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Talks, field trips, events & activities

Welcome to our action-packed Summer programme of talks, outings and activities.

Upcoming events

27th
May
2017

Bee and Other Insects of Prudhoe Spetchells

Bee and Other Insects of Prudhoe Spetchells

male Ashy Mining Bee, Andrena cineraria, Prudhoe © Louise Hislop

Saturday 27 May, 11 am – 3 pm

The Spetchells at Prudhoe are a unique site supporting chalk loving plants and a wide range of insects. This visit with Louise Hislop and Gordon Port builds on bee events in previous years. The purpose of the visit is to look at the bees and other insects found at the Spetchells and to look at site management issues.

Please meet at the Prudhoe Riverside car park (NZ 086 634).

2nd
June
2017

An Introduction to Solitary Bees

An Introduction to Solitary Bees

Male Colletes species, Wylam © Louise Hislop

Saturday 2 & Sunday 3 June, 10am-4pm

A 2-day course run by the North Pennines AONB Partnership covering the identification and ecology of wild bees led by renowned entomologist, Steven Falk, author of the new ‘Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland‘.

On day one, Steven will show you how to identify bees under the microscope and how to collect, record and photograph them. On day two (weather permitting) we will go out and look at bees and their habitats at local wildlife sites in beautiful Upper Teesdale. Newbiggin Village Hall, Barnard Castle.

£60 per person. Book online here.

10th
June
2017

Butterflies and plants, Bishop Middleham Quarry

Butterflies and plants, Bishop Middleham Quarry

Bee Orchid, East Cramlington © Olive Taylor

Saturday 10 June, 11 am-3pm

Join Dr Gordon Port to explore Bishop Middleham Quarry, a disused Magnesian limestone quarry now managed as a nature reserve by Durham Wildlife Trust.  It has a wide range of attractive flowering plants including Pyramidal, Common Spotted, Fragrant and Bee Orchids, Dark Red Helleborine, Common Rock-rose, Fairy Flax and other limestone species.  If we are lucky enough to have a fine day, several species of butterfly should be flying, including Northern Brown Argus, Ringlet, Common Blue and Small Heath.

The reserve is situated half a mile north of Bishop Middleham village, to the west of the A177 at grid reference NZ331326 (OS Explorer 305  Landranger 93). Parking in two small roadside lay-bys near reserve entrance and is limited, so car-sharing would be an advantage. Access to the quarry floor is by way of steep steps, but otherwise walking is level although may be rough underfoot.

10th
June
2017

The Hidden Rivers and Geology of Newcastle upon Tyne

The Hidden Rivers and Geology of Newcastle upon Tyne

Saturday 10th June   11.00am – 3.30pm

Join Derek Teasdale for a gentle walk down through the oldest parts of Newcastle city to explore the medieval town plan, and how it helps us uncover the hidden rivers that criss-cross the city.  The  geology underlying the city, and its streams, had an influence on the development of its Medieval street plan, which can still be traced.  We will make a meandering progress towards the river Tyne, by following the back streets and lanes of the Medieval city.

The walking is quite gentle, but we will be on our feet all-day.  We will have a mid-way break for lunch in a local cafe, but feel free to bring a packed lunch.

Meet at 11.00 am, next to the City Wall at the north end of Stowell Street (beside the Chinese Arch). Expected finish time: 3.30 pm on the quayside.  There are local city bus services from our finish point.

11th
June
2017

Talkin Tarn, near Brampton

Talkin Tarn, near Brampton

Marsh Orchid, East Chevington © NHSN

Sunday 11 June, 11am

Talkin Tarn is a small lake in a hollow among mounds of sand and gravel left by the decaying ice sheet. Join Professor John Richards to circumnavigate the lake (good footpaths), about two miles. There is a good mix of habitats including wet meadows with orchids, aquatics (including the rare Elatine hexandra), heathland with Bog Whortleberry Vaccinium uliginosum, and woodland with a well-known population of Sword-leaved Helleborine Cephalanthera longifolia. There are also interesting dragonflies and birds.

Meet at the Talkin Tarn car park (NY544591) at 11 am. This is brown signposted from the A69 Brampton bypass. There is a charge for the car park. Bring a picnic lunch.

17th
June
2017

Introduction to Tree Identification at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Introduction to Tree Identification at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Saturday 17 June 3.00 – 5.00pm

Would you like to learn how to identify the different trees found in our woodlands?

Paul Drummond, the reserve warden, will lead you on a walk helping to teach you how to tell the different tree species in summer. Limited places, please book via the Society Office on 0191 208 2790.

17th
June
2017

Tour of the meadow and orchard at Wylam Community Orchard

Saturday 17 June 2.00 – 4.00pm

Wylam Community Orchard (WCO) won the UK Meadows and Grasslands Award 2016. The five year-old project is in the grounds of Wylam First School and has 2000 square metres of restored wild flower meadow with 85 fruit trees in a south-facing site overlooking the River Tyne. The project is entirely volunteer-run.

WCO manages the site for biodiversity and undertakes surveys of bats, moths, butterflies, bees, wasps and flowers. Results show a year on year improvement. Come and see the beautiful meadow in flower.

Limited places, please book via the Society Office on 0191 208 2790.

24th
June
2017

Bugs & Botany, Cockle Park Science Centre

Bugs & Botany, Cockle Park Science Centre

Wild bee on clover © John Buxton

Saturday 24 June 10.00am – 4.00pm

Join Dr Gordon Port and Dr Janet Simkin to catch and identify insects and learn about plant research, including the Palace Leas Hay Meadow Experiment, started in 1896, one of the longest running experiments on plant ecology. The day will be suitable for anyone with an interest in insects and plants – from absolute beginner to expert. The event is suitable for all ages and runs 10am – 4pm. You can drop in for a short visit or stay for the whole day.

This event is being organised in collaboration with the Royal Entomological Society and Newcastle University. Cockle Park Farm is 4 miles north of Morpeth (between A1 and Ulgham). Postcode NE61 3EA or grid ref NZ201 911.

24th
June
2017

Nightjar and Woodcock Walk, Slaley Forest, nr Blanchland

Nightjar and Woodcock Walk, Slaley Forest, nr Blanchland

Nightjar in flight

Saturday 24 June 9.30pm – 11.00pm

Celebrate mid-summer with an evening two mile walk through the pine plantations at Slaley Forest with Steve Anderson of North Tyneside Bird Club. We will see and hear Nightjar and Woodcock as they emerge at dusk and learn more about these secretive birds. We also hope to see other woodland wildlife and plants. Please contact Steve to book: seaswan@btinternet.com.

25th
June
2017

Cronkley Fell, Upper Teesdale

Sunday 25 June, 11.00am

We will cross the Tees to Cronkley Farm, then over Cronkley Fell to Thistle Green. This is a moderately strenuous fell day covering a total of 7-8 miles. It is a good date to see the two main Cronkley ‘specials’, Hoary Rock Rose Helianthemum canum in its endemic subspecies and Mountain Avens Dryas octopetala in flower. Several of the other Teesdale rarities occur, including Yorkshire Milkwort Polygala amarellaa and we will look for the stemless variety of Birdseye Primrose Primula farinosa which is only found here.

Meet at the lay-by car-park on the B6277 at Forest-in Teesdale (NY868298). You will need lunch, boots and wet
weather clothing.

1st
July
2017

Farne Islands Wildlife

Farne Islands Wildlife

Arctic Tern © Keith Cochrane

Saturday 1 July 2.00pm – 4.45pm.

An opportunity to enjoy one of our region’s greatest wildlife spectacles. Join Anne Wilson on this half day visit including landing on the Inner Farne. This is a good time to visit as the seabird colonies will be in full swing with chicks getting ready to fledge and the coastal flowers in bloom. We will also see Grey Seal and perhaps with luck a porpoise or dolphin.

As well as the wildlife Anne is an expert on the islands and their history. Cost for the boat is £15pp (if you are not a member of the National Trust then there will also be a landing fee of £9).

Unfortunately this activity is fully booked.

1st
July
2017

New Members’ Walk at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

New Members’ Walk at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Gosforth Park lake © Keith Cochrane

Saturday 1 July 10.00am – 1.00pm.

Introductory walk around the reserve with Clare Freeman, the Society Director, who will show you the most important wildlife areas and the species that can be found. Clare will also explain how the reserve has changed over time and how we are managing it for the future. This walk will improve your enjoyment and appreciation of the reserve, its wildlife and the work of the
Society.

Meet at the reserve entrance and wear boots if it has been wet.

1st
July
2017

Woodland Moths of the North Pennines

Woodland Moths of the North Pennines

Moth trapping at GPNR © Andy Atkinson

Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 July 10.00am – 4.00pm.

This 2-day course run by the North Pennines AONB Partnership is aimed at people with beginner or intermediate moth identification skills, who want to learn more about the special woodland moths of the North Pennine uplands, looking closely at moths found in the Derwent Gorge NNR. Morning sessions will include moth identification techniques and ecology and afternoons will be spent identifying live moths (trapped previously), where you will be grouped according to experience level.

Edmundbyers Village Hall, Consett, Co. Durham (with optional Sat evening trapping session). £60 per person.

Book online at www.northpennines.org.uk/events

6th
July
2017

North East Wildlife Photography Awards 2016

North East Wildlife Photography Awards 2016

David Lindo

Thursday 6 July 6.00pm – 8.30pm.

Forget the Oscars; this is the awards ceremony that counts! Join us to see the short-listed entries, announce the winners, open the exhibition and meet other photographers. The speaker is David Lindo, ‘the Urban Birder’. Everyone welcome. Refreshments available.

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle.

7th
July
2017

Cetacean Boat Trips, departing North & South Shields

Cetacean Boat Trips, departing North & South Shields

White-beaked Dolphin © John Carnell

Fridays July 7, 14, 19, 21 and 28; August 4 and 11 All 6.00pm – 10.00pm

Join the Northumbria Mammal Group/Northern Experience Wildlife Tours for any of these popular four hour evening pelagic trips in the North Sea, led by Martin Kitching, looking for whales, dolphins and seabirds. Early-bird discount for NHSN members is £30.

Book via Northumberland Wildlife Trust 0191 284 6884. A £10 non-returnable deposit is required.

7th
July
2017

Moths at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Friday 7 July 8.30pm – 10.15pm

Join County Moth Recorder, Tom Tams, and Reserve Warden, Paul Drummond, to catch and identify moths. The moths are trapped using a bright light and enable you to get close up to these beautiful and rarely seen insects before they are released.

Gosforth Park has a range of common and rare moths. We recommend you bring sunglasses as the trapping light is
bright, a torch and insect repellent.

Meet at the reserve entrance.

8th
July
2017

Dragonflies and other insects, Ryton Willows

Dragonflies and other insects, Ryton Willows

Southern Hawker © Christopher Wren

Saturday 8 July 11.00am – 3.00pm

Ryton Willows is a Local Nature Reserve located on the banks of the Tyne. There are 43 hectares of grassland, ponds, woodland and it is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Led by Dr Gordon Port, we will be looking at the dragonflies and damselflies as well as other insects at the site.

Please meet at the car parking area at the bottom of Station Bank (NZ 153 649).

9th
July
2017

Newonstead, Great Bavington

Newonstead, Great Bavington

Maiden Pink, Colwell © Lydia Koelmans

Sunday 9 July 10.30am – mid afternoon

Join Naomi Waite, Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s grassland expert under the lottery-funded Save our Magnificent Meadows project, on a visit to this classic whin grassland site (neutral grasslands on the Whin Sill are a Northumberland speciality).

Star species are maiden pink Dianthus deltoides and common rock-rose Helianthemum nummularium, but depending on early season weather there may also be some of the spring annuals for which the habitat is well-known.

Meet at Newonstead farm (NY 974798). To ease parking pressure at the site, lifts are available from Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s office at St Nicholas Park, Gosforth at 9.30 am, but please contact Naomi first (limited seats) on 0191 284 6884. Bring lunch.

12th
July
2017

Roseate Tern evenings, Coquet Island

Roseate Tern evenings, Coquet Island

Wednesday 12 and Thursday 13 July 6.30pm – 8.00pm

This is a joint meeting of the North Northumberland Bird Club and the Society, led by David Noble-Rollin and Graham Bell, to see the Roseate Tern colony on Coquet Island. We hope to get excellent views of both adult and juvenile terns from the boat which will be offshore near the colony. Other species of tern will also be there for comparison of their identification points.

After watching the terns the boat will continue around the island and give an opportunity to look for shearwaters, skuas and seals.

Booking: the cost for the boat is £10.00 for adults and £5.00 for children. Limited places, please book via the Society Office on 0191 208 2790.

15th
July
2017

Gosforth Nature Reserve Exploration Day

Gosforth Nature Reserve Exploration Day

Saturday 15 July 10.30am – 3.30pm

An opportunity to learn about the fauna and flora of Gosforth Park Nature Reserve. Local experts will be on hand to talk to visitors about birds, plants, mammals and insects. Drop in anytime between 10.30am – 3.30pm. This is a partnership event with ERIC.

This event is open to the public. Please note that the ground can be wet, muddy and uneven so please wear suitable footwear.

19th
July
2017

Grassland Butterflies and Day-flying Moths at Havannah Nature Reserve

Grassland Butterflies and Day-flying Moths at Havannah Nature Reserve

Small Skipper © John Buxton

Wednesday 19 July 11.00am – 1.00pm

Join David Stebbings, Butterfly Conservation, on a walk through the flower meadows and grasslands of this reserve looking for butterflies and moths. Target species – Small Skipper, Ringlet, Common Blue and Small Heath. Plus how to identify the different species of Burnet moths and Carpet moths.

Meet at the large car park about a mile west of Hazlerigg. Grid Reference NZ215718. Nearest Post code NE13 7AP. Easy walking but uneven in places so stout footwear recommended.

22nd
July
2017

Grassland Butterflies and Day-flying Moths at Weetslade Country Park

Grassland Butterflies and Day-flying Moths at Weetslade Country Park

Common Blue © Jim Asher

Saturday 22 July 11.00am – 1.00pm

Join David Stebbings, Butterfly Conservation, on this walk through the flower rich grasslands of this former colliery site, now converted into a country park, looking for butterflies and moths. Target species – Small Skipper, Ringlet, Common Blue and Small Heath. Plus how to identify the different species of Burnet moths and Carpet moths. Easy walking but uneven in places so stout footwear recommended.

Meet at the car park near High Weetslade Farm on the B1319 near its junction with the A189, Grid Reference NZ260723.

23rd
July
2017

Bird Ringing at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Sunday 23 July 9.00am – 11am

An opportunity to see bird ringing in action and hear from the individuals involved in this work. Bird ringing has taken place at the reserve for many years and you will be able to hear how our knowledge of birds has increased and contributes to the national scheme.

Led by Dr Chris Redfern and Paul Drummond.

Limited places, please book via the Society Office on 0191 208 2790.

24th
July
2017

Moth evening at Jesmond Dene

Monday 24 July 9.00pm – 11.30pm

Trapping will take place in an area of varied habitat with a river, a pond, trees and a wild flower area. Interesting species that have been recorded in the vicinity include the Old Lady, Mormo maura, with just 66 county records. Meet at Ouseburn Parks Visitor Centre, Red Walk, NE7 7BQ Grid reference: NZ261662.

A partnership event between NHSN, the Friends of Jesmond Dene and Newcastle Parks and Countryside Service and is led by Tom Tams, County Moth Recorder, Mike Cook, Garden Moth Scheme and Sarah Capes, Ranger.

Please bring a torch, use either insect repellent or a midge net and wear sturdy footwear. There is deep water in the vicinity. This event is not suitable for young children.

Book a place on 0191 281 2082 or parks&countryside@newcastle.gov.uk.

 

25th
July
2017

Jesmond Dene Nature Area Open Day

Tuesday 25 July 1.00pm – 4.00pm

Come and explore our Nature Area, take part in pond dipping, minibeast hunts and watch the birds at the feeding station.

This is a drop in event run by Newcastle City Council Rangers, all children must be accompanied.

Across the River from Pets Corner – look out for the signs.  Please contact the Visitor Centre for more information on 0191 281 2082.

Donations welcome.

30th
July
2017

The Eastern Cheviots

The Eastern Cheviots

Sunday 30 July 2017 10.30am – late afternoon

Join Angus Lunn to examine the glacial deposits and landforms in the Powburn-Wooler area, the kamiform landscape south of Wooler and the spectacular meltwater channels to its west. This area has been described as having some of the “best views in England” and is an ideal location to view a wide variety of glacial depositional landforms.

Angus has been leading field-trips to examine Quaternary landscapes, for more years than he might care to mention.

There will be a small amount of rough walking but the trip is not strenuous. Bring lunch. Meet: Ingram car park (NU 018163)

5th
August
2017

Purple Hairstreak spotting at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Saturday 5 August 5.00pm – 6.00pm

Purple Hairstreak butterflies live entirely on Oak trees and there is a healthy population in the reserve. They are very attractive but live in the tree tops and are difficult to see.

Join reserve warden Paul Drummond for this drop in session to try and see these butterflies, which tend to be most active on sunny afternoons. Bring binoculars if you have them.

Meet on the woodland path near the reserve entrance.

13th
August
2017

Scremerston shore, near Berwick

Sunday 13 August 11.00am – mid afternoon

The site features rich dunes and former limeworks. Among species we might see are Danish Milk-vetch Astragalus danicus, Kidney Vetch Anthyllis vulneraria and Bloody Cranesbill Geranium sanguineum. Additionally there are Autumn Gentian Gentianella amarella subsp. septentrionalis – one of Northumberland’s special plants, and near the car park is a site for Flat-sedge Blysmus compressus, and some of the small grasses such as Fern-grass Catapodium rigidum and Crested Hair-grass Koeleria macrantha will also still be around. Because of the time of year we should be able to demonstrate the differences between some of the genera of yellow composites – Crepis, Hypochaeris, Leontodon and so forth.

Led by Chris Metherell, vice-county recorder for North Northumberland, and President-elect of the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland.

Meet in the car park at NU 026487. The site is reached by minor roads from the A1 and Scremerston village. Bring lunch.

2nd
September
2017

Bats at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Saturday 2 September 7.45pm – 9.15pm

This is an evening event starting around sunset and continuing until dark. Leader Jonathan Pounder will give a short talk on bat biology and ecology, and as the sun is setting we will walk through the reserve looking for and listening to the bats we find, hopefully species of Pipistrelle, Daubenton’s and Noctule.

Limited places, please book via the Society Office on 0191 208 2790.

2nd
September
2017

Moths of Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Saturday 2 September 7.30pm – 11.00pm

Call into the nature reserve anytime over the evening to see the range of moths that can be found in the reserve, stay for a short time or for the whole evening, everyone welcome.

Led by Tom Tams, County Moth Recorder.

Access the reserve from entrance at Lake Lodge on Salters Lane, postcode NE3 5EP.

8th
September
2017

‘Percy the Pelican’ visits the Hancock.

‘Percy the Pelican’ visits the Hancock.

NHSN Council Room

Friday 8 September 11.00am – 3.30pm

We will be opening the doors of our prestigious Council Room in the Great North Museum: Hancock as part of the national Heritage Open Day weekend.

Drop in to see some of our fascinating archive material relating to the popular specimen of Percy the Pelican. Percy lived on the River Coquet at Warkworth from 1973 until his death in 1976 and starred in the Museum bird gallery for 30 years as a stand alone exhibit.

You can also see the historic furnishings and paintings in the room and speak to the Society’s archivist June Holmes.

14th
September
2017

Druridge Bay Country Park Bat Walk

Tuesday 14 September 7.00pm – 9.30pm

Hazel Makepeace will give a short talk on bat ecology and then lead you on a walk around Ladyburn lake to watch and hear bats foraging over the lake.

Northumberland Bat Group members will help identify what bats we are seeing, hopefully Nyctalus noctula (Noctule
bats) Myotis spp and Pipistrellus spp, particularly Pipistrellus nathusii (Nathusius pipistrelle).

Tarmac and grass paths. Limited places, please book via the Society Office on 0191 208 2790.

16th
September
2017

Small mammals in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Small mammals in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Wood mouse, Seaton Delaval © Olive Taylor

Saturday 16 September 10.30am – 12.30pm

Led by Veronica Carnell, we will be examining bait tubes and Longworth live traps for signs and presence of small mammals (mice, voles and shrews), participants will be able to re-bait and reset the traps after examination if they wish.

Accompanied children welcome. Please be prepared for muddy conditions underfoot. This event is part of our ongoing annual survey for small mammals. Volunteers welcome, training provided.

24th
September
2017

A beached bird survey on the Northumberland coast.

A beached bird survey on the Northumberland coast.

Sunday 24 September 12 noon – 2.00pm

Daniel Turner, Coordinator of the ‘Northeast England Beached Bird Surveys’ group, will talk about the survey process and we will look for beached bird corpses to collect / record, also noting live birds. Beached birds we may find include guillemot, kittiwake, black-headed gull and others.

The trip involves a short walk to the beach on paths and down wooden steps then a shore walk of up to 3 km: the shore slopes gently, the tide will be low, mostly quite level sand though there are stones in places.

Meet at the entrance to the visitor centre in Druridge Bay Country Park. Postcode NE61 5BX, GR NZ272998. Any donations would be accepted into the beached bird group funds.

Limited places, please book via the Society Office on 0191 208 2790.

About Talks, Field Trips, Events & Activities

Outdoor Events

Throughout the year 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 event information.

For many events you can just turn up at the meeting place but some events must be booked in advance 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.

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 activity then please contact the Society Office in advance – we would welcome a donation or please consider joining us.

Indoor Events

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

Unless stated lectures are held on Friday evenings at 7pm in the Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle. 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/biscuits are available and the opportunity to socialise. Speakers give an illustrated presentation for 45mins-1 hour and then open the floor for questions.

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.

To download our talks programme, click here.

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