Minutes of the Meeting Held on Tuesday 8th April 2014 at 7-30pm at the University of Hull Scarborough Campus
The President, Robin Hopper, welcomed the 23 Members and Guests present.
Minutes of the Meeting Held on 25th March 2014: These were displayed and signed as a correct record.
Correspondence: RSPB Seabird Cruise leaflets were available.
Records and Reports: The Secretary announced the start of a Facebook page, although accessing it needed to be sorted out. The brief suspension of the Website was due to an administrative error on the part of the hosting company, and this had been corrected.
Mick Carroll had seen two Wheatears on Fylingdales Moor. He explained to Members about the perilous state of the Hen Harrier as a breeding bird in England. He asked Members to phone the RSPB Hotline immediately if they saw a Hen harrier, and distributed cards with the relevant contact information.
Janice Morritt had seen a pair of Common Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk spiralling on the same thermal at Howldale, Thornton le Dale on 1st April, as well as 2 Roe Deer. In Farndale on 6th there was a Slow Worm, and Willow Warbler, with two more Willow Warblers at Howsham. Four Swallows were at Wilton, and 3-4 Fieldfare at Westow. Four Common Buzzards were at Kirkham Priory, and a Blackcap was seen locally on 8th. Janice also commented on the number of road-kill animals including nine badgers, a Barn Owl and a deer sp.
Brian Walker had seen Barn Owl in the Hood Lane/Hayburn Wyke area. He also had a collection of Forestry Commission research papers, free to anyone who wanted them.
Melanie Earle had seen two pods of at least three Harbour Porpoise at 6-30pm on 4th April off the Marine Drive. Mice had nibbled the fuel lines in her car, and a persistent female Rabbit had made a nest in her garden.
Brian Cockerill had been on a walk from Filey to Cayton Bay and noted good numbers of Auk species on the cliffs, mostly Guillemots, a few Razorbills and a Puffin. A few pairs of Cormorants were at a colony site.
Louise Thompson had found Yellow Star of Bethlehem at a site north of Hutton Buscel, along with wild Daffodils. Eight Siskin and eight Goldfinch were visiting her garden feeders.
Pauline Popely had seen three Barn Owls in the Ravenscar area last week, and a Green Woodpecker in High Troutsdale on 5th April.
Mandy Hillier had seen Common Buzzard at Scalby Nabs.
Ian Glaves reported on some recent bird migration activity in the district. Black Redstarts had been seen near St. Mary’s Church and on the Marine Drive on 3rd and 4th. Wheatears were back, with three on South Cliff on 4th. Willow Warbler was in Wykeham Forest on 5th. A significant southerly passage of Linnets occurred at Long Nab, with 173 flying south on 5th, 605 on 6th and 94 on 7th (with a further 150 in the fields). One hundred and four Meadow Pipits flew south there on 6th, along with a Marsh Harrier, and the first Swallow of the year. A Corn Bunting went south on the 7th, whilst a Snow Bunting was still there from the winter.
Following a short break, the speaker for the evening, professional sound recordist, Jez Riley-French gave a talk entitled “A Quiet Place – the art and act of wildlife sound recording”
Jez had started sound recording as a boy of 12 years, from which it had become an obsession. He had done work for several organisations including the BBC, and gave workshops world-wide. He adopted a wide perspective of subject matter, especially the impact of human generated noise on the environment. He demonstrated this with some of his recordings of common man-made structures such as fire-alarm switches, light fittings, and suspended steel cables, all of which we cannot hear but which emit noises within the range of hearing of many animals and birds. Fortunately, this seemed to have little impact on their activity or range, suggesting they adapted well to noise.
He also demonstrated recordings of some wildlife, including ants stridulating, periwinkles eating sea-grass, tadpoles and water beetles eating, bees within a hive and the dawn chorus. He concluded that the animal world was “deafening”. Subtle use of a variety of microphones meant we could hear cosmic radiation from the “Big Bang”, and the sound of the Earth turning. He demonstrated several types, including contact, coil and ultrasound pick-ups and Very Low Frequency receivers.
In all, it proved to be a most fascinating insight into sound in the natural environment. The effect of human noise on animal life was an unexpected aspect of the talk, offering a completely different viewpoint from conventional perceptions. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the talk.
After questions, the meeting closed at 9-15pm.