In addition to learning about tassel stonewort and surveying for them, people may feel inspired to help survey the commons in future. Places are limited and booking essential – details on poster (PDF file): 20170328 Tassel Stonewort Inglestone Gloucs
Thanks for your help
Hawkesbury & Inglestone Commons Officer
Environment and Community Services Team
South Gloucestershire Council
A Live Animal Event for February half-term week
|John Moore Museum|
|Saturday 11th February 2017|
|10am to 1pm & 2pm to 5pm|
|John Moore Museum, 41 Church Street, Tewkesbury, GL20 5SN|
|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.
Admission: Adult: £3.50, Seniors & Students £3.00, Children £1.50
|Contact: Simon Lawton (Curator)
Telephone: 01684 297174
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 February – Winter 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.
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 https://glosraptors.co.uk/shop/
Details of all forthcoming meetings are available on the GNS Web-Site together with a map & directions for Watermoor Church Hall – www.glosnats.org/diary/
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 https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu
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.
As we exit the year 2016 and enter 2017, cold weather in the east has provoked a rise in the number of migrants from Europe; waterfowl in particular have started to arrive in greater numbers in search of less frost affected wetland areas.
We have been aware for a number of years of the potential for Avian Influenza in various strains to be carried by long distance migrants and of the potential consequences both for the wild bird populations and domestic (farmed) birds which are concentrated in large numbers in various facilities across the UK where the demand for meat and eggs is high, and especially so in the autumn as Christmas approaches with the spike in demand for Chicken, Turkeys, Geese and Ducks as festive fare.
Outbreaks of the H5N8 strain of Avian Influenza (AI) have been widely reported across the old world with news of slaughter programmes being put in place in for example Iran & Japan where hundreds of thousands of birds are affected. H5N8 is not a threat to human beings but the potential loss of much of the supply to the human consumed meat trade would have other consequences.
By mid-November, eight countries in Europe had reported detections of H5N8 in such species as Tufted Duck, Coot, Pochard, gulls, geese and swans. None of the outbreaks were in the UK but the risk level was increased to medium from low.
Inevitably, the threat was realized in a short timescale; by the first week of December 2016, infections of H5N8 HPAI in wild, captive or domestic birds had been reported in 14 countries across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
By mid-December as a result of an outbreak in Turkeys at a Lincolnshire poultry farm, the BTO issued an advisory note that an exclusion zone had been declared and that all trapping & ringing operations of wild birds in the zone were suspended. On 22nd December WWT Llanelli Wetland Centre was obliged to close as a precautionary measure, following the finding of a dead wild Wigeon on the Loughor estuary. WWT, together with other organizations is vigilant and takes a cautious approach to such outbreaks since there is much at stake, particularly in their collections of captive wildfowl.
From the BTO web-site comes the following information:
General government guidance on avian influenza can be found at:
- www.gov.uk/avian-influenza-bird-flu for England
- www.gov.scot/avianinfluenza for Scotland
- http://gov.wales/topics/environmentcountryside/ahw/disease/avianflu/?lang=en for Wales
- https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/avian-influenza-ai for Northern Ireland.
The latest information from Defra and the Animal and Plant Health Agency on the current outbreaks in poultry, captive and wild birds in Europe can be found at:
What to do
Birdwatchers /naturalists can be of great assistance in staying alert for unusual cases of mortality or sickness in wild birds. If you notice unusual mortality in Great Britain, i.e. five or more wild birds dead in the same location, you should report them by calling the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 (Mon-Fri 8am to 6pm) and selecting option 1, or by emailing email@example.com.In Northern Ireland such wild bird mortality incidents should be reported to the DAERA Helpline: 0300 200 7840.
Reports are also encouraged when a single dead wild duck, wild goose, swan or gull is found. Not all birds may be picked up for testing, but collating this information may reveal patterns of mortality.
It should be stressed that HPAI is a disease of birds. It is of great concern for the poultry industry but does not appear to be a major issue for human health in the UK. Whilst deaths have occurred in other countries, the numbers of cases have been very low and have been confined to people in very close contact to infected poultry. The advice is that there is no danger from eating well-cooked poultry and there is certainly no danger from normal birdwatching activities. Sensible basic hygiene should be used if you do come into closer contact with birds.
It is extremely unlikely that bird flu could be transmitted to people by feeding birds in the garden. Birds carry a variety of diseases, such as salmonella. The single most important action we can take, to protect both the birds that feed in our gardens and ourselves, is to follow hygiene guidelines.
In all circumstances, after handling bird feeders, cleaning bird baths or feeding birds, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Bird feeders should be washed and cleaned regularly to prevent spread of diseases such as salmonella. This should be done outside in your garden with dilute disinfectant (normal household bleach diluted 1:20).
What do I do if I find a dead bird?
Many thousands of birds die every week of natural causes and so it is not unusual to occasionally find dead birds. If, however, you find five or more dead wild or garden birds together in the same place and you are suspicious of the cause of death, do not touch the birds and contact Defra using the details above. This is particularly important for species like waterfowl.
Where possible, avoid directly touching any dead birds. If you move a dead bird (e.g. if a cat brings one into your house or you need to check if it is ringed), invert a plastic bag over your hand and pick the bird up in the plastic. If the bird is ringed, report the ring details to the BTO (www.ring.ac), then draw the bag over your hand and tie it up and dispose of it in your usual household waste, then wash your hands with soap and water.
Ringers have been issued with more detailed guidance at
- https://www.bto.org/sites/default/files/u10/downloads/taking-part/Diseases-from-birds.pdf (PDF, 446.84 KB).
Ringing should be suspended within any 10km Surveillance Zones where these are put in place around infected premises.
The 2013 Gloucestershire Bird Report is now available. This is the 51st edition of this annual publication. Copies have already been posted to GNS members who opted to receive it. Further copies are now available to purchase for £9.50 including postage, via our Publications page.