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Fish Migration project on the Severn Ham – public meeting 24 March 2018

Dear Resident,

We would like to inform you about a new wildlife conservation project, which seeks to remove barriers to migratory fish in the River Severn.

The Severn is the UK’s longest river and has been important throughout history as an artery of trade to the world. It is also an important river for many species of migratory fish including salmon, eels and shad – a type of herring once well known in the region as the ‘May fish’.

The Severn Ham is a unique place to study the May fish migration and we need volunteers to visit Upper Lode weir and monitor the fish as they migrate over the weir.

We also warmly invite you to a public talk about the project on Saturday 24th March, 5.30pm at Theoc House, Barton Street. If you’re interested in attending or seeing the natural spectacle of the shad migration this spring please get in touch with Tim, the Volunteering Officer at Severn Rivers Trust.

Mob: 07707 585799
Office: 01886 888394


Birds of Prey Day – John Moore Museum – Sat 10 Feb

A Live Animal Event for February half-term week 2018


Organiser John Moore Museum
Date Saturday 10th February 2018
Time 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 5pm
Venue John Moore Museum, 41 Church Street, Tewkesbury, GL20 5SN
Details For the start of Half Term week in Gloucestershire, the museum welcomes back J.R.C.S Falconry who will be bringing along a selection of birds of prey from their extensive collection.

Visit us to meet a Golden Eagle, a Hooded Vulture, an Eagle Owl, a Little Owl, an American Kestrel and a Barn Owl.  An opportunity to see birds of prey, from some of the largest to the smallest.

A falconer will be on hand to answer all your questions about these amazing birds as well as on the ancient art of falconry.

Four sessions to choose from

10.00am to 11.15am
11.45am to 1pm
2pm to 3.15pm
3.45pm to 5pm

Adult: £4.00, Seniors & Students £3.50, Children £2.00
(Tickets include admission to the John Moore Museum & the Old Baptist Chapel)

Notes for editors Contact: Simon Lawton (Curator)
Telephone: 01684 297174

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 –

A possible flower association of Ferdinandea cuprea

This note was written for the national Hoverfly Newsletter and has been published in the autumn 2017 edition issued by the Dipterists’ Forum. It may interest some other naturalists too.

On 19 August 2017 I visited a large woodland site in the Cotswolds. The weather was cool and there had been rain during the night; the grass was still wet in the lower and more shaded rides. As there was very little insect activity I decided that I would spend some time photographing the Naked Ladies which were a conspicuous and colourful feature of the scenery. By Naked Ladies, of course, I mean the flowers of Colchicum autumnale, also known as Meadow Saffron.

My eye was soon caught by an unusually downward facing flower within which there seemed to be some activity going on. I found that there was a female Ferdinandea cuprea moving around inside the base of the inverted flower. The hoverfly may have been foraging for nectar or pollen but as the surroundings were devoid of flying insects, and because of the hesitant way it began to emerge from the flower on my approach, I formed the impression that it might have been sheltering under the tent of petals for some time.

The day warmed up later, but not very much, and the few flowering plants in the woodland continued to attract almost no hoverflies. I had walked some distance from my first sighting of F. cuprea when I spotted a particularly shapely group of Naked Ladies and decided to take their photograph. While I was getting into position I became aware that a fly of some kind was coming into view and was clearly moving towards the same flowers. I quickly took my shot, hoping that the fly might add some interest to the image. Fortunately, the fly came out almost as well-focused as the flowers, and is clearly again a female F. cuprea. On this occasion the hoverfly did not land on the flower; it apparently detected my presence, changed course and flew away.













These two separate sightings of F. cuprea with C. autumnale may be a random coincidence. However, as I am not aware of any reported association between this flower and any species of hoverfly, the observation may be of some interest. In Hoverflies of Surrey (Surrey Wildlife Trust, 1998) Roger Morris does not include C. autumnale either in the extensive list of flowers visited by hoverflies (Appendix 2) or among those mentioned in his account of F. cuprea.

Coombe Hill and Cobney Meadows on 21 October

Little sign of any rise in water levels in the Severn Vale: at the GWT reserve at Coombe Hill, the north scrape was till dry, there was just a small puddle in the south scrape, but still shallow water on the Long Pool (the only place where water has lasted throughout the summer). Some hay late had recently been cut on neighbouring fields – a sign of just how dry the conditions are. Storm Brian didn’t succeed in blowing the Grundon Hide away, but made it hard to see songbirds, which stayed in thick vegetation. 

The colour-ringed pair of Mute Swans that had nested locally were still present, with their eight full grown cygnets; at least 260 Greylag Geese grazing, eight Canada Geese, one very striking Canada x white Farmyard Goose hybrid, four Wigeon (the first of the winter here), 160 Teal, eight Shovelers, 11 Grey Herons, a single Green Sandpiper left; 6 Redwings flew over to the southwest (also the first  of the winter).

 At Cobney Meadows, not much water left on the flight pond either: 1 Sparrowhawk hunting, 1 Buzzard; a single Snipe on the old Parish Drain.


Black nightshade in maize stubble

Fodder maize in a Standish field was harvested during the week. Gulls and woodpigeons are feasting on the dropped cobs. I’ve taken the opportunity to check the weed flora hoping to find some unusual alien plants, but the ground is overwhelmingly dominated by Black Nightshade, Solanum nigrum, which is also common in my garden. It is a member of the potato family, and has small starry white flowers and round fruit that turn from green to black without going through a red stage (unlike Woody Nightshade, Solanum dulcamara, that has purple flowers and fruit that go from green to yellow to red.)

Discovering Bats Day – John Moore Museum – Saturday 28th October

A Live Animal Event

Organiser John Moore Museum
Date Saturday 28th October 2017
Time Four sessions to choose from:
10.30am to 11.30am
11.45am to 12.45pm
2.30pm to 3.30pm
3.45pm to 4.45pm
Venue John Moore Museum, 41 Church Street, Tewkesbury, GL20 5SN
Details Discovering Bats!
Why do bats hang upside-down?
How do they find their way in the dark?
What different types of bats live in the UK?
How can I encourage them to visit my garden? 

Renowned bat expert David Endacott will be at the museum with a selection of live, rescued British Bats to explain all about these fascinating creatures of the night.  Also displays by the Gloucestershire Bat Group where you can learn about their work and how to join.  This is the perfect opportunity to find out the truth about these much misunderstood animals.

Pick up FREE information on how you can help bats, and take part in our craft activities – make your own origami bat!

Tickets available on the door or in advance from the museum
Adults £4.00 / Seniors & Students £3.50 / Children £2
(Tickets include admission to the John Moore Museum & The Old Baptist Chapel).

Notes for editors Contact: Simon Lawton (Curator) – very happy to give interviews
Telephone: 01684 297174