BC small 12

Dog Attack

A report has been received of a man being attacked by two alsatian type dogs on the reserve on Sunday 19th August. The man required hospital treatment for his wounds. This is very concerning as we strive to make the reserve a safe and pleasant place for members of the public to visit, as well as a sanctuary for wildlife . Anyone with information about this incident should contact the Police by phoning 101 and quoting incident number 7695 dated 19th August. 

Prees Heath BioBlitz 2018




 Please click HERE to view the PDF file  for the Prees Heath BioBlitz held on 19th July now that I think and hope all records have been received. Many thanks again to everyone who came and submitted records on what was a memorable day. 

Do let me know if you wish to add anything or have any queries. 


Best wishes,




Stephen Lewis

Warden, Prees Heath Common Reserve, Butterfly Conservation

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Mobile: 07900 886809





Prees Heath Report June – July 2018

June and July have been remarkable for a long spell of hot and dry weather. People may have noticed that, apart from the grass looking very parched, some of the heather has turned a red/brown colour. There are two types of heather on Prees Heath, Common Heather or Ling, which flowers in August and September, and Bell Heather, which flowers from June through to October and which provides important nectar for the Silver-studded Blue. It is apparent that the heather which has turned a different colour is mainly the Common Heather, and this suggests that the reason for the discolouration may not be drought but rather the Heather Beetle, the larvae of which attack the foliage of the plant. We are aware from previous years that Heather Beetle is present on the reserve, and there is little we can do to combat it. We believe that often the Common Heather, although weakened and failing to flower, does survive. 


There have been two highlights recently. Firstly the Prees Heath volunteers did a colony count of the Silver-studded Blues on the reserve and outlying areas on 27thJune 2018. The total count was 4,085, a record for the four times we have done this! The Silver-studded Blues emerged somewhat earlier than usual this year, peaked quickly, and then numbers fell away rapidly. What was particularly noteworthy was that many more were seen on the restored areas than previously, with a magnificent 700 being recorded on the hangars field. Many thanks to all the volunteers who helped.


Then there was the BioBlitz held on 19th July. This was part of Chris Packham’s UK Campaign ‘Nature Reserves are not Enough’ and we were joined by Chris for two hours from 5pm. He was very generous with his time, talking to everyone who wanted to meet him, giving an inspiring and passionate speech to the assembled crowd, learning about the restoration of the common, doing live BBC TV Midlands Today interviews etc. The day started at 8am with the opening of the moth traps led by Dave Grundy and the opening of the small mammal traps led by Malcolm Monie. Estelle Hughes led a bird walk, and this was followed by Andy Cherrillleading a grasshopper walk and an exploration of pondlife led by Clive and Jacki Dyer. Gavin Woodman and Lucy Lewis led a butterfly and day-flying moth walk which ended as Chris arrived. The sun shone, we recorded over 500 species by several species experts, some of which were not only new records for the reserve but also new for the county, all the walks were well attended, there was a great vibe in the marquee where much cake was consumed and all in all it was a fantastic day. All the photos were taken on the day.]




Common-Field-Grasshopper,-adult-female-©Mike-Ashton-www.macreative.co.uk   Bank-Vole-(John-Harding)

               Common Field Grasshopper

                              © Mike Ashton

                                  Bank Vole
Chris-Packham-inspires-everyone-to---campaign-for-wildlife-(Stephen-Lewis)-Recovered   Small-Scabious-(Janet-Vernon)
                   Chris Packham Inspires                             Small Scabious
 Chris-Packham-(Clive-Dyer)   A-young-recorder's-top-work---(Stephen-Lewis) 
                 Chris Packham                             A young recorder's top work






Poplar Hawkmoth


Several groups enjoyed guided walk on the reserve at other times in July. However I had to cancel a walk for one group, the Wirral Alpine Society, as the Silver-studded Blues were already pretty much over and the vegetation was so parched. Do get in touch now if you want me to lead a guided walk for your group in the summer of 2019. 

Work has been carried out to fill in potholes on the access track, and visitors are asked to drive slowly along the track, not only to prevent further damage but also because of the presence of people, families and dogs arriving and departing. It is essential that the reserve is maintained as a quiet and safe place. 


Stephen Lewis

Volunteer WardenButterfly Conservation

07900 886809

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">



Bio Blitz Timetable

Click HERE to view or print 

Prees Heath Report April – May 2018


This year is Butterfly Conservation’s 50th anniversary. As part of the celebrations we will be hosting a BioBlitz on the reserve on Thursday 19th July, from 8.00am until 10.00pm. What is a BioBlitz? It’s an event to record as many living species – plants, birds, reptiles, insects, spiders, mammals, amphibians etc - in one day as possible, providing useful information as to what actually lives on the reserve and calls it home. It’s a public event so everyone is welcome to come along and join in – you don’t have to be an expert, but there will be experts on site so it will also be an opportunity for people to learn more about wildlife. There will be some guided walks timetabled so watch this website for further details nearer the time. A marquee, tables, chairs, refreshments and portaloos will also be provided. Make a note of the date in your diary! And, if that wasn’t enough to tempt you to come along, we will be joined by TV wildlife presenter and author Chris Packham in the late afternoon/evening. 


After a cold early spring, the fine weather in May has really got everything buzzing. This summer Natural England has arranged for a survey of bees, wasps and ants on the reserve, to be done by local entomologists Ian Cheeseborough and Nigel Jones. In addition an MSc student from Harper Adams University is surveying leafhoppers and planthoppers


Each week from April until September a fixed route is walked on the reserve to record the butterflies, called a transect. On 23rd May for the first time since the transectwas established several years ago a Dingy Skipper butterfly was recorded, and I managed to contain my surprise to photograph it before it flew off. The caterpillar food plant for this species is Bird’s-foot Trefoil, which is widely present on the reserve, so it is not a total surprise to find the butterfly. In fact we do have historical records for this butterfly here prior to purchase in 2006, and it was also seen, although not on the transect, in 2016.And another one was found later that afternoon well away from the transect route. It is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan Priority species, so it is very good news that it is present on the reserve.




Dingy Skipper


The pond continues to do well. Visitors may have seen some straw bales in the pond – we have put two bales of barley straw into the pond each year as it contains a chemical that prevents a build-up of blanket weed. A Common Lizard has been seen basking on the concrete blocks by the reserve gates, a favourite spot for them. Silver-studded Blue caterpillars attended by ants have been seen on the restored area to the east of the old runway. Skylarks have been heard singing over the restored areas, but the presence of large numbers of Carrion Crows may well affect their fortunes as regards raising young. An immature male Broad-bodied Chaser dragonfly  has also been seen, as well as several damselflies. 



Reserve Pond


Lizard-basking Broad-bodied-Chaser,-immature---male  

 Common Lizzard

Broad-bodied Chaser  



We continue to have problems with unwanted plants on some areas of the reserve, and use herbicides to control Ragwort, Docks and Birch seedlings. A large poisonous plant called Hemlock is spreading in areas around the reserve entrance, and this will need to be controlled as well.


I have been contacted by a regular visitor to the reserve about rabbits being killed. Nobody is authorised to kill rabbits on the reserve, and I advise anyone who witnesses people engaged in this activity to contact the Police on their non-emergency number 101 rather than approach the individuals themselves. The Police have responded promptly before by coming on site and getting those responsible to leave. 


Finally, we will be arranging for some repairs to the access track to be carried out in the next few weeks. 


Stephen Lewis

Butterfly Conservation

Prees Heath Volunteer Warden

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

07900 886809