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Talks, field trips, events & activities

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

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly © Florence Davis

Upcoming events

20th
October
2017

Fasicles, Pegs, Suckers and Scales

Fasicles, Pegs, Suckers and Scales

Conifer

Friday 20 October 2017, 19:00.  Newcastle University – Ridley Building, Lecture Hall RIDB2.1.65

The past, present and future of conifers in the British Isles. Join Matt Parratt to learn about their definition; their history here since the ice age; the main genera and species that we’re likely to see out and about; busting a few myths; and looking forwards to the increasing number of pests and diseases queuing up to cause problems.

Matt has worked as a research scientist for the Forestry Commission for 17 years, specialising in conifers and in tree pests and diseases. He is the joint conifer referee for the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland, and teaches tree identification for the Field Studies Council.

22nd
October
2017

Fungus Foray at Chopwell Woods

Fungus Foray at Chopwell Woods

Glistening Inkcap, GPNR, Nov 2011 © Phil Coyne

Sunday 22 October 2017, 10.00 – 13:00

Chopwell Woodland is a mixture of commercial conifer forest mixed with old broadleaved species and some natural oak woodland. This mix of trees creates a particularly diverse range of fungi and over 200 species of macrofungi have been recorded.

Meet in the main car park at Chopwell Woodland Park (https://www.forestry.gov.uk/chopwell) at 10:00am. The paths are quite steep in places and are often muddy, so good waterproof footwear is required.

Gordon Beakes is a professional mycologist, recently retired from the Biology Department at Newcastle University where he worked for nearly 40 years. His area of scientific expertise is in aquatic fungi and he considers foraging for mushrooms a hobby.

 

27th
October
2017

Mapping the Glacial Landscape of Mid-Northumberland

Mapping the Glacial Landscape of Mid-Northumberland

Friday 27 October, 19:00.  Newcastle University – Ridley Building, Lecture Hall RIDB2.1.65

This talk by Derek Teasdale, Section Lead for the Society’s Geology Section, introduces the Last Ice Age in Northumberland, and presents new research on the landforms left by ice as it retreated some 16,000-14,000 years ago. Recently released, publicly available height data for the UK has provided radically new ways to map and interrogate the landscape around us. The resulting maps are both informative and beautiful.

3rd
November
2017

Slugs and Snails: a Slimy Success Story

Slugs and Snails: a Slimy Success Story

Pond Snail Species © Florence Davies

Friday 3 November 2017, 19:00.  Newcastle University – Ridley Building, Lecture Hall RIDB2.1.65

World-wide, land slugs and snails are among the most successful of all land animals
(bar insects), with far more species than both birds and mammals combined. This talk by Professor Robert Cameron will look at the features that make them so successful. Some have bizarre mating habits; the range of size, shape and ways of life among them is colossal; some can spend less than 5% of their lives being active. While some can be pests, others are endangered – snail species in particular have the highest rate of extinction of any group of animals.

Robert has worked on snails for the whole of his adult life and written more than a hundred papers on snails. He is the author of the recent Collins New Naturalist “Slugs and Snails”, and of keys for identifying British species.

10th
November
2017

Conservation with a Camera

Conservation with a Camera

Friday 10 November 2017, 19:00.  Newcastle University – Ridley Building, Lecture Hall RIDB2.1.65

“Why vasectomise a wild elephant? Why farm rhinos? Why dress as a crane? Just some of the questions professional wildlife photographers Ann and Steve Toon will be answering, as they explain how they use photography to highlight conservation issues from Kielder to the Kalahari.”  Ann and Steve are UK-based wildlife photojournalists with a specialist interest in Africa – its wildlife and wild places.

17th
November
2017

Birds at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Birds at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Great Spotted Woodpecker, GPNR © Chris Wren

Friday 17 November 2017,  10.00 – 12.00

Join Philip Jordan and Jane Gray, both active volunteers at the nature reserve who regularly contribute wildlife records, to observe birds at the reserve. We will meet in the Geoff Lawrence Hide where we can watch the birds attracted by the feeders. Walking to the Ridley Hide, we will look out for woodland species. From the Ridley Hide, we hope to see a variety of ducks in fresh breeding plumage. There is always the possibility of a Bittern, Kingfisher or Water Rail.

17th
November
2017

Interesting Aquatic Plants from the Hebrides

Interesting Aquatic Plants from the Hebrides

St Kilda

Friday 17 November 2017, 19:00.  Newcastle University – Ridley Building, Lecture Hall RIDB2.1.65

The Outer Hebrides boast a wide variety of aquatic habitats which are famous for their variety of unusual aquatic plants, from machair lochs through various degrees of brackish lochs to acid lochs. Some of the less usual species include Potamogeton epihydrus, Najas flexilis, Utricularia, Elatine hexandra, E. hydropiper, Ruppias, and Zannichellia.

This talk by Claudia Ferguson-Smyth is illustrated throughout with beautiful images, including an underwater video. The controversial Newcastle botanist Professor J.W. Heslop Harrison’s view of the north American origin of two Hebridean aquatics is examined critically.

South Scotland based Claudia is a self-confessed aquatics addict, and is a photographer extraordinaire.

18th
November
2017

North East Wildlife Recording Conference 2017

North East Wildlife Recording Conference 2017

Saturday 18 November 2017

A great opportunity to find out about some of the wildlife recording and surveying work that is taking place across the region. You can learn from others and also get involved. The programme will include a number of short talks and an opportunity to network over lunch.

For full details or to book your place visit www.ericnortheast.org.uk or call 0191 208 5158.

24th
November
2017

The Hancock Lecture: Decoding the Natural Soundscape, a Northumbrian perspective

The Hancock Lecture: Decoding the Natural Soundscape, a Northumbrian perspective

Grasshopper Warbler © Geoff Sample

Friday 24 November2017, 19:00.  Newcastle University – Ridley Building, Lecture Hall RIDB2.1.65

For naturalists of the past, sound was an essential cue for finding and identifying a wide range of different animals; and while previous generations lived in more rural contexts, the sounds of nature were familiar daily as a source of interest, pleasure and inspiration. Yet now, despite all the information and technological aids at our disposal, an interest in the sound of the natural world is so often regarded as a specialism reserved for geeks.

Geoff’s talk will reveal the rich rewards of engaging nature with an attentive ear, taking us on an aural journey to explore how his sound studies of species and habitats in Northumberland have led to considering the wider ecological context of our position on the oceanic fringe of north-west Europe.

Based in Northumberland, Geoff Sample has been recording and studying wildlife sound for almost 30 years. He is the author of Collins Bird Songs and Calls, as well as a number of other Collins guides and works for the BTO and SNH. He supplies sounds and contributions for film, TV and radio, including the BBC’s infamous ‘Tweet of the Day’, and regularly collaborates on creative projects in this field with artists and musicians.

25th
November
2017

Tree Planting at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Tree Planting at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Saturday 25 November 2017 , 10:00 – 13:00

As part of National Tree Planting Week, we will be planting native species of trees and shrubs to diversify the age and species structure of parts of the Gosforth Park nature reserve woodland. Everyone welcome, tools and training provided.

Meet at Reserve Entrance NE3 5EP.

1st
December
2017

Making Your Birding Count

Making Your Birding Count

House Martins

Friday 1 December 2017, 19:00.  Newcastle University – Ridley Building, Lecture Hall RIDB2.1.65

Data from citizen science has increased our knowledge and understanding of bird populations and contributed to species conservation. Looking at how national recording schemes have been delivered locally in Northumberland, Tom Cadwallander will explore bird population fluctuations in more detail with the hope of inspiring local birders to play their part in their local surveys and contribute to these valuable recording schemes.

Tom has been British Trust for Ornithology Regional Representative for Northumberland for over 25 years, and co-authored the Northumberland Bird Atlas.

8th
December
2017

What’s inside and beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet?

What’s inside and beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet?

Antarctica

Friday 8 December 2017, 19:00.  Newcastle University – Ridley Building, Lecture Hall RIDB2.1.65

The Antarctic ice sheet has long inspired curiosity-driven exploration and discovery.
From ‘streaming’ ice flow, to subglacial lakes and mega-valleys hidden beneath the ice,
this talk by Dr Neil Ross will explore what radar sounding has revealed about the internal structure (the ‘skeleton’), thickness, and subglacial environment (the ‘bed’) of the ice sheet; what large-scale geophysical exploration can tell us about the history of the Antarctic ice sheet; and how it might respond to warming air and ocean temperatures.

Neil is Lecturer in Physical Geography at Newcastle University.

28th
April
2018

Naturetrek Birdwatching Trip to Mallorca

Naturetrek Birdwatching Trip to Mallorca

A fantastic opportunity to study birds of the Mediterranean on the island of Mallorca! This week-long trip, in partnership with and led by Naturetrek, will introduce you to a variety of birds typical to the region along with some of the island’s specialties. Staying at the Puerto Pollensa resort, which has its very own hide looking over S’Albufereta Marsh, there will be a number of easy walking trips suitable for all ages to a wide range of habitats. As well as birds, there will also be opportunities to see plants and other wildlife, such as orchids and butterflies.

A full itinerary of the trip is available to download here.

There are two trips: 28 April – 5 May 2018, and 5 – 12 May 2018. The trip costs £1495 per person, with a £150 single supplement. This covers all flights, meals and accommodation.

To reserve a place, you must book with Naturetrek directly. Their email address is info@naturetrek.co.uk, or you can phone them on 01962 733 051.

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.

Our Friday evening lectures have changed venue. Due to popular demand for our talks, Newcastle University has kindly made available a larger venue at their Ridley Building. A map to the new venue and parking details is below, and available on this downloadable leaflet.

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 public car park directly opposite the Ridley Building on Claremont Road.

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

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