Natural HistoryMeetings: 4th Wednesday of each Month Group Leader: HilaryTelephone: 431853
The Natural History group includes bird watching, but titled thus gives us a wider scope.We are planning various visits to local wildlife hotspots over the next few months.
Natural History Group ~ updateOur group’s new format has been working well; each of us takes a turn to organise a trip or event and this helps spread the load. We had our post-Christmas meal/planning meeting at the end of January, with lots of idea and suggestions for things we can do or places to visit, down the year.We started off the year’s trips with a real flourish. Having had to postpone our River Exe trip last February, due to the ‘Beast from the East’, we booked it again for early this March, with fingers crossed. The weather changed from gorgeous to dreadful the weekend before so we weren’t looking forward to the trip with much confidence. Although it was still quite breezy on the top deck, with a few sudden downpours (when everyone on the open top deck hastily decamped to the deck below!), we hit pretty lucky and actually had sunshine.When we left Exmouth, there were several intrepid surf-boarders with hang gliding canopies over their heads, doing some very impressive stunts. The groups of birds on the nearby sand bars weren’t impressed with them, however, and kept taking off to get away from them. Around the corner of Dawlish Warren sand dunes, there was a low punt like boat in the water, on which was a seal, lazily ‘waving’ a flipper at us, completely unfazed by the proximity of our boat and causing a lot of amusement.As we zigzagged our way between the sand bars in the estuary, there was an incredible display of birds which must have run into thousands, far more than I have seen on previous trips there. The crew gave us a check-list and Peter was checking them off as he saw each one, getting up to 31 species. Amazingly, with all that ‘meat on the wing’, we only saw one predator, a merlin. The commentators must have had extremely sharp eyesight and obviously had a rough idea where to look, so were able to alert the passengers to the different species on all sides. However, because it was mainly overcast and the plastic awning along the sides was a bit obscured with salt spray, it was difficult to get photos.It was a very successful trip, think everyone enjoyed it and we’re hoping to go back for a different sort of cruise later in the year.If you are interested in finding out more about us, please ring me on 01278 431853. If I’m not around, please leave a message and I will endeavour to get back to you. Hilary
Note: In all cases before joining a group for the first time please telephone the group leader.