BRIDGWATER and District U3A
Natural History Meetings: 4th Wednesday of each Month Group Leader: Hilary Telephone: 241360
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 Update ~ September & October 2019 We had two long-distance outings these months, in September a Jurassic Coast boat trip from Exmouth and in October, a trip to Slimbridge in Gloucestershire. Since our boat trip was around the time of the equinoctial gales, we were somewhat apprehensive about sea conditions, but were lucky enough to get reasonably calm water. We had lunch beforehand, at, appropriately, a pub called ‘The Beach’, where the staff were most obliging. The cliffs were quite dramatic, typical deep red Devon sandstone, with some caves evident in the making and varied strata, crowned by groups of gannets. We passed a firing range and a few shallow bays before ending up at Ladram Bay where the beach shelves extremely steeply so our boat was able to get right up close to some of the stacks. It was a nice, peaceful afternoon and felt as though we were miles away from the rest of the world, apart from a few fellow travellers glued to their mobile phones, taking photos! The day of our trip to Slimbridge dawned all foggy so it wasn’t a very promising start but did clear over later. We also had to run the gauntlet of roadworks in the nearby village with consequent detour round the lanes, which also meant that the restaurant on site was only able to offer a limited menu, but we managed! The number of birds around more than made up for other problems, with many different species of geese, ducks, flamingos (more than I had realised), mute and whooper swans, even a pair of cranes and a couple of otters. This time, we were all taking photos! It was gratifying to find the cranes had spread out from their original introduction sites and had adapted to living wild, after all the hard work that had gone into bringing them back to the UK. The first Bewick swans landed four days later so we only just missed them. We are coming back indoors for the next couple of months, with a film show in November, missing out December, then our usual lunch/planning meeting on 22nd January at the Admiral’s Landing. I’m hoping that there will be some interesting, fresh ideas forthcoming for places we can visit next year! If you are interested in finding out more about us, please ring me on 01278 241360. 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.