Talks, Field Trips, Events & Activities

Showing 7 upcoming events




Twite Conservation by Jenny Oldroyd

6th Mar 2015
Friday 6th March, 7-8pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

Twite, or Mountain Linnet as they were also known, was not an uncommon breeding bird in the uplands of Northumbria in the 19th century but its population has been declining ever since and it is now a rare breeding bird in our region and could become locally extinct. The RSPB and Natural England have embarked on a project in the South Pennines to develop conservation techniques that could reverse its fortunes. Jenny is the Twite Project Officer and will give an overview of Twite ecology, distribution, behaviour and migration and will talk about the conservation work that is being done and what has been learnt so far.
red kite



Reintroducing Milvus milvus: A Performed Abstract by Rachel Magdeburg

6th Mar 2015
Friday 6th March 8.30pm-9pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

Visual Artist Rachel Magdeburg will narrate her written script: ‘Milvus milvus: The reCAPTCHA.’ This lyrical fiction applies linguistic devices, comedy and anthropomorphism to tell a tale of revenge, an analogy to xenophobia and a comment on commercialisation.

This chronological story uses rhyming text and word play and traces the Red Kites near annihilation during the 19th century by Humans and then their ‘moral’ restoration due to guilt. The Red Kites seek vengeance for their destruction and ‘assisted translocation’ and retaliate by taking over the UK through brand domination and monopolising Business, Leisure, Technology and Enviro-Tourism sectors.

Embedded within the narrative are views surrounding immigration (contrasted to bird migration). It also topically addresses the current discussions regarding the proposed Anthropocene and Rewilding; the question of what is a ‘native’ or ‘invasive species’ and Human creation of ‘wildness.’

Rachel will read the script as a ‘performed abstract’ and incorporate props and a PowerPoint slideshow of images drawn from animation and advertising.

Rachel is an artist and writer based in Gateshead.
Crossbill, Harwood Forest © Peter Fawcett



Birds of Kielder Forest

7th Mar 2015
Saturday 7th March, 9.30am - 3pm

Weather permitting, March can be a good month to look for some of the specialist bird species found in our coniferous forests such as Goshawk and Crossbill. We will also keep an eye out for Red Squirrel and look for Mandarin Duck.

Free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book.



The life and work of Brian Houghton Hodgson (1801-1894) by David Lowther

13th Mar 2015
Friday 13th March, 7-8pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

Although widely acknowledged during his own time Brian Houghton Hodgson has largely slipped into obscurity. A diplomat and officer of the English East India Company, he was posted to Nepal at a time when the fauna of the Himalaya was almost wholly unknown to European science. Between 1820 and 1844, he amassed a collection of over 10,000 zoological specimens and published 140 scientific papers, many of which described species for the first time. However, it is the thousands of watercolour illustrations of birds and mammals which represent Hodgson’s greatest legacy. Originally collected with the intention of publishing a work on Nepalese zoology, every image includes extraordinarily thorough notes about the species’ behaviour, ecology, and habitat, as well as painstaking measurements and anatomical sketches. Now stored in the archives of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), this set of stunning images remains one of the most important sources of knowledge about the indigenous wildlife of Nepal and Tibet available to modern ecologists and conservationists.

Owing to the number of globally threatened species in Nepal Hodgson’s work is of increasing significance. This talk assesses Hodgson’s work as a pioneering zoologist and his place in 19th century British, ‘imperial’ science, before turning to the collections and their status as a picture of a threatened ecosystem. 2015 marks the bicentenary of the establishment of Anglo-Nepalese diplomatic relations, and this talk is part of a wider program of events organised by Britain-Nepal 200 to celebrate the close links between the two countries and highlight current collaborative efforts to conserve its spectacular wildlife. David Lowther is a local artist, researcher and Visiting Scholar at the ZSL.
woodland May DNR



A photographic tour of the distinctive National Vegetation Classification types in the wilder parts of the North East by Dr Dave Mitchell

20th Mar 2015
Friday 20th March, 7-8pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

The North East is blessed with a diverse array of landscapes, each made up of broad habitats such as grassland, wetland, woodland and so on. Within each broad habitat, distinctive groups of plant species occur together, time and time again, to form recognisable vegetation types which are described in the British National Vegetation Classification (NVC). There are woodlands within woodlands, grasslands within grasslands, etc. such that the area is made up of a patchwork quilt of many vegetation types. These remain a mystery to many naturalists, and because the published books on the subject are very technical, this talk will take a photographic approach to recognising them. In fact Dr Mitchell has been developing a simple visual “app”, which he will illustrate, for mobile phone\tablet computer to aid the identification of NVC communities and sub-communities in the field. He will describe some of the more localised, fragile and distinctive vegetation types in the wilder parts of Northumbria.

Dr Dave Mitchell is Natural England’s Regulation and Enforcement Officer for specially protected sites in the North East. He is a qualified plant ecologist with a particular interest in the region’s vegetation. He developed a passion for the National Vegetation Classification whilst undertaking his PhD research 20 years ago and enjoys trying to make this subject more accessible to a wider audience.
small mammal event GPNR © NHSN websize



NHSN Summer Programme

23rd Mar 2015
We are in the process of organising a fantastic summer programme of outdoor activities for you. This will include some favourites: badger watching, nightjar & woodcock, bugs & botany, roseate terns, small mammals and dawn bird song. Plus plenty of new ones.

Details will be posted here by late March.
Scottish Seabird Centre Boat Trip



Birds of Bass Rock & Aberlady Bay

19th Apr 2015
Sunday 19 April, 8.45am-5.30pm.
Bass Rock & Aberlady Bay (Scotland)

We will be taking a small coach up to the Firth of Forth departing from the Great North Museum and with a pick-up at Alnwick. We will visit the estuary at Aberlady Bay on a rising time. We hope to see late wintering seaduck such as Velvet Scoter and Slavonian Grebe as well wading birds. After packed lunch we will join a 1-hour boat tour with the Scottish Seabird Centre around Bass Rock, home to 150,000 Gannets (the world’s largest colony). We should see other seabirds such as Razorbill, Guillemot and Shag and if we are really lucky porpoise/dolphin.

Cost for coach and boat: Adults £34, Children £26 and Conc (Students and 60+) £32 . Please contact the Society Office to book.

About Talks, Field Trips, Events & Activities

Indoor Events

From October to March the Society invites regional and national experts in the natural world to give inspiring lectures to our members and the wider public.

Lectures are usually held every Friday evening, starting at 7pm, in the learning suite on the ground floor of the Great North Museum: Hancock. The museum is closed to the public at this time, so entry is via both side entrances.

Entry is from 6.20pm and tea, coffee and biscuits are available and the opportunity to socialise. Speakers give an illustrated presentation for 45mins-1 hour and then open the floor for questions and discussions.

On site parking is limited to blue badge holders only. There is a car park nearby on Claremont Road. The Museum is a 300m walk from Haymarket Metro and bus stations. For directions click here.

Non-members are very welcome to attend but we ask that they kindly make a donation on the night to support these lectures.

Outdoor Events

Throughout the year local experts lead field meetings to explore the natural world and magical landscapes of Northern England.

Outdoor events are free to members and their families. Some trips require us to hire boats or pay entrance fees and details of these costs are included in the information about the event.

For most events you can just turn up at the meeting place but some events must be booked in advance in order to manage numbers and this is stated in the information. You must make your own way to the meeting point. Please arrive early so that the event can start on time. Some activities last all day so you may need to take a drink and packed lunch with you.

In order to visit the best places our trips take place in natural landscapes that can be unpredictable. It is essential that you wear, or take with you, appropriate clothing and accessories to cope with heat, cold, wet, wind, biting insects and to walk on uneven, slippery or wet surfaces. Before you join any of our outdoor events it is essential that you read our Guidance.

Some events are run in partnership with other organisations or groups but otherwise our outdoor events are exclusively for Society members. If you are not a member and would like to attend an outdoor meeting then this can be arranged by contacting the Society office in advance and making a donation.