A Trio of Westbury Butterflies of the Week 8th July 2020.

  

Comma:  This is really a woodland butterfly that has had times in the past when it became quite rare.  However, since the 1960s it has increased dramatically in numbers and has spread northwards reaching Scotland in 2000.  It is now a familiar butterfly of woodland edges, hedgerows and gardens.  The butterfly is named for the white mark on the underside of the hind wing though on the other wing it will resemble a C which is part of its scientific name, Polygonia c-album.  The adult butterfly overwinters, presumably in sheltered places in its woodland habitat but not in our garages and outhouses.  On emerging from hibernation in late March or early April the males take up territories investigating any passing butterfly looking for females.  Pairing is believed to take place high in the woodland canopy after which the female prospects for suitably sunny but sheltered food plant.  In the past a much used foodplant was hop but now the main food plant is nettle but it has been found on a variety of plants such as currants, elms and willows.  The caterpillar feeds inconspicuously on the underside of the leaves of its food plant but by the time it reaches the last, 5th instar, its colouring has been transformed such that it now camouflaged looking like a white bird dropping.  The pupa is formed hanging amongst the vegetation of its food plant.  The adults of the next generation emerge in late May or early June.  These come in two forms – the normal darker form and a much paler form, hutchisonii.  The normal form feeds up on nectar and goes into hibernation in August.  The paler, hutchinsonii, mate and lay eggs that go through their caterpillar and pupal stages emerging in late August and September as a second generation.  These are the late season butterflies which will then, themselves, go into hibernation in late September or October.  There is, therefore, a mixture of one and two generations in its life cycle.

Photos   Robert Maxwell Wood    Peter Bright

Silver-washed Fritillary:   This magnificent, bright orange insect is close to the largest British butterfly and is certainly the largest in Somerset now.  This colouring is also why in some parts of the world this group of butterflies are called leopards. It is a butterfly of woodlands that have an abundance of violets growing around the moss-covered bases of trees, particularly oak.  Woods that are coppiced or thinned have an abundance of bramble, a favourite nectar source, as well as encouraging a good growth of violets. 

They spend a lot of time high in the canopy and feed on the abundance of honey dew on the leaf surfaces.  In some years these strong flying butterflies come into gardens using plants like Hebe and Buddleia as convenient nectar sources. The adults emerge in late June or July and may continue to fly into the middle of August.  They are fast and powerful fliers and the males patrol the woodland rides and canopy investigating any orange butterfly checking for virgin females.

If such a female is found there is a spectacular courtship flight with the male showering the female with pheromones from the sex brands on the front wings that show as dark lines along the middle two veins.  Following this the female seeks out patches of violets but having found them, then goes to a nearby mossy covered oak trunk base where she lays eggs, singly, in mossy crevices.  There is a fabulous colour variation of the females which is a deep bronze green colour called valesina.

It is possible that this dark colouration is favoured in poor summers as the butterfly warms up more quickly, but it is at a disadvantage in normal summers as the males take longer to find these unusually coloured females.  The newly emerged 1st instar caterpillar eats its way out of the egg and immediately hides itself in a bark crevice where it passes the winter.  This could be why ash and beech woods are unsuitable lacking the appropriate moss filled bark crevices.  From early April the young caterpillar comes down to the woodland floor and feeds on the nearby violets.  When fully grown the caterpillar goes up a nearby plant to pupate a metre or two off the ground.  The next generation of adults emerge in late June providing another spectacle of summer in Mendip woodlands.

Photos    Peter Bright

 

 Dark green Fritillary:     This is typically a butterfly of windswept limestone grasslands but is also found on bracken covered hillsides, grassy dunes and a variety of similar habitats.  It is named for the green wash on the underside of the hind wings.  They need the sward to be of medium height so that heavy grazing, or complete lack of such, can make the violets that are its caterpillar food plant unsuitable.  It should be much more widespread across the Mendip scarp than it is but, it is doing well at Ubley Warren.   Single individuals have been seen on the Beacon and even in a Westbury garden over the last few years. 

With suitable grazing and clearing of gorse there is hope that the butterfly will return to the Beacon once again.  The adults emerge in June and will fly for much of July and perhaps into early August.  They fly strongly and can cope with their windy habitat and have a special fondness for purple flowers like knapweed as nectar sources.  The males will patrol large areas searching for virgin females investigating any suitably coloured butterflies.  After mating, the females will hide while their eggs mature and will then search out the violets growing in suitable places before laying near to them.  As with the Silver-washed Fritillary, the newly hatched caterpillar immediately finds a hiding place in which to hibernate.  Towards the end of March in the following year the caterpillar emerges from hibernation and seeks out violets on which to feed.  The later instar caterpillars are particularly black and spiky and may be seen travelling across open spaces seeking new supplies of violets. 

The blackness presumably enables the caterpillar to warm up quickly in its otherwise exposed and cool habitat. In a very tall grass sward it may, therefore, not be able to warm up quickly enough to survive.  In the middle of May or beginning of June the caterpillars will find hidden places to pupate and the adults will start emerging again from the middle of June.

Photos   John Ball    Peter Bright  Georgina Shuckburgh

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 06.07.2020

Coronavirus Community Support  –  Update 06.07.2020

For all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page of the Westbury Website  http://westburysubmendip-pc.gov.uk/category/covid-19/

Westbury opens up 

Many people will be pleased to hear the message we have received from the Cutting Room hairdressers.

The Cutting Room Hair salon is opened again on Saturday 4th July.  We are taking extra precautions, only 2 customers in the salon at one time, we are cleaning down and disinfecting in between each customer. We are asking customers to wear a face mask for their appointment ( this is not compulsory, just advice) as the staff will be wearing full visors. There will be hand sanitizer on entry and no drinks will be offered.  

We are booked until mid July but are happy to welcome any customers from the village existing or new.  Please do give us a call to book an appointment 01749 870900 or email amanda@westburyhairsalon.co.uk

We have also had the following message from the Westbury Community Shop.

 

The Shop has eased access arrangements to allow customers to come to the Post Office and to be able to see the shelves properly to help with their shopping, whilst still being served by staff and volunteers. Naturally, we hope as the new normality evolves, we will be able to open up more. However, the most important development is that the Shop is reorganising the way it handles customer accounts as this part of the operation moves from the excellent initiatives of the Parish Council at the beginning of lockdown to the control of the Shop itself. If you have an account or feel that you would find having one helpful, look at this letter and form. Finally, the Shop now takes contactless payment by card which all helps you to SHOP LOCAL and STAY SAFE .

The Westbury Inn is now open for meals and drinks as well as continuing to offer the take-away service.  Andy and the team are keen to stress that their aim is not to ‘pack the pub’ but to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all customers.  This gives an idea of how the layout and signage now reflects the safety measures needed to ensure social distancing.

But the virus is still with us.

 The stay at home message was at least simple. Now that some of the restrictions on where you can go and who you can meet with have been lifted life is a bit more complicated so we are attaching a brief reminder of the basic rules.

Basic hygeine

As venues such as the village hall and pub reopen this is a simple checklist of the arrangements that will be in place to keep people safe.

 

  • Minimise contact with individuals who are unwell: Nobody should attend the premises if they have symptoms or are self-isolating due to symptoms in their household.
  • Clean your hands often: Sanitiser should be provided at entry and exit points, sanitiser and/or running water, soap and paper towels in toilets and kitchens. Hot air hand dryers are not recommended as they distribute droplets.
  • Respiratory hygiene: Everyone needs to be encouraged to avoid touching their mouth, eyes, and nose. Tissues need to be disposed of into a bin, then hands cleaned. A “Catch it, Bin it, Kill it” poster is available (see end for link).
  • Regular cleaning of surfaces that are touched frequently: including door handles, handrails, tabletops, sinks, toilet areas, kitchen surfaces. Ordinary domestic products can be used.
  • Maintain social distancing where possible: Social distancing guidelines currently require at least 2 metres (3 steps) to be maintained between individuals and households. Bookings can be accepted for events where social distancing can be maintained, the number of people each person has contact with is reduced to a small group and/or contacts below 2m are minimised and transitory, but crowded events cannot yet be held. See 2.2 below.

 

Social distancing

Limiting the number of people you are in contact with remains the best way of keeping yourself safe and stopping the spread of the virus. The rules are tricky to remember so here is a brief summary

 

  • you can continue to meet in any outdoor space in a group of up to 6 people from different households
  • single adult households – in other words adults who live alone or with dependent children only – can continue to form an exclusive ‘support bubble’ with one other household
  • you can also meet in a group of 2 households (anyone in your support bubble counts as one household), in any location ‒ public or private, indoors or outdoors. This does not need to be the same household each time

It remains the case ‒ even inside someone’s home ‒ that you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble. Those who have been able to form a support bubble (which is those in single adult households) can continue to have close contact as if they live with the other people in their bubble. This should be exclusive and should not change. This change also does not affect the support you receive from your carers.

And here are the latest guidelines https://tinyurl.com/ycdh3ylt

You can help by reporting your symptoms

If you want to play a part in helping control the pandemic you could contribute daily records of your health to an app developed by Kings College London who share the data with the NHS.

Help slow the spread of #COVID19 and identify at risk cases sooner by self-reporting your symptoms daily, even if you feel well 🙏. Download the app https://covid.joinzoe.com/

 

Poem of the week
Finally the poem this week is contributed by Peter Bright, stimulated no doubt by the reopening of the Westbury

 

Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher (870531)   on behalf of the Parish Council

Lynch Lane Sunshine, Maximum and Minimum Temperatures and Rainfall for 2006 to 2020

Below are links to the data for the months March to June inclusive.  July and August will be added as we get there. The data for March to May have been posted earlier but you would have to chase about to make comparisons between months.  There is a separate file of Photo-voltaic generation totals for each month since 2010 which is a proxy for amount of sunshine.  An attempt is made to suggest which of the years has been sunniest and in which months.

 

2020.4.5 March max min rain and sunshine data 2006 to 2020  

2020.4.30 April max min rain and sunshine data 2006 to 2020

2020.6.1 May max min rain and sunshine data 2006 to 2020

2020.6.30 June max min rain and sunshine data 2006 to 2020

2020.6.30 Monthly kWh totals 2010-2020

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 03.07.2020

For all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page of the Westbury Website  http://westburysubmendip-pc.gov.uk/category/covid-19/

 

The coronavirus has not gone away but nationally and locally we are seeing the first steps back towards more normal living arrangements.  In keeping with that trend, we feel we will be able to reduce the frequency of our updates and ease the workload on our ‘Eyes and Ears’ who help deliver them. From next week therefore we will normally only publish on Mondays unless something major or urgent is notified to us.

 

We have further information about easing of the lockdown and returning to ‘not quite normal’ locally.

 

Westbury Church is reopening for services

We have received the following further information from Linda Mogford about reopening Westbury church for services.  (The churches in Easton and Priddy do not yet feel able to resume services.)

 

We will be holding a morning prayer service at 11 am on Sunday 5th July.. There are some who feel unable to join us yet and we fully respect their views and some people may want to wear a mask.
Covid-19 precautions
You should know that we will have both the south and west doors open to keep the building ventilated
Please use social distancing when entering the south door as usual
Your name and phone number will be taken
There are several bottles of sanitiser and wipes at various points in church. Please use them on entering and leaving the building
A collection plate will be near the door as you enter
There will be no singing
Each, socially distanced place has been marked with a white spot and will have an order of service
Please take the order of service with you as you leave and keep it for the next service.
Please leave through the west door and keep 2 metres apart
Please contact me if you have any other questions or concerns
Linda

 

The Playing Fields are reopening

The Playing Fields are reopening but please note that they open from Sunday 5th, not Saturday. There will still be some restrictions and special advice to follow which is set out here

 

Our annual glow worm count will happen (but socially distanced)

It’s glow worm time of year again!!  (From now until the end of August)  Anyone wanting to see them should go out an hour after sunset and look along the sides of the quieter roads on the outskirts of the village.  (Sunset is currently 21.30 so look from 22.30 until 23.30.)  They don’t seem to like street lights which presumably distract the males looking for glowing females and it might help them if people took care to keep their outside lighting to a minimum.

 

Keep safe by wearing high visibility clothing and take a torch for flashing at approaching cars but try to keep it switched off so you can see the glow worms.  If you have not seen one look at the  picture below

 

.

Peter Bright would be interested to know when and where you see them and how many.

 

Because of Covid 19 we will not be meeting together for a sociable glow worm counting evening this year but we will be doing our annual census during the week Sunday 26th July to Saturday 1st August.  Peter Bright has allocated maps to the usual suspects but if anyone  else would like to join in please contact him and we will try to attach you (suitably distanced) to a small team of experienced counters.

 

Boots Priory Pharmacy

We have been informed that the Boots Priory pharmacy will not open on Saturdays after the 31st August although the High Street branch will continue to operate as normal.

 

 

Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher (870531)   on behalf of the Parish Council

Two brown Butterflies of the week 1st July 2020

 

Ringlet: This is a butterfly of the wider countryside whose caterpillars depend on the tall grasses of sheltered and damper places like hedgerows, field margins and woodland rides. It is one of the British butterflies whose numbers have been increasing and whose distribution has been expanding over the last 30 years. It is suggested that global warming and the reduction of pollution are both contributory factors. Reduced grass cutting of roadside verges and in places like churchyards are likely to be beneficial. The adults begin emerging in late June and this continues throughout July. The freshly emerged butterfly is a uniform rich dark chocolate colour with conspicuous white fringes to the wings. There are rows of spots on each wing which are most conspicuous from underneath with white centres surrounded by a yellow ‘ring’ which gives the butterfly its name. There is quite a lot of variation in how many spots and the brightness and shapes of the rings. They can resemble male Meadow Browns with which they often fly but lack the yellow patches on the underneath of the front wings and are a dark chocolate colour to the Meadow Brown’s milk chocolate! Males patrol the tall damp grass habitat searching for females. After mating the females lay eggs singly perhaps being selective of the dampness and condition of the grasses before seemingly scattering their eggs. The caterpillars are slow growing and when they reach the third instar in the autumn hide themselves away, overwintering in the bottom of a grass tussock. In the following spring they start feeding again and continuing their slow growth. By the beginning of June, the 5th instar caterpillar forms a pupa hidden at the base of its grass habitat. After some two weeks the mature butterfly is ready to emerge. There is only one generation each year.

Photos Tina Westcott     Peter Bright

  Gatekeeper: This butterfly is found in all sorts of ‘hedgerow’ habitats using the grasses growing in the more shaded parts for their caterpillars to feed on. Brambles are a favourite nectar source. It obviously lives up to its alternative names the ‘Hedge Brown’ as well as ‘keeping gates’ in hedgerows. The butterfly is smaller than a Meadow Brown and is a much brighter orange colour. The males have a dark sex brand in the orange of the forewing which the slightly larger females do not have. The big eyespot on the forewing has two white spots to the Meadow Brown’s single one and on the underside of the hind wings the spots are white rather than black as they are in the Meadow Brown. Overall, it is a very handsome and almost unmistakeable butterfly. The first adults emerge in late June and may continue to emerge until late August.

The males are territorial chasing up any passing butterflies to check for females. After mating the female selects finer grasses growing in the shade of shrubs and inside hedgerows as egg laying sites. After hatching the caterpillar feeds and as a second instar hibernates hidden in the fold of a leafy tussock. In the spring the caterpillar continues feeding and growing and pupates in early June or later to emerge once more in late June or into July and August. There is thus only one generation each year. Look out for them now as they are just appearing.

Photos      Peter Bright

Westbury Butterflies Small and Essex Skippers

These two skippers will be flying for the next few weeks and provide a real challenge to distinguish between them.  The only feature that is clear is the colour of the underside of the ends of the antennae!  Needless to say they rarely pose to suit you as the observer.  If you can get a photo graph in which the butterfly is looking straight at the camera as in these two photos it is usually easy!  The Essex Skipper looks as if it has dipped the underneath of each antenna in black ink.  In the small skipper the same patch is orange or streaky orange and blackish.  If you have a male the sex brand on the top of the forewing in the Essex is shorter and straight whereas in the Small it is longer and a bit curved!  I would be keen to see whatever pictures of these skippers you might be able to take – however fuzzy.

Westbury Inn Takeaway menu from 30th June until further notice

Please note that there will not be weekly changes of menu from now onwards until further notice.

Also note this message from the Westbury Inn.

We will be opening on the 4th July  and we have taken great measures (limited furniture creating more space, sanitising stations in key points of the pub, record of visitors using the pub) to conform with government guidelines to ensure we keep you all safe. 

Please may we request that, should you be coming to visit us even just for a drink (we’d love to see you all!), can you please phone and book a table 01749 870402  as we will be limiting the numbers of people in the pub at any one time. Our main priority is to make sure everyone is safe and your local stays open.

A huge thank you for all your support during these very strange times. We look forward to the day when we can invite you all down for a drink and one of Andy’s infamous ‘hot gammon roasts’ possibly even ”Towersey” to give a sing song.

 Many thanks      Andy and Ann-Marie 

2020.6.30 Onwards Takeaway Menu PLB version

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 29.06.2020

 

For all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page of the Westbury Website  http://westburysubmendip-pc.gov.uk/category/covid-19/

Easing the lockdown – but it isn’t over yet.

Although some restrictions will be removed from July 4th it is clear that the virus has not gone away, and we will still have to live with its consequences.  This week’s message from the chair of the Parish Council reflects that theme and makes it clear that our support arrangements will remain in place as long as they are needed.   Sue Isherwood’s letter is here as is a reminder of the support services we offer.

More local changes.

As restrictions are gradually lifted we intend to keep the village informed about how local organisations are adapting.  Today we have a further announcement from the Church, the Village Hall and our new Community Tree Group.

The Church

We have received the following further information from the Church about reopening.

 

Starting on Wednesday 1st of July we will be opening the Church for private prayer on Wednesdays from 4 – 6 pm and on Sundays from 11 – 1 pm. 

There will be a register to sign plus suitable arrangements for safe visits and we hope that Westbury people will find this helpful.

We are still waiting for guidance on how we might resume services.

 

The Village Hall

The Hall Management Committee have been exploring how to reopen safely, adhering to government guidelines on distancing and enhanced cleaning.   It would be possible to accommodate 30 people if chairs are spaced 1 metre apart but only 20 if 2 metres is felt essential.  They would welcome feedback from potential users on what they feel is essential for them to be able to use the hall while keeping everyone safe.

 

An update from the Westbury Community Tree Group

Buffy Fletcher writes

The tree group now has a constitution and a committee of 8 to 10 members and are looking forward to developing a strategy to encourage more trees to be planted. We would like to talk to any village landowners who might be prepared to consider planting some whether as replacements for the Ash which are now clearly affected by die-back or as new areas of woodland.  We are intending to hold one or two farm walks in the near future as it becomes easier to meet in groups outdoors and would like to hear from anyone who would be interested in joining us.

 We also hope to establish a tree nursery so that some of the trees we plant are of local stock, so if you are pulling small seedling trees out of your garden ( in mine the squirrels have been planting hazels for me) we would like to have them please! They are all welcome at Old Ditch Farm.

 

So what are the rules now and how to live with them.

With all the changes being announced it’s hard to remember what you can and cannot do.  This guide from Healthy Somerset is a useful source of information on the current state of the regulations and also has lots of helpful advice on how to cope.  https://www.healthysomerset.co.uk/covid-19/

Poem of the week

Finally, since it is a Monday we have our poem of the week, kindly contributed by a former resident of the village Margaret Haslam. Many will remember Margaret’s contributions to ‘Poets and Pints’ in the Village Hall.    ‘Corona Catastrophe’ is well up to her usual standard.

 

 

Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher (870531)   on behalf of the Parish Council

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 26.06.2020

For all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page of the Westbury Website  http://westburysubmendip-pc.gov.uk/category/covid-19/

Lockdown easing – local changes.

People will be aware that significant changes in the lockdown arrangements will come into effect on July 4th though the government is keen to stress that the virus has not gone away and their advice on limiting social contacts, maintaining two metres distance wherever possible and washing hands regularly still applies.  For those who want to check through the detail of what we will and will not be allowed to do after that date an updated version of government guidance that incorporates the changes can be accessed here

We will circulate information about how these changes will affect local organisations as and when we receive them.  What we currently know is as follows.

The Church

We have received the following message from the Church

In view of the Government’s latest statement on opening Churches for worship we are waiting details on how this might be done safely. We will then investigate how to open safely here in Westbury. We hope to be able to make a decision next week. 

We hope to publish the PEW magazine again for September. The deadline for copy to the editor will probably be 23rd August.
Please submit your items to
westburysubmendiprep@gmail.com
or advertising to
pewtreasurer@gmail.com and remember private advertisements  by parishioners are free. 

A big thank you to Andrew Sealy and his family for all the work which has been done in the Churchyard in recent weeks. In particular Andrew has refurbished and painted all the seats. They are now standing on tiles to try to stop the legs rotting. Please do enjoy the peace of the churchyard but if you move a seat please replace it on the tiles which are set into the grass beneath each leg. 

The Playing Fields

The Robert Glanvile Playing Field Trust committee are glad to announce that the facility will re-open on Saturday July 4th, in line with government guidelines – further details will follow in Monday’s newsletter.

In addition to this news the committee are pleased to announce the date of the AGM, which will be Tuesday 21st July at 8pm – the AGM will take place via Zoom conferencing software so would anyone wishing to attend please email Guy on guytimson@hotmail.com and he will send the meeting link in reply.

The committee is actively seeking new members (we especially need a secretary) so if anyone is interested in finding out more about getting involved please call Guy on 870285. 

The Westbury Inn

Andy and his team at the Westbury will be delighted to open their doors once again from the 4th July conforming to the guidelines set out by government to keep people safe.  It will be table service whether you call in for a meal or just a drink and to begin with it would be advisable to book as space will be limited.  People will have seen the new outside seating in the front garden but there are also new outside booths at the back, and stringent sanitary precautions in place   e.g. a strict ‘one in: one out’  policy in the toilets, sanitiser dispensers available  etc.

Although the pub is reopening the take-away and home delivery service will continue. An updated menu will be circulated on Monday. 

More scams

Another couple of scams have been brought to our attention by a local resident.  One, purporting to be from HSBC, refers to suspected transactions by a Mrs K Adams; another claiming to be from BT suggests that your service will be suspended unless you supply card details.  Needless to say you should never supply personal financial details in response to an unsolicited phone call or email and if you have the slightest doubts over the authenticity of an enquiry you should hang up or log off.  If worried you can check with whoever you think might have rung you by another route.

Butterflies of the week and month

Finally a double helping for wildlife enthusiasts this week as Peter Bright has posted both butterflies to look out for at the moment and a couple that you have probably missed.  You can find them all here

 

Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher (870531)   on behalf of the Parish Council

 

Cookie Controller

The Parish Council has funded a Cookie Controller for the Parish Council website, and the website hosts, Tickbox Marketing, implemented it on the live website this morning. This makes the website compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

When viewing the Parish Council website, you will see the Cookie Controller Icon on the bottom right of your browser screen. When you click on the Cookie Control Icon a side panel opens, explaining that the website uses two types of Cookies, ‘Necessary Cookies’ which are essential for the site’s functioning, and ‘Analytical Cookies’ which are useful for monitoring and improving the use of the site. You can turn the Analytical Cookies On or Off (the default is On). The website will remember whatever setting you have chosen for 90 days.

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Mark Smith

Website Administrator