Minutes of the Meeting Held on Tuesday 25th March 2014 at 7-30pm at the University of Hull Scarborough Campus
The President, Robin Hopper, welcomed the 25 Members and Guests present.
Minutes of the Previous Meeting: These were displayed and signed as a correct record.
Correspondence: Several fliers for the R.S.P.B. Seabird Cruises from Bridlington were available. The Yorkshire Geological Society had sent their March Circular, and details about a photographic competition, and their Geology Day on 3rd May.
Records and Reports:
Mick Carroll had seen several pairs of Common Buzzards and increasing numbers of Crossbills in Langdale Forest. Kestrels were recovering after the two hard winters of 2012/13. Two Hen Harriers had been seen in the district, and a flock of over 200 wintering Yellowhammers at Foxholes was exceptional.
Frank Sheader had noticed increasing numbers of Rooks on the Wolds, probably up by 30% on previous years.
Stephen Bushell had found frogspawn in upper Troutsdale on 1st March.
Pauline Popely encountered a bat sp. on her way to the meeting on Oliver’s Mount and had also noticed plenty of Corvid sp. at Mowthorpe.
Mandy Hillier had seen a Barn Owl at Scalby Beck on 13th March.
Janice Morritt had been walking south of Thornton-le-Dale and had seen Common Snipe, Tree Sparrows and Common Buzzard. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was on Dog Kennel Lane. Tortoiseshell butterfly and bee sp. were out. Violets and Wood Anemone were flowering at Aislaby, Whitby.
Robin Hopper reported the pair of Dippers was back at Hilla Green.
After a short break, the speaker for the evening was introduced.
Lawrie Phipps, Vice Chairman for The League Against Cruel Sports, a founder of Birders Against Wildlife Crime, and a volunteer with Birdlife Malta gave an illustrated talk on “Postcards from Malta: birds, bullets and the fight for conservation”.
Lawrie explained why the position of Malta on one of the three trans-Mediterranean migration routes was so important, and described, with the aid of excellent photographs, some of the species regularly encountered on spring and autumn migration, including several bird-of-prey species such as Honey Buzzard and Marsh Harrier.
He described the activities of Birdlife Malta volunteers in monitoring and frustrating the attempts by Maltese males to shoot many birds – an activity which is illegal under the European Bird Directive. Constant surveillance of the main shooting areas was used to detect crime, and co-operation with the local police helped to mitigate some of the worst offences. Nevertheless, shooting persisted aided by a lax Government on the island.
The majority of the population were against the shooting as it was giving the Maltese a bad name. Their co-operation, and constant surveillance by as many birdwatchers as could be mustered, was the best hope of reducing what was described as the result of a “macho” mindset of the shooters.
After questions, the President thanked the speaker for an excellent talk. The meeting closed at 9-15p.m.