Andrew Bluett

NOTICE – The General Data Protection Regulations 2018

The Gloucestershire Naturalists’ Society holds data relating to membership and support of the Society and correspondence for the purpose of managing the Society’s business. This data is encrypted and will be held for the period of membership/support and thereafter only for as long as may be necessary to verify any information we are obliged to give to HMRC or the Charity Commission.

All of the data is provided voluntarily by members/supporters at enrolment and is gathered so that the Society can communicate with the members and supporters adequately, privately and in order to be able to manage the business of the Society.

All members/supporters/correspondents have the right to review their own details as recorded, to have those details corrected if wrong and to have them removed from the database if they cease their connection with the Society.

Access to view personal details held on the Society’s database can be only be achieved by contacting the membership secretary; the membership secretary will record and respond to any request for access as soon as is practicable, and in any case within 28 days of receiving a request.

If you believe that GNS is not managing and storing data properly, you have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office. Further comprehensive information on GDPR is available on the ICO web-site.

The Society uses the data it holds for the following reasons:

  • For specific and private communication with members/supporters, regarding their membership and support of the Society and any associated donations/payments.
  • To distribute by post or electronically, the publications of the Society.
  • To advise or remind members/supporters of forthcoming events and meetings by anonymous News Group e-mails.

The Society does not share with, sell or divulge any personal data to third parties, not does it use that data for marketing or fundraising nor does it hold any information identifying bank accounts.

The Society will inform all members and supporters by mail and/or e-mail advising them of the above.

The Society will seek informed consent from all of those members, supporters & correspondents with e-mail addresses to allow the distribution by anonymous News Group e-mails of information designed only to remind or inform them of forthcoming events & publications.

Andrew Bluett – Membership Secretary – on behalf of Gloucestershire Naturalists’ Society

Beetles of Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire Naturalists’ Society will publish a special edition of “The Gloucestershire Naturalist” (TGN 31) in 2018: The Beetles of Gloucestershire by Keith Alexander, a much-respected authority and former county recorder.

The result of a long and careful campaign of fieldwork and recording, this publication is an important addition to Gloucestershire fauna reference works and contains much useful information about beetles in the county.

Copies will be available free of charge to members who request it;

And to non-members at a cost of £22.50 inc. post and packing – on-line using Pay Pal by visiting the GNS web-site at or by post from GNS Membership Secretary, 50 Kingsmead, Abbeymead, Gloucester, GL4 5DY enclosing a cheque for £22.50 made payable to Gloucestershire Naturalists’ Society.

Orders from retailers and re-sellers for multiple copies may qualify for a quantity discount, please enquire.

Forthcoming Meetings – February / March 2018

The following meetings are due to take place in February and March – please note the changed dates for the field meetings.

Friday 9th February. Indoor Meeting at Watermoor Church Hall, Cirencester. Andrew Bluett will be talking on the subject of Historical Bird Recording in Gloucestershire and elsewhere. 7.00 for a 7.30pm start.

Saturday 24th February. New Fancy View, Forest of Dean. Possible chance to see Goshawk and other raptors, Hawfinch, Crossbill and Siskin. Meet at the car park SO627095. 10.30. Leader Andrew Bluett, 07584 689090.

Friday 9th March. Indoor Meeting at Watermoor Church Hall, Cirencester. Annual Business Meeting and Members Night Photographic and artistic competitions. Bring along your photographs, projected images (digital files) or wildlife related artwork of any sort. 7.00 for a 7.30pm start.

Sunday 25th March. Cyril Hart Arboretum, Forest of Dean. A joint meeting for GNS and Bristol Naturalists’ Society members on the identification of conifers. Meet in the car park just south of Speech House Hotel (GL16 7EL for Satnav users) on the road to New Fancy viewpoint at SO 621118. 11.00. Bring lunch and suitable footwear, and your favourite tree book. The conifers key in Poland & Clement’s Vegetative Key to the British Flora will be used throughout the meeting – please bring a copy or contact in advance for a PDF copy of the relevant 9 pages. Leaders Clare and Mark Kitchen, 01453 810958.

Details of all forthcoming meetings are available on the GNS Web-Site together with a map & directions for Watermoor Church Hall –

Forthcoming Meeting Dates for your Diary

The GNS Annual General Meeting will take place on Friday 7th April at Watermoor Church Hall, Cirencester, 7.00 for 7.30pm, followed by a talk from David Simcox – the fascinating history of the Large Blue Butterfly in the Cotswolds and the story of its re-introduction.

GNS Outdoor Meeting Sunday 26th March – A visit to Coombe Hill Canal and Reserve – General Interest to be led by Andrew Bluett (01452 610085 / 07584 689090) – 10.00 am until 12.30. Meet in the reserve car park; follow the narrow lane to the left of the Swan Inn at Coombe Hill traffic lights on the A38 to the car par at the end of the canal. SO 886 272. Please dress appropriately for the weather, you may get away with good boots but wellingtons will probably be necessary.

GNS Outdoor Meeting Sunday 9th April – Darkham Wood, Redmarley – A new venue for GNS Meetings in a privately-owned wood; This is a recording meeting and a chance to find out what wildlife is present. Drive through the village of Redmarley from the A417 towards Durbridge Farm, meet at the entrance to the wood SO 740 301 and drive through to the hardstanding area. Leaders are Rick Benson-Bunch and Des Marshall – 01242 245143, 10.00am to 1.00pm. Please dress appropriately for the weather, good boots or wellingtons will be necessary.

Starling Murmuration & Roost 1

For the past few days there has been a big Starling murmuration and roost in the old brick-pits at Walham, just to the north of Gloucester between 5.30 and 6.15pm (SO 822 199); on Thursday 2nd March estimated 3000+ birds, in the first ten minutes being pursued by a small falcon, probably Merlin, also a Sparrowhawk.

 Suggested viewing from the Maisemore Road (SO 817 200) – park safely and walk carefully, it’s possible to walk to the riverbank on the public footpath from the Maisemore Road or walk upstream along the river side path from Westgate to something like SO 821 197.

Urban Wildlife…

The old Gloster Aircraft Company airfield between Abbeymead and Brockworth has a number of areas of old and undisturbed grassland between the housing and the retail / commercial sites on either side of the site; there are several small ponds and a network of drainage ditches and the area still holds some wildlife including Dragonflies, Skylarks and other gems in the habitats that remain.

Over the past few weeks I have seen the two Roe Deer in the photographs below grazing unconcernedly whilst the daily lives of the humans that surround them go on unabated. They seem not to be worried by the traffic and only show signs of wariness when dog walkers appear.

Forthcoming Meetings

The next two scheduled GNS Field Meetings are –

GNS Outdoor Meeting Sunday 22nd January – A visit to Forthampton & Lower Lode, General Interest to be led by Mike Smart (01452 421131) – meet at 10.00 am until 12.30. Meet in front of the Lower Lode Inn (SO 878 317) on the west bank of the Severn (opposite side from Tewkesbury), access past Forthampton Court on the unclassified road off the A438 west of Tewkesbury. Please dress appropriately for the weather, good boots or wellingtons will be necessary.

GNS Outdoor Meeting Saturday 4th FebruaryWinter Wildfowl at Cotswold Water Park to be led by Ken Cservenka (01285 656480). Meet at Neigh Bridge Car Park, SU 017 946, 10.00am to 12.00 mid-day. Come along for a wander in the CWP in search of winter wildfowl, other winter birds and whatever else we can find – Please dress appropriately for the weather, good boots or wellingtons will be necessary.

GNS Field Meeting at Walmore Common, 15th January 2017

In spite of rather dismal grey overcast and drizzly weather first thing, 10 members and guests joined Andy Jayne for a foray onto Walmore Common on Sunday 15th January; the rain had ceased by the start of the meeting, it remained rather grey, though brightened up as the morning went on.

Walking down the lane from the main road the first few birds began to appear, various tits and winter thrushes in the form of Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris) and Redwings (Turdus iliacus) in the tops of the Poplar trees and overhead.

From the gate onto the common the party walked along parallel to the bottom of the slope at the eastern edge of the common; more winter thrushes appeared as did a Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorous) and a solitary male Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus). Andy explained the layout and makeup of the common, the seasonal changes and the means by which water levels can be controlled at the drainage outfall close to the Severn Bore pub on the A48. He also commented on the breeding birds of the common which are, as might be expected, very different from the wintering birds.

As a consequence of the relatively dry winter there had been no appreciable flooding during the autumn and winter so that there were no obvious waterfowl apart from the resident pair of Mute Swans (Cygnus olor). The flash pool was flat clam with no birds present. At the top of the slope close to the A48 Meadow Pipits (Anthus trivialis) were first heard, then seen, a small flock of 19 birds which were unusual for this time of year.

Moving out onto the central area of the common the remains of feathers from an immature Mute Swan were found alongside the Rhyne; venturing further produced sightings of three Brown Hares (Lepus lepus), approx. 10 Teal (Anas crecca) and in the rougher ground at the far edge of the common, three Stonechat (Saxicola torquata) and a single Jack Snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus).

The party them met up with a group of RSPB members on a similar walk led by Gavin Black before heading back to the east side of the common and returning to the cars parked by Walmore Hill School.

Other birds seen were Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula), a single Moorhen (Galinula chloropus), a few corvids, Wrens (Troglodytes troglodytes) and Dunnock (Prunella modularis) with a small group of Long Tailed Tits (Aegithalus caudatus) as the party returned to the access gate.

The meeting had not produced the hoped-for waterfowl due entirely to the lack of wet weather and accumulations of water on the common, but it was never the less interesting to visit and take a close look at an area that is not exactly over-run with visiting naturalists and is occasionally inaccessible as a result of too much water!

Many thanks to Andy for leading the walk and to all those who took part.

Forthcoming Meetings – January 2017

There are several GNS meetings in the coming few weeks –

GNS Indoor Meeting Friday 13th January

The next GNS Indoor Meeting is due to take place on Friday 13th January 2017 at Watermoor Church Hall, Cirencester, GL7 1JR; 7.00 for 7.30 pm – the subject of the meeting being Gloucestershire Raptor Monitoring Group to be presented by Andrew Bluett. Come and see a presentation detailing the voluntary work of GRMG and have a chance to learn more about birds of prey and owls in Gloucestershire and beyond.

GNS Outdoor Meeting Sunday 15th January

A visit to Walmore Common, of General interest but also in search of wetland and winter birds to be led by Andrew Jayne (01452 506502 / 07919 278806) – meet at 9.30 am in the lay-by at Walmore Hill School, SO 747 145, the meeting will last until 12.00 mid-day. A rare chance to visit this area of wetland and meadows with a very knowledgeable guide. Please dress appropriately for the weather, wellingtons will be necessary.

GNS Outdoor Meeting Sunday 22nd January

A visit to Forthampton & Lower Lode, General Interest to be led by Mike Smart (01452 421131) – meet at 10.00 am until 12.30. Meet in front of the Lower Lode Inn (SO 878 317) on the west bank of the Severn (opposite side from Tewkesbury), access past Forthampton Court on the unclassified road off the A438 west of Tewkesbury. Please dress appropriately for the weather, good boots or wellingtons will be necessary.

Indoor Meeting – Wednesday 25th January

Gloucestershire Raptor Monitoring Group are holding an indoor meeting on Wednesday 25th January at Ribston Hall High School off Stroud Road, Gloucester, GL1 5LE, 7.00 for 7.30pm.

Barn Owls, with Colin Shawyer – Colin is a raptor biologist and professional ecologist specialising in birds, mainly birds of prey and has published widely on this subject. He was Director of the Hawk and Owl Trust between 1988 and 1998. He undertook work for the BTO between 2000 and 2010 developing and implementing its Barn Owl Monitoring Programme and in 1988 founded the Barn Owl Conservation Network (BOCN); he is BOCN Coordinator for UK and Ireland. He oversees and undertakes extensive Barn Owl nest monitoring every season.

Tickets are still available via the GRMG web-site at

Details of all forthcoming meetings are available on the GNS Web-Site together with a map & directions for Watermoor Church


Avian Influenza (H5N8) “Bird Flu” UPDATE 5th January

Further to the post on the subject of Avian Influenza a few days ago, inevitably there have been more cases / outbreaks in the UK already, notably in Carmarthenshire and elsewhere. There are exclusion zones in place and specific rules relating to domestic birds.

For the best and most up-to-date information – please refer to the DEFRA web-site at

If you find a dead bird be very careful about handling it, H5N8 is not normally a risk to humans but do not take any chances… and do not risk transmitting it to any other birds, please see the guidance and notes at the same DEFRA web site and on the BTO web-site.