Minutes of the Meeting of Scarborough Field Naturalists Held on Tuesday 26th February 2013 at 7-30pm at the University of Hull Scarborough Campus.
The President, Robin Hopper, was in the Chair and welcomed the 18 Members and Guests present.
Minutes of the Meeting held on 23rd January. These were displayed at the venue, and had been posted on the website. They were signed as a correct record.
Correspondence: The March Circular from the Yorkshire Geological Society had been received. Several items within were relevant to local Geology.
Records and Reports:
Robin Hopper reported that a recent Open Day for the Carrs Heritage Project had been a success with over 200 visitors recorded.
Mick Carroll reported high numbers of Lapwing on the western Carrs, with up to 500 being present, along with about 30-40 Golden Plover. Numerous duck species had been seen on the Derwent floods, including Pintail and Gadwall. A Hen Harrier was seen on 24th February. Common Buzzards had paired up, Goshawks were displaying and he had seen 16 Crossbills this day.
Philip Winter had not yet seen any butterflies, and his moth trap had only caught three spring species – one each of Dark Chestnut, Chestnut and Hebrew Character. On 18th February, a Common Crane flew over Muston.
John Hume had seen a Peacock butterfly on 10th, and a single Primrose in flower, both in Northstead Manor Gardens. He showed two short videos, one of the Tawny Owl in his garden, and the other of the Kingfisher at the Open Air Theatre.
Brian Walker had seen plenty of deer in the Langdale area. The high population and poor weather may pose a threat to their survival, with low fat reserves and delayed grass growth. A buck had been heard barking, indicating it had detected an unknown threat.
Melanie Earle had seen a reed Bunting, new for her garden at North Moor, and male Brambling and Sparrowhawk.
Ian Glaves reported on some ringing activity by colleagues in his back garden at Sawdon. Despite catching a total of about 240 birds on three separate sessions, only six birds had been re-traps, indicating a large number of birds visiting, rather than a few on repeated occasions.
Louise Thompson had seen 12 Siskin and four Brambling in her garden at Hutton Buscel.
After a short break, the main speaker for the evening was Paul Cropper, of FERA at Sand Hutton near York. He gave an illustrated talk on “Bird Strike” – a circumstance where aircraft, civilian or military, hit birds whilst on take-off, flight or landing. Having shown a short video of a passenger ‘plane ingesting a bird into one engine, Paul went on to give a fascinating account of the statistics of Bird Strike, saying that less than 7% of strikes cause damage, and that it was a rare event, only 8 per 10,000 flight movements. Since the dawn of powered flight 100 years ago, only 273 lives had been lost. It was, however, very expensive for the aviation industry, costing $1.25 billion per annum. A new engine cost at least $2million. Gulls, pigeons and starlings were the most frequent species encountered, but some unusual ones such as vultures in Africa and Snowy Owls in Canada caused some incidents. The larger the bird, and faster the aircraft, the more damage was likely. Numerous measures were taken to mitigate the problem, including practical bird scaring with distress calls, falconry, dogs and laser beams. Changing the environment around airports – bird avoidance modelling, was also important to discourage birds from being attracted to the otherwise favourable habitat of an airfield. Paul reassured those present that flying was still very safe!
After questions, the President gave a vote of thanks and the meeting closed at 9-05pm.