Minutes of the Meeting of Scarborough Field Naturalists held on Tuesday 12th March at 7-30pm at the University of Hull Scarborough Campus.
The President, Robin Hopper, welcomed the 21 Members and Guest present.
Minutes of the Meeting held on 12th February: These had been posted on the website and shown on-screen at meeting. There were no amendments and they were signed as a correct record.
Correspondence: None received.
Records and Reports:
Mick Carroll had been to Worlaby Carr and seen 13 Short-eared Owls and Hen Harrier. The site was under threat from agricultural development. Two Little Egrets had returned to Pickering Cress Ponds.
Ian Glaves told Members about an oil spill affecting mainly Black-headed Gulls on our local coast. An e-mail address for reporting affected birds would be put on the website. The Sealife Centre was acting as a receiving station for the oiled birds. IG also reported two Whooper Swans on Ruston Carrs.
John Hume reported a Weasel in his garden at Newby.
Pat Glenwright had seen a Sparrowhawk kill a Wood Pigeon in her garden, which it ate over the next few days. She had also seen a bee sp. in her front porch despite the inclement weather.
Brian Walker had observed the Red-legged Partridges return to the urban surroundings of Thornton-Le-Dale. He advised Members there were numerous magazines for perusal at 10p each.
Frank Sheader reported a pair of Stock Doves nesting, and large numbers of Wood Pigeons.
Louise Thompson reported the Green Hellebore in Forge Valley was in good flower.
Pauline Popely advised Members that the Hawfinches at Helmsley may be viewable from the car park there.
After a short break, the meeting continued with an illustrated talk by Paula Lightfoot of the Yorkshire Naturalists Union, entitled “Recording Yorkshire’s Marine and Coastal Wildlife”.
Paula stated she was not a professional marine biologist, but was co-ordinator for Seasearch in the north-east, and had learned SCUBA diving in Egypt, and had dived in Honduras, the Seychelles and Cuba. A habitat-based section of the YNU had been formed and tasked with recording the colourful and varied marine life on the Yorkshire coast. Historically, the YNU had recorded coastal life from 1887 to 1947, but more recent records were sparse. Through a series of field meetings from Redcar to Spurn Point, allied with training courses, 2,400 records of 400 species had been achieved, with the help of affiliated societies and events such as the Scarborough Bioblitz. Various other projects such as “Seasearch”, “The Shore Thing”, the “Real Reefs Project” and the “Great Eggcase Hunt” had helped to get a picture of the diverse species found along our coastline. A new-to-science species had been found – the Purple Sponge.
Paula then went on to describe some of the commoner species in each Class found on the Yorkshire Coast, with the aid of many superb underwater photographs, ranging from Sponges to Mammals.
Paula also gave an update on the status of the proposed Marine Conservation Zones. Only 0.001% of our coast was protected, and after the Marine and Coastal Protection Act of 2009, it was hoped 127 identified zones would be protected, of which six were on the Yorkshire Coast. However, it looked as though only a few of these would be considered by the Government. After outlining the YNU marine recording programme for 2013, the meeting was thrown open to questions.
After several questions from the audience, the President gave a vote of thanks, and the meeting closed at 8-55pm.