- with a bit of help from the Young Nature Watch team, on Sunday, 15 November. Go to their page for more details and how to book.
Maybe you'll learn to tell the difference between a bright, fresh trametes versicolour fungus and the same type covered in green algae! (And I thought the green one was so pretty ...)
So far, so good with our indoor meetings.
As David Waters said at our October meeting, why go to Antactica to see exotic bird life when it's right here on our doorstep? Anyone who enjoyed his talk about the Great Bustard project on Salisbury Plain will have been absolutely astounded at these amazing creatures. Supposedly something like a goose but to my mind much more like a flying super-turkey - which may be why they were hunted to extinction in the 19th century.
You can help keep this project going in all sorts of ways, from just £10 to adopt a chick up to as far as your generosity will take you. How can you resist?
Find out how and why on our Talks/Whatyoumissed page.
This absolutely brilliant event last Saturday (17th) was organised by our Young Nature Watch, with eight teams out hunting for these cleverly-disguised little nests.
Izzy Fry - she of the lovely blog - was in our team and demonstrated her 'natural' aptitude by finding a new nest even before we reached the area we were surveying.
I'm hopelessly uncompetitive but even so I was mightily relieved to spot just one of the 19 nests that my 'team' found. That most of them had been collected previously and 'planted' by the organisers not one whit detracted from the excitement. For a bit more about this, go to Young Nature Watch page.
I'd not heard of the Birdwatcher's Yearbook maybe because although I love watching birds no way can I claim to be a bird watcher - but it's warmly recommended for those who are. Go to the Reading List page for details of that and other ideas for the long, dark and maybe locked-down days ahead.
It's also The Global Bird Weekend! when it is aimed to create a world record for the largest number of birds seen by the greatest number of people on this peak migration weekend.
Our swifts are long gone and we hope safely across the Channel. House martins have had a bad time trying to cross, but swallows are still sometimes to be seen.
It is hoped that at least 25,000 participants will go out birdwatching on Saturday 17 October 2020. The goal is to record more than 6,000 bird species.
All you have to do to join in is go out birdwatching and enjoy what you see – with family, friends, groups or just take time out on your own - and then report it using a free eBird Account.
For full details, go to the website
In November butterflies are thin on the ground, with just the chance of seeing some when the temperatures rise enough and the sun makes an appearance. You may see the odd red admiral, small tortoiseshell or peacock in your gardens and some years other species have been seen flying on the downs - meadow browns and small coppers for example in Crockerton Coombe, near Alvediston - and this, combined with the beautiful summery aroma of the herbs, made the winter of 2011 seem that much shorter.
But that was then - you would think 2020 had been a good year for butterflies, after all the beautiful photos sent in by Abby Eaton and others. But the formal stats here tell a slightly different story, as Andrew Graham's full report on the MoreNews page explains.
Meanwhile, Chairman Peter Shallcross reminds us that we are optimistic that we can carry on with our winter programme: see the Talks page for full details on COVID-safe procedures now in place - ie you can't now just turn up as in Normal Times.
Thursday, 15 October, 7.45pm, Victoria Hall: David Waters, Director, Great Bustard Group.
Thursday 19 November at 7.30pm, Hinton Hall: Peter Thompson, formerly of the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, on farming and wildlife.
Saturday 14/Sunday 15 November depending on weather: Young Nature Watch bird-ringing demonstration. For info and bookings, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Guardian newspaper reports that we may have a new native - the Long-tailed blue butterfly. It seems it's been detected laying eggs on the perpetual sweet-pea (not, I confess, a favourite of mine being pretty but scentless). Click here for the full story.
No photo yet on Butterfly Conservation's website - but keep a look out next summer and perhaps yours could be there.
Toadstools, mushrooms, fungi, funghi - call them what you like, Autumn, 'season of mists and mellow fruitfulness', may not to some be as appealing weatherwise as spring and summer, but the way fungi just appear out of the ground is quite magic - though 'magic mushrooms' may be best left to Glastonbury Festivalgoers. The ones that appear on trees last a lot longer.
Here are some photos of my favourites, taken over the years. Andrew Graham has more to say on the subject on the MoreNews page.
Peter Shallcross comments that this horribly wet and windy weather is playing havoc with the last of the house martin migrants - there are many in the Wildlife Hospital and reports of thousands on Portland held back by the wind and rain - hope there is enough of a fine window to let them go. This video link I posted earlier showed them around three weeks ago, an amazing sight.
We are very much in the transition between summer and autumn, both weather and wildlife: temperatures have dropped and the rain has just kept on coming. The swallows and martins are the most obvious migrants moving south but careful observation reveals warblers moving along the hedges.
It is amazing the numbers that turn up in the nets of bird ringers. On Salisbury Plain one of them, Matt Prior can catch 500 migrants of different species in a single day.
Yes, thanks to the COVID precautions in place in the Victoria Hall we can invite you to another in our series of Indoor Talks - this time by David Waters, Director of the Great Bustard Group (GBG) on Salisbury Plain.
Most people haven't got closer than the stuffed one in the entrance to the Salisbury Museum, but Great Bustards are truly magnificent birds, as those of us who joined the Field Trip in August last year will know.
They became extinct in Great Britain when the last one was shot nearly two hundred years ago. Over the last twenty years or more the GBG has created a self-sustaining population on Salisbury Plain of around 100 birds, the only successful reintroduction anywhere - and David is just the man to tell us about it.
You need to register for this event by contacting Dick Budden via email@example.com. Please go to the Talks page for essential information.
The pages now display photos of moths taken by Andrew Graham. This one's the Puss Moth, looks very soft and cuddly.
This blog is updated usually every 2-4 days, depending of course on what's happening, as also other pages independently or linked from blogposts.
If it's not me, Elizabeth Forbes, website editor (keen but ignorant), I'll say so.