Minutes of the Meeting Held on Tuesday 12th November 2013, 7-30pm, at the University of Hull Scarborough Campus
The President, Robin Hopper, welcomed the 23 Members and Guests present.
Minutes of the Meeting of 29th October 2013: These were displayed, and signed as a correct record.
Matters Arising: The Secretary informed Members that the Weeping Elm Group had replied to the letter sent in support of their efforts to save the tree at the Ellis Centre. The tree had been examined by the Director of The Tree Register, and is now recognised as No. 6 on the Champion Tree list in England, being larger than the previous Yorkshire Champion, in the Cholera Burial Garden in York. An urgent application for a tree preservation order has been made to Scarborough Borough Council.
Correspondence: The November Circular from the Yorkshire Geological Society had been received.
Records and Reports:
Robin Hopper reported a Water Rail at Northstead Manor Gardens, and a huge influx of Blackbirds from the Continent, with over 6,000 arriving in the Scarborough area during the day on 11th, mostly in the morning. Ian Robinson confirmed there had been over 7,000 at Filey. Robin also reported on Bird of Prey slaughter still happening on Malta, and a Hawk Owl in Finland.
Melanie Earle also commented on the number of Blackbirds present in her garden, and a Barn Owl on the road from Wykeham to North Moor. She had found the fungi Geoglossum fallax (on Troutsdale Moor), Geoglossum glutinosum (at North Moor) and a Melastiza sp. (also on Troutsdale Moor).
Janice Morritt had seen a Peacock butterfly as late as the 12th November above Snainton, with a Common Buzzard there also.
Brian Walker reported on a project in Newtondale whereby Highland cattle were being introduced to graze areas deemed suitable for Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary.
After a short break, the meeting resumed with two talks with Cetaceans as the subject – “Cetaceans Near and Far”.
Stuart Baines, assistant Regional Co-ordinator for the Seawatch Foundation (a Charity dedicated to the conservation of whales, dolphins and porpoises around the UK), gave an account of some of the recent sightings of whales, dolphins and porpoise in the North Sea, especially the Yorkshire Coast. In September, the Foundation had received 178 reports – 7 Minke Whales, 48 White-beaked Dolphin, 122 Porpoise and one Fin Whale in the north-east region. Other species that had been seen were Bottle-nosed Dolphin and Humpback Whale. At least 10 Minke Whales had been seen off Filey, and numbers locally were high this year. Watching from the Marine Drive was easy, and if no sea-mammals are present the resident Peregrines were worth looking at.
Ian Robinson had spent thirty years whale-watching in many parts of the world, and he gave a brief review of whales worldwide. He gave five sites as good places to visit, being the Sea of Cortez – Mexico, the Bay of Funday – Nova Scotia, Baffin Island, Sri Lanka and Newfoundland. With the aid of his excellent photographs, he described the salient identification features of a range of whales and dolphins, including Grey, Blue, North Atlantic Right, Humpback, Fin, Sperm, Narwhal and Killer Whales, as well as Spinner and Bottle-nosed Dolphins. He warned that whale-watching could be addictive and expensive, but if no whales were to be seen, there were always birds to watch!
After two very enjoyable presentations, the President thanked the two speakers, and the meeting closed at 9-15pm.