Butterflies of the Week 24th June 2020

 

 

Common Blue: This is the familiar blue of the wider countryside and, indeed, is common. The males are a bright sky-blue colour whereas the females may have a lot of blue scales or these blue scales may just be confined to the body so that they look generally brown. It is these brown females which can look like Brown Argus except that the Brown Argus is distinctly smaller and has some differences in the underwing spotting pattern. Mature, 4th instar caterpillars emerge from hibernation in April and pupate. The first-generation adult butterflies will then emerge in May and early June. The fertilised females seek out bird’s foot trefoil on which to lay their eggs. Like most ‘blues’ the caterpillars have a honey gland which makes them attractive to ants which provide a measure of protection from some predators. They are, however, nowhere near as dependent on ants as the Large Blue. The caterpillars will develop and then pupate in July and the second-generation butterflies will emerge in August. The offspring of this second generation may, in favourable years, go on to produce a third generation which will emerge in late September. Otherwise the mature larvae will overwinter hidden amongst vegetation.

Photos   Peter Bright   John Ball

 

 

 

  Brown Argus: This diminutive butterfly is, along with the small blue, our smallest butterfly. Newly emerged adults are a rich brown colour and the orange crescents of spots show up clearly. In females the orange spots reach the front of the forewing whereas, in males, they fade out little more than halfway to the front edge. Its resemblance to brown versions of the female common blue can cause confusion. However, it is distinctly smaller and has no hint of blue scales on the wings or body, and, for those with a photo, the underwing spot patterns are distinctly different.   This butterfly is a warmth loving species active in sunshine and in warm sheltered sites. The first generation emerges in May and early June. After mating the females seek out suitable food plants on which to lay eggs. In the past common rockrose was the main food plant and was why the butterfly was confined to sites with this plant. However, recently the butterfly now also uses common stork’s bill and other close relatives like dove’s foot cranesbill. This change of food preference and the increased temperatures of global warming have resulted in this butterfly spreading northwards again and recolonising many habitats from which it had been excluded by loss of common rock rose. The eggs laid in June will produce caterpillars that pupate in July with the second generation emerging in August. It will be the caterpillars from this second generation which will overwinter as a more or less mature caterpillar.  Emphasising that it is a ‘blue’ that happens not to be blue the caterpillars are attractive to ants just as with its close relative the common blue.

Photos     Simon Reece     Peter Bright

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 23.06.2020

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

Lockdown restrictions eased.

A further series of changes to the lockdown regime was announced by the Prime Minister this afternoon. The full speech can be accessed here    From the 4th July

  • Two households can meet together at any one time;  e.g. a family can meet one set of grandparents one day and another the next but not together.
  • Pubs and restaurants can open but only for table service.  To help such venues the social distancing rule will be relaxed from 2 metres to one (though 2 is still preferred)
  • Hairdressers can open but not nailbars: cinemas museums and galleries can open but not nightclubs, spas or swimming pools.
  • Live theatre, choirs and concerts can still not perform but outdoor gyms and playgrounds can open.
  • Hotels, camp sites and bed & breakfast accommodation will be allowed to reopen if shared facilities are regularly cleaned
  • Churches and other places of worship can open for prayer and services including weddings with up to 30 guests

We will circulate information on how local businesses and facilities plan to respond to these changes when they have had time to assess the new situation and make their own plans.

The Prime Minister was keen to stress that although restrictions were being eased the virus has not gone away and people need to continue to take every precaution including keeping two metres apart wherever possible.  As he said “There is one certainty: the fewer social contacts you have, the safer you will be.”  He also indicated that should there be a resurgence of cases local or national restrictions might once more be imposed.

 

Thank you from the Playing Fields Committee

In a previous update we set out how the Playing Fields Committee needed to continue spending to keep their facilities in good condition while having lost their major sources of income.   We suggested that joining the 100 Club was one way to support the committee and it appears that many of you have done so.  We are including below a letter of thanks we have received, and a reminder that it is still possible to join.

 

THANK YOU – from ROBERT GLANVILE PLAYING FIELD TRUST

 

A big THANK YOU to everyone who has responded to our appeal to join the 2020-2021 100 club. 

62 people have already joined which is a great result.   In the last month we have been able to pay for repairs to the wind damaged fence and for the RoSPA safety inspection as well as completing regular maintenance. 

Hopefully, we will soon be able to open all the facilities for everyone enjoy. 

It’s not too late to join as the first draw for the new year will be in the middle of July.  If you would like to become a member it is £12 for the year with prizes of £20 and £10 paid each month.   All you need to do is put £12 cash/cheque in an envelope, write PLAYING FIELD 100 CLUB, NAME AND CONTACT DETAILS on the front and hand it in at the village shop.  If you prefer to pay by BACs the playing field contact details are:- 

PAYEE                                   ROBERT GLANVILE PLAYING FIELD TRUST

CAF Bank                                            

Sort Code                             405240

Account Number              00015438            

 

Put your name as the payment reference and email your contact details to Jan Ward at owlshaunt@btinternet.com

 

 

 

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

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 22.06.2020

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

Future updates.

Having moved to issue our updates on Monday, Wednesday and Friday it seems that the government has decided to make a big announcement on Tuesday; so this week the pattern will be Monday, Tuesday and Friday.  Since things are becoming a bit more stable we are thinking that we might reduce to two updates per week – Tuesday and Friday from next week – unless of course there are important changes that just won’t wait.  If you have thoughts about the frequency and content of the updates do let us know.

Relaxation of shielding rules from 6th July

The government has announced that those people who are shielding will be able to meet up to 6 people from other households out of doors and join a support bubble from the 6th July; and the shielding rules will be paused from the 1st August.  This is part of the roadmap to end the lockdown and we expect to learn more tomorrow.

Recycling sites adopt ‘shop style’ measures

Somerset Waste Partnership has announced further relaxation of the restrictions in place at recycling centres with markings on the ground to help users comply with social distancing as in some shops.  They can now accept a wider range of materials though they still can’t help you lift things out of the car.  Full information about the current position is here

Citizens advice newsletter

Those interested in the work of the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) or perhaps wanting to make use of its services may be interested in the newsletter they have just issued describing what they do and how to contact them.  It is here

More scams

One of the items featured in the CAB newsletter is how to protect yourself from scams which seem to be increasingly common.  One local resident has drawn our attention to a suspicious email that has been received by a number of people in the village recently.  He says

Some people have received emails in the last few days from skiparankin@hotmail. This is highly likely to be a phishing email and is certainly not from a trusted source. It should be deleted without being opened.

 

Poem of the week

Finally, being a Monday, we have our poem of the week, this time contributed by Alistair Sage

 

Self-isolation

The problem with self-isolation?

It leads to a sense of frustration.

To reduce this it’s clear

That you might need a beer

Which then causes intoxication.

 

The problem with intoxication?

You cannot absorb information.

To solve this it’s clear

That you need yet more beer

Which in turn leads to self-isolation.

 

The problem with self-isolation….

 

 

 

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

New page added – Strawberry Line Westbury

A new page has been added to the Westbury Village Website under Community Groups.  It describes the work of the Strawberry Line Association which campaigns to extend the network of safe off-road paths connecting Westbury and other communities in Somerset.  You can find out what the group is doing and how you can support its work here.

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 19.06.2020

We are conscious that people do not want to be overloaded with information and since there are no changes in the lockdown in the immediate future we are concentrating on one item tonight – an update from the community shop

          Westbury Community Shop Update – 20th June 2020

 

  • Entry to the Shop:  For the time being we will continue to restrict access to the shop to one customer at a time.  We have moved the serving area inside the shop because of the increase in traffic noise. The increase in traffic also means it is not safe for people to leave the shop by stepping into the road, so if you can see a customer is already in the shop, please wait by the gate beyond the railings until they leave.   We are constantly reviewing access arrangements as government advice changes.

 

  • Post Office:  The Post Office is open from 8 am – 5pm, Monday to Friday.  The final Royal Mail collection is at 4.45 pm.  Entry restrictions also apply to the Post Office so please allow plenty of time for queuing.  Post Office staff cannot guarantee despatch of mail which is received after 4.30pm.

 

  • Card Machine:  The new card machine has arrived, and the shop is now able to accept contactless card payments up to £45.

 

  • Cake Sales:  We are delighted to be able to offer delicious homemade cakes and biscuits baked by Rachel from Cross House B&B.

 

  • Ordering:  The volunteer led backroom order service has been a great help to local people who are shielding or self-isolating and we will continue to offer this service for the foreseeable future.   However, the demand for Saturday morning orders and deliveries has steadily reduced and from now on these will be managed through the shop rather than the back room.

 

The last few months have been difficult for everyone and we all look forward to the time when life can return to being a bit more like normal.  The shop staff and volunteers have worked hard to keep the shop as well stocked as possible which on occasions has been a challenge but  with the help of our wonderful local suppliers, we think we have offered a valuable service to local people, which is the whole reason for having a community shop in the village.

 

Stay Safe – Shop Local

 

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

Photo Voltaic Panel total generation since 2010 for months March to August. Lynch Lane, Westbury-sub-Mendip

2020.5.29 Monthly kWh totals 2010-2020

Butterflies of the Week 17th June 2020

 

Dingy Skipper

Grizzled Skipper

 

Large Skipper

 

Burnet Companion Moth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essex Skipper
probably!

Small Skipper

 

5 Skippers: There are 7 British skippers and 5 of them occur in the Parish. They are a group of closely related small butterflies often a bit smaller than a common blue. They have a very buzzy, moth-like flight. Beware there are several, more or less brown, small, day-flying moths that they might be confused with, such as the Burnet Companion and the Mother Shipton. However, they do have the distinctive clubbed antennae characteristic of butterflies. The Grizzled and Dingy skippers hold their wings flat and can therefore look very moth-like. The Large, Small, and Essex Skippers hold their wings in a very characteristic pose at 45 degrees – I think of how aeroplanes on aircraft carriers fold their wings before being taken down into the hold.
Dingy Skipper: is the earliest to emerge in mid-April. It overwinters as a fully developed larva in a hibernaculum hidden in ground vegetation and only pupates inside this at the end of March to emerge as an adult a few weeks later. The Adults are fond of yellow flowers as nectar sources and the female after mating, seeks out bird’s foot trefoil and sometimes horseshoe vetch, on which to lay individual eggs. The newly hatched caterpillar will feed and moult 4 times until fully developed after which it will build its hibernaculum using silk to hold dead leaves together, and inside, pass the winter.
Grizzled Skipper: This butterfly emerges from the pupa in which it has over-wintered in mid-April or May. The whirring flight of this tiny butterfly means that its distinctive wing markings only become visible when it settles to bask in the sunshine. They require warmth, shelter and sparse vegetation that enables them to find bare ground on which to bask and wild strawberry plants on which to lay eggs for their caterpillars to feed on. Suitable habitats stretch all along the south facing Mendip scarp. The larvae go through to pupation before the end of the summer and over-winter at this stage. Pupae in short grass sites emerge earlier in the Spring than in taller vegetation sites presumably because they warm up more readily which speeds development. This is an important part of their requirement for sparsely vegetated sites.
Large Skipper: This is a butterfly of a wide variety of grassy sites where the grass can grow quite tall. Roadsides, woodland rides, hedges as well as the various reserves across Mendip. It, and the next two grass-feeding skippers are likely to benefit greatly from less cutting of roadside verges and places like churchyards where the grass is increasingly being allowed to grow tall and is only cut in late July or August. The patchwork of pale spots and darker areas on the wings make them easy to distinguish from the properly ‘golden’ skippers’ – Small and Essex. The adults emerge from the end of May and through June and are very fond of nectar sources like brambles and thistles which they can access easily with their exceptionally long proboscis. Eggs are laid on quite tall grasses like Cock’s Foot that are growing in places that are both sheltered and in full sunshine. The larva that emerges goes through 7 instars before pupating. Once is gets to the 5th instar, towards the end of the summer, the caterpillar makes a hibernaculum of leaf blades held together with silk in which it passes the winter. In March it emerges from hibernation and feeds and grows and after the 7th instar forms a pupa in the middle of May from which the adult will emerge between the end of May and the end of July.
Small Skipper: When newly emerged, the wings are a bright gold colour with a narrow dark border but none of the spots and patches of the Large Skipper. Like the large skipper they do well in quite tall grass grasslands with an abundance of nectar sources and of its favourite larval food plant, the grass, Yorkshire Fog, though other grasses are also used. The female, after mating, lays eggs in small groups in the hollow rolled grass leaf bases. The caterpillar has 5 instars and in its 5th instar over-winters in a silken cocoon. The following year these caterpillars pupate towards the end of May from which these smart little butterflies emerge from early June until the end of July.
Essex Skipper: To all intents and purposes the adults of Essex Skippers look nearly identical to the Small Skipper so that confusion is a normal part of a butterfly recorder’s life. In the males the sex brand is a little shorter and straighter than that of the Small Skipper male which is, of course, no help in identifying the females. The only reliable characteristic is the underside of the tips of the antennae which are jet black in Essex and brown in Small Skippers. Studying photographs taken from head on is the only reliable method of identification. Just taking such photographs is a difficult task with such an active little butterfly. As with the Large and Small Skippers this is a butterfly of hay meadows, roadside verges, woodland rides and any tall grass grasslands with abundant nectar sources. The females after mating lay eggs in the tightly rolled leaf sheaths of grasses, particularly Cock’s foot, and positions these eggs rather nearer to the ground than the small skipper does. The egg when close to hatching pauses its development and goes into hibernation and it is only in the following late March or early April that it hatches and starts to feed. After reaching the 5th instar it pupates in a rolled leaf held together with silk and emerges a little later than the Small Skippers in the middle of June and through into July. It is believed that Essex Skippers are genuinely expanding their range from an original stronghold in Essex both northwards and westwards. The potential for transport as overwintering eggs in hay may help with this spread and is how it has been able to spread across North America in hay bales first imported from Europe in 1910! Equally this spread could be related to climate change. The photograph labelled as Essex is probably correct, but it is far from the perfect view. A little photographic challenge perhaps?

Photos       Robert Maxwell Wood    Tina Westcott    Peter Bright

 

 

 

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 17.06.2020

Update 17.06.2020

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

Can you still remember what you can and can’t do?

As the lockdown goes on and small changes are made it seems increasingly hard to remember what we can and can’t do.  How many people can be in a support bubble for example? Or are the over 70s allowed to visit a zoo?  For anyone wanting to refresh their memory this summary https://tinyurl.com/y83xgs54 put together by NHS and the County Council is a good resource.  For those who want to keep it as simple as possible the message is still ‘wash your hands often and don’t go out unless you really have to’.

Can you still remember what support is available?

The same summary gives a useful reminder of the help that is available from local councils.  Again, there is little that is new but there is a special section on men’s health because it is Men’s Health Week (which happens every year in the week before Father’s Day).  This is particularly relevant this year because men are around twice as likely to die from Covid-19 as women. The resources here https://shop.menshealthforum.org.uk/collections/mens-health-week could be useful in helping deal with underlying problems such as stress and being over-weight.

Butterfly of the week

Peter Bright’s butterfly of the week last Wednesday was the Marbled White and right on cue they have appeared, particularly around Lynchcombe and Cook’s Fields.  This week he focuses on the Skippers – small, large, grizzled etc.  which we can now expect to start appearing around us.

If you want to look back at the butterflies described in earlier posts, or other Westbury Wildlife news please look for the wildlife category on the news page of the village website (or click here https://westburysubmendip-pc.gov.uk/category/community/westbury-society/news-and-information/ )

 

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

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 15.06.2020

Update 15.06.2020

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

Message from the PC Chair

This update includes the latest message from the Chair of the Parish Council, on this occasion focussing on sustainable travel.  There is a renewed emphasis on developing opportunities for cycling and walking with support from both central and local government to increase the network of off-road paths. Sue Isherwood’s message is here.

Wearing masks.

If you do have to travel on public transport, then from today you will have to wear a mask.  It is also required in medical settings and recommended practice in other indoor spaces such as shops ( see https://tinyurl.com/y7tunogv and also https://tinyurl.com/y8rkz6kq  on keeping safe while shopping)   Locally made masks can be obtained from the village shop.

Some people have complained that wearing a mask causes their glasses to steam up.    The Royal College of Surgeons advises that washing spectacles in soapy water and allowing them to dry naturally before wearing a mask will stop misting (see why at  https://tinyurl.com/ybk33vst )

Recycling

All Somerset recycling sites are now operating normal hours though with some continuing restrictions on access and on what can be recycled.  For the full details see the link here https://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/from8june/   Since garden waste can now be recycled into compost by either taking it to one of the amenity sites or through kerbside recycling there should be much less need for garden bonfires which continue to cause distress to many of our residents.

Mendip stays safe

Mendip remains one of the places with the lowest rates of Covid-19 infection in England.  A recent spike in numbers in Somerset was caused by malfunction in one of the testing machines at Musgrove Park Hospital as explained here. https://tinyurl.com/y6u5bxcw   The low level of infection in our community is no cause for complacency but nevertheless many will find it reassuring.

Poem of the week

Finally, continuing our mission to fight the pandemic with poetry, we have a contribution here prompted by the opening up of non-essential shops.

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

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 12.06.2020

Update 12.06.2020

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

Bubbly for some

The big news today is that if you live alone you are now entitled to form what is called a “support bubble” with one other household.  This allows you to enter each other’s houses, and act in effect as one large household. Having decided who is in your bubble however you cannot change your mind; so, for example, a grandparent living alone might have to choose which of their adult children’s households they can join.  (Any others can still be seen but only outside and two metres apart)  The revised regulations are here https://tinyurl.com/y8k2aasz

Making and wearing face masks

Official policy on face masks has now changed and we are required to wear them in certain public places. We are happy to pass on a message from Cathy Hancock who has been organising the production and sale of masks in the village.

Reusable, cotton face masks are the environmentally friendly option, as we all need masks now for public transport, medical appointments, shops and other public indoor places.  Our volunteer sewing team from Mask Force- Wells have produced well over 1000 cotton face masks. Many have been donated to carers and other key workers. We have supplied the village shop with over 250 masks.  We really appreciate those kind people who have generously donated, which really helps cover the cost of purchasing new fabrics, so we can keep on producing masks for everyone who needs them. We do now suggest a minimum donation of £1.50 which just covers material;, those who make them donate their time for free to sew these.

We still welcome donations of cotton fabric if you have any, BUT we have to be fussy; only certain fabrics work for masks. We can only use fine, 100% cotton. Like a poplin summer dress fabric, cotton men’s shirts or 100% cotton bedding. No linen, poly cotton, brushed cotton or any other fabrics please. We can’t use them and I can’t recycle them either due to Covid restrictions, so please don’t donate these as I don’t have room to store them! We have plenty of T shirts at the moment so we don’t need more of these either.

If you have fabric to donate but are not sure if we can use it, you are welcome to email me at cottagefarm@hotmail.com. I have a box for donations in my front garden, Cottage Farm, The Hollow. If anyone would like to sew for us, I’d be very happy to hear from you.

 Thank you, Cathy Hancock.

Another scam to watch out for.

Hilary Little has alerted us to a TV licence scam that is going around and we are forwarding her message to warn others to watch out.

 “Both Austin and I received emails yesterday saying that TV Licensing had failed to collect a monthly direct debit payment and saying that our licence was now at an end and there would be dire consequences if we failed to pay etc. The email had boxes saying where to amend your direct debit details which should ring warning bells!!! It also quoted a licence number and a monthly amount. Both of the last two details were wrong! But at the initial glance it looks genuine. Neither of us opened the email, we just viewed from the window and then deleted it, but in case anyone treats it as genuine, it is almost certainly a scam and can easily be checked by looking at your TV licence number, assuming that one prints it out when issued.”

Further thoughts on Church reopening.

Since the government has published further advice on the limited re-opening of churches the PCC has given thought to whether some steps might be taken in Westbury.  Linda Mogford explains why they have reached the decision to remain closed at the present time.

“There have been some questions about our Church and re-opening. We will not be holding services in the building at the moment. 

Busy high street churches with large congregations are organising regular opening times for individual quiet prayer in a certain area.

To open in this way we have to follow the following guidelines. We would have to give the building a thorough clean; we would need to advertise the opening time and have someone who is fit and well and probably under 70 yrs. on duty , all books etc put away, a register for any one attending, sanitiser and a marked area for seating. After each visit the whole area would need to be cleaned.

In Westbury people drop into the Church at any time of day for a few minutes. This rather more regimented approach would be a change from what people here expect. 

If you have any views on how we might achieve some opening time within the guidelines please contact Linda Mogford to discuss them 01749 870817 ”

 

 

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