Mar 222017
 

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.

Jan 232017
 

Fourteen members gathered for a walk, following public footpaths through a variety of habitats in the Lower Lode and Forthampton Court area, on a bright, frosty, late January morning. Starting by the Severn, the first point of interest was the brick pits just behind the flood-bank, originally excavated in the nineteenth century to provide clay for bricks to build houses in Tewkesbury; though the pits were frozen over, at least 40 Cormorants were resting in the tops of tall trees surrounding the pits; this is a regular loafing spot for these birds which must be finding a lot of fish in the Severn. Walking inland we then went through meadows now converted to maize cultivation, and slightly uphill to the first river terrace, where gravel brought down in distant geological times was evident; en route two members were fortunate to hear the breeding call of a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, a species rapidly declining all over the country, and something of a speciality in the area; worth looking and listening again here as the season progresses! We flushed a Snipe from some maize left uncut as game cover in the maize field, and a Green Sandpiper flew over, clearly wintering along the stream, though not frequently recorded here.

On the higher ground is the Key Wildlife Site of Forthampton Oaks: (Key Wildlife Sites are areas not actually registered as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, but of interest for their wildlife, and recognised in the planning system). Forthampton Oaks is an impressive stand of oak trees on higher ground overlooking the Severn and looking across to the Severn Ham at Tewkesbury, some dying, some in rude health; their special interest is a series of unusual beetles, recorded by GNS member Keith Alexander. In the parkland around Forthampton Court there are a variety of large trees, including a Wellingtonia in which we found a Tree Creeper roost, with good numbers of wintering thrushes, Fieldfares and Redwings, feeding (on invertebrates) on grassy fields.

Then back down to the river, through ancient hay meadows, in their original state and not ploughed up for maize, where Curlews nest in summer, and with a summer Sand Martin colony in the mud banks of the river. From the river bank there are fine views back upstream of Tewkesbury Abbey, dominating that reach of the river. The historic Lower Lode Inn, just by the former ferry across the river to Tewkesbury, provided a good spot to reflect on the morning’s observations.

 Posted by on 23rd January 2017 at 12:19
Jan 182017
 

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.

Jan 182017
 

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.

Jan 052017
 

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 Hallwww.glosnats.org/diary/

 

Nov 152016
 

Curlews, with Mary Colwell, 7.30 Wednesday 23rd November, Gala Club, Fairmile Gdns, Gloucester, GL2 9EB. Free – no booking necessary, donations welcome on the evening.

Mary works with BBC Wildlife in Bristol, and has been deeply concerned at the decline of the Curlew, not only in UK, but in Ireland, where the decline has been even more dramatic. To draw attention to this issue she undertook a 500 mile walk in May, beginning in Ireland and ending in Lincolnshire. Details of her walk and of many other Curlew projects are presented on her website www.curlewmedia.com. She is currently active in promoting  actions to conserve Curlews, and in raising funds for this purpose. She is organising (in cooperation with the Irish official conservation authorities) a conference on Curlews at Tullamore, County Offaly, in early November, is holding a series of public Curlew evenings to publicise Curlew issues, and is a key figure in planning the major workshop planned for Slimbridge on February 2nd.

 Posted by on 15th November 2016 at 17:34
Nov 062016
 

The next GNS Indoor Meeting is due to take place on Friday 11th November 2016 at Watermoor Church Hall, Cirencester, GL7 1JR; 7.00 for 7.30 pm – the subject of the meeting being “A Lane in the Midlands Forest” presented by Mike Lane FRPS. Mike is a full-time wildlife photographer specialising in birds and mammals and with a particular interest in the new and little known Heart of England Forest in Warwickshire; excellent photos and an interesting commentary.

Details of all forthcoming meetings are available on the GNS Web-Site together with a map & directions for Watermoor Church Hall – http://www.glosnats.org/category/news/meetings/

Nov 022016
 

The next GNS Field Meeting is due to take place on Sunday 6th November 2016 at Frampton On Severn – a meeting of Autumn Birds and general interest along the canal and river to be led by Andrew Bluett (01452 610085). Meet in the car park by the swing bridge at the north end of the village SO 746 084, 10 for 10.30 to approx. 1.00pm. Please dress appropriately for the weather and conditions under foot. Come along and take a look at the wildlife and countryside in Autumn along the Gloucester-Sharpness Canal and River Severn.

Nov 022016
 

Gloucestershire Raptor Monitoring Group are holding an indoor meeting on Thursday 8th December 2016 at The Gala Club, Fairmile Gardens (off Tewkesbury Road) Gloucester, GL2 9EB, 7.00 for 7.30pm.

Buzzards, with Robin Prytherch: Robin has been studying Common Buzzards in an area south of Bristol for many years, making extensive and very detailed observations of breeding behaviour and monitoring individual birds. He has had several papers published in the journal British Birds, most recently on the way territorial size and productivity have changed as numbers have increased, and (in March this year) on “nests, nest trees and prey remains”.

Tickets are available via the GRMG web-site at https://glosraptors.co.uk/shop/

Sep 132016
 

The next GNS Field Meeting is due to take place on Sunday 25th September at Cleeve Hill to be led by Ellie Phillips.

BIOLOGICAL RECORDING – What it is and how to record your observations.

Biological recording is the main purpose of the GNS and this is an important chance to learn or update your skills. You can stay for as much or as little of the meeting as you wish, there will be a mixture of background context and practical sessions.

There is a handout booklet to help with this event; it would therefore be helpful to have some idea of numbers beforehand. Please contact Des Marshall 01242 245143 or catullus@uwclub.net to register your interest.

Meet in the Quarry Car Park (next to the Golf Club), Cleeve Hill, at SO 989 271 at 10.00am (bring a packed lunch).