces images that are upside down and reversed right to left. Since the working space between the slide and the objective lens is very small it is not practical to work on the specimen while you are looking at it, nor can you fit large subjects under this type of microscope. However, the amateur naturalist interested in identifying for example pollen grains, fungal spores, algae and soil or freshwater micro-organisms will find the compound microscope the best for the task. It will enable you to see features that are truly invisible to the naked eye and with practice there can be great satisfaction gained from making a well finished permanent slide of a fascinating object. In identifying the more difficult freshwater creatures I routinely use my compound, however, this is usually only after initial work with my stereo. The Stereo Microscope The stereo microscope is best thought of as a pair of extremely close focusing binoculars. Close in this case means a few centimetres which may be a small distance but enables you to manipulate your subject by turning, separating or indeed cutting. In fact this type of machine used to be called the dissecting microscope. The greater ‘working distance’ means you can light your subject from above, from below 20
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or by a combination of the two. With no need for complicated slide preparation you can literally just put your object underneath the objective and away you go. Varying the angle of the light throws the object into relief giving a superb 3D view and enabling you to see nature really close up. You can put just about anything under the stereo, from a tiny insect to a log. Any garden is full of fascinating subjects. A country walk will provide endless specimens to collect and bring back to examine under the microscope. Whatever you gather will be revealed in amazing and unseen detail with no slides to prepare! It’s the most user-friendly type of microscope since images are upright and correct right to left, just as seen with the naked eye. Magnifications are low, so focusing is not as critical as it is in the higher magnification compound microscope and you can really understand what you are seeing. A good example at this time of year is an oak leaf with galls. The stereo microscope will reveal perhaps four or five species, tiny insects living between the galls, the tunnels of leaf miners, tiny fungal threads and similarly miniscule spiders hunting their prey. And this entire self-contained world which is normally hidden away below the leaf, safe from the rain and prying eyes, is visible to you not only in close up but in three dimensions. Just about any natural history study, be it botanical, entomological or geological will benefit from the use of a stereo. Whether you are dissecting owl pellets, identifying mammal hairs, sectioning galls to find a gall-wasp larvae, exploring dragonfly exuviae, examining feather structure or discovering micro fossils from the red crag, a stereo reveals wonderful detail. Studying the structures of flowers, leaves, mosses, lichens, insects, molluscs or spiders reveals exquisite detail. One thing is certain: you will never be short of something new to look at; by collecting objects during the summer you will have plenty to enliven those wet, cold winter evenings. But don’t plan on taking your stereo out with you; do plan on bringing things back to look at in comfort at home. Choosing a Microscope First and foremost think about want you want to look at, not only in pursuit of your main natural history interest but also during general activities such as a country walk. Unless you have a dedicated interest, such as fungi, insect parasites, microcrustaceans etc that requires a compound microscope you will probably decide on a stereo. I would always advise a stereo as a first microscope. Don’t get carried away by magnification - you won’t need high powers. Even with my compound microscopes I very rarely use more than 200x, even though it can go up to 1000. With a stereo I always start at 7x and rarely need more than 40x. Personally I would avoid cheap, ‘usb digital microscopes’ that plug into your computer. I’ve yet to see anything that approaches the quality of a good optical instrument. Adding digital imaging to a decent microscope is of course a subject worthy of an article in itself but I will leave this for now. If your budget is limited then you can buy a monocular version of the stereo, although 3D appreciation of the object will be lost. Generally then a stereo is best as both eyes can be used. Go for a microscope with built-in illumination, usually it will have separate lights above and White Admiral 80
below the ‘stage plate’, the circular ground glass table on which your specimen rests. You can buy stereo microscopes with one, fixed magnification but generally the bottom (objective) lenses can be changed to give a variety of magnifications. There are three methods of doing this: firstly there are machines where the pairs of objectives are mounted in a slide which can be exchanged for another higher power pair, simply by sliding a new pair in. This is the kind of instrument I started with. A more convenient way to change objective lenses is to have them mounted on a rotating ring - three or four magnifications can be obtained by simply turning the ring. However, the third method is the most convenient, which is to have zoom optics. Here a small rotating knob zooms from the lowest magnification to the highest. The advantage here is that you get exactly the right magnification for the object you are examining rather than having three or four fixed values. My current stereo has a zoom objective from 0.7x to 4.5x, with a pair of x10 eyepieces: this gives a total magnification range from 7x to 45x. Of course you can get x15 or x20 eyepieces as well to increase this, but remember magnification is not everything. Where to buy a microscope If this short article has whetted your appetite then there are many firms that will supply microscopes. The best advice is go somewhere that will give personal advice, discuss your needs and knows microscopes. For that reason I would avoid the general natural history supplier. Even though firms such as Alana Ecology, Watkins & Doncaster or NHBS will sell you a microscope, they supply many different items and will have only a limited variety of microscopes. They will have less knowledge than a firm that specializes. Specialist firms such as Brunel or GX work in this field all the time and have a large range, a wealth of knowledge and are much more likely to supply the equipment you need and to give success and satisfaction. Prices compare well with other equipment such as cameras or binoculars and good quality, general purpose machines are available from £65, depending on design, function and refinement. Microscope Suppliers Brunel Microscopes: specialist suppliers, excellent website with a wealth of information. www.brunelmicroscopes.co.uk/ GX Optical: Also specialist suppliers, wide range of equipment but a less comprehensive website. www.gxoptical.com/index.html For bargains in secondhand equipment you can also try www.usedmicroscopes.co.uk/. This is run by Brunel Microscopes and stock changes often so you need to revisit often although you can sign up for email updates. Finally you may be wondering about the possibility of photography through a microscope. In the next issue of White Admiral we will be publishing a two part article on this subject by the President of the Quekett Microscopical Society. Adrian Chalkley Freshwater Invertebrate Recorder, email@example.com
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Objective lenses on rotating noseplate
Fig 1a: Compound microscope
Fig 1b: Stereo microscope White Admiral 80
IS A PET FOR LIFE EVEN IF IT IS ONLY A CHURCHYARD BEETLE?
Plate 1: Photo taken in 2003
Plate 2: Photo taken in 2011
In autumn 2002 I reported the receipt of a live specimen of the Churchyard or Cellar Beetle (Blaps mucronata) from a greenhouse in Lord Cranbrook’s walled garden at Great Glemham and how, having kept the beetle myself over winter, I sent it in early 2003 to become the bedroom pet of a friend’s, insect-loving daughter in Driffield (Nash and Underwood, 2003). Each year the family has kept me informed of the beetle’s activities. Plate 1 from early February, 2003 shows Jessica aged nine with her brother and the beetle in its container shortly after it had arrived whilst Plate 2 taken in mid-June this year shows Jessica (now 18 and at university) with the Blaps on her hand. Caring for the beetle has now passed to my friend as his daughter is not allowed pets in her room at university and, speaking to him on 15th November, he was able to confirm that it was still alive and crawling around! This beetle has, therefore, been alive in captivity for nine years since its removal from the greenhouse. The majority of adult beetles are too short-lived to be considered pets. However, members of the Tenebrionidae – the family to which Blaps belongs – are notable for their longevity. Females of all beetles are usually longer lived than males. Crowson (1981) in his magnum opus on the biology of beetles cites data from Rockstein and Miguel’s study (1972) of aging in insects. The table below shows some of their findings for British beetles kept in captivity. To facilitate understanding by the non-coleopterist I have added vernacular names and where the authors only provide a generic name I have added a British example of the genus. Females of all beetles are usually longer lived than males. 24
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Table 1: The average life‐span in days of some British beetles SPECIES
Melolontha melolontha (Cockchafer) Lucanus cervus (Stag Beetle) Cetonia aurata (Rose Chafer) Hydrophilus piceus (Great Silver Water Beetle) Nicrophorus sp. (Burying or Sexton Beetle e.g. N. investigator Carabus sp. (e.g. Violet Ground Beetle Carabus violaceus) Geotrupes sp. (Dor Beetle e.g. G. stercorosus) Dytiscus marginalis (Great Diving Beetle) Blaps mortisaga
19 19 57 164 232 323 700 854 848
FEMALE 27 32 88 374 291 386 642 740 914
Crowson also refers to the work of Brown (1973) who found that aquatic beetles of the family Elmidae could live for as long as nine years in captivity. There is also a genus of very large, endangered, tropical forest weevils which, in an on-going study using the capture, mark, release, recapture technique, showed some of the original adults still surviving in the wild after the first eight or nine years of monitoring. Blaps mortisaga, a species recorded from this country but not an established British resident, has similar habits and is of more-or-less similar size to mucronata and, as can be seen from the table , lives on average for around 2 ½ years. It will be interesting to see just how long this particular Blaps will survive. I gather that it has now become rather shaky on its legs and has difficulty righting itself if it falls over onto its back – a typical geriatric, in fact. An obituary notice will be provided in due course! References Brown, H. P. (1973). Survival records for Elmid beetles. Ent. News 84: 278–284. Crowson, R. (1981). The Biology of the Coleoptera. Academic Press Inc. London. Nash, D. and Underwood, D. (2003). Cellar Beetles on the move. White Admiral 55: 31. Rockstein, M. and Miguel, J. (1972). Aging in insects. in “Physiology of Insecta” (ed. M. Rockstein) 2nd ed. vol. 1. Academic Press. New York and London. David Ridley Nash 3 Church Lane Brantham Suffolk CO11 1PU.
Answers to quiz questions
1. Common Blue male, 2. Garden Tiger, 3. Marsh Samphire, 4. Marsh Mallow, 5. Greater Horsetail, 6. Small Skipper, 7. Six-spot Burnet, 8. Wasp Beetle, 9. Bush Cricket, 10. Caterpillar of Mullein moth.
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Two SNS Recorders, Adrian Knowles and Martin Sanford, have been honoured by their learned societies in recognition of their contributions to their respective specialist disciplines. Adrian has been elected Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society and Martin has been elected as an Honorary Member of the Botanical Society of the British Isles (BSBI). Congratulations to both. Forestry Commission England has launched its Woodfuel Implementation Plan. It states that at present about half of English woodland is undermanaged from which the yield potential is more than two million tonnes per year. See www.forestry.gov.uk/englandwoodfuel for more details. The BTO’s Breeding Birds Survey shows that the rate of decline of farmland and woodland birds has been much greater in southern than northern counties. An example is the linnet which has declined by 48% in the south-east compared with 11% in the north-east. Ecologist Chris Packham in a recent interview in Radio Times risked unpopularity by suggesting that cat owners should keep their pets indoors at night to reduce the number of birds they kill. Good man! In an attempt to reduce the mortality rates of hedgehogs in towns, where they are not only killed by road traffic but also suffer from denial of access to gardens, ‘Hedgehog Street’ hopes to dissuade townspeople from erecting hedgehog-proof fences. See www.hedgehogstreet.org. Steve Piotrowski said “It has been the best ever October [for birders] in Suffolk”. On October 13th at Orfordness a Red-flanked Bluetail and a Little Bunting were trapped by ringers. The following day an Isabelline Shrike was recorded on Dunwich Heath (only the second sighting in Suffolk) and on the day after that an Olive-backed Pipit was observed in Lowestoft and a Booted Warbler at Landguard. Other migrants included Yellow-browed Warblers, Great Grey Shrikes, Short-eared Owls and Long-eared Owls. The warm autumn weather also brought in some rare vagrant moths - a Crimson Speckled moth was seen in Dunwich and a Silver-striped Hawkmoth was trapped in Hollesley. The latest population-trend data for Lesser-spotted Woodpecker and Willow Tit are depressing to read - declines of 77% and 76% respectively between 1994 and 2009. The decline of the Willow Tit may be linked to loss of wet-scrub habitat and of the Lesser-spotted Woodpecker due to ‘poor breeding success’, but in neither case are ornithologists certain.
NOMINATIONS FOR COUNCIL / DATE OF AGM Please send nominations for election to Council at the AGM to the Hon. Sec. by 31st January 2012. The address is on the back cover. The provisional date for the AGM is 19th April 2012 at the Cedars Hotel, Stowmarket. This will be confirmed in the spring 2012 edition of White Admiral. 26
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A HERBALIST’S VIEW OF THORN‐APPLE Datura stramonium
This is not a native plant but is now fairly widespread in East Anglia, growing on sandy soils, particularly where there has been overgrazing (animals will not eat it). It has a quite striking appearance, growing up to two metres high, with large jagged-edged leaves and large trumpet flowers of white or purple. Its common name derives from the appearance of its green, spiny fruits, the shape and size of a hen’s egg. Thorn-apple is thought to have originated in either Asia or South America. By the end of the 16th century it was being grown in England for medicinal use. As a member of the Solanaceae it contains very potent tropane alkaloids, principally hyoscyamine. These alkaloids are highly toxic: they cause hallucinations and can prove fatal at relatively low doses. However, in minute, carefully controlled doses, the plant is an effective symptomatic treatment for asthma, relieving bronchial spasm and drying up bronchial secretions. It has also been found effective in reducing the excessive salivation that occurs in some cases of Parkinson’s disease. Rudolph Weiss, a German doctor born in 1895, found the tincture effective in treating ‘tremors in the paralysed limbs of soldiers shot in the brain’. He also refers to its use as a constituent of ‘burning powders’ used by asthmatic patients, as well its sale in the form of asthma cigarettes. Caroline Wheeler
Bibliography Barker J (2001) The Medicinal Flora of Britain and Northwestern Europe. Winter Press, West Wickham, Kent. Pengelly A (1997 2nd edition) The Constituents of Medicinal Plants. Sunflower herbals, Merriwa, New South Wales. Weiss R F (1988 - translated from the sixth German edition) Herbal Medicine. Beaconsfield Press Limited.
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LETTERS, NOTES AND QUERIES
The size of the human population of the Earth At the recent SNS conference in Woodbridge, Bob Stebbings, in closing moments, dropped into the debate the statement that the real elephant in the room was the issue of there being too many people on the planet. This statement drew applause from the audience. It is a popular opinion, albeit a simplistic one. This is the 200 year old argument of Malthus used to justify many inequalities and injustices both at the time and subsequently. Since its first utterance we have had the misinterpretation of Darwin’s theory of the survival of the fittest, eugenics, various forms of population control, both forced and voluntary, and now we are returning to Malthus, under a slightly different guise. May I suggest the real elephant in the room is the fact that it is not that there are too many people but the unequal distribution of the planet’s resources among its inhabitants that is the problem. Over-consumerism by a minority is the problem. Since the Second World War there have been no natural famines, only economic and political ones. Food has always been available but its distribution has been the problem. R. Buckminster Fuller pointed out early in the twentieth century the wealth of energy available from the sun’s rays. We are only just exploiting this realisation but again it is only the distribution of this wealth that needs solving for all to benefit. This needs global collectivism and a political will. This is the problem, not too many people but their unequal distribution over the planet’s surface, which has come about because of unnatural industrialisation and urbanisation. Also a problem created in the last 200 years and something we need to face, with all its complexities, if we are not to fall into the trap of interpreting the proverbial elephant in the ways of limited individual experience. I offer this letter, hoping that it will be a spur to debate among all those concerned with the survival of diversity of all the species of our planet. Malcolm Searle, Bury St Edmunds It was reported on Monday 31st October 2011 that the human population of the Earth reached 7,000,000,000. Ed.
SUBSCRIPTION RATES The Suffolk Ornithologists’ Group (SOG) is increasing its membership fees. From 1st January 2012 the cost of individual membership of SOG will rise from £13.00 to £15.00 and family membership from £15.00 to £17.00. This means that fees for members who hold joint membership of SNS and SOG will increase by £2.00 - individual joint membership will cost £28.00 and family joint membership will be £32.00.
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SUFFOLK NATURALISTS’ SOCIETY BURSARIES The Suffolk Naturalists’ Society offers five bursaries, of up to £500 each, annually. Morley Bursary - usually awarded for studies involving insects (or other invertebrates) other than butterflies and moths. Chipperfield Bursary - usually awarded for studies involving 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 of Francis Simpson; this will be for a botanical study where possible. Any member wishing to apply for a bursary should write, with details of their proposed project, to the Honorary Secretary. As applications are normally considered at the Council meeting in May of each year, proposals should be with the Hon. Sec. by 30th April. Applications made at other times will be considered but, even if considered worthy of an award, may not be successful if 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 of original work and applications must include a breakdown of how the bursary will be spent. A written account of the project is required within 12 months of receipt of a bursary. This should be in a form suitable for publication in one of the Society’s journals: Suffolk Natural History, Suffolk Birds or White Admiral.
THE SUFFOLK NATURALISTS’ SOCIETY
FOUNDED IN 1929 by Claude Morley (1874 -1951), The Suffolk Naturalists’ Society pioneered the study and recording of the County’s flora, fauna and geology, to promote a wider interest in natural history. Recording the natural history of Suffolk is still one of the Society’s primary objects, and members’ observations are fed to a network of specialist recorders for possible publication before being deposited in the Suffolk Biological Records Centre, which is based in Ipswich Museum. Suffolk Natural History, a review of the County’s wildlife, and Suffolk Birds, the County bird report, are two high quality annual publications issued free to members. The Society also publishes a newsletter, White Admiral, and organises two members’ evenings a year plus a conference every two years . Subscriptions: Individual members £15.00; Family membership £17.00; Corporate membership £17.00. Joint membership with the Suffolk Ornithologists’ Group: Individual members £28.00; Family membership £32.00. As defined by the Constitution of this Society its objects shall be: 2.1 To study and record the fauna, flora and geology of the County 2.2 To publish a Transactions and Proceedings and a Bird Report. These shall be free to members except those whose annual subscriptions are in arrears 2.3 To liaise with other natural history societies and conservation bodies in the County 2.4 To promote interest in natural history and the activities of the Society For more details about the Suffolk Naturalists’ Society contact: Hon. Secretary, Suffolk Naturalists’ Society, c/o Ipswich Museum, High Street, IPSWICH, IP1 3QH. Telephone 01473 213479 The Society’s website is at www.sns.org.uk