Julia Burton always provides a stimulating talk, and she was clearly determined that this September jaunt through the butterflies of Macedonia should be no different. Macedonia is an area of former Republic of Yugoslavia not known to many of us. It is only just larger than Wales, but has 205 species of butterfly recorded. Luckily not all of them featured in this talk, or we might indeed have ended up with stony faces (like the statue Julia used to illustrate this point). Butterfly identification becomes really difficult when there are large numbers of fritillary species, graylings, blues etc. and Julia’s excellent photos enabled her to point out very subtle differences that separate the species. She took us on a tour of the mountains, lakes and marshlands of Macedonia, and across the border into Albania. Here she encountered not only butterflies, but also Brown Bears at close quarters, Praying Mantis, many birds and a cricket as big as your hand.
On Sunday 9th October WVBS members endured a very early start to reach the docks at Boston, Lincs, for a cruise on the Boston Belle. This excellent boat, manned by a helpful and friendly crew, and led by RSPB staff, quietly and steadily made its way through the lock and docks along the River Haven, out into the Wash, and then along the River Welland to Spalding where it expertly performed a 3-point turn (I didn’t know boats could do those) and returned to Boston for 2pm. No exceptional rarities were spotted but there were lots of great birds, some in large numbers. Highlights included:- • A large flock of Pink-Footed Geese flying across the Wash in the distance – a sure sign that Autumn is well underway. • Several small flocks of Golden Plovers, seeming to light up as they turned and caught the sun. • A huge flock of Oystercatchers roosting on the bank of the Wash. • A flock of grazing black-bellied Brent Geese (my personal favourite geese). • More Redshank, Little Egrets and Curlew than you could shake a stick at (but why would you want to, anyway?). • Several Common Terns fishing alongside the boat. • Good numbers of Grey and Ringed Plover. • Several Marsh Harriers – oh how easy it would be us to take them for granted in East Anglia. • 2 groups of Common Seals frowning at us from the banks as we disturbed their peace. • And to crown a lovely day, eagle-eyed Phil Borley spotted a very wet and bedraggled Peregrine Falcon on the Boston “Stump” looking very miserable as only a bird of prey can. In all, 58 species were recorded.
Indoor meetings at Weston Longville Hall for All, 7.30pm. All welcome. (There is a £2.00 charge for non-members) Thursday 19th January – The Birds and Animals of Argentina by Allan Hale
Thursday 16th February – Unravelling the Mysteries of Bird Migration by Ieuan Evans of the BTO.
Saturday 28th January – An all-day visit to Holkham
Sunday 26th February – All day at Horsey.
For more details and information contact Sue Gale – firstname.lastname@example.org