Minutes of the Meeting of the Scarborough Field Naturalists held on Tuesday 16th April at 7-30pm at the University of Hull Scarborough Campus.
The President, Robin Hopper, welcomed the 20 Members and guests present.
The Minutes of the Meeting of 12th March were signed as a correct record.
Correspondence: the 2012 YNU Butterfly and Moth Report had been received. A book, entitled “Dragonflies in Quarries and Gravel Pits”, donated to John Hume by Hanson’s of Wykeham Pit had been received and was displayed. An e-mail from Cayton Village Caravan Park had been received, asking if the Society would be interested in advising the Park about improving wildlife. The Park has held the David Bellamy Conservation Gold Standard for several years. It was decided the meeting on 30th April might be an appropriate time to visit. Leaflets for the RSPB Puffin Cruises were available for Members.
Records and Reports:
Cedric Gillings has seen Swallow at Lebberston Carr on 15th April, and the first frogspawn on 16th.
Albert Devitt reported Little Ringed Plover, six Teal, six Dunlin and a Yellow Wagtail at Scalby Lodge Pond this day, and a Goshawk in Troutsdale on 13th April. He had seen a Fox at Muston.
Frank Sheader had seen Swallow, Blackcap and Common Snipe at Filey Dams, and reported that the long-staying Red-crested Pochard was still on Seamer Road Mere.
Charles Hopper had seen Peacock butterfly at Scalby Mills.
Philip Winter had seen Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies at Muston on 15th, and a dead Hedgehog on the A165 at Muston. There was also a dead Badger on the A64 at West Heslerton.
Brian Walker had seen Tortoiseshell and Peacock butterflies in Dalby Forest.
Janice Morritt had seen Wheatear at The Hulleys, and Bumble Bee and Small Tortoiseshell on the 15th. Tawny Owls (possibly a pair) were in Woodlands Ravine.
Louise Thompson had seen a Brimstone butterfly at Hutton Buscel on 14th April.
Pauline Popely had seen Moschatel, Golden Saxifrage and Wood Anemone at Littlebeck.
John Hume showed a short video of mating Toads in a pond at Grouse Hill. Two Common Lizards were also there. He reported Primroses in bloom at Peasholm Park.
After a short break, the speaker for the evening was introduced. Keith Clarkson, now Reserve Manager for Bempton Cliffs RSPB Reserve, formerly RSPB north of England Reserves Manager, gave an illustrated talk on “The Changing Fortunes of Breeding Birds of Yorkshire”.
Keith started by saying that the number of breeding species had increased over the years since T.H.Nelson recorded 123 in 1909, to 134 recorded by Chislett in 1952, to 138 recorded by Mather in 1986, and to 160 now. However, the total bird numbers for many species were in serious decline. Birds already lost in the 1800’s included Great Bustard, Avocet, Red Kite and Bittern. Stone Curlew, Raven and Woodlark had been lost in the first half of the 1900’s. However, we had gained Wigeon, Goshawk, Collared Dove, Mandarin Duck, Little Egret, Corncrake, Red Kite, Common Crane, Avocet and Mediterranean Gull. Savi’s, Cetti’s and Marsh Warbler were also new breeders.
Keith then went on to outline the key factors driving population change, and loss of up to one million birds per year. Climate change, Agricultural practise, lack of proper woodland management, afforestation and overgrazing by deer had meant some species gained and some lost. Protection Laws and Re-introduction Schemes had maintained and added others. Game management and illegal persecution were responsible for the extinction of birds such as Hen Harrier. Competition between similar species, such as seen in the decline of the Magpie by predation from Carrion Crow, and diseases such as Trichomaniasis in the Greenfinch also caused population change which could fluctuate over the years. Introduced species such as Rose-ringed Parakeet were another factor. Conservation Management was playing a major part in the preservation and return of some species, including Avocet, Marsh Harrier, Bittern, Black-necked Grebe and Common Crane. New reserves in partnership with local human activities, such as seen at St Aidan’s near Leeds were essential to maintain and enhance the range of breeding birds in Yorkshire.
After some lively discussion from the floor, the President thanked Keith for an excellent and informative talk.
The meeting closed at 9-20pm.