Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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An appeal from our County Recorder David RR Smith

Filling in the gaps!

2014 is our last chance to record butterflies for the current Butterfly Conservation five-year recording cycle (2010-2014). The map below shows how Yorkshire stood at the end of last year's 2013 season:

Each coloured dot represents an area of land measuring 2 x 2 km (known as a tetrad), where at least one butterfly was recorded during the period of 2010 to 2013.

The white spaces are where we have not received a sighting of a butterfly in the last four years – so you can see there are quite a lot of gaps where we do not have any records!

Could you help us by looking in these areas and sending your butterfly sightings to the relevant Vice-County Recorder. This year is our last chance to record butterflies for this recording cycle.

If you want to know where we need records from then the easiest way is to double click on the relevant VC-records below and this will open out in Google Earth.

If you do not have Google Earth then you can download it from here.

VC61 empty tetrads kmz
VC62 empty tetrads kmz
VC63 empty tetrads kmz
VC64 empty tetrads kmz
VC65 empty tetrads kmz

Click one of the links above to download the file then open it, you should get something like below in Google Earth. For this example, I'm assuming you clicked the 'VC61 empty tetrads kmz' link.
The map shows all the tetrads (2 x 2 km square) in VC61, where we do not have a butterfly sighting. You can think of it as the reverse of the Recorded Tetrads map at the top of the page. Let's say you were interested in looking for butterflies in the area of Holderness someway to the east of Hull (I've put a red circle around the area). You can zoom in and out anywhere in the map! Let's assume you double clicked within the area marked by the red circle. You should now have something like below:
There are two yellow pins shown. Each pin is positioned at the bottom-left corner of a tetrad (square measuring 2 x 2 km) for which we do not currently have a butterfly sighting. I've highlighted in red one of these tetrads (TA3022) and the four 1 x 1 km squares that make up this tetrad in the map below.
A sighting of a butterfly from any of the 1 x 1 km squares in tetrad TA3022 (ie TA3022, TA3023, TA3122, TA3123) would tick this tetrad off. (Further explanation below if you do not know anything about Ordnance Survey grid references ).
Similarly, a sighting of a butterfly from any of the 1 x 1 km squares in tetrad TA3222 (ie TA3222, TA3223, TA3322, TA3323) would tick this tetrad off. See map below:
The example map below shows where I have loaded up the VC62 Google Earth file and have zoomed into an area around the northern edge of the Vice County which includes areas like Middlesbrough and Eston. There are quite a few tetrads that could be usefully visited here:

Simples! However, we had at the last count 1841 tetrads that did not have a butterfly sighting. So every help would be welcome. Please send your sightings using the recording form here and send to the relevant Vice-County Recorder.

For visitors of our website who don't use Google Earth (if you can I recommend you do, it's great fun), then here are downloadable Excel files for each VC with all tetrads that do not have any butterfly sightings. For each tetrad listed, this will be the grid reference for the bottom-left of the four 1 x 1 km squares that make up tetrad (2 x 2 km square).

VC61 empty tetrads Excel file
VC62 empty tetrads Excel file
VC63 empty tetrads Excel file
VC64 empty tetrads Excel file
VC65 empty tetrads Excel file
Again, please send your sightings using the recording form here and send to the relevant Vice-County Recorder







Recording and Grid References

Grid references are a way to precisely locate (how precisely depending on the number of digits you provide) your sighting to a point on an Ordnance Survey (OS) map.

The whole of Britain and Ireland is covered by a series of OS maps. I recommend the OS Explorer Maps series at 1:25,000 scale (where 4 cm equals 1 km).
Say you were interested in the area around Patrington (in VC61), in the Holderness plain, some ways east of Hull. On Google Earth this looks like:

The corresponding area in the relevant OS Explorer Map (292) looks like below.

How do I use a given tetrad location to find a place within the OS map and how do I record the grid reference of butterfly sightings I might see?

This is how. Each OS Map looks at different areas of the country; first I need to know the letter code of the OS map.

The whole of the country is split into 100 x 100 km areas, each designated by a two letter code.

Look at the top-right of your OS map – it reads in this case 'TA'. Now I know the letter code all I need to know is the location within the map.

Note the horizontal and vertical lines that criss-cross the OS map. They partition the map into 1 x 1 km squares (technically known as monads).

Let's say you saw a butterfly outside the Station Hotel pub at Patrington (I've circled that location in the above map). If you just wanted to record that location accurate to the 1 km square it's in then you note the letter code for your map (TA), you note the number of the vertical line to the left of the pub (technically known as the Easting, which is 30) and you note the number of the horizontal line just below the pub (technically known as the Northing, which is 23).

So to locate accurate to 1 x 1 km you write down TA3023. Finally, add a k to the end (TA3023k) so we know that you are referring to 1 x 1 km area (rather than the tetrad itself, which includes the four 1 x 1 km squares TA3022k, TA3023k, TA3122k, TA3123k).

You can be even more accurate if you were giving a spot recording. So to locate the pub with an accuracy of 100 x 100 metres, it would be TA, Easting 30 (and then divide up the 1 km length into tenths from left to right, and the pub is about 8 along), and Northing 23 (and then divide up the 1 km length into tenths from bottom to top, and the pub is about 1 up). So to locate the pub butterfly sighting accurate to 100 x 100 metres, you would write TA308231.

For the purposes of recording missing tetrads it would be fine to use 1 x 1 km accuracy, so TA3023k would tell us where you saw a butterfly accurately enough. And that would mean we could tick off the tetrad TA3022 (because TA3023k is one of the tetrads four 1 x 1 km squares).

When sending your report to the relevant VC recorder, please use the recording form available from here.
You will need to note several things: your name, address, telephone, email [please see *below]. We need this to contact you if we need to check something about your sighting. There is rarely a need to do this. You need the Year and the Date of the sighting (day and month). You need to provide the grid reference and a description of the location (this allows us to cross-check that the grid reference and location agree with each other). Then you need to add the number of each particular butterfly you see (here I saw 2 Large White and 1 Green-veined White). In the example below I've recorded to 1 x 1 km square resolution so if I walked to any location within TA3023k, I could add the butterflies seen to the same column. This is one reason to record to just 1 x 1 km resolution. However, the moment you go outside TA3023k then you would need to start a new column with the details of the new location, date, grid reference and description of location, butterfly species with numbers seen.

IMPORTANT: In recording butterflies please observe common sense.

This means amongst other things: do not trespass (keep to roads, footpaths and other public rights of way), unless you have permission from the landowner.

Do not go onto MOD land. Given that a sighting anywhere within a 2 x 2 km square would tick it as being successfully visited then there is no reason to go onto private land.

Obey the Countryside code (shut gates, don't light fires, keep dogs under control, don't litter etc).

Look after yourself – wear sensible clothes (beware of ticks that can carry Lyme Disease), keep yourself well hydrated in hot weather, let people know where you are especially if recording in the more isolated and wild parts of Yorkshire.

Modern Developments: There are more modern ways of getting grid references. Certain apps on smart phones or other systems equipped with GPS can give accurate grid references. These are usually too accurate for our needs (and I wouldn't treat them as being accurate to that resolution anyway) – so please reduce. So for instance, a reading of TA3087223182 which is in theory accurate to a 1 x 1 metre area (!) should be reduced say to 100 x 100 metres (TA308231) or even 1 x 1 km (TA3023). In each case, the first half of the n-digits is the Easting and the other half is the Northing.

You still need to give the descriptive name of the location to allow us to cross-check.
There are also web pages (http://gridreferencefinder.com) where you can click on the location of your sighting. For Station Hotel, Patrington it gives TA 30817 23055. This should be reduced to TA308230.

*Names and addresses will be used for verification of records only and for administration. Your details will not be passed to third parties without your consent. While your name will form part of the record as used by Butterfly Conservation (BC) this will strictly be in accordance with BC privacy policies (see www.butterfly-conservation.org).
















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