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AGM Report - By Anonymous - April 8th 2017

Thirty-two souls turned up to Charleston Community Complex on what turned out to be a glorious spring day (has there been one since?) for the 2017 AGM.

We kicked off the “business” part of the day with the AGM ably chaired by Mark, who sadly announced that he was stepping down from the lofty heights of chairman.  Luckily, Pete Moore was waiting in the wings ready to take over after today if his nomination was successful. And who would have put odds on it not being.

Mark started by imparting the sad news that Ray Collier, the first chairman of the Highland Branch of BC, had died and went on to give us a potted history of the early days of the branch.

The first meeting of the branch took place on 3rd June 1993, so next year will be our silver anniversary.  At that inaugural meeting Martin Warren did the introduction, the launch was by Magnus Magnusson and there was a talk from Neil Ravenscroft who may be asked to give our 25th anniversary talk next year.  Apparently Ray also established the Highland Biological Recording Group, and along with the other 5 founding members became known at the “Penny Posters” as they met in the Penny Post pub. 

Ray was our chair for two years, David McAllister took over for another 2 years, then Jimmy McKellar took over for 15 years.  Mark definitely didn’t want to try and break Jimmy’s record but thought it was time for new blood.  I’m sure most of you know or know of Pete and his enthusiasm and commitment towards butterflies.  However, we did hear a different tale later on, but I’m getting ahead of myself.  

Mark spoke about “Last Child in the Woods”.  The author, Richard Louv, coined the term “Nature Deficit Disorder” where children were losing contact with nature. I suppose we all can become part of the solution, trying to get our children, grandchildren, friends children etc interested in any part of nature. 

Presentations were made to the two VC recorders who were stepping down, Brian Neath and Tony Mainwood  As a thank you they were presented with framed fake moths by an artist called Izumi Segawa.   They are incredible, but don’t take my word for it, look at the website.  Unfortunately my birthday had just passed or I would have been asking for one as a pressie from my other half.

Brian & Pete                                       

Brian Neath and Pete Moore photo by Hilary Swift

Tony & Pete                                       

Tony Mainwood and Pete Moore photo by Hilary Swift

BC news was also imparted. A new Orange Tip survey; Scottish fact sheets are available to download from the Scottish pages of the BC website; and there are four pin badges for sale; Emperor Moth, Small Copper, Adonis Blue (which apparently we can pretend is a Scottish Common Blue!), and Marbled White (or if you prefer Argent and Sable).

Finally Mark thanked the HB committee for all their help, especially to Audrey who is the branch factotum. This was greeted with a great round of applause.

Audrey gave her treasurer’s report, the summary of which is that our finances are good.  Glad someone’s are.

Pete’s election to chair was unanimously agreed by the meeting, but now he is taking over that role he wonders if anyone would be willing to take over the role of event organiser for next year.  So now someone else has the chance to organise events they would like to go on.

The re-election of the committee was unanimously agreed by the meeting, and everyone heaved a sigh of relief that there was no arm twisting to get anyone else to join.

There were two more presentations: the first to Mark to thank him for his time as chair. He got a framed Richard Lewington print of a Small Tortoiseshell which seemed to be very much appreciated, and was that a wee tear in the eye I saw?  And Mark presented himself with a bottle of wine for winning the caption competition.  I ask you, talk about insider trading!

Mark & Pete                       

Pete Moore and Mark Wynn photo by Hilary Swift

Oh yes, and Pete said he wanted to see an increase in the practical conservation work that Mark had started.  I think what he was trying to say was that we should be prepared to do some large scale gardening.  And there’s me three years into making a pond and it’s still not finished, perhaps if I became events organiser I could plan a work party.  Mmmm, let me think on that.

Now onto the talks.  

Ailie Brown from The Butterfly House at Landmark, Carrbridge introduced herself saying that she was a former student of Mark Young so it’s no wonder she got into butterflies.  We heard that the old wood mill has been transformed into the hothouse complete with fish pools, Asian Quails and importantly tropical butterflies from around the world.  The pupae are reared abroad by a charity that helps provide an income so that “locals” don't destroy the natural habitat.  They are shipped here and hatch in special climate-controlled cabinets which the public can see as well as the butterflies themselves, flying freely about, feeding on fruit and flower nectar among the tropical plants. Obviously they don’t want the butterflies escaping so there are biosecurity measures in place to prevent them getting a bit of a shock if they wander out into the Scottish climate.  Work is going to take place at Landmark in the future to encourage our own native species to take up residence, outside that is, no sauna for them.  

We have a branch trip organised to go to Landmark on Saturday 29th April for a behind the scenes look. 

After a break for refreshments, chat and browsing the various leaflets/books etc on display, and picking up some butterfly friendly plant cuttings that people had bought along it was onto the next talk.

Pete Moore shared some absolutely stunning photographs from a trip to Turkey that he and Hilary Swift took in search of butterflies, in the Kakar Mountains which is in the eastern part of the country.  I should say that by the sound of it Hilary did all the hard work!  It was her magnificent photographs that we were seeing, and Pete confessed that it was she that did the homework on the species they were likely to see, filling a notebook of drawings showing the various diagnostic features of, among other things, all the Blues they were likely to see. 

It was just amazing seeing all the wild flowers not just in meadows but roadside verges thick with them, a mosaic of colour.  Made me want to show Highland Council that flowers on verges are not a hazard to motorists that should be cut down as soon as they raise their heads.  Rant over.

Pete                       

Pete Moore giving his talk photo by Matthew Desmond

And the butterflies, oh my, what a sight. The pictures of individuals posing eg Apollo, Iolas Blue, sorry can’t remember any others. And the masses pooling at the edges of muddy puddles - heaven.  But it wasn’t all butterflies, Pete confessed that he spent a lot of the time birding, leaving Hilary to look at the leps and the flowers.  

Luckily there was one photograph we didn’t see.  That was of, what Pete described as, the filthiest toilet he had ever seen, thanks for omitting that one.

Last up was Mike Taylor who told us about his trips to Sweden with his wife Brit, who hails from that part of the world.  By the sound of it global warming has got its teeth into Sweden’s flora and fauna, the northern birch scrub in the north now becoming birch trees.

Strangely Sweden, despite it being more northerly than us has approx. 120 species, many of which are found here as well.  Because the English name has been used some anomalies have occurred e.g. Northern Grizzled Skipper is found further south in Sweden than its cousin without northern in its name.

Mike and Brit seem to find themselves on lovely walks around Uppsala, along lovely road side verges, don’t get me started, spending hours traveling not too far as there is so much to see.  And these walks have lovely leaflets, which you can get in English.  They have also travelled north to the area the ice hotel should have been in but they were too late to see that and too early to see the butterflies, it being a late season.  When they had been there previously they had been too late for the butterflies, let’s hope next time it will be like Goldilocks - just right.

Mike also talked about Sweden’s recording scheme which was for all taxa which seemed eminently sensible.  And a website lepidoptera.se was recommended to us.

So that’s me got two holiday ideas sorted - Turkey and Sweden, a bit of a contrast, and a visit to Landmark, I’ve always wanted to go on the Wee Monkey Trail.  What do you mean that’s only for children!

Summing up, another great AGM.  See you next year and who knows, it may be you who’s asked to write the Anonymous Alternative note of the AGM.

AGM       

The AGM Attendees photo by Matthew Desmond

 

 

     
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