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Past events

7th
January
2019

The Age of the Dinosaurs - Mondays

The Age of the Dinosaurs - Mondays

Monday mornings starting 07 January, 10.30am – 12.30pm

Course tutor: Derek Teasdale
Course length: 10 sessions
Course structure: indoor sessions

The dinosaurs can be recognised as a separate group from the middle of the Triassic period (ca. 235 Ma), and were at their most abundant until the end-Cretaceous mass extinction (65 Ma).  Fortunately, rocks of the right age can be found nearby in Yorkshire which allows us to ask questions such as: What was the environment like at that time?  Which dinosaurs migrated across the North East?  Find out whether they really became extinct.

Cost: £85 (concessions £76)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

10th
January
2019

The Age of the Dinosaurs - Thursdays

The Age of the Dinosaurs - Thursdays

Thursday mornings starting 10 January, 10.30am-12.30pm

N.B. This course is now fully booked.

Course tutor: Derek Teasdale
Course length: 10 sessions
Course structure: indoor sessions

The dinosaurs can be recognised as a separate group from the middle of the Triassic period (ca. 235 Ma), and were at their most abundant until the end-Cretaceous mass extinction (65 Ma).  We are fortunate that rocks of the right age can be found nearby in Yorkshire.  What was the environment like at that time?  Which dinosaurs migrated across the North East?  Find out whether they really became extinct.

Cost: £85 (concessions £76)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

16th
January
2019

From the Moon to the Distant Universe - recent developments in astronomy

From the Moon to the Distant Universe - recent developments in astronomy

Starting Wednesday 16 January, 7.00 – 9.00pm

Course tutor: Fred Stevenson
Course length: 7 sessions
Course structure: mainly indoor sessions with at least 1 field trip

In this course, we will discuss the many exciting discoveries currently being made thanks to a new generation of huge telescopes based around the world and from spacecraft now visiting various asteroids and planets in our solar system. They give us a unique insight into our origins and place in the universe. The course will also contain at least one observational session to observe the night sky and hopefully see some of the objects that we talk about during the course.

This course will be held in the Percy Building on Newcastle University Campus. For a map of Newcastle University Campus, please click here.

Cost: £65 (concessions £55)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

22nd
January
2019

Northumbria Veteran Trees Project

Northumbria Veteran Trees Project

Tuesday 22 January, 5.30-7.00pm

N.B. This event is now fully booked, but there may still be places on the waitlist. To join the waitlist, follow the link to Eventbrite below, click on ‘Register’ and follow the instructions.

The significance of Ancient, veteran and notable trees, and the struggles and conflicts faced by these trees in order to attain such status, will be outlined by Nick Johnson, project officer for the Northumbria veteran tree project. Nick will also outline the project to date and explain how you, too, can play a part in this Heritage Lottery-funded venture.

Free to members. If you are not an NHSN member, we would welcome a suggested donation of £5:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/make-a-donation/

Or please consider joining us:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/become-a-member/

Booking essential. To book, please go to Eventbrite here.

1st
January
1970

On-going courses

We have a number of 20-week courses which started in the autumn and will continue into March. These are:

  • Birds of the North East with David Noble-Rollin (Tuesdays at 10.15am or 1pm)
  • Northumbrian Botany with Janet Simkin (Wednesdays at 10.15am)
  • Wildlife Photography with David Noble-Rollin (Thursdays at 1pm)
  • The Quaternary with Angus Lunn (Thursdays at 6.15pm).

30th
November
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Explore the colourful world of the North East’s plants, their identification and habitats with Dr Janet Simkin on 3 all-day field outings which will take you from the Spring Gentians of Upper Teesdale to the Dark Red Helleborines of the magnesium limestone.

30th
November
-0001

Introduction to Wild Flowers

Tuesday 10th June, 2.30pm-4.30pm (@ Great North Museum: Hancock)
Tuesday 17th June, 2.30pm-4.30pm (@ Derwent Valley Walk, Gateshead)
Join Keith Bowey to learn how to identify some of our local wild flowers.
Cost £15.50 (concessions £12.50)

30th
November
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30th
November
-0001

1st
August
2009

An Introduction to lower plants with Dr Janet Simkin

1st
May
2010

Carboniferous and Old Red Sandstone of the Berwickshire coast

8th
May
2010

Gosforth Park - Exploration Day

9th
May
2010

Spring Migration on Holy Island

20th
May
2010

Bird Song in Thornley Woods

20th
May
2010

Bird Song in Thornley Woods

6th
June
2010

College Valley

6th
June
2010

College Valley

12th
June
2010

The Lower Carboniferous Fell Sandstone of Bowden Doors

13th
June
2010

Newham Fen and Bamburgh Dunes

27th
June
2010

Joint botany and entomology field Trip to Prudhoe Spetchells

17th
July
2010

Seal walk in Teesside

18th
July
2010

Emblehope Moor

28th
July
2010

Roseate Tern Evening

1st
August
2010

Bardon Mill and Beltingham

8th
August
2010

New Members Day

13th
August
2010

Bats in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

14th
August
2010

An Introduction to Glacial Sediments at Whitburn Bay

11th
September
2010

Autumn migration at Cresswell and Duridge

12th
September
2010

Bats in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

18th
September
2010

Marine Mammals and Birds of the North Sea

1st
October
2010

Marie Addyman: William Turner's descriptions of plants 1551 - 1568

2nd
October
2010

Nent Valley - Reading a Pennine Landscape

8th
October
2010

Gordon Port: Bees and Pollination - is it the end of life as we know it?

10th
October
2010

Irthing Gorge

12th
October
2010

Philip Deakin: The Wild Cattle of Chillingham

15th
October
2010

Rinke Vinkenoog: From Single Cell Alga to Giant Redwood - the wonderful story of plant evolution

17th
October
2010

Holy Island

22nd
October
2010

Martin Kitching: The North East Cetacean Project

29th
October
2010

Pybus Memorial Lecture

Prof Ian Newton: Highlights from a Long-term Study of Sparrowhawks

5th
November
2010

Derek Teasdale: The ever changing climate: A Geological Perspective

19th
November
2010

Chris Stringer: Climate Change and Human Evolution

26th
November
2010

Linda Robinson: The Flora of North Yorkshire

Linda is a Cumbrian botanist from the Eden Valley who has recently become the Botnical Society of the British Isles’ Recorder for psum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam sed justo ipsum, sit amet molestie purus.

7th
January
2011

Huw Lloyd: Pheasants, people and places around the world

14th
January
2011

Neil Jordan: Pine Marten in Northumberland

21st
January
2011

Ian Forbes: Westgarth Forster (1772-1835) - pioneer of Northern England geology?

Westgarth Forster junior is widely respected in North East England as one of the founding fathers of modern geology. However, Ian Forbes, retired Director of Killhope Museum, questions the validity of Forster’s enduring reputation. By re-examining Forster’s life and career, and by close analysis of his ‘Section of the Strata’, this lecture will attempt to prove that Forster was very far from being a geological pioneer, and that his reputation is undeserved.

28th
January
2011

Bird Migration - Question and Answer With David Noble-Rollin

Migration is one of the subjects that has fascinated ornithologists since the earliest studies of birds. Why do birds migrate? How do they find their way? How did migration begin? Why do we get vagrants turning up on the coast? These are a few of the questions that David will try to answer, but mainly the session will be led by the audience as they ask their own questions. David has recently completed giving a series of lectures on all aspects of bird migration and this will be the basis of the evening talk. The very fact that the direction of the evening will be unknown means that it will be impossible to have illustrations beyond a flip chart and a few particularly important diagrams and maps. In the old days this would have been described as a ‘Talk and Chalk’ Lecture. Of course with health and safety there will be no chalk!

David is the Secretary of the Society and has lectured on ornithological subjects since 1970 and is currently lecturing on Birds of the North-East for the Society’s new natural history education programme.

4th
February
2011

Library Evening: John Ray after 350 years

Why should we celebrate the anniversary of a book about the plants of Cambridgeshire published in Latin 350 years ago? Well, here are a few of the reasons. The Catalogus plantarum circa Cantabrigiam nascentium was the first British county flora, setting a superb scientific standard for its successors. Its author, John Ray (1627-1705), became the pre-eminent British naturalist, eclipsed only by Charles Darwin. Though an Essex man, he travelled widely and, to mention only a minor contribution, left us the earliest list of birds breeding on the Farne Islands. Finally, our library has acquired an almost complete collection of first or early editions of his pioneering works, on birds, quadrupeds, fishes, insects and geology as well as botany (several are even in English). Come and celebrate.

David Gardner-Medwin has on many occasions introduced us to different parts of our Library’s treasures. This evening is no exception when he looks at one of our very important early naturalists. His knowledge of rare books and the history of Natural History is well known to our members.

11th
February
2011

Brian Turner: Adventures of an Exploration Geologist - Gold & Uranium

Because of global warming and the fact that nuclear power does not produce climate warming gases, the price of uranium has suddenly increased as various governments, including the UK government, plan to build more nuclear power plants. Uranium is present in Permian-Triassic sandstones in the Karoo Basin, South Africa. Exploration reveals that the uranium was leached from granitic-volcanic source material and taken into solution in groundwater under lkaline/oxidising conditions.

The mineralised groundwater preferentially moved through channel sand bodies and, on encountering a reducing agent, was precipitated from solution as primary uranium minerals. Proterozoic gold deposits in Guyana, South America are similar to those in the Witwatersrand Basin, South Africa. They occur in quartz arenites which form a prominent escarpment in the almost inaccessible interior of the country. Exploration reveals that gold tends to concentrate in specific parts of the succession associated with auriferous gravels, which modelling suggests represent low stand or transgressive reworking of older deposits, probably derived from the gold-bearing Archean basement. The gold deposits have themselves been subject to erosion and reworking to form recent gold-bearing sands and gravels deposited along the numerous streams and rivers, commonly worked by local prospectors and large dredgers. In his lecture Brian Turner will explore some of these ideas and discuss his involvement with the search for these important resources.

18th
February
2011

Chris Metherell: A tale of two launches: Rare plant record & new flora project

Because of global warming and the fact that nuclear power does not produce climate warming gases, the price of uranium has suddenly increased as various governments, including the UK government, plan to build more nuclear power plants.

Uranium is present in Permian-Triassic sandstones in the Karoo Basin, South Africa. Exploration reveals that the uranium was leached from granitic-volcanic source material and taken into solution in groundwater under alkaline/oxidising conditions. The mineralised groundwater preferentially moved through channel sand bodies and, on encountering a reducing agent, was precipitated from solution as primary uranium minerals. Proterozoic gold deposits in Guyana, South America are similar to those in the Witwatersrand Basin, South Africa. They occur in quartz arenites which form a prominent escarpment in the almost inaccessible interior of the country.

Exploration reveals that gold tends to concentrate in specific parts of the succession associated with auriferous gravels, which modelling suggests represent low stand or transgressive reworking of older deposits, probably derived from the gold-bearing Archean basement. The gold deposits have themselves been subject to erosion and reworking to form recent gold-bearing sands and gravels deposited along the numerous streams and rivers, commonly worked by local prospectors and large dredgers. In his lecture Brian Turner will explore some of these ideas and discuss his involvement with the search for these important resources.

25th
February
2011

Where have all the collections gone?

A visit to the Resource Centre at Discovery Museum

4th
March
2011

Chris Redfern: Foraging strategies of Kittiwakes on the Farne Islands

The numbers of breeding Kittiwakes in North Sea colonies has declined substantially in recent years. Like many seabirds along our coastlines, Kittiwakes depend partly on sandeels, a fish which has been harvested from the North Sea on an industrial scale.

The foraging areas of Kitti wakes, and how these overlap with other seabirds nesting on the Farnes, are unknown. However, being able to determine where these are will help conservation measures with respect to conserving important fish stocks.

The availability of (relatively) cheap and light global positioning system (GPS) loggers means that it is now possible to learn about seabird foraging behaviour in much greater detail than ever before.

4th
March
2011

Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting will be held in the Clore Learning Suite in the Great North Museum: Hancock at 6.00pm. There will be coffee and tea after the meeting and at 7.00pm it will be followed by the lecture ‘Foraging strategies of Kittiwakes on the Farne Islands’ by Chris Redfern.

11th
March
2011

Peatscapes: The Peatlands of the Northern Pennine

Dr Andy Lloyd of the North Pennine Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty ‘PEATSCAPES’ Project will introduce the special features of these landscapes, the restoration efforts underway and the latest research that aims to further inform how these important ecosystems function.

There is an increasing recognition of the importance of maintaining our peatlands in favourable condition. Following on from the pioneering work on the Border Mires, restoration projects are now underway across most of the upland areas where peatlands are found.

In the North Pennines, the Area of Outstanding Natural beauty Partnership is working with landowners, local contractors and government agencies to restore peatlands by blocking drainage ditches and revegetating areas of bare and eroding peat.

They are also working closely with other peatland projects around the UK to share, co-ordinate and fund research into peatland science.

18th
March
2011

Dr Phil Gates: The hidden beauty of plants

Like everything else in nature, the closer you look at plants the more interesting they become. The hidden beauty of plants explores the beauty that lies just beyond the limits of human vision, focusing on the exquisite details of their cells and surface features that are visible with a simple, low-power microscope.

Dr Phil Gates is Senior Lecturer in Botany at Durham University, a former chairman of Durham Wildlife Trust and former President of the Northern Naturalists’ Union.

He is a Guardian and Northern Echo Country Diarist and maintains a North East wildlife blog at: http://cabinetofcuriosities-greenfingers.blogspot.com

25th
March
2011

Stuart Roberts: Bee Decline - Countdown to Catastrophe?

The subject of bee decline is seldom out of the news these days, but how much of what we hear about is actually based on evidence? What exactly is ‘well established fact’ rather than just ‘widely held belief’? Bees comprise the most important group of animal pollinators, and number about 19,500 described species worldwide.

Their value to agriculture, natural habitats, human health and wellbeing is vast. However, serious declines in both bee diversity and abundance have been widely reported. This presentation aims to address the breadth and depth of the reported declines, and will also investigate possible causes and deliver some practical solutions.

Stuart Roberts is a research fellow at the Centre for Agri-Environmental Research at the University of Reading. He has been studying various aspects of bee biology, ecology and bio-geography both in the UK and elsewhere for some 25 years, and is Chairman of the UK Bees, Wasps & Ants Recording Society (BWARS).

27th
April
2011

Badger Watch at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Our evening vigil starts with a talk about badgers and will examine badger paths, prints, etc before viewing the sett, and with luck badgers. If you wish to attend you must be able to sit reasonably still for 2 hours or more and be prepared for wind, rain, cold, biting insects and muddy paths (amazingly we are always over subscribed!). Due to the site we can only take 5 people per watch. We will be running at least two badger watches, possibly more if conditions allow. To book places please contact the Society Office.

6th
May
2011

Bats of the North-East

Find out about our local bat species with the Natural History Society of Northumbria; discover where they live and how they hunt at night and get to see some of these amazing mammals in action. Learn about bat ecology, life style and the legislation that protects them and we will discuss current research being undertaken locally into these poorly understood mammals. There will be three indoor sessions on Friday mornings; followed by a Thursday evening in May at Gosforth Park to see bats flying and foraging within the Society’s private reserve, experience a bat catching session and there will be a change to participate in a new project within the reserve. Suitable for beginners.

Fridays, 10.15am, starting 6th May.

7th
May
2011

Swalwell Great Reed Warbler Walk

Join Keith Bowey from the Durham Bird Club for an easy 2km guided walk to look for birds and other wildlife and learn about the history of Britain’s first Great Reed Warbler and other amazing bird heritage stories from this small area. Meet at 10.30am in the free B&Q car park at Swalwell, just off the A1, MetroCentre turn-off. This event is part of the Birds of Durham Heritage Project.

8th
May
2011

Spring on Holy Island

Join expert ornithologist David Noble-Rollin to look for migrating passerines, wading birds and spring flora on this fascinating Northumberland island. If weather conditions are right there is the chance of seeing unusual migrants such as Bluethroat and Wryneck. Meet at 10am at the main car park at Chare Ends. We will be on the island over the high tide so bring a packed lunch and suitable clothing.

10th
May
2011

Bird Song & Breeding Behaviour

David Noble-Rollin leads this 10-week course exploring the bird song and breeding behaviour of species living in the North East. Particular emphasis will be placed on learning the identification and interpretation of songs, calls and territory. There will be 5 field meetings, covering a wide range of habitats including visits to woodland areas, Cresswell Ponds for spring migrants and the Farne Islands.

Tuesdays from 10th May. A choice of 2 courses beginning at 10.15am or 1pm.

14th
May
2011

Gosforth Park Nature Reserve in Spring

Find out more about the wildlife of the nature reserve in spring. Learn how to identify the amazing variety of flora and fauna, and play an active role in their conservation through recording. Following an exploration of case studies in the Great North Museum: Hancock, David Noble-Rollin will lead you around the reserve. Transport from the Great North Museum: Hancock to Gosforth Park and back again will be provided. Please bring a packed lunch. Booking is essential, contact the Eye Project 0191 222 5158 or eye.project@twmuseums.org.uk

14th
May
2011

Small Mammals at Big Waters Nature Reserve

We will be examining bait tubes and Longworth live traps for signs and presence of small mammals (mice, voles and shrews), and participants will be able to re-bait and reset the traps after examination if they wish. Please be prepared for mud and slippery, wet conditions underfoot. Contact: Steve Lowe, zappa99@live.co.uk for further information.
This is a Northumbria Mammal Group event.

19th
May
2011

Bird Song in Thornley Woods

An early morning visit to Thornley Woods to hear and try to learn the songs of woodland bird species, in particular warblers such as Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest. We also hope to see and hear a wide range of woodland birds and hopefully Red Kite. Meet at 7am at the Thornley Woodland Centre car park, off the A694 at Rowlands Gill.

19th
May
2011

Life & Death in Prehistoric Northumberland

Steve Speak leads this 10-week archaeology course exploring Northumberland’s fascinating prehistoric past from 4,000 BC (the beginning of societies with knowledge of agriculture) to the building of Hadrian’s Wall. We will learn about the various techniques of tool-making and house-building by studying actual artefacts: and examine the many ways people used to bury their dead, from defleshing, cremation and burial tombs. The opportunity will be given
to visit sites in the field in a class that will make the most of one of the best-preserved archaeological landscapes in the country.

Thursdays from 19th May, 2-4pm

21st
May
2011

Water Voles at Boldon, South Tyneside

Enjoy a stroll along the riverbank which still supports water voles. We will look for signs and hopefully see a water vole along the way. We will learn about their ecology and the elements which combine to make good water vole habitat. We will be accompanied by the Living Waterways Project Officer, who will explain how the project is enhancing water vole habitat on the River Don. Please wear suitable clothing and footwear.

Booking essential: Steve Lowe, zappa99@live.co.uk to book a place.

This is a Northumbria Mammal Group event.

21st
May
2011

Baillon's Crake Walk, Sunderland

Join Durham Bird Club’s Paul Anderson on an easy 1.5km guided walk looking at the bird life of Mowbray Park in Sunderland and celebrating the finding of one of Britain’s most extraordinary urban bird records; the 1989 Sunderland Baillon’s Crake. Meet at 10.30am outside the entrance of the Winter Gardens/Museum. Car parking (paid) is available nearby at Sunderland Civic Centre. This event is part of the Birds of Durham Heritage Project.

22nd
May
2011

Plants of Plessey Woods

This lowland woodland, by the River Blyth, is famously species-rich and an appropriate place to visit for World Biodiversity Day. We should find wood vetch (Vicia sylvatica), toothwort (Lathraea squamaria), and many other late-spring/early summer plants. The wood also has splendid displays of Bluebells. The distinctive ancient woodland moss Hookeria lucens is locally abundant. Meet at 2pm at the Country Park visitor centre car park, off the A192 near Hartford Bridge (grid ref NZ 237804).

1st
June
2011

Bats at Plessey Woods

This will be an evening event starting around sunset and continuing till dark. There will be a short talk on bat biology and ecology, and a walk through the Country Park looking for and listening to the bats we find. Wear strong footwear and clothes suitable for the conditions, which may be muddy. If possible, please bring a torch. Booking Essential: Steve Lowe, zappa99@live.co.uk to book a place.
This is a Northumbria Mammal Group event.

5th
June
2011

Birds of Harthope Valley, Northumberland National Park

Harthope Valley offers opportunities to study a variety of birds because of the diversity of habitats. On a good day woodland species should include Redstart, Tree Pipit, Wood Warbler and Pied Flycatcher. River and moorland birds like Dipper, Buzzard and Cuckoo are almost certain to be found and Ring Ouzels are a real possibility. The day will start with a steep walk up one of the tributary burns followed by a walk along the valley floor to visit some of the riverine woodland. Meet at 10am in the National Park car park near Middleton Hall, 2.5 miles south of Wooler, grid ref. NT995256 (we will relocate from here to the start of the walk). The outing will last about five hours so please bring a packed lunch, waterproofs and walking boots.

19th
June
2011

Geology Outing with North Eastern Geological Society to Whitby and Saltwick Bay

Dr. Martin Whyte of Sheffield University will lead this outing to study the succession and depositional features of the Lower and Middle Jurassic Formations exposed at the coast as well as possibly identifying Dinosaur tracks.

Meet at 10.30 am in the Whitby Abbey Car Park (pay & dispaly). Grid ref NZ 905110. Finish about 3.30pm.

25th
June
2011

Bugs and Botany at Close House

Catch and identify insects and see some of the experiments on plant ecology that are running at the Close House Field Station.

This event is organised in collaboration with the Royal Entomological Society and Newcastle University. 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.

Turn south off the B6528 about 1 mile west of Heddon-on-the-Wall onto a minor road and take the next left, Close House is signposted (Grid ref NZ125660).

26th
June
2011

Plants of Carrifran, Scottish Borders

Carrifran is at once a valley, a burn and an exciting wildwood project. The valley is tributary to Moffat Dale, in Dumfriesshire, and is the locus of a large-scale project to re-establish native woodland in an entire Borders valley, www.carrifran.org.uk Among species of interest to be found in the valley are Roseroot Sedum rosea, Mountain Sorrel Oxyria digyna and species of Ladys-Mantle Alchemilla that are all benefiting from the cessation of grazing. Plants of the possible hybrid between Creeping and Pale Forget-me-Nots Myosotis secunda and M. stolonifera have seen, which would be the 2nd British record, and the 1st in Scotland, if confirmed. A good track goes well up the valley. One fording of the burn is required but should provide no problems unless it is in spate. We will meet in Moffat at 10.30am (free parking, toilets, cafes), and double up on transport for the 8 miles or so up the Moffat Water. Meet at the Ram statue at the top end of Moffat High Street. Bring lunch, and be prepared for Scottish Borders weather.

2nd
July
2011

Gosforth Park Nature Reserve, Exploration Day

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 the Environmental Records Centre, Butterfly Conservation and Northumbria Mammal Group. This event is open to all members of the public, both adults and children. Please note that ground can be wet, muddy and uneven, so please wear suitable footwear. The nature reserve is adjacent to the A189 close to Newcastle Racecourse.

2nd
July
2011

UPPER TEES DRUMLINS

Wishart Mitchell from Durham University will lead this trip to examine the drumlins that can be observed within the upper Tees valley, particularly around Cow Green Reservoir. These drumlins indicate the former existence of an ice centre over Cross Fell and adjacent parts of the Pennine escarpment. From the presence of a number of superimposed drumlins, this ice divide can be demonstrated to have migrated from a more northerly restricted location over westwards towards Cross Fell and Dufton Fell. Understanding the ice dynamics of such centres has been important in developing more accurate reconstructions of the last ice sheet to cover the British Isles.

Meet at 10.30 at Cow Green Reservoir Car Park (OS grid ref NY811308). The activity will last 4-5 hours and involve walking over rough terrain – expect the worst of Pennine weather! Distance to be walked is 12 km. Please bring your own packed lunch.

2nd
July
2011

Bee-eaters at Bishop Middleham, County Durham

10.30am until 12 noon.

A two kilometre countryside ramble through farmland and a flower rich nature reserve. This walk will you an excellent chance to see and hear one of the North East’s finest remaining farmland bird populations , Bishop Middleham’s famous breeding Bee-eaters.

The meeting point for this guided walk is Farnless Farm Grid ref. NZ335324; the access to Farnless Farm, is on the North side of the road to Bishop Middleham, approximately half a kilometre from the Bishop Middleham turn-off of the A177, between Coxhoe and Sedgefield.
The meeting point is at the end of the farm access road.
The leader for this walk is John Olley, the Durham Bird Club’s Conservation Officer. There is free car parking at Farnless Farm. This event is co-hosted by the Durham Wildlife Trust and Farnless Farm.

3rd
July
2011

Seals on Teeside

We will be visiting one, possibly two sites in the Tees estuary to watch the seals hauling out at low tide. We expect to get good views of Common Seals with pups and maybe the odd Grey Seal for comparison. There will be a short talk by the leader on seal biology and ecology. Wear footwear and clothing suitable for the event. Meet at Teesmouth Field Centre, grid ref NZ 526272. Wheelchair accessible. Numbers limited to 15. Booking Essential: Steve Lowe, zappa99@live.co.uk to book a place.
This is a Northumbria Mammal Group event.

9th
July
2011

The Wild Side of Rockpools

Come and delve into the beautiful and bizarre world of creatures living at the edge of land and sea with naturalist John Steel. Everyone welcome and adults can come too. Bring a net if you have one, as well as a container for your catch, but please be prepared for slippery sea weedy surfaces by wearing suitable footwear. Meet at Boulmer’s main village green car park (grid ref NU 265 140) for a 1.30pm start. Event will last 2hrs.

10th
July
2011

Bugs & Botany at Bishop Middleham Quarry

Join members of the Midweek Botany Group and entomologists for a day looking at the relationships between insects and plants. Event starts at 11am.

Bishop Middleham Quarry is 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 and other limestone species. If the weather is fine we may see Northern Brown Argus, Ringlet,
Common Blue and Small Heath butterflies.

Access to the quarry floor is by way of steep steps, but otherwise walking is level although may be rough underfoot.

The reserve is ½ mile north of Bishop Middlham village, to the west of the A177 at grid reference NZ331326. Parking is in two small roadside lay-bys near the reserve entrance and is limited, so please car-share if you can.

16th
July
2011

The Wear Gorge & Durham Cathedral

The remarkable incised meander of the River Wear at Durham not only provides the spectacular setting for the Cathedral and Castle, but also offers glimpses of the Coal Measures rocks that were so important in the region’s economic history. In this 2km traverse of the river banks, Dr Stuart Jones from University of Durham will demonstrate the geological features to be seen in the gorge. The day will conclude with a visit to the Cathedral and associated buildings where Brian Young will introduce some of the uses of rock types, both local and exotic. Meet at 10.30am outside the north door of Durham Cathedral, on Palace Green. Members travelling by car are advised to use the Park & Ride car parks and to take the Cathedral Bus which stops on Palace Green. The guided walk will end at around 4pm. There will be a £4+VAT charge for the tour of the Cathedral.

18th
July
2011

Evening Boat Trip to Coquet Island to view Roseate Terns and other seabirds

This is a joint meeting of the North Northumberland Bird Club and the Society. Last year we had two successful evenings with excellent views of both adult and juvenile Roseate Terns. The birds, with the young being fed by their parents, were seen from the boat as it stopped near the colony. Other species of tern were also there for comparison of their identification points. After looking at the terns the boat will continue around the island and give an opportunity to look out for shearwaters and skuas while watching the seals on the east shore of Coquet Island. Booking: the cost for the boat is £6.00 for adults and £3.00 for children. Please contact the Society Office to book places.

30th
July
2011

Evening Boat Trip to look for whales, dolphins and seabirds

Join us for a four hour evening pelagic trip looking for whales, dolphins and seabirds. We will be accompanied by a whale and dolphin expert. The boat will leave from Royal Quays, River Tyne. Booking essential. Cost £30.00. Contact: Steve Lowe, zappa99@live.co.uk to book a place. A £10 non-returnable deposit will be required.
This is a Northumbria Mammal Group event.

7th
August
2011

Visit to Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

All new Society members are invited for an introductory walk around the reserve so that we can show you the important wildlife areas and some of the interesting species and hopefully improve your future enjoyment and appreciation of the reserve. Although this outing is aimed at new members anyone is welcome to come along. Meet at 9.30am at the reserve entrance at Lake Lodge, adjacent to the A189 near Newcastle Racecourse. The visit will take around 2 hours.

13th
August
2011

Permian Geology of the Sunderland Area

This day excursion will examine some of Europe’s finest exposures of marine Permian rocks in classic exposures along the coast between South Shields and Sunderland.

The remarkable tufa deposit on the banks of the River Wear at Sunderland will also be visited.

Meet at 10.30am at the free car park, just south of Marsden Grotto (NZ4000 6482).

The day will involve 5 km of walking on cliff top paths and along the beach. Please bring suitable clothing and a packed lunch.

19th
August
2011

Bats in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

This will be a 1 1/2hr evening event starting around sunset and continuing till dark. There will be 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. Contact the Society Office to book.
This is a Northumbria Mammal Group event.

27th
August
2011

Small Mammals at Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve, Houghton-le-Spring

Outdoor Event

We will be examining bait tubes and Longworth live traps for signs and presence of small mammals (mice, voles and shrews), and participants will be able to re-bait and reset the traps after examination if they wish. Please be prepared for mud and slippery, wet conditions underfoot. Contact: Steve Lowe, zappa99@live.co.uk for further information.
This is a Northumbria Mammal Group event.

3rd
September
2011

Bats in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 7.45-9.15pm

This will be an evening event starting around sunset and continuing till dark. There will be 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. Contact the Society Office to book.
This is a Northumbria Mammal Group event.

4th
September
2011

Coastal Plants of Alnmouth

Outdoor Event, 11.00am

The Botanical Society recorder for North Northumberland leads this trip to dunes and salt-marsh for some later-flowering coastal species. Atriplex species include the nationally uncommon long-stalked orache (A. longipes) and the hybrid (A. gustafssoniana). There will also be glassworts Salicornia species, and we can search for saltmarsh flat-sedge (Blysmus rufus) and sea rush (Juncus maritimus). Meet at 11am at grid ref NU247096 (at the southern limit of the estuary). There is plenty of room for cars at the end of the track leading down from the A1068, although the track is rather bumpy and care is needed. Bring lunch and appropriate clothing. Wellington boots are advised.

9th
September
2011

Heritage Open Day

Indoor Event, 10am – 3pm

The Society will be opening the doors of its prestigious Council Room in the Great North Museum:Hancock for the annual Heritage Open Day events taking place all over the country.

Visitors will be given a rare opportunity to see inside this normally private room and view the historic furnishings and paintings which include portraits of Thomas Bewick and John Hancock.

On display will be some of the Society’s fascinating rarer books including John Gerarde’s The Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes of 1636 and Bewick’s own copy of Thomas Moffett’s Insectorum sive Minimorum Animalium Theatrum (Theatre of Insects), 1634.

There will also be an opportunity for the fans of the North East’s famous talking budgerigar ‘Sparkie Williams’ to view some of his memorabilia and to listen to him talking.

The Society’s Archivist, June Holmes, will be available to answer questions.

Venue: Council Room, Second Floor of the Great North Museum: Hancock, Barras Bridge NE2 4PT

10th
September
2011

Autumn Migration at Cresswell and Druridge Bay

Outdoor Event, 9.30am until 12.00pm <br/ ><br /> Join expert ornithologist David Noble-Rollin to learn about bird migration in the field. Many rare birds are seen during the autumn at Cresswell and Duridge Bay as well as commoner migrants arriving from the Arctic and leaving for Africa. The mixture of fresh water and hedgerows at Cresswell give bird watchers the chance of seeing both passage waders and warblers in the same area. Meet at 9.30am the farm road end, nearest to the hide at Cresswell pond, grid ref. NZ285 941. The field trip will last about 2.5 hours.

18th
September
2011

Sphagna at Muckle Moss

Outdoor Event, 10.30am <br /><br /> Following last year’s very successful bryophyte identification day in the Irthing Gorge, this year we will concentrate on Sphagna and other bog species at the famous locality of Muckle Moss. Northumberland is famous for its Sphagnum bogs and this site has some notable rarities. John O’Reilly the vice-county recorder for bryophytes will help us with the identification. It will be very wet underfoot, and wellingtons are strongly recommended.
Meet on the Stanegate (the road parallel to and south of the B6318 Military Road) at about OS grid ref NY 800673, parking where we can by the roadside. Bring lunch. Beginners are very welcome.

24th
September
2011

Small Mammals at Big Waters, Newcastle

Outdoor Event, 10.30am until 12.00pm <br /><br /> We will be examining bait tubes and Longworth live traps for signs and presence of small mammals (mice, voles and shrews), and participants of the group will be able to re-bait and reset the traps after examination if they wish. Accompanied children welcome. Please be prepared for mud and slippery, wet conditions underfoot.
Meet in the car park of Big Waters Nature Reserve near Wideopen (OS grid ref NZ227734). This is a Northumbria Mammal Group event, please contact Steve Lowe zappa99@live.co.uk for more information.

1st
October
2011

Riverside Birds at Bill Quay, Gateshead

Outdoor Event, 10.30am until 12 noon

This two-kilometre walk looks at the common birds living on the riverside in and around Bill Quay with added history regarding the finding of Britain’s first Pine Grosbeak in this area in 1819.
The meeting point for this guided walk is in the car park of the Bill Quay Quarry Community Farm, at Bill Quay, east Gateshead. Grid ref NZ296625.
The Farm can be found just west of Bill Quay, north of the A185.

The walk leader for this event is Birds of Durham Heritage Project Coordinator, Keith Bowey. Car parking at Bill Quay Community Farm is free. This event is co hosted by the Natural History Society of Northumbria and Gateshead Council.

2nd
October
2011

Fascinating Fungi Foray, Castle Eden Dene

Outdoor Event, 11am until 2.00pm <br /><br /> Join enthusiast Tom Kirby to discover the wonderful world of mycology within the ancient woodland of Castle Eden Dene. Hedgehog, oyster, dead man’s fingers, eyelash and brain fungi are just a small selection of the fascinating fungi awaiting discovery on this informative walk. Bring a sandwich and hot drink. Event organised by Natural England in association with the North East Environmental Records Information Centre (ERIC).
This event is free but booking is essential. Please contact the Castle Eden Dene office on 0191 5860004 to book your place or find out more.

4th
October
2011

Autumn Birds of the North East

Expert ornithologist David Noble-Rollin leads this 10-week course teaching the identification and habits of birds found in the north east during the autumn. This will include some of the rarer species that arrive as migrants. There will be 5 field visits looking for birds at a wide range of habitats including Holy Island, Boulmer and Bolam Lake.

Tuesdays from 4th October. 1pm-3pm.

<br /> For more information please view the
<a href=’http://nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/news/wp-content/uploads/BIRDS-OF-North-East-Autumn-2011.pdf’> Autumn Birds of the North East PDF </a>

5th
October
2011

Investigating Geology

Ken Patterson leads this 10-week course to interpret geological landscapes. Ken will make all the evidence of an area available to students, including rock samples, maps, cross-sections, photographs, thin rock sections, stratigraphical columns and fossils. The course will help students to use this information to correctly interpret the events that influence the geology of a place.

<br/> Wednesdays from 5th October, 10.15-12.15pm
<br/> For more information, please view the
<a href=’http://nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/news/wp-content/uploads/NHSN-Int-Geol-Landscapes-2011.pdf’ > Investigating Geology PDF </a>

6th
October
2011

The Quaternary

Dr Angus Lunn leads a 20-week journey through the last 2 million years. Students will investigate the most significant climatic, geological and biological events of the Quaternary, with particular attention to northern England. The subject is so vast that the course itself continues to evolve and is suitable for new and previous students. Some knowledge about the subject is helpful but not essential. Students will also have the opportunity to join a summer field trip.

Thursdays from 6th October, 7-9pm

For more information please view <a href=’http://nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/news/wp-content/uploads/Quaternary-Autumn-Winter-2011-12.doc’>Quaternary Course Details</a>

6th
October
2011

Iron Age and Roman Northumberland

Northumberland suffered greatly from a massive Icelandic volcanic ash cloud in 1159bc (some things never change!) which had huge implications for our Iron Age culture. 1,000 years later, the Romans came and their legacy in the North is shown by the large range of forts, towns, roads and of course, Hadrian’s Wall. Steve Speak narrates this fascinating story in a 10 week course that will include visits to some of the local sites he has excavated.

Thursdays from 6th October, 2pm

7th
October
2011

The Bats of Gibside

Indoor Event, 7.00-8.30pm (doors open at 6.20pm) <br />2011 is the fifth year of surveying all the buildings on the National Trust estate at Gibside for bats. Tina Wiffen celebrates World Animal Day by sharing the findings of the surveys that have been carried out by National Trust volunteers and members of Northumberland and Durham Bat Groups. This has included radio-tracking and roost emergence of the bats found by the tracking. Tina Wiffen is a member of the Northumberland Bat Group and independent ecological consultant who has worked for the Bat Conservation Trust and Natural England. This lecture is supported by OPAL.

Venue: Great North Museum: Hancock, Barras Bridge NE2 4PT

8th
October
2011

Small Mammals in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 10.30am until 12.00pm <br /><br /> We will be examining bait tubes and Longworth live traps for signs and presence of small mammals (mice, voles and shrews), and participants will be able to re-bait and reset the traps after examination if they wish.
Accompanied children welcome. Please be prepared for mud and slippery, wet conditions underfoot. This event will mark the beginning of our contribution towards an ongoing bi-annual national survey for small mammals, which is being co-ordinated by the Mammal Society UK. Volunteers welcome, training provided.
This event is free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book.

11th
October
2011

Introduction to the Mammals of Northumbria

Otter, red squirrel, dormouse, dolphin – mammals are all around us but easily overlooked. In this 10 week course Steve Lowe and Kevin O’Hara will help you learn about all the regions wonderful land and sea mammals and how to identify them, including tracks and small mammal trapping. The course will also look at conservation issues and includes locally shot nocturnal film footage. There will be 2 week-end field visits.

Tuesdays from 11th October, 7pm.
For more information, please view <a href= ‘http://nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/news/wp-content/uploads/Introduction-to-Northumbrian-Mammals.pdf’ > Introduction to Mammals PDF </a>

14th
October
2011

Henderson Island - Paradise Saved?

Indoor Event, 7.00-8.30pm (doors open at 6.20pm)

Situated in the Pacific Ocean, Henderson Island (UK Overseas Territory) is one of the most remote islands on the planet. Uninhabited, and with almost no human influence, this paradise and World Heritage Site is home to over 55 endemic species, including four land-birds: Henderson fruit-dove, Henderson lorikeet, Henderson crake and Henderson reed-warbler. This unique biodiversity is under threat due to introduced Pacific rats. Seabird numbers have dropped from an estimated 5 million pairs before rats arrived to just 40,000 pairs today.

The RSPB has been carrying out the largest tropical island rat eradication programme ever attempted in order to save some of these species from extinction. Mike Harris, from the RSPB, will talk about the fantastic wildlife of the island and the restoration methods being employed to save it.

Venue: Great North Museum: Hancock, Barras Bridge NE2 4PT

16th
October
2011

Autumn Birds on Holy Island

Outdoor Event, 9.30am until 4pm <br /><br /> Ian Kerr, author of The Birds of Holy Island, will help us track down migrating birds and if conditions are favourable we hope to find some of the rarer species. At this time of year wintering wildfowl and waders will also be present in good numbers along with associated birds of prey.
Meet at the main island car park at Chare Ends. We will be on the island over the high tide, until 4pm, so bring a packed lunch and suitable clothing.

21st
October
2011

Flora of North Yorkshire

Indoor Event, 7.00-8.30pm (doors open at 6.20pm)

Linda is a Cumbrian botanist from the Eden Valley who has recently become the Botanical Society of the British Isles’ Recorder for vice-county 65 (North Yorkshire). The vice-county includes part of upper Teesdale, and Swaledale and Wensleydale, and she will describe the early results of her survey work there and
elsewhere in her territory.

Venue: Great North Museum: Hancock, Barras Bridge NE2 4PT

22nd
October
2011

The History of the Eastern Crowned Warbler, South Shields

Outdoor Event, 10.30am until 12 noon.

A two kilometre guided walk through the open country of the South Shields Leas to Trow Quarry, and recounts why 3000 people came to this spot in October 2009, to see Britain’s first Eastern Crowned Warbler all the way from Siberia.

The meeting point for this event is at the South Shield coastal car parks, close to Water’s Edge public house. Grid ref NZ382666. Access to the coastal car parks is off the A183, South Shield to Sunderland coast road, approximately half a kilometre south of the Gypsies Green sports stadium.

The walk leader for this event is Mark Newsome (the Durham County Orithological Recorder). This event is part of the Birds of Durham Heritage Project.

26th
October
2011

Make Your Own Bird, Bat & Bee Nests, Newcastle

Indoor Event, 10.00am until 12.00pm <br /><br /> Join the Society’s nest box expert Geoff Lawrence to help make bird, bat and bumble bee boxes. This is a family event suitable for accompanied children and all materials are provided. You can take your box home or donate it for use at Gosforth Park and local sites.
Event takes place in the Clore Suite on the ground floor of the Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle. You can drop in anytime between 10am and 12pm.

28th
October
2011

Rocks, Ice & Climate Change in the Arctic

Indoor Event 7.00-8.30pm (doors open at 6.20pm)

Ken Patterson has been travelling to the Arctic over the past 40 years to pursue his geological interests in studying the rocks, minerals and natural history. This talk will include trips to Norway, Greenland and Svalbard as well as locations in Canada and Alaska which he believes demonstrate evidence of recent dramatic climate changes. At the conclusion of the lecture you will be invited to consider whether Global Warming is scientific fact, fantasy or even political fiction.

Venue: Great North Museum: Hancock, Barras Bridge NE2 4PT

4th
November
2011

Conserving Britain's Trees & Forests in the 21st Century - Pybus Memorial Lecture

Indoor Event, 7.00pm start.

2011 is UN International Year of Forests and we are delighted to have Keith Kirby, Natural England’s Forestry & Woodland
Officer, to deliver this year’s Pybus Lecture. Keith has led on a wide range forestry and woodland issues for the government’s conservation service for over 30 years, including advice on the selection and management of woodland SSSI’s; contributing to forestry policy discussions and conducting research, mainly into changes in woodland ground flora.

Where should conservation of trees and woodland be going in the 21st century? How do we cope with the challenges posed by increasing deer populations and the impact of new and emerging pests and diseases? Can we overcome concerns that forest expansion will be at the expense of valued open habitats, if not the peatlands targeted in the 1980s, then dry heathland soils? Should we start to recognise forests planted in the early 20th century, such as Kielder, as distinctive features of modern landscapes? Should we be looking to accept species such as sycamore and beech in northern England as ‘future natives’ in an environment affected by climate change? Can ancient woodlands, wood-pastures and parkland species act as effective sources for the spread of woodland plants and animals in the North-East where any of the surviving ancient woods are quite small?

This year’s Pybus Lecture will take place in Lecture Theatre 1, Herschel Building, Newcastle University (this will be signposted from Kings Gate). You can find directions at www.ncl.ac.uk/about/visit/maps (the University map reference is 17) or contact the Society Office. Tickets are not required but do please arrive in good time.

5th
November
2011

Grey Seal Pups on the Farne Islands

Outdoor Event, 10.15am <br /><br /> We hope to have good views of Grey Seals and their pups on this boat trip from Seahouses to the Farne Islands. One of the National Trust Wardens will join us to help locate the seals and answer any questions. We also hope to see winter seabirds such as divers and auks. Please wear clothing and footwear suitable for all weathers.
Booking is essential as there are only 12 places. To book please contact the Society Office.

11th
November
2011

Are Badgers still persecuted in the North East and UK?

Indoor Event, 7.00-8.30pm (doors open 6.20pm)

The Protection of Badgers Act was introduced in 1992 to address the level of persecution and cruelty suffered by badgers in the UK. Has it been effective? The recent police led Operation Meles suggests that badger crime is on the increase and is often associated with mainstream criminal activities. Mervyn Anthony is chair of the Northumberland Badger Group and a Director and lead for the Badger Trust on persecution in England. An expert in his field, Mervyn will give us an insight into badger persecution in our region and talk about the efforts being made to stop it and explain how you can help. This lecture is supported by OPAL.

Venue: Great North Museum: Hancock, Barras Bridge NE2 4PT

18th
November
2011

Flora of Northumberland's Whin Sill

Indoor Event, 7.00-8.30pm (doors open 6.20pm)

The Whin Sill in Northumberland supports a variety of habitats, from the high crags and scree of the Roman Wall to grassy slopes, quarries and sea cliffs. Plants such as Chives Allium schoenprasum, Hairy Stonecrop Sedum villosum and Maiden Pink Dianthus deltoides have long been known to be associated with the whin, but until recently little was known of the less specialised plants, or of the lichens and bryophytes that grow with them.

Northumberland Wildlife Trust have carried out an extensive study of the whin habitat over the last 5 years and the results will be presented in this talk, including the discovery of an important but previously unrecognised lichen habitat. Comparison with the results of surveys carried out 30 years ago highlight the extent of habitat loss and the threat to some of the best sites from scrub invasion. We won’t know for many years how effective practical conservation work carried out by NWT has been, but it raises some important issues for the conservation management of scarce habitats.

Dr Janet Simkin is a freelance ecologist, specialising in the study of species-rich grasslands.

Venue: Great North Museum: Hancock, Barras Bridge NE2 4PT

26th
November
2011

Thomas Bewick and Natural History

Indoor Event, 2pm

Bewick Society Chairman, Peter Quinn, will give a short talk on the North East’s famous artist and woodengraver Thomas Bewick, highlighting his role in the field of natural history. Peter will look at some of the naturalists who influenced Bewick and go on to discuss how his work was admired by his contemporaries including the great American artist John James Audubon.

This will be followed by a rare opportunity to examine key works by Bewick and other naturalists held in the special collections library of the Natural History Society. Volumes on display will include Marmaduke Tunstall’s Ornithologia Britannica, 1771, Pierre Belon’s L’Histoire de la nature des oyseaux, 1555 and material by other well known naturalists such as Thomas Pennant and Audubon.

Venue: Great North Museum: Hancock, Barras Bridge NE2 4PT

2nd
December
2011

Images of the Arctic

Indoor Event, 7.00-8.30pm (doors open 6.20pm)

An evocative portrayal of its wildlife and scenery, in pictures, prose, poetry and music, from Graham’s many visits to the Arctic wildernesses – his favourite area of the world.

Graham is an expert ornithologist, author and photographer and is a guest speaker on expedition cruises all over the world and contributor to Lonely Planet The Arctic. He is also chairman of the North Northumberland Bird Club.

Venue: Great North Museum: Hancock, Barras Bridge NE2 4PT

4th
December
2011

Otter Survey at Billingham Beck, Tees Valley

Outdoor Event, 10.00am until 12.00pm <br /><br />Come along and learn about the return of the Otter to the Tees Valley and find out how to identify their presence before looking along the course of Billingham Beck to identify any field signs. Indoor presentation followed by field visit. Billingham Beck Valley Country Park Visitor Centre.
This event is free but booking essential, please email northumbriamammalgroup@hotmail.co.uk or call 077798 70422 to book a place.

24th
December
2011

Winter Gulls at the Tyne Estuary

09.00 – 11.00

The Tyne Estuary in winter is one of the best places to view gulls. Dan Turner will help explain the different species and their sub-adult phases and if we are lucky we may come across Mediterranean, Glaucous or Iceland Gulls as well as other harbour birds such as Purple Sandpiper. The walk will be around 1 mile, mostly on paths but dress for the cold. This is also a great place to buy fish & chips or fresh fish. This event is free but numbers are limited to a small group so you must book in advance by contacting the Society office.

9th
October
2006

Autumn Birds on Holy Island

Autumn Birds on Holy Island

Red-flanked Bluetail by Brian Robson

Sunday 9 October, 10.50am–4pm

If conditions are favourable we will be looking for autumn migrants. Alternatively, we will take in the island’s abundant wildfowl and waders which should be at their peak, alongside birds of prey. This is an all-day event so you will need a packed lunch.

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

Leader: Ian Kerr

A completely updated edition of Ian Kerr’s The Birds of Holy Island with new material and photos has just been published by NatureGuides Ltd.

13th
January
2012

Seals of Northumberland

Indoor Event 7.00-8.30pm (doors open at 6.20pm)

Two species of seal breed in UK waters: Grey Seals and Harbour Seals (also called Common Seals). The Grey Seal is the only species occurring in significant numbers within the Berwickshire and North Northumberland European Marine Site (EMS), although one small group of Harbour Seals haul out regularly on the sands at Lindisfarne.

Dr. David Thompson is Senior Research Scientist at the Sea Mammals Research Unit, Scottish Oceans Institute at the University of St. Andrews in Aberdeen and co-author of the recent report on the status of grey seals in the EMS (www.xbordercurrents.co.uk-core_files-greyseal.url) as well as a range of other papers on pinnipeds.

In addition to updating on the status of seals in Northumberland, Dr. Thompson is also investigating seal strandings, particularly ‘corkscrew deaths’. If any members have photographs of any corpses they have seen on the coast, he would welcome photographs including any historical ones (email: dt2@st-andrews.ac.uk).

Venue: Great North Museum: Hancock, Barras Bridge NE2 4PT

16th
January
2012

Wildlife Photography

Mondays 10.15-12.15
Learn how to take fantastic digital photographs of our amazing local wildlife. David Noble-Rollin leads this 10-week course is aimed at those who have a digital camera but still tend to use it on the automatic settings and would like to take better photographs and improve their wildlife photography techniques.
Includes 2 field sessions.

17th
January
2012

Winter Birds of the North East

Expert ornithologist David Noble-Rollin will help you learn the identification, adaptations and behaviour of the region’s varied winter birds. Indoor classes use field guides, film, photos, diagrams and sound recordings, and visits include Newton Pools, Teesmouth, Hauxley and the Solway Estuary. 10 week course.
Tuesdays from 17th January. A choice of 2 courses beginning at 10.15am or 1pm.

19th
January
2012

An Introduction to Roman Northumberland

Thursdays 2-4pm
Hadrian’s Wall is not the only evidence for Romans in the North. Steve Speak has spent many years excavating Roman sites; join him in this fascinating 10 week course examining the major and less well known sites of Roman Northumberland. Bridges, forts, temples and inscriptions await you! Includes visits to some of the sites he has excavated.

20th
January
2012

The Birds of Durham

Indoor Event 7.00-8.30pm (doors open at 6.20pm)

It is 60 years since the Society published George Temperley’s ground-breaking ‘A History of the Birds of Durham’. Durham Bird Club has been celebrating this anniversary with a project that is bringing the wildlife of the past to the people of tomorrow.
Keith Bowey will tell us some of the stories of both people and birds from the recent and distant past which form such an integral part of the new bird atlas for County Durham.

Keith Bowey is co-ordinator for the Birds of Durham Heritage Project. He is also a local ecologist and environmental practitioner and one of Durham’s best known ornithologists.

Venue: Great North Museum: Hancock, Barras Bridge NE2 4PT

23rd
January
2012

Winter Gulls at the Tyne Estuary

Outdoor Event. 09.00 – 11.00

The Tyne Estuary in winter is one of the best places to view gulls. Dan Turner will help explain the different species and their sub-adult phases and if we are lucky we may come across Mediterranean, Glaucous or Iceland Gulls as well as other harbour birds such as Purple Sandpiper. The walk will be around 1 mile, mostly on paths but dress for the cold. This is also a great place to buy fish & chips or fresh fish. This event is free but numbers are limited to a small group so you must book in advance by contacting the Society office.

25th
January
2012

Space Geology

Wednesdays 10.15-12.15
What can the spectacular discoveries by rovers travelling the surface of Mars tell us about global warming? What is the Moon made of, and where did it come from? What are asteroids and did one really kill all of the dinosaurs? Each week Derek Teasdale will help you explore a part of the Solar System and learn what it can tell us about the Earth’s origin and future.
10 week course.

28th
January
2012

Foundations of the Northern Pennines: Rookhope

Indoor Event 2pm -5pm

It is 50 years since the Weardale Granite, the existence of which was first predicted in the 1930s by Kingsley Dunham, was finally proved by drilling the Rookhope Borehole. The project was a geological adventure that radically changed perceptions, not just of northern England geology, but which led to major advances in the understanding of ore-forming and related processes worldwide. Fifty years on, the scientific legacies of the borehole are as relevant as ever, underpinning research which may have the potential for economic benefits undreamt of when the granite was first predicted.

To mark this significant anniversary, the Natural History Society of Northumbria has joined with the Yorkshire Geological Society and the Friends of Killhope to hold a joint event.

Each of the afternoon’s four talks will focus on an aspect of northern England geology which arises from insights provided by the borehole. Topics will include new interpretations and models for the origins of mineralisation, the possibilities for economically viable geothermal resources and a review of the potential for future mineral exploration and working. Speakers will include Professor Martin Bott, Professor Jon Gluyas and Professor Joe Cann.

Venue: Great North Museum: Hancock, Barras Bridge NE2 4PT

3rd
February
2012

Decline of the Common Toad(This course was originally Invasion of the Cane Toads)

Indoor Event, 7.00-8.30pm (doors open 6.20pm)

Unfortunately Dr Mike Sweet has been called away to Columbia as part of a research project. Rachel Jackson from the North-East Reptile & Amphibian Group (NERAG) will give a talk on The Decline of the Common Toad. Her illustrated talk will cover the ecology of the Common Toad and the reasons for the continuing and worrying decline in its UK population. Rachel will also give some tips on how you can encourage and support toads in your garden or get involved in their conservation.

In association with NERAG

Venue: Great North Museum: Hancock, Barras Bridge NE2 4PT

10th
February
2012

Visible Migration of Birds

Indoor Event, 7.00-8.30pm (doors open 6.20pm)

Although a bird ringer in an earlier life, Keith Clarkson’s interest in migration turned towards watching and counting birds visibly migrating. ‘Vismig’ as it is called, is gaining in importance for quantifying bird movements through the observations of networks of dedicated observers. Keith Clarkson is a leading authority on vismig from his studies in the South Pennines and has inspired many birders to become ‘vismiggers’. Keith is the East Coast Reserves Area Manager for the RSPB.

Venue: Great North Museum: Hancock, Barras Bridge NE2 4PT

12th
February
2012

Walk on the Wild Side

Join us on this 3.5mile walk along the Ouseburn wildlife corridor in Newcastle. The walk is part of the Save Gosforth Wildlife campaign to show Newcastle politicians the strength of support for protecting one of the city’s most important wildlife corridors which is under threat from the Council’s housing plans and developers. The walk will be at a leisurely pace and will be on surfaced paths. We will set off from Gosforth Nature Reserve at 10.40am and finish on the River Tyne at around 12.45. You can find out more details and parking and travel arrangements by clicking this link <a href= ‘http://nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Walk-on-the-wild-side-flyer.pdf’ > Walk On the Wild Side</a>

17th
February
2012

Shifting savannas and collapsing forests: climate and vegetation changes in West Africa during the last 10,000 years

Indoor Event, 7.00-8.30pm (doors open 6.20pm)

Recent environmental change in Africa has focussed discussion on the importance of human disturbance versus climate change. Numerous ecologists postulate that modern humid savannas in West Africa mainly derive from anthropogenic degradation of a prior natural forest. This talk will show how West African forests, savannas and deserts responded to climate change and to increasing human impact throughout the last 10,000 years. The talk will provide evidence for gradual shifts of savanna boundaries, abrupt collapses of rain forests and early archaeological evidence for agriculture.

Ulrich Salzmann is a physical geographer and palaeobotanist with a particular interest in reconstructing past climate and vegetation of tropical and polar regions. He is lecturing in Geography and Environment at Northumbria University.

Venue: Great North Museum: Hancock, Barras Bridge NE2 4PT

24th
February
2012

Beavers - Reintroducing a Keystone Species

Indoor Event, 7.00-8.30pm (doors open 6.20pm)

The Scottish Beaver Trial is a partnership project between the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, the Scottish Wildlife Trust and host Forestry Commission Scotland to undertake a time-limited, 5 year trial reintroduction of Eurasian beavers (Castor fiber) to Knapdale, Mid-Argyll. It is the first ever formal reintroduction of a mammal species in the UK and the first beavers were released in May 2009. The Trial will run until 2014. Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) coordinates the independent scientific monitoring of the trial, reporting progress to the Scottish Government. Simon Jones from SNH will update us on the progress of this fascinating project and what we have learned so far.

A native of South Shields, Simon began his involvement with nature conservation as a volunteer in Gateshead in 1991. After a period as a Reserves Warden for the Cleveland Wildlife Trust he moved on to work in a variety of posts in New Zealand, London and the East Midlands before settling in Scotland. He has managed the Scottish Beaver Trial since 2007. This lecture is supported by OPAL.

Venue: Great North Museum: Hancock, Barras Bridge NE2 4PT

14th
April
2012

Avocet Amble, Seal Sands

Outdoor Event, 10.00am-1pm

Join the Environmental Records Information Centre North East (ERIC) and Natural England for a chance to view these beautiful and distinctive birds as they return to their breeding ground beside Greatham Creek. Also a chance to see Teesmouth’s best seal haul-out site.

This event is free but booking is essential. Transport will be provided from the Great North Museum: Hancock to Seal Sands and back again. Event is suitable for children but they must be accompanied by an adult.

Tel: 0191 222 5158 or email eric.ne@twmuseums.org.uk to book your place or find out more.

In partnership with ERIC & Natural England

15th
April
2012

Howford, Acomb near Hexham

Outdoor Event, 2.30pm

At this well-known site, at the meeting of the Rivers North and South Tyne near Acomb, we should see a diversity of spring flowers: Toothwort Lathraea squamaria, Goldilocks Ranunculus auricomus, Yellow Star-of-Bethlehem Gagea lutea and Wild Daffodil Narcissus pseudo-narcissus. There are glorious spreads of Wood Anemone and not yet in flower will be Northern Bedstraw Galium boreale. Meet at Acomb. Parking is at the side of the A6079 on the wide cinder verge on the west side of the road, coming from Hexham it is about 100m before the minor crossroad (where the road on the right leads into the main part of the village). It is beside a sign ‘Colliery Yard Garage’ (grid ref NY927662).

This event is lead by Professor John Richards

19th
April
2012

Badger Watches at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 7pm

Our evening vigil starts with a talk about badgers and we will examine badger paths, prints, etc before viewing the sett, and with luck badgers.

You will need to be prepared to sit reasonably still outdoors for 2 hours or more and to cope with wind, rain, cold, biting insects and muddy paths!

This event is free but booking is required as places are limited to 5 people per watch. Please contact the Society Office to book.

The event is led by Paul Drummond and Mervyn Anthony.

25th
April
2012

Bats of the North East

Wednesdays at 7pm
Find out about our local bat species; discover where they live and how they hunt at night and get to see some of these amazing mammals in action. On this 3 week course (8 hours of teaching), bat expert Tina Wiffen will teach you about bat ecology, lifestyle and the legislation that protects them and we will discuss current research being undertaken locally into these poorly understood mammals. There will be 2 outdoor sessions watching bats and using a bat detector. The 2nd and 3rd session will not start until 8pm in order for it to be dark enough for the bats to be on the wing.

25th
April
2012

Amphibian Identification, Gosforth

Outdoor Event, 7pm-10pm

Find out more about our native amphibians with Northumberland Wildlife Trust and ERIC North East.

Starting with an indoor session at the Trust’s headquarters in Gosforth, you will head out to one of their reserves and hopefully see some of these fascinating species in the wild.

This event is free but booking is essential. Transport will be provided from Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s headquarters and back again. Suitable for children but they must be accompanied by an adult.

Tel 0191 222 5158 or email eric.ne@twmuseums.org.uk to book your place or find out more.

25th
April
2012

Badger Watches at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 7pm

Our evening vigil starts with a talk about badgers and we will examine badger paths, prints, etc before viewing the sett, and with luck badgers.

You will need to be prepared to sit reasonably still outdoors for 2 hours or more and to cope with wind, rain, cold, biting insects and muddy paths!

This event is free but booking is required as places are limited to 5 people per watch. Please contact the Society Office to book.

The event is led by Paul Drummond and Mervyn Anthony.

27th
April
2012

Amphibians & Reptiles of the North-East

Fridays at 7pm
Plunge into the amazing world of amphibians and reptiles of the North East. Explore where they can be found, learn their ecology and how to help conserve these special creatures. 10 sessions includes 5 outdoor classes. The course is led by Rachel Jackson and John Grundy.

<a href= ‘http://nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/news/wp-content/uploads/Amphibians-Reptiles-Course-Programme-Spring-2012.pdf’ > For more details on this course please click this link </a>

28th
April
2012

Black Grouse Lek & Upland Birds, Upper Teesdale

Outdoor Event, 5am-10am

Thanks to the work of the North Pennines Black Grouse Recovery Programme our region is one of the best places in England to see these charismatic moorland birds.

We will be visiting the site of a Lek (where large numbers of males try to attract females) which takes place in early morning. After watching this wonderful natural spectacle we will return to the Langdon Beck Hotel for breakfast and have a short film and talk about Black Grouse.

For those who would like to at 10am we will go on a 3 mile walk looking for breeding waders, Ring Ouzel and other upland birds.

There is a £10 charge for this event which includes breakfast at the Langdon Beck Hotel (veggie option available).

Please contact the Society Office to reserve your place. If you wish you can stay overnight at the hotel or nearby YHA and we will provide details when you book.

This event is led by Chris McCarty

29th
April
2012

Badger Watches at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 7pm

Our evening vigil starts with a talk about badgers and we will examine badger paths, prints, etc before viewing the sett, and with luck badgers.

You will need to be prepared to sit reasonably still outdoors for 2 hours or more and to cope with wind, rain, cold, biting insects and muddy paths!

This event is free but booking is required as places are limited to 5 people per watch. Please contact the Society Office to book.

The event is led by Paul Drummond and Mervyn Anthony.

1st
May
2012

Bird Song and Breeding Behaviour

Tuesdays at 10.15am or 1pm
A wonderful opportunity to learn how to identify and interpret the songs, calls and territories of birds of the North East. 10 week course with 5 field trips, including Farne Islands, Druridge Bay, Northumberland National Park and lowland woodlands and wetlands. This course; which is led by David Noble-Rollin; has a choice of two course beginning at either 10.15am or 1pm.
<a href= ‘http://nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/news/wp-content/uploads/Birds-North-East-Summer-2012-Programme.pdf’ > For more details on this course please click this link <a/>

1st
May
2012

Badger Watches at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 7pm

Our evening vigil starts with a talk about badgers and we will examine badger paths, prints, etc before viewing the sett, and with luck badgers.

You will need to be prepared to sit reasonably still outdoors for 2 hours or more and to cope with wind, rain, cold, biting insects and muddy paths!

This event is free but booking is required as places are limited to 5 people per watch. Please contact the Society Office to book.

The event is led by Paul Drummond and Mervyn Anthony.

2nd
May
2012

Wildlife Digital Photography

Wednesdays at 1pm

Learn how to take fantastic digital photographs of our wonderful local wildlife. David Noble-Rollin leads this 10-week course aimed at those who have a digital camera but still tend to use it on the automatic settings and would like to take better photographs and improve their wildlife photography techniques. 10 week course includes 2 field sessions.
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<a href=’http://nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/news/wp-content/uploads/Wildlife-Digital-Photography-prog-summer-2012.pdf’>For course details please click here.</a>

2nd
May
2012

Northumbrian Rivers

Wednesdays at 10.15am
From the boggy hilltops of the Cheviots and Pennines fast flowing streams descend to wide meandering valleys and the sea. Northumbria’s rivers each have their own unique character. Over 10 sessions you will explore how the interplay of underlying geology and water has created the familiar landscapes of our river catchments. Includes one half day field trip and 2 full-day trips. The course is led by Derek Teasdale.

3rd
May
2012

Ecology of the North East Coast

Thursdays at 10.15am
Veronica Howard leads this 6 week course exploring the ecology of the north east’s coastal habitats. Rocky shores, dune systems, salt marsh, estuaries, mudflats and sea cliffs are all habitats where the land meets the sea and the plants and animals found there have adapted to this challenging environment. Includes a field trip to the Druridge Bay area.

3rd
May
2012

Dark Age Archaeology

Thursdays at 2pm.
After the Roman occupation in Britain came to an end in the 5th century AD, the country fell into a period popularly called ‘The Dark Ages’ – but how can this be with 33 Anglo-Saxon churches built in Northumberland and Durham, the creation of the incomparable Lindisfarne Gospels, the relics of St. Cuthbert, royal palaces and so much more? Steve Speak leads this 10 week introduction to these fascinating Dark Age sites and objects. Includes site visits.

5th
May
2012

Small Mammals in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 10.30am

We will be examining bait tubes and Longworth live traps for signs and presence of small mammals (mice, voles and shrews), and participants will be able to re-bait and reset the traps after examination if they wish. Accompanied children welcome. Please be prepared for wet conditions underfoot.

This event is part of a bi-annual national survey for small mammals, which is being co-ordinated by the Mammal Society UK. Volunteers welcome, training provided.

This event is free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book.

This event is led by Veronica Carnell

10th
May
2012

Badger Watches at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 7pm

Our evening vigil starts with a talk about badgers and we will examine badger paths, prints, etc before viewing the sett, and with luck badgers.

You will need to be prepared to sit reasonably still outdoors for 2 hours or more and to cope with wind, rain, cold, biting insects and muddy paths!

This event is free but booking is required as places are limited to 5 people per watch. Please contact the Society Office to book.

The event is led by Paul Drummond and Mervyn Anthony.

12th
May
2012

Seashore Explore at St Mary's Island, Whitley Bay

Outdoor Event, 1pm-4pm

Delve into the rockpools of St. Mary’s Island with ERIC North East and the Great North Museum: Hancock to discover bladder wrack, edible crabs, sea squirts and dog whelks along with many other fascinating seashore creatures.

This event is free but booking is essential. Transport will be provided from the Great North Museum: Hancock to St. Mary’s Island and back again. Suitable for children but they must accompanied by an adult.

Tel 0191 222 5158 or email eric.ne@twmuseums.org.uk to book your place or find out more.

13th
May
2012

Howick Hall Arboretum

Outdoor Event, 10.30am

This is a great opportunity to be guided round this famous Arboretum by its very well informed head gardener, Robert Jamieson. The Arbotetum covers about 65 acres and has over 11,000 trees and shrubs, planted from 1988. We will also have an opportunity to see some native plants at Howick Burn mouth. There is an entry charge of £6 per person (£5 for over 60s), payable on the day, plus £30 for Robert’s time (which we will collect among ourselves). Meet in the car park for Howick Garden; it is well signed from the B1339 about 1 mile north of Longhoughton. Post code for satnavs NE66 3LB. Bring lunch.

This event is led by Robert Jamieson

17th
May
2012

Bird Song in Plessey Woods

Outdoor Event, 7.30am

An early morning visit to Plessey Woods to hear and try to learn the songs of woodland bird species, in particular warblers such as Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler and Goldcrest.

We also hope to see a wide range of woodland birds as well. Meet at the Country Park visitor centre car park, off the A192 near Hartford Bridge (grid ref NZ 237804).

This event is led by David Noble-Rollin

27th
May
2012

Carboniferous Rocks at Scremerston, Berwick-Upon-Tweed

Outdoor Event, 10.30am

Jonny Imber from Durham University will lead this visit to the spectacular coastal exposures of 330 million year old Carboniferous rocks at Scremeston on the north Northumberland coast.

The rocks here are justifiably famous for their folding and faulting of Carboniferous cyclothems, and these will be the main focus for the trip.

The exposed strata also contain abundant examples of brachiopods, corals, crinoids and trace fossils.

Meet at the car park above Cockburnlaw Beach, about 1 mile east of Scremerston village (grid ref GR026 486).

7th
June
2012

Quaternary Geology of the Isle of Arran, Scotland

Outdoor Event

This summer the members of the Society’s Quaternary Course have the opportunity to take part in a residential long-weekend off the west coast of Scotland to look at landforms and deposits in a beautiful natural setting.

Limited to members of the Society’s Quaternary Course.

This event is led by Angus Lunn

9th
June
2012

Moths at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 9.15pm-11pm

Join the County Moth Recorder, Tom Tams and reserve warden Paul Drummond for this night-time event to catch and identify moths at Gosforth Nature Reserve.

The moths are trapped using a bright light and enable you to get close up to these beautiful and rarely seen insects.

Gosforth Park has a range of common and rare woodland moths.

We recommend you bring sunglasses as the trapping light is bright, a torch and insect repellent. Meet at the reserve entrance at Lake Lodge.

This event is led by Tom Tams and Paul Drummond

17th
June
2012

Northern Hay Meadows Project, Wensleydale

Outdoor Event, 11am

The traditionally managed hay meadows of the Yorkshire Dales are threatened by changes to farming practices and many have lost some of the diversity of plants and insects that makes them special. We will be visiting some of the best that remain and will be shown round a field trial that is developing new approaches to recovering this diversity. There will also be time to explore some of the other botanical sites nearby, including Seata Quarry where we should see some interesting aliens, including Spiky Fescue Festuca gautieri, Round-leaved St. John’s Wort Hypericum nummularium, and Fairy Foxglove Erinus alpinus. Meet at the Village Institute in Thornton Rust, near Aysgarth. (grid ref SD 972889). The paths are uneven and steep in places so please wear suitable footwear. Bring lunch.

This event is led by Dr Janet Simkin

22nd
June
2012

Whale & Dolphin Watch in the North Sea, departing from Royal Quays, River Tyne

Outdoor Event, 6pm -10pm

Join the Northumbria Mammal Group for a four hour evening pelagic trip in the North Sea looking for whales, dolphins and seabirds.

Contact Steve Lowe, zappa99@live.co.uk to book a place. Places are limited so booking is essential.

This event is led by Martin Kitching

23rd
June
2012

Gosforth Park Nature Reserve Exploration Day

Outdoor Event, 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 and Northumbria Mammal Group. This event is open to all members of the public, both adults and children.

Please note that ground can be wet, muddy and uneven, so please wear suitable footwear.

23rd
June
2012

Glow Worms at Thrislington, Sedgefield

Outdoor Event, 11pm

Burn the midnight oil with ERIC North East and Natural England at Thrislington National Nature Reserve in search of the elusive glow worms which inhabit this unique wildlife site.

This event is free but booking is essential. Transport will be provided from the Great North Museum: Hancock to Thrislington NNR and back again. Tel 0191 222 5158 or email eric.ne@twmuseums.org.uk to book your place or find out more.

In partnership with ERIC & Natural England

3rd
July
2012

Nightjar & Woodcock Walk, Slaley Forest, nr Blanchland

Outdoor Event, 9.30pm-10.45pm

Celebrate mid-summer with an evening 3 mile walk through the pine plantations at Slaley Forest.

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.

This event is free but booking is required. Please contact the Society Office to book.

This event is led by James Littlewood

7th
July
2012

Gowk Bank and the River Irthing, Gilsland

Outdoor Event, 10.30am

Gowk Bank is a remote species-rich meadow near Butterburn by the River Irthing in the North Pennines, and we will also look at the river itself. In the meadow are several orchids including the very rare Small-white Orchid, Frog Orchid, Early Marsh Orchid and Fragrant Orchid. Globeflower is locally dominant. The Irthing itself has Water Sedge and Slender Tufted-Sedge and we might find Variegated Horsetail, Northern Spike-Rush and Slender-Spike-Rush. We will meet on the minor road just south-west of Gilsland village, past the school, near Hadrian’s Wall (grid ref NY630662). From there we will double-up on cars as there is limited parking on the road up the Irthing. Bring lunch and midge-repellent.

This event is led by Professor John Richards & Dr Angus Lunn

12th
July
2012

Farming & Wildlife Walk, Nafferton Farm

Outdoor Event, 7-9pm

Enjoy an evening walk around Nafferton Farm to look for farmland wildlife and to learn about and see some of the research and practical work that Newcastle University is conducting to support more sustainable farming.

Staff from the University will be able to talk about their work and answer any questions. Part of the farm is organic and enables comparison with non-organic methods.

Meet at the NEFG (Nafferton Ecological Farming Group) office, which is signposted at the top of the farm drive as you enter the farmyard.

The farm is reached via the blue bridge over the A69, accessed from both carriageways between the Horsley and Stocksfield junctions (grid ref NZ065 655). Postcode for satnav is NE43 7XD.

This event is led by Kate Gasgoyne

15th
July
2012

New Members' Day at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 10am-12pm

All new members are invited for an introductory walk around the reserve so that we can show you the important wildlife areas and some of the interesting species and hopefully improve your future enjoyment and appreciation of the reserve.

Although this outing is aimed at new members anyone is welcome to come along. Meet at the reserve entrance at Lake Lodge.

This event is led James Littlewood

20th
July
2012

Whale & Dolphin Watch in the North Sea, departing from Royal Quays, River Tyne

Outdoor Event, 6pm -10pm

Join the Northumbria Mammal Group for a four hour evening pelagic trip in the North Sea looking for whales, dolphins and seabirds.

Contact Steve Lowe, zappa99@live.co.uk to book a place. Places are limited so booking is essential.

This event is led by Martin Kitching

22nd
July
2012

Thrislington Plantation, Sedgefield

Outdoor Event, 11am

Join members of the Midweek Botany Group and entomologists for a day looking at the relationships between insects and plants.

Thrislington Plantation National Nature Reserve has a wide range of plants including Perennial Flax, orchids, heleborines, Blue Moor Grass, Small Scabious and Rock-Rose.

If it is a fine day there should be plenty of insects with several species of butterfly such as Northern Brown Argus, Ringlet, Common Blue and Small Heath.

The reserve lies between the villages of Ferryhill and Cornforth and access is from the minor road between Cornforth and Mainsforth at grid reference NZ309324 (near to the quarry). Meet in the laybay near the reserve entrance, parking is limited, so car-sharing would be an advantage.

23rd
July
2012

Roseate Tern Evening, Coquet Island

Outdoor Event, 6.15pm

This is a joint meeting of the North Northumberland Bird Club and the Society to see the important 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 out for shearwaters and skuas while watching the seals on the east shore of the Island.

Please contact the Society Office to book places.

This event is led by David Noble-Rollin & Graham Bell

29th
July
2012

Introduction to Bird Ringing at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 9am

During the spring and summer the Society’s Bird Ringing Group sets mist nets in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve. The birds that are caught are measured, weighed and ringed and this information forms part of a national database that helps to monitor changes in bird populations. To become a qualified bird ringer takes time, commitment and the ability to get up early on a Sunday morning.

The Bird Ringing Group will show you how they carry out their work and you can watch them catch, measure and release the birds. They will also answer any questions about bird ringing and the birds they catch.

This event is free but booking is required to limit numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book.

This event is led by Chris Redfern

4th
August
2012

Bugs & Botany, nr Heddon-on-the-Wall

Outdoor Event, 10am-4pm

Catch and identify insects and see some of the experiments on plant ecology that are running at the Close House Field Station. 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 a collaboration between the Natural History Society of Northumbria, the Royal Entomological Society, Newcastle University and ERIC. Turn south off the B6528 about 1 mile west of Heddon-on-the-Wall onto a minor road and take the next left, Close House is signposted (grid ref NZ125660).

This event is led by Dr Gordon Port

21st
August
2012

Seabird migration at Church Point, Newbiggin-by-the-sea

Outdoor Event, 5.45pm-7pm

Shearwaters, terns, skuas, gannets and petrels pass offshore at this time of year and Church Point, Newbiggin is one of the best places to try and see them if the weather is right. Expert seawatcher Jimmy Steel will help to point out the birds as they pass and offer tips on identification. There is also a chance to see seals and wading birds. We will mainly be seated or standing without cover or shelter so please wear suitable clothes. You will need binoculars and if you have a spotting scope then bring it with you. Meet outside the gate to St Bartholomew’s Church at Newbiggin point (grid ref NZ318 880). There is car parking at the point.

This event is led by Jimmy Steele

1st
September
2012

The Rookhope Borehole - Fifty Years On, North Pennines

Outdoor Event

Following the success of the indoor meeting in January to celebrate the scientific legacy of this major research borehole, the Natural History Society is once again joining forces with the Yorkshire Geological Society and the Friends of Killhope to hold a two day field meeting in the Northern Pennines.

Beginning at the borehole site, the programme will include visits to a number of locations in Rookhope, Weardale, Allendale and the Nent Valley. Key features of the area’s mineralisation will be seen in their regional stratigraphical and structural context with particular attention being paid to current research based in large part on understandings gained from the borehole’s findings.

Field leaders will include Brian Young, University of Durham; Elizabeth Pickett, North Pennines AONB; and Stuart Clarke, University of Keele.

Although there are two days of activities, each day’s itinerary is ‘free-standing’. For details of the activities, including meeting times and places <a href=’http://nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/news/wp-content/uploads/Rookhope-Borehole-SEPT2012.doc’ >click here </a> As it will be necessary to place an upper limit on the size of the party for each day, please reserve places with the Society office in advance.

2nd
September
2012

Bats in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 7.45pm-9.15pm

This will be an evening event starting around sunset and continuing till dark. There will be 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. This event is free but booking is required to limit numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book. Northumbria Mammal Group event.

This event is led by Jonathan Pounder

9th
September
2012

Wild Goats of the Cheviots, College Valley

Outdoor Event, 1.30pm

Join former National Park Ranger John Steele for a walk in the Cheviot Hills to see the wild goats that live there. John will help to track down the goats and talk about their origin, behaviour and habits. We will also see other upland wildlife and plants.

We won’t know the general location of the goats until nearer to the date, and this will determine where we meet and how long the walk will last, however you should be prepared to walk a maximum of 5 miles (3 hours) in hilly terrain.

This event is free but you must reserve a place so that we can advise you of the exact meeting point nearer to the date. Please contact the Society Office to book.

This event is led by John Steele

9th
September
2012

Fantastic Fungi at Castle Eden Dene Nature Reserve, Peterlee

Outdoor Event, 10am-1pm

Find out more about the exciting world of fungi as we venture into Castle Eden Dene National Nature Reserve. Learn how to identify different species and play an active role in their conservation through recording. This event is free but booking is essential. Transport will be provided from the Great North Museum: Hancock to Castle Eden Dene and back again. Event is suitable for children but they must be accompanied by an adult. Tel 0191 222 5158 or email eric.ne@twmuseums.org.uk to book your place or find out more.

This event is in partnership with ERIC & Natural England

15th
September
2012

Autumn Waders at Low Newton, Northumberland Coast

Outdoor Event, 3pm

At this time of year arctic wading birds are migrating south along our coastline towards their wintering grounds. We will watch wading birds using the beach and the fields between the village and Newton Pool and Chris Redfern will help you to improve your identification skills. We will have a telescope to look through but if you have your own binoculars or ‘scope then bring them with you. Meet outside the Ship Inn in Low Newton. There is a pay & display car park 300m away in the village at the top of the hill (grid ref NU239247). This event is free but booking is required to limit numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book. (Note: if you wanted to have lunch beforehand you can make reservations at the Ship Inn. Tel 01665 576262).

This event is led by Chris Redfern

22nd
September
2012

Ferns at Hareshaw Linn, Bellingham

Outdoor Event, 10am

The British Pteridological Society (BPS) are holding a weekend field meeting in Northumberland and have kindly invited our members to join them on their visit to Hareshaw Linn in Northumberland National Park. We should see plenty of ferns at this woodland, including Asplenium trichomaes ssp pachyrachis, and the BPS plan to produce a survey report for the site as part of this visit.

You will need to bring a packed lunch.

If you would like to attend please contact Rob Cook at 123rjc@googlemail.com

Meet at the National Park car park in Bellingham (grid ref NY839 834).

This event is in partnership with the British Pteridological Society

27th
September
2012

The Quaternary

Thursdays from 27th Sept, 7pm <br/><br/>
Dr Angus Lunn leads a 20-week journey through the last 2 million years. Students will investigate the most significant climatic, geological and biological events of the Quaternary, with particular attention to northern England. The subject is so vast that the course itself continues to evolve and is suitable for new and previous students. Some knowledge about the subject is helpful but not essential. Students will also have the opportunity to join a summer field trip. <a href =’http://nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/news/wp-content/uploads/Quaternary-Autumn-Winter-2012-13.doc’ > For more information please click here. </a>

29th
September
2012

Small Mammals in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 10.30am-12.00pm

We will be examining bait tubes and Longworth live traps for signs and presence of small mammals (mice, voles and shrews), and 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 national survey for small mammals, which is being co-ordinated by the Mammal Society UK. Volunteers welcome, training provided.

This event is free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book.

This event is led by Veronica Carnell

2nd
October
2012

Autumn Birds of the North East

Tuesdays from 2nd Oct, 1pm <br/><br/>
Expert ornithologist David Noble-Rollin leads this 10-week course teaching the identification and habits of birds found in the north east during the autumn. This will include some of the uncommon species that arrive as migrants.

There will be 5 field visits looking for birds at a wide range of habitats including Holy Island, Druridge Pools and Boulmer Haven.

3rd
October
2012

Geology of the Roman Wall

Wednesdays from 3rd Oct, 10.15am <br/><br/>

The central section of Hadrian’s Wall is one of the geological glories of Northumberland.

Over 10 sessions Derek Teasdale will explore little known aspects of the landscape setting, bedrock geology and construction methods of Hadrian’s wall. Includes 3 full-day trips.

3rd
October
2012

Wildlife Digital Photography

Wednesdays from 3rd Oct, 1pm<br/><br/>
Learn how to take fantastic digital photographs of our amazing local wildlife. David Noble-Rollin leads this practical 20-week course aimed at those who have a digital camera but still tend to use it on the automatic settings and would like to take better photographs and improve their wildlife photography techniques. Includes 6 field visits.

<a href=’http://nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/news/wp-content/uploads/Wildlife-Digital-Photography-Course-Autumn2012.doc’ > For more information please click here. </a>

6th
October
2012

Autumn Birds on Holy Island

Outdoor Event, 10am-4.30pm

Ian Kerr, author of The Birds of Holy Island, will help us track down migrating birds and if conditions are favourable we hope to find some of the rarer species. At this time of year wintering wildfowl and waders will also be arriving along with associated birds of prey. This is an all-day event so you will need a packed lunch. Free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book.

This event is led by Ian Kerr

11th
October
2012

Ecology of the Mammals of the North East

Thursdays from 11th Oct, 10.15am
<br/><br/>
Veronica Howard leads this 6 week course exploring the mammals associated with five North East ecosystems – woodlands, grasslands, freshwater, urban and marine. Students will learn about mammal ecology and the niches occupied by animals as diverse as dolphins, badgers and shrews.

12th
October
2012

The World of Plants - An Introduction to Botany Part 1

Fridays from 12th Oct, 10.15am<br/><br/>Explore the fascinating world of plants, their identification and ecology with Dr Janet Simkin on this 10 session course. Students will learn about the more familiar plant families and also take a look at trees, grasses, mosses and lichens. The course is intended for beginners or refreshers, and assumes no previous knowledge. Includes at least 2 field trips. <a href =’http://nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/news/wp-content/uploads/World-of-Plants-Programme.doc’ > For more information please click here. </a>

14th
October
2012

Fungal Foray at Rupert's Wood, Otterburn, Northumberland

Outdoor Event, 2.00pm-4.30pm

Fungi expert Dr Gordon Beakes will help us to find and identify some of the wonderful mushrooms, toadstools and fungi found in Rupert’s Wood.

The Rupert’s Wood Project has been in existence since the 1980’s run by volunteers from SCAN (Student Community Action Newcastle) which is based at Newcastle University.

Over the last decade Lord Redesdale (patron of SCAN) has opened up Rupert’s Wood and the surrounding estate for SCAN volunteers to undertake conservation, access and educational projects.

They have invited us to join them on this fungal foray which will start from the Redesdale Arms on the A68. There is a £4 charge for this event (pay on the day) and you must book in advance to reserve a place. To book call 07806 837348 or email scanproject.union@ncl.ac.uk

This event is in partnership with Newcastle University SCAN

18th
October
2012

Dark Age Archaeology or the Golden Age? Angles to the Vikings

Thursdays from 18th Oct, 2pm<br/><br/>
In the post-Roman period the Kingdom of Northumbria was subject to many cultural influences from abroad affecting artistic styles, architecture and settlement – a two-way process, with Northumbrian elements being diffused across Europe. But then came the Vikings and eventually the events of 1066. Experienced archaeologist Steve Speak will guide us through this iconic period in an 8 week course, which includes a field visit.

21st
October
2012

Bryophytes at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 11am

Following previous years’ bryophyte identification days, this year we will explore woodland species at the Society’s own reserve of Gosforth Park.

It is many years since the liverworts and mosses of the reserve have been investigated. Beginners to this field of natural history are very welcome.

John O’Reilly is the bryophyte vice-county recorder for the whole of Northumberland and for County Durham.

Meet at the reserve entrance, bring lunch and wear wellies or similar

This event is led by John O’Reilly

3rd
November
2012

Red Squirrels in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 10.00am-11.30am

Reserve Warden Paul Drummond will use all his knowledge to help us track down the elusive Red Squirrels in the reserve.

This is a good time of year to see them feeding on beech seeds as the trees are losing their leaves.

Paths will be muddy so wear wellies or boots.

This event is free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book.

This event is led by Paul Drummond

10th
November
2012

Grey Seal pups on the Farne Islands

Outdoor Event, 10.15am

We hope to have good views of Grey Seals and their pups on this boat trip from Seahouses to the Farne Islands.

One of the National Trust Wardens will join us to help locate the seals and answer any questions. We also hope to see winter seabirds such as divers and auks.

Please wear clothing and footwear suitable for all weathers.

The cost is £17 per person and booking is essential. Please contact the Society Office to book.

<a href=’http://youtu.be/exU58FIrnNQ’>Click here to watch a short video from last years Grey Seal Trip</a>

25th
November
2012

Winter Sea Birds at Ross Back Sands, Northumberland

Outdoor Event,11.30-2.00pm
The beautiful bay just south of Holy Island is one of the best places in the North East for wintering sea birds.

We should see Long-tailed Duck, Slavonian Grebe and Red-throated Diver and with a bit of luck Great Northern and Black-throated Divers and Red-necked Grebe.

We should also see wading birds pushed up the beach at high-tide and perhaps some wintering passerines. This will involve a walk of around 3.5 miles and also standing around looking out to sea, so please come dressed for the winter and bring a telescope if you have one.

Meet in the car parking area alongside the road just before the village of Ross (grid ref. NU369132), which is 3 miles north east of the A1 from Belford via minor roads. Postcode for Satnav NE70 7EN.

This event is led by James Littlewood

7th
December
2012

Understanding the Earth's Large-Scale Processes - Imaging the Deepest Depths of the Oceans and Beyond

Indoor Event, 7pm
Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle upon Tyne

Christine Peirce, Professor of Marine Geophysics at Durham University, will describe a recent British-led research cruise to the Tonga-Kermedec subduction system. The expedition aimed to image the structure and properties of the overridng and downgoing plates, and how they bend and deform in response to loading by one of the largest seamount chains on Earth – the Louisville Ridge. During the cruise, eruption of the Monowai submarine volcano was also observed, with significant changes in seabed depth and major flank collapse events occurring between repeated surveying visits to the site. This talk will provide a glimpse into the world of large-scale marine geophysical exploration and the challenges of acquiring data in very deep water and when the weather is not always kind.

11th
January
2013

Why Dormice are Special

Indoor Event, 7pm
Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle upon Tyne

Due to a decline in their population Dormice were designated as a species of conservation concern in the 1980’s and became a Biodiversity Action Plan Species and part of English Natures Species Recovery Programme. Ian White is the Dormouse Officer for Peoples Trust for Endangered Species which has been instrumental in the on-going delivery of these programmes. Ian will tell us about Dormouse ecology, their conservation in Britain and why Dormice are special.

15th
January
2013

Winter Birds of the North East

Tuesdays from 15th January, 1pm <br/><br/>

Expert ornithologist David Noble-Rollin leads this 10-week course teaching the identification, adaptations and behaviour of our region’s varied winter birds. Indoor classes use field guides, film, photos, diagrams and sound recordings. There will be 5 field visits including Budle Bay, Teesmouth/Saltholme, Hauxley, Newton Pools and the Solway Estuary.

16th
January
2013

Deep Time: Charles Darwin, Geologist and Evolutionary

Wednesdays from 16th January, 10.15am<br/><br/>
Explore the concept of deep time and the profound impact that it had on Darwin’s understanding of geological and evolutionary processes. Mountains can take millions of years to create and erode, but life on Earth is billions of years old. In this 10 week indoor course Derek Teasdale will help you to understand these geological timescales and their implications.

17th
January
2013

Archaeology of Northumberland after the Norman Conquest

Thursdays from 17th January, 2pm
<br/><br/>
Interpret the landscapes of modern Northumberland by learning how they evolved through the Norman and medieval periods. Field boundaries, villages, maps and place names provide a wealth of material on our doorsteps. In this 10 week course Steve Speak will help you to understand the archaeology and history behind the landscapes that we all enjoy. Includes 1 field outing.

18th
January
2013

The Geology of the North Pennines: New Insights into an Old Story

We are sorry but this event is cancelled due to bad weather.

We will ask Stuart to come back next year to give his talk.

Centuries of mining and quarrying on the Alston Block and within the surrounding basins have provided a wealth of well-constrained geological data with which to make a robust interpretation of the geological evolution of the area. Is there anything left to understand? This talk will describe some current research into the area’s geology and will introduce some fascinating challenges to long-established ideas. What do we know, and what is there left to answer? With the very recent announcement of a major exploration for base metal deposits in the area the time is particularly appropriate to look at this area afresh.

Dr Stuart Clarke is Lecturer in Basin Analysis and Sedimentology at the University of Keele. In 2001 he joined the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh as a survey geologist and numerical modeller and spent 6 years as a field geologist mapping the Carboniferous sediments of the Northumberland Trough and Alston Block.

20th
January
2013

Red Kite Roost, Derwent Valley, Gateshead

Outdoor Event, 2.45pm – 5pm

On winter afternoons Red Kites flock together to roost, sometimes making a spectacular sight. Following their successful reintroduction to the North East there is now an established roost site in the Derwent Valley. The Friends of Red Kites monitor this roost and have kindly offered the opportunity for our members to join them.

This event will involve an easy walk of around half a mile to the viewing point and then watching the birds come in to roost. The Friends of Red Kites will also explain about some of the birds’ behaviour and the reintroduction programme so far. The walk back from the roost will take place in the dusk and so we recommend that as well as very warm clothes (think thermal underwear!) you also bring a torch. You may also wish to bring a flask of hot drink and snacks.

Meet in the free car park signposted on the A694 at Winlaton Mill, if you are travelling from Newcastle direction the car park is on the left (Grid ref NZ187609). Postcode for Satnav NE21 6RU.

The event is led by Friends of Red Kites

25th
January
2013

The Bittern

Indoor Event, 7pm.
Great North Museum, Newcastle.

In 1997 there were only 11 booming Bitterns left in the UK. Since that time the RSPB has embarked on a significant targeted programme of wetland management, protection and creation to help this secretive heron back from the brink of extinction in the UK. There are now over 100 booming Bitterns in reedbeds across the UK and in the past 15 years the RSPB has learnt a great deal about these rare birds.

Simon Wightman is Reserves Ecologist for the RSPB. He works with RSPB reserve teams, especially in northern England, guiding habitat management and monitoring. He is directly involved in managing habitats for Bitterns around the Humber and in the North West and has previously carried out EU funded work for Bitterns in the Lee Valley. In this talk he will tell us about the Bittern’s behaviour, ecology and habitat requirements, the work that the RSPB has being doing for Bitterns, its current status and future prospects.

1st
February
2013

The Grass Snakes of Gibside

Indoor Event, 7pm.
Great North Museum, Newcastle

The Grass Snake is an uncommon species in the North East, where it is at the edge of its northerly range in the UK. The Derwent Valley has historically been associated with Grass Snakes but their numbers are very low. John Grundy was contracted by the National Trust to carry out a 3 year habitat enrichment project for Grass Snakes on their Gibside estate. In this talk he will tell us what he learnt about the Grass Snakes of Gibside and the work that he carried out to try and increase the population. John is the Vice-Chair and Field Training Officer of the North East Reptile & Amphibian Group and the North East representative for the Amphibian and Reptile Group UK. He trains group members in herpe to fauna identification and survey techniques.

3rd
February
2013

Introduction to Winter Shorebirds, Boulmer, Northumberland

Outdoor Event, 2pm-4.30pm

As high tide approaches, wading birds such as Grey, Golden and Ringed Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Dunlin and Knot will be pushed towards the rocky shore at Boulmer. At this time of year they will be in winter plumage and James will give you some pointers on how to identify them. We will also look for other shorebirds and wildlife such as Red-breasted Merganser and Grey Seal.

This will involve a circular walk of about 2 miles, some of it along rocky shore so wear walking boots or similar. Please bring binoculars or telescopes if you have them and wrap up for the winter weather.

Meet in the main car park near the beach in Boulmer. Grid ref NU265140 or postcode for Satnav NE66 3BN.

This event is led by James Littlewood

7th
February
2013

Tours of the GNM:Hancock Collections

Indoor Event,
Discovery Museum, Newcastle.

The Society has 1/2 million items in its collections from Dodo bones to Egyptian mummies and most of these are held in special stores in the basement of Newcastle’s Discovery Museum.

The museum curators have kindly agreed to lead tours of these collections exclusively for Society members. This is a fantastic opportunity to see material that is not on display and to learn about the items and their care first hand.

These tours are free but you must book in advance as numbers are limited. To book places please contact the Society office.

10.00 – 12.00 Biology stores
13.30 – 14.30 Minerals and fossils
13.30 – 14.30 Ethnography and World Cultures

8th
February
2013

Mayan Plants, Rainforest Research, Birds on the Farnes & Annual Meeting

Indoor Event, 6pm
Great North Museum, Newcastle

The Society’s Annual Meeting will take place at 6pm, followed at 7pm by three 20 minute talks from Society members: Freshly back from Guatemala, Julia Quinonez will tell us about plants used by the Maya. Keeping with a South American theme, Ken Dawson will talk about rainforest research and conservation volunteering in Madre de Dios, Peru and then Anne Wilson will bring us back closer to home with a talk about the Breeding Birds on the Farne Islands in the 19th century and how they differ from those found there today.

9th
February
2013

Winter Gulls at the Tyne Estuary

Outdoor Event, 9.30am

The Tyne Estuary in winter is one of the best places to view gulls. Dan Turner will help explain the different species and their sub-adult phases and if we are lucky we may come across Mediterranean, Glaucous or Iceland Gulls as well as other harbour birds such as Purple Sandpiper.

The walk will be around 1 mile, mostly on paths but dress for the cold. This is also a great place to buy fish & chips or fresh fish.

This event is free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society office.

This event is led by Dan Turner

15th
February
2013

The Story of Blue-Green Algae

Indoor Event, 7pm.
Great North Museum, Newcastle.

Blue-green algae are the oldest known fossils, yet are still the main photosynthetic organisms of modern oceans. This talk covers a small part of their story, starting with interesting and sometimes very important occurrences around the world at present, and then going on to describe what you can see for yourself in northern England.

Brian Whitton is emeritus professor in Biological Sciences at Durham University. He has been fortunate enough to study blue-green algae in many parts of the world, but his main project started in the streams of Upper Teesdale, where the remarkable dominance by one alga demanded an explanation. Many years later he thinks he knows why.

22nd
February
2013

Red Squirrels - Are we still sending out an SOS?

Indoor Event, 7pm
Great North Museum

Red Squirrel range in the UK continues to decline due the impacts of competition and disease associated with the non-native Grey Squirrel. In England, the Red Squirrels Northern England (RSNE) partnership is tackling these issues head on with an ambitious conservation programme underpinned by sound science. Nick Mason, RSNE Project Manager, will discuss first year results and highlight some of the exciting developments planned for 2013.

22nd
February
2013

Build your own bird or bat box

10.30am
11.00am
11.30 am
Great North Museum: Hancock

The Society’s bird box experts will be on hand to help you to make your own bird or bat box. A great way to help birds and bats in your garden.

This is a family event and all materials are provided but boxes cost 3.00 (birds) and 5.50 (bats) and are limited to one per family. There will be 3 sessions (each one lasting 30 minutes) on a first come, first served basis.

1st
March
2013

Glaciers around Mt. Everest: the debris-covered glaciers of Khumbu

Indoor Event, 7pm
Great North Museum, Newcastle

Valley glaciers of Khumbu Himal are characterized by irregular relief on debris-covered surfaces, due to the high relief, rockfall and differential ablation. Many of their sources are hanging, frozen to steep cliffs. They are shrinking by downwasting more than by frontal retreat. As ablation is fastest just below the snowline, before debris cover builds up, more glaciers will split into hanging and buried sections, which will survive for centuries. Dr Ian Evans, Emeritus Reader in the Department of Geography at Durham University, will explain the workings of the glaciers around Mount Everest.

8th
March
2013

John Gould: The story of the Bird Man and how the Victorians discovered the natural world

Indoor Event, 7pm
Great North Museum, Newcastle

John Gould is a man often forgotten. Eclipsed by the giants of Darwinism, Gould – ‘the Bird Man’ – has been consigned to an earlier scientific tradition. It is the way of science to forget those who do not fit easily into the current way of thinking. Yet between 1830 and his death in 1881, Gould was one of Britain’s most visible scientific luminaries. His books depicting the birds of the world were celebrated for their beauty, on a par with even the great Audubon. A man of many parts, an artist and explorer, a naturalist and publisher, Gould’s folio works provide us with a valuable insight into how Victorian society viewed the world around it.
In this lecture we will trace the development of Britain’s fascination with the natural world prior to the great upheavals of the 1850s and 1860s, and see how Gould fitted into the wider scientific and cultural environment. We will see which sections of society were attracted to Gould’s work and why it has exerted a lasting attraction beyond the nineteenth century. In so doing, we will arrive at a more complete picture of one of the most important, formative periods in British scientific history.

David Lowther is a PhD student of History at Newcastle University, specialising in the history and philosophy of science. His interest in John Gould stems from his own activities as a wildlife artist. Elected to the Linnean Society in 2011, he has produced work for use by the RSPB and International Crane Foundation, and has exhibited widely in the U.K. and U.S.A

14th
March
2013

North East Wildlife Photography Awards & Exhibition

Great North Museum: Hancock
5.30pm-8pm

Join us for the launch of a new exhibition of amazing photographs of the North East’s wildlife. You can admire the best pictures submitted; explore the museum; learn about wildlife and photography; and be part of the awards ceremony.

There will be a Question & Answer session with the broadcaster and writer, David Lindo (aka The Urban Birder), who will also be signing copies of his latest book and giving the winners prize.

The competition is run jointly by the Natural History Society of Northumbria, Northumberland, Durham and Tees Valley Wildlife Trusts and the Great North Museum: Hancock

We would like to thank Nestle for sponsoring the competition and Opticron, Hawk’s Head Photography Workshops, Naturetrek, Northern Experience Wildlife Tours, West Country Wildlife Photography Centre, Speyside Wildlife, Birdwatching Magazine and Immediate Media for donating great prizes.

For more information about the competition <a href=’http://nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/news/cms/ne-wildlife-photo-comp/’>click here</a>

15th
March
2013

The World of Plants - An Introduction to Botany Part 2

Fridays from 15th March, 10.15am
<br/><br/>
Explore the fascinating world of the North East’s plants, their identification and ecology with Dr Janet Simkin on this 10 session course, which includes 2 all-day field trips in the spring. This is a continuation of Part 1 but new students are welcome. There will be a break for Easter.

15th
March
2013

Britain's National Vegetation Classification and the characteristic plant communities of North East England

Indoor Event, 7pm
Great North Museum, Newcastle
Our National Vegetation Classification (NVC) developed from continental plant sociology of the mid-twentieth century. John O’Reilly will describe the system and how it, and its floristic tables, work (is there indeed such a thing as a ‘plant community’?). He will go on to describe some of the important NVC communities of North East England, including those communities which are particularly common and others that are special to our region.
John O’Reilly is vice-county recorder for bryophytes for Northumberland and County Durham. He is an ecological consultant, and until recently was employed by the North Pennines AONB on a project to restore species rich meadows, which are NVC code MG3, a plant community that is one of our specialities.

17th
March
2013

Birds of Hamsterley Forest, County Durham

Outdoor Event, 8.30am

Hamsterley Forest is the largest block of coniferous woodland in County Durham and is home to birds such as Goshawk, Crossbill and Nightjar. Durham Bird Club know this site well and Paul Anderson their Chairman has kindly invited us to join them on this visit to the woodland. On early spring mornings, male and female Goshawks display high above the forest giving a good chance to see this normally very elusive bird of prey. If the weather is suitable we will walk to a viewpoint to watch them displaying.

Meet in the car park of the Cross Keys Pub in Hamsterley Village from where we will car share to reach the final destination. Grid ref NZ115311 or postcode for Satnav DL13 3PX.

This event is led by Paul Anderson

22nd
March
2013

Our changing landscapes: opportunity or threat for birds and other wildlife?

Indoor Event, 7pm
Herschel Building, Newcastle University

Professor Rob Fuller is Director of Science (Ecological Change) at the British Trust for Ornithology where he leads one of their two main research groups. His work forms the basis of information and advice to government agencies on conservation of terrestrial and wetland birds and their habitats, and includes the forthcoming BTO Bird Atlas 2007-11. The relationships between agriculture and biodiversity have been a major component of his work in recent years but he has a long-term and active research interest in temperate scrub and woodland bird communities, particularly with respect to the successional dynamics of bird communities, edge effects and habitat mosaics, effects of habitat management, impacts of increasing deer populations, and large-scale spatial variation in habitat selection by birds. Although his work has been mainly on birds, he is increasingly focussed on wider strategies for sustaining biodiversity in the face of climate change and intensifying pressures on habitats. He is the editor of the recently published Birds and Habitat: Relationships in Changing Landscapes.

In addition to being an Honorary Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, he is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, Vice President of the British Ornithologists’ Union and a member of the Forestry Commission’s East of England Regional Advisory Committee.

This years Pybus Lecture will take place in Lecture Theatre 1, Herschel Building, Newcastle University campus (this will be signposted from Kings Gate). You can find directions at www.ncl.ac.uk/about/visit/maps (the University map reference is 17) or contact the Society Office. Tickets are not required but do please arrive in good time.

18th
April
2013

Badger Watches at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 7pm
SORRY – FULLY BOOKED
Our evening vigil starts with a talk about badgers and we will examine badger paths, prints, etc before viewing the sett, and with luck badgers. You will need to be prepared to sit reasonably still outdoors for 2 hours or more and to cope with wind, rain, cold, biting insects and muddy paths!

Free but booking is required as places are limited to 5 people per watch. Please contact the Society Office to book.

23rd
April
2013

Birds of the North East: Bird Song & Breeding Behaviour

Expert ornithologist David Noble-Rollin leads this 10-week course teaching the songs, calls and breeding behaviour of birds living in the North East. Indoor classes use field guides, film, photos, diagrams and sound recordings. There will be 5 field visits to a variety of habitats including Farne Islands, Druridge Bay, Northumberland National Park and lowland woodlands and wetlands.
There is a choice of 2 courses beginning at 10.15am or 1pm.

These classes are now fully booked.

For course details please view <a href=’http://nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/news/wp-content/uploads/BSBB2013-Programme-am.doc’>Course Programme</a>

23rd
April
2013

Badger Watches at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 7pm
SORRY – FULLY BOOKED
Our evening vigil starts with a talk about badgers and we will examine badger paths, prints, etc before viewing the sett, and with luck badgers. You will need to be prepared to sit reasonably still outdoors for 2 hours or more and to cope with wind, rain, cold, biting insects and muddy paths!

Free but booking is required as places are limited to 5 people per watch. Please contact the Society Office to book.

24th
April
2013

Ice Age Northumbria

This introductory level course, suitable for all, will examine the causes and consequences of the rapid climate swings which have characterised the last two million years of Earth’s history, and which
continue to this day. Every one hundred thousand years or so, massive ice sheets have expanded from the poles and swamped the North East. The evidence of their passage is all around us – come along and find out how to recognise it. This ten week course will include three full-day excursions and is given
by Derek Teasdale, whose own specialism is glacial geology.

24th
April
2013

Bats in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 8.00pm-9.30pm

This will be an evening event starting around sunset and continuing until dark. There will be 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.

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

25th
April
2013

Ecology of Wetlands

Veronica Howard leads this 6 week course exploring wetland ecosystems and how plant and animal species are adapted to living in them. Students will learn about the wetland ecosystems found in the North East, including lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, marshes, reedbeds, upland bogs and flushes. Includes one field outing.

25th
April
2013

Archaeology of Hunter-Gatherers

In the aftermath of the Ice Ages, Northumberland became one of the centres of small communities with no knowledge of farming techniques or animal husbandry. So how did they manage? Their achievements not only ensured their survival but also, entirely unwittingly and unplanned, paved the way for new concepts of living. They either had to bend their lifestyles to cope with an unpromising and unforgiving environment or die, whereas today we try the opposite: to adapt an ever-changing environment to suit our own needs. In this course we will explore the life-style of hunter-gatherers and how ‘went agricultural’.

28th
April
2013

Watching Badgers at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 7pm
SORRY – FULLY BOOKED
Our evening vigil starts with a talk about badgers and we will examine badger paths, prints, etc before viewing the sett, and with luck badgers. You will need to be prepared to sit reasonably still outdoors for 2 hours or more and to cope with wind, rain, cold, biting insects and muddy paths!

Free but booking is required as places are limited to 5 people per watch. Please contact the Society Office to book.

28th
April
2013

Permian Carbonates at Castle Eden Dene and Blackhall Rocks

Outdoor Event, 10.00am-3.30pm

Castle Eden Dene is a steep sided pre-glacial valley re-excavated by melt waters at the end of the last ice age. This trip will examine sections in the deep gorge of the Castle Eden Burn, which expose rocks of the Ford Formation (formerly Middle Magnesian Limestone) and show the lateral transition from lagoonal to reef facies. In the afternoon, we will move on to the coast at Blackhall Rocks to examine Zechstein Group reef bryozoans, storm beach deposits and sub-tidal stromatolites up to 10m wide(!).

Meet at the Natural England Castle Eden Dene Information Centre, Oakerside Lodge – off Stanhope Chase, Peterlee (grid ref NZ427 393 or post code SR8 1NJ).

Bring a packed lunch and drink.

1st
May
2013

Wildlife Digital Photography

Learn how to take fantastic digital photographs of our amazing local wildlife. Photography is undergoing a revolution as important as any in its history. Modern equipment means that the limits on photography are the imagination and skill of the photographer. David Noble-Rollin leads this 10-week course aimed at those who have a digital camera but still tend to use it on the automatic settings and would like to take better photographs and improve their wildlife photography techniques. Includes 2 field sessions.
For course details please view <a href=’http://nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/news/wp-content/uploads/Wildlife_Digital_Photography_prog_summer_2013-2.doc’>Course Programme</a>

1st
May
2013

Badger Watches at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 7pm
SORRY – FULLY BOOKED
Our evening vigil starts with a talk about badgers and we will examine badger paths, prints, etc before viewing the sett, and with luck badgers. You will need to be prepared to sit reasonably still outdoors for 2 hours or more and to cope with wind, rain, cold, biting insects and muddy paths!

Free but booking is required as places are limited to 5 people per watch. Please contact the Society Office to book.

5th
May
2013

Introduction to woodland flowers, Plessey Woods, nr Morpeth

Outdoor Event, 10.00am-1.00pm

Spring is a wonderful time to see woodland flowers. If you appreciate their beauty, but have little or no idea how to identify them, this half-day outing is for you.

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

8th
May
2013

Badger Watches at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 7pm
SORRY – FULLY BOOKED
Our evening vigil starts with a talk about badgers and we will examine badger paths, prints, etc before viewing the sett, and with luck badgers. You will need to be prepared to sit reasonably still outdoors for 2 hours or more and to cope with wind, rain, cold, biting insects and muddy paths!

Free but booking is required as places are limited to 5 people per watch. Please contact the Society Office to book.

11th
May
2013

Birds of the Allen Valley, Allenbanks & Briarwood

Outdoor Event, 9.00am-12.00pm
SORRY – FULLY BOOKED
The wooded valleys of our uplands are now the last refuge for declining summer migrants such as Wood Warbler, Redstart and Pied Flycatcher. Streams and rivers support Dipper, Grey Wagtail and Common Sandpiper. If we are lucky we might see all of these, as well as Early Purple Orchid and other spring flowers, on a 3.5 mile circular walk through the valley woodlands. This walk will involve going up and down fairly steep valley sides.

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

25th
May
2013

Bird song in Thornley Woods, Rowlands Gill

Outdoor Event, 7.30am-9.00am

An early morning visit to Thornley Woods to hear and try to learn the songs of woodland bird species, in particular warblers such as Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest. We also hope to see and hear a wide range of woodland birds and hopefully Red Kite.

Meet at the Thornley Woodland Centre car park, off the A694 at Rowlands Gill. Postcode NE39 1AU.

25th
May
2013

Moths at Gosforth Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 9.00pm-11.00pm

Paul Drummond for these night-time events to catch and identify moths at Gosforth Nature Reserve. The moths are trapped using a bright light and enable you to get close up to these beautiful and rarely seen insects. Gosforth Park has a range of common and rare woodland moths. We recommend you bring sunglasses as the trapping light is bright, a torch and insect repellent.

Meet at the reserve entrance.

31st
May
2013

Newton Aycliffe Bat Walk

Outdoor Event, 8.00pm-9.45pm

Join Northumbria Mammal Group for a chance to meet, see and hear bats in their natural habitat. Learn more about bats and use a bat detector to hear the ultrasonic calls as they hunt at night and try some night vision equipment to explore the darkness. Meet at the Aycliffe Moore Lane Eco Centre in Newton Aycliffe. Free but booking is required to manage numbers, contact Steve on 07779090842.

4th
June
2013

Introduction to Tree Identification at Gosforth Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 6.45pm-8.45pm

Would you like to learn how to identify the different trees found in our woodlands? The reserve warden will lead you on a summer evening walk helping to teach you how to tell the different trees species.

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

8th
June
2013

Reptiles of the North East

In this 5 session course you will learn about the reptiles of the UK, with an emphasis on the North East. You will discover how to identify them and where they can be found and will learn about how to help conserve them.

Course Programme <a href= ‘http://nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/news/wp-content/uploads/Reptiles-Course-Programme-Summer-2013.doc’>Course Programme</a>

15th
June
2013

Wildflower Identification, Northumberland

Outdoor Event, 10.00am-5.00pm

Join ERIC North East and Chris Metherell from the Botanical Society for the British Isles (BSBI) and explore the wildflowers at two very different sites in Northumberland. Chris will provide training for beginners in wildflower identification and free transport between sites will be provided.

Free but booking is essential, to book or for more info eric.ne@twmuseums.org.uk or 0191 222 5158.t,

16th
June
2013

A Pond Hotspot, Druridge Bay

Outdoor Event, 10.30am-1.30pm

A trip to explore the variety of ponds around Druridge Bay Country Park. Druridge Bay is rich in ponds, pools and puddles and they are strikingly varied, even ponds close to one another. This results in a richness of animals and plants at the landscape scale. Adjacent to the Country Park are large permanent ponds, mysterious dune slack ditches and newly created sites. The trip should give a flavour of the wealth of pond wildlife to be found in just one small area.

Meet in the car park (pay and display) at Druridge Bay Country Park which is signposted from the A1089 3miles south of Amble (grid ref NZ272998). Wellington boots would be useful.

21st
June
2013

Cetacean Trip, Royal Quays, River Tyne

Outdoor Event, 6pm-10pm

Join the Northumbria Mammal Group for a four hour evening pelagic trip in the North Sea looking for whales, dolphins and seabirds.

Cost for NHSN members 27.50.

To book email Steve Lowe, zappa99@live.co.uk with number of people, your name and a contact phone number. A 10.00 non-returnable deposit is required.

22nd
June
2013

Bugs & Botany, nr Heddon on the Wall

Outdoor Event, 10am-4pm

Catch and identify insects and see some of the experiments on plant ecology that are running at the Close House Field Station. 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 a collaboration between the Natural History Society of Northumbria, the Royal Entomological Society, Newcastle University and ERIC.

Turn south off the B6528 about 1 mile west of Heddon-on-the-Wall onto a minor road and take the next left, Close House is signposted (grid ref NZ125660).

23rd
June
2013

Plants of Walltown and Hadrians Wall

Outdoor Event, 10.30am-4pm

The first part of the day will be spent looking at the diverse flora in the wide range of habitats resulting from the reclamation of Walltown quarry by Northumberland National Park (NNP). Plants of the Whin Sill include scarce Common Cudweed Filago vulgaris and Common Rock-rose Helianthemum nummularium. Other notables at the site are Adders-tongue Ophioglossum vulgatum, Common Twayblade Listera ovata, and a variety of orchids. After lunch a circular walk of around 2 miles takes us up to and along Hadrians Wall to look at the rare Chives Allium schoenoprasum near Walltown Farm and grassland plants along the way.

Even the paths at Walltown can be muddy so walking boots or similar are recommended. Bring a packed lunch. Toilets and a snack bar are near the car park.

For site information and access by bus www.northumberlandnationalpark.org.uk

Meet at 10.30am in the NNP car park (charge for the day) at Walltown (grid ref NY669659, postcode CA8 7JB) accessed from a minor road off the B6318.

There is also a small free parking area at NY674662 along the dead end road to Walltown Farm.

29th
June
2013

The Building Stones of Newcastle upon Tyne

Outdoor Event, 11.00am-1.00pm

The churches, shops and public buildings of Newcastle city centre are built and/or faced with many types of stone. Whilst most use local sandstones of varying quality, many other buildings proudly display exotic rock types from around the globe. This gentle 2 hour walk will highlight some of the architectural and geologic gems right under our noses.

Suitable for beginners and experts alike.

Meet at the front of the Great North Museum:Hancock, Newcastle (post code NE2 4PT).

3rd
July
2013

Nightjar & Woodcock Walk, Slaley Forest, nr Blanchland

Outdoor Event, 9pm-10.45pm RESCHEDULED FROM 2/7/2013
SORRY – FULLY BOOKED
Celebrate mid-summer with an evening 3 mile walk through the pine plantations at Slaley Forest.

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.

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

5th
July
2013

Cetacean Trip, Royal Quays, River Tyne

Outdoor Event, 6pm-10pm

Join the Northumbria Mammal Group for a four hour evening pelagic trip in the North Sea looking for whales, dolphins and seabirds.

Cost for NHSN members 27.50.

To book email Steve Lowe, zappa99@live.co.uk with number of people, your name and a contact phone number. A 10.00 non-returnable deposit is required.

6th
July
2013

Moths at Gosforth Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 9.15pm-11.00pm

Join the County Moth Recorder, Tom Tams and reserve warden Paul Drummond for these night-time events to catch and identify moths at Gosforth Nature Reserve. The moths are trapped using a bright light and enable you to get close up to these beautiful and rarely seen insects. Gosforth Park has a range of common and rare woodland moths. We recommend you bring sunglasses as the trapping light is bright, a torch and insect repellent.

Meet at the reserve entrance.

6th
July
2013

Small Mammals at Newton Aycliffe

Outdoor Event, 9.30am-11am

Join Northumbria Mammal Group to learn more about the small mammals of this Local Nature Reserve. Try your hand with longworth traps and get up close and personal with voles, mice and shrews.

Meet at the Aycliffe Moore Lane Eco Centre in Newton Aycliffe.

Free but booking is required to manage numbers, contact Steve on 07779090842.

7th
July
2013

Plants of Dipton

Outdoor Event, 2.30pm-5pm

Afternoon excursion to see some of the less common plants near Dipton Mill, 3 miles south of Hexham. These include Greater Butterfly-orchid Platanthera chlorantha, Bog Pimpernel Anagallis tenella and Greater Broomrape Orobanche rapum-genistae.

Meet in the parking area opposite Dipton Mill Inn (grid ref NY 929609 or postcode NE46 1YA).

13th
July
2013

Gosforth Nature Reserve Exploration Day

Outdoor Event, 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 all members of the public, both adults and children.

Please note that ground can be wet, muddy and uneven, so please wear suitable footwear.

14th
July
2013

Flora of Cronkley Pasture

Outdoor Event, 10.30am-3pm

This is an under-investigated part of the Upper Teesdale botanical hotspot, where there have recently turned up in flushes Yellow Saxifrage Saxifraga aizoides, Alpine Rush Juncus alpinoarticulatus, False Sedge Kobresia simpliciuscula and Scottish Asphodel Tofieldia pusilla together with a new site for Spring Gentian Gentiana verna. There is also an old record for Alpine Bartsia Bartsia alpina, not seen here for a long time. Nearby is Tarn Dub, a pond which may contain interesting species. Linda Robinson is the BSBI recorder for vice-county 65 (NW Yorkshire) and will greatly appreciate some sharp extra eyes.

Meet in the car park opposite the footpath to Cronkley Bridge (about half-way between High Force and Langdon Beck: grid ref NY 867298). Bring lunch, and be prepared for the weather.

19th
July
2013

Cetacean Trip, Royal Quays, River Tyne

Outdoor Event, 6pm-10pm

Join the Northumbria Mammal Group for a four hour evening pelagic trip in the North Sea looking for whales, dolphins and seabirds.

Cost for NHSN members 27.50.

To book email Steve Lowe, zappa99@live.co.uk with number of people, your name and a contact phone number. A 10.00 non-returnable deposit is required.

20th
July
2013

North East Marine Wildlife Festival, Newcastle

Outdoor Event

Join us as we celebrate our marine wildlife and explore the diversity of our seas and coasts. The festival, in partnership with the Environmental Records Information Centre (ERIC) and leading whale and dolphin conservation charity ORCA, invites you to find out more about the wildlife of our seas and have a whale of a time at our free workshops and family fun events.

Highlights of the festival include an exciting interactive exhibition of inflatable life-size marine mammals, sharks and reptiles, as well as impressive objects from the museums biology collection.

This celebration will culminate in the Big Watch Weekend – a dedicated weekend of coastal wildlife watching events.

Find out more by visiting: www.twmuseums.org.uk/greatnorthmuseum

21st
July
2013

New Members Walk at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 10am-12am

All new members are invited for an introductory walk around the reserve.

The Society Director will show you the most important wildlife areas and explain how the reserve has changed over time and how we are managing it for the future.

We hope this event will improve your enjoyment and appreciation of the reserve and its wildlife.

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

23rd
July
2013

Kittiwake Walk

5.20pm-6.20pm

Every summer Newcastle-Gateshead quayside is home to 600 pairs of breeding Kittiwakes. In mid-July the chicks are leaving the nest and the colony is getting ready to return to the sea for the rest of the year. Join Society Director, James Littlewood on this short walk around the quayside to watch the Kittiwakes and learn about their fascinating life story.

Meet outside the entrance to the Baltic Mill Art Gallery.

24th
July
2013

Kittiwakes on the Tyne

7pm-9pm
Great North Museum:Hancock, Newcastle

A series of talks and discussion by leading Tyne Kittiwake researchers and practitioners:
– John Coulson, author of ‘Kittiwake’ and one of the world experts on Kittiwakes will talk about the results of 60 years of his research on Kittiwakes and the new discoveries that have been made by studying the Tyne Kittiwakes.
– Local seabird expert Dan Turner will look at the size and distribution of the Tyne Kittiwake population in recent times.
– Chris Redfern will describe the results from his work fitting location recording devices to the Tyne Kittiwakes.
– Peter Bell from Gateshead Council will highlight what we have learnt from the creation of the Kittiwake Tower near the Baltic art gallery and how these lessons could be applied in future.
– Question and answer sessions with the speakers.

This event is being hosted by the Natural History Society of Northumbria as part of the North East Marine Wildlife Festival and is open to non-members.

25th
July
2013

Roseate Tern Evening, Coquet Island

Outdoor Event, 6.15pm

This is a joint meeting of the North Northumberland Bird Club and the Society to see the important 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 out for shearwaters and skuas while watching the seals on the east shore of the Island.

Booking: the cost for the boat is 7.00 for adults and 3.00 for children. Please contact the Society Office to book places.

NOW FULLY BOOKED BUT PLACES AVAILABLE THE FOLLOWING DAY

26th
July
2013

Roseate Tern Evening, Coquet Island

Outdoor Event, 6.15pm

This is a joint meeting of the North Northumberland Bird Club and the Society to see the important 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 out for shearwaters and skuas while watching the seals on the east shore of the Island.

Booking: the cost for the boat is 7.00 for adults and 3.00 for children. Please contact the Society Office to book places.

27th
July
2013

The industrial geology and river gravels of the North Pennines, Weardale

Outdoor Event, 11.00am-3.30pm

The lead and zinc mining industry have left their mark on the landscape of the Nent valley, not just at the mines themselves but also in the geomorphology of the river system. We will start at Nenthead, with its complex of mines and the remains of the smeltmill, before driving down the valley to one of the many limestone quarries from where we can look down on the dynamic river gravels at Blagill. At Nenthead we will be able to see the spoil heap stabilisation trial being run by North Pennines AONB, and if time allows we will also take a quick look at the impressive Dowgang Hush.

Meet in the large car park at Nenthead Mine, in Nenthead (Weardale). Postcode CA9 3PE or grid ref NY781 436. Bring a packed lunch and dress for summer in the Pennines.

4th
August
2013

Birds of Teesmouth

Outdoor Event, 10am-3.30pm

In late summer, arctic-breeding wading birds such as sandpipers are passing through our region on their way to wintering grounds further south.

The pools and estuaries of Teesmouth are one of the best places in the North East to see these birds and there are sometimes real rarities amongst them.

We will also look for local specialities, Cettis Warbler, Marsh Harrier and Common Seal. Dave Nelson from the Teesmouth Bird Club has kindly offered to show us around the best sites.

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

6th
August
2013

Birds, Bugs & Butterflies

11am – 3 pm at the Great North Museum:Hancock, Newcastle

Free drop in activities for families.

Take a chance on bird and bug bingo, construct your own bird feeder and masquerade around in your own bird mask creations.

10th
August
2013

Moths at Gosforth Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 8.30pm-10.30pm

Join the County Moth Recorder, Tom Tams and reserve warden Paul Drummond for these night-time events to catch and identify moths at Gosforth Nature Reserve. The moths are trapped using a bright light and enable you to get close up to these beautiful and rarely seen insects. Gosforth Park has a range of common and rare woodland moths. We recommend you bring sunglasses as the trapping light is bright, a torch and insect repellent.

Meet at the reserve entrance.

17th
August
2013

Plants & Insects at Rising Sun Country Park

Starts at 11am but you can drop in anytime until mid-afternoon.

Join the Entomology and Midweek Botany Groups of the Society in search of plants and insects (especially damselflies and dragonflies) at the Rising Sun Country Park, in North Tyneside. Suitable for everyone, from beginners to experienced naturalists.

We will start at 11.00 and will continue into the afternoon (bring a packed lunch if you want). We will meet at the Countryside Centre (parking available – and in the overflow car park outside the main gates), or take the Metro to Palmersville station and it is a short walk from there. The postcode is NE12 9SS.

18th
August
2013

Flora of Coalcleugh and the head of West Allendale

Outdoor Event, 11am-4pm

We will look at varied upland habitats including lead-mine spoil, limestone outcrops and flushes. The Coalcleugh spoil is a noted site for metalliferous species: Spring Sandwort Minuartia verna, Alpine Pennycress Noccea caerulescens and Mountain Pansy Viola lutea, together with mosses such as Bryum pallens and metallophyte lichens such as Stereocaulon nanodes, S. delisei and Epilichen scabrosus. On limestone are Green Spleenwort Asplenium viride and Moonwort Botrychium lunaria, and in flushes are Chickweed Willowherb Epilobium alsinifolium, Starry Saxifrage Saxifraga stellaris and Pale Forget-me-not Myosotis brevifolia.

Meet at the Northumberland – Cumbria county boundary (at the head of West Allendale) at grid ref NY794444). Bring lunch, and be prepared for August weather!

1st
September
2013

Bats in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 7.45pm-9.15pm

This will be an evening event starting around sunset and continuing till dark. There will be 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. This event is free but booking is required to limit numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book.

8th
September
2013

Jesmond Dene Bioblitz

Outdoor Event, 10am until dark

Based at Ouseburn Park Visitor Centre in Jesmond Dene, NE7 7BQ.

Come and help us to identify as many species of birds, mammals, insects, plants and invertebrates as possible in 24 hours. You can come along any time during the day to take part but there are also scheduled activities:
10.30am-11.30am Walk looking for bird species
11am-11.30am Pond dipping
11.30am-12am Mini-beast hunting
12am-12.30am Nature Walk
12.30am-1.15pm Walk to search for tree and plant species
2pm-2.30pm Pond dipping
2.30pm-3pm Mini-beast hunting
3pm-3.30pm Nature Walk
3.30pm-4.30pm Walk looking for bird species
7.30-9pm Walk looking for bat species
9pm-10pm Moth trapping

This event is part of Newcastle Science Festival and we hope it will help improve our knowledge of life in the wildlife corridor that links the River Tyne to Gosforth Nature Reserve. We are running this event in partnership with ERIC, Newcastle University and Jesmond Dene Rangers.

13th
September
2013

James Alder Archive - Heritage Open Day

Indoor Event, 11am-3.30pm

Great North Museum:Hancock, Newcastle.

We will be opening the doors of our prestigious Council Room as part of the national Heritage Open Day weekend. There will be a small exhibition from the archives of our late President and local wildlife artist, James Alder (1920-2007). On display will be rare copies of the two beautifully illustrated books he produced for the Queen Mother and the Queen, Birds and Flowers of the Castle of Mey (1993) and Birds and Flowers of Balmoral (1997).

Visitors can also see the historic furnishings and paintings in the room and talk with the Natural History Society of Northumbria Honorary Archivist, June Holmes.

14th
September
2013

Bewick's Country Scenes in Context, Newcastle

Indoor Event, 2pm-3pm

Artist and engraver Thomas Bewick’s earthy view of rural life seems to be almost a parody of the idealising scenes produced by many painters during the 18th and 19th centuries. Yet the naturalism of these images masks unexpected tensions: they express Bewick’s troubled response to the great agricultural changes then taking place – changes which his own friends promoted.

Diana Donald is a retired Professor of Art History and Head of the Department of History of Art and Design at the Manchester Metropolitan University. She is the author of many books including Endless Forms: Charles Darwin, Natural Science and the Visual Arts (2009) and Picturing Animals in Britain, 1750 – 1850 (2007). Her latest book ‘The Art of Thomas Bewick’ will be published by Reaktion Books in June 2013 and Diana’s illustrated lecture will be based on her research for the book.

This talk has been organised in partnership with the Bewick Society. It is free and takes place in the Great North Museum:Hancock, Newcastle.

14th
September
2013

Bowesfield Bat Exploration

Outdoor Event, 7.30pm-9pm

Join Durham Bat Group for the chance to meet, see and hear bats in their natural habitat. Learn more about bats and use a bat detector to hear the ultrasonic calls as they hunt at night. Try night vision equipment to explore the wild heart of Stockton-on-Tees.

Meet at Bowesfield Nature Reserve just of the A135.

Free but booking is required to manage numbers; 07587778449or amie.henry@groundwork.org.uk

21st
September
2013

Small Mammals in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Outdoor Event, 10.30am-12.00pm

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 national survey for small mammals, which is being co-ordinated by the Mammal Society UK. Volunteers welcome, training provided.

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

26th
September
2013

Shearwater

Great North Museum: Hancock, 7pm-9pm.

Shearwater is a performance of stories and music that is both a poetic and a scientific evocation of seabirds. It highlights the wonder of seabirds and threats to their populations; combining folktale, natural history and personal life-stories to create a single piece embroidered with Hebridean, Icelandic and Siberian music. It is collaboration between Tim Dalling and Malcolm Green, with an introduction from Dr Richard Bevan.
<br />’a curious blend of photo-documentary, autobiography, romantic quest and Nordic saga with nary a dull moment, delivered with great verve and wit by these two poetic champions…What comes across so vividly is their passion for and wonderment at the British wilds and at seabirds from the majestic Manx Shearwater to the fattest puffiest puffin. Their presence is brilliantly evoked through the senses – you can almost feel wings beating in your face, smell the salt spray and hear the sea crashing against the rocks.’ The Bristol Review.
<br />This will be a homecoming and the final show of a tour which will visit Orkney, Mull, Skye, Rum, Islay and Arran, so there will be extra, up-to-date news of bird-life and adventures from these islands to share.
<br />Free but booking is essential, to book call 0191 222 5121 or email info@greatnorthmuseum.org.uk

28th
September
2013

Shearwaters & Seabird Migration

4.30pm-6.30pm

St Mary’s Island, Whitley Bay.

Migrating seabirds such as shearwaters, terns and skuas pass off our coast at this time of year. We will scan the sea to try and spot the seabirds and experts from the Natural History Society and Newcastle University will help you to identify them. This is a free, drop-in event so come along for as long as you like, but dress for the weather. If you have binoculars or a spotting scope then bring them with you.

Watching will take place from the viewing hide on St Mary’s Island, which is on the seaward side of the visitor centre. There is pay and display car parking opposite the island, accessed from the A193 coast road. Nearest Metro is Whitley Bay (1.5 mile walk).

2nd
October
2013

Northumbrian Plants

Tutor: Dr Janet Simkin
Wednesdays 10.15am-12.15am.

This course will explore the rich variety of local habitats and their plants, from islands and coastal denes to the border mires and North Pennine lead mines, and this will lead us into looking at aspects of plant biology, identification and ecology. We will concentrate on flowering plants, but ferns, lichens and bryophytes will get a look in as well. There will be several field trips, including two all day meetings. <a href=’http://nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/news/wp-content/uploads/Northumbrian-Plants.pdf ‘ > Northumbrian plants programme </a>

Cost for 10 sessions: £84 (Concessions: £68)

2nd
October
2013

Wildlife Photography

Wednesdays, 1pm-3pm.

Learn how to take fantastic digital photographs of our amazing local wildlife. David Noble-Rollin leads this practical 20-week course aimed at those who have a digital camera but still tend to use it on the automatic settings and would like to take better photographs and improve their wildlife photography techniques. Includes 6 field visits.

Cost for 20 weeks: £155 (Concessions: £125)

3rd
October
2013

The Quaternary

Thursdays 6.15pm-8.15pm

Dr Angus Lunn leads a 20-week journey through the last 2 million years. Students will investigate the most significant climatic, geological and biological events of the Quaternary, with particular attention to northern England. The subject is so vast that the course itself continues to evolve and is suitable for new and previous students. Some knowledge about the subject is helpful but not essential. Students will also have the opportunity to join a summer field trip.

Cost for 20 weeks: £155 (Concessions: £125)

3rd
October
2013

The Archaeology of Death

Thursdays 2pm-4pm.

Throughout human history the journey from life to whatever will happen ‘on the other side’ has been mourned or celebrated by a wide variety of rites and funeral methods, including exposure, cremation, mummification, drowning, burial and immurment. Experienced archaeologist Steve Speak leads this 10 week course exploring the ways and reasons early communities disposed of the dead and the great burial monuments of the past, including in Northumberland. Includes a field visit.

Cost: £84 (Concessions: £68)

3rd
October
2013

The Geology of Northumbria's Castles

Thursdays 10.15am-12.15am

Lindisfarne, Dunstanburgh and Tynemouth castles are some of the most iconic buildings in our region. Derek Teasdale will help you explore their history, examine their geology and landscapes and explain why they were built in their particular locations. 4 indoor classes and 3 full day visits (to each of the castles).

Cost: £84 (Concessions: £68). Price does not include entry fees for castles, if required.

4th
October
2013

Tawny Owl and Vole Populations in Kielder Forest

7pm. Great North Museum: Hancock.

For over 20 years Xavier Lambin and his team have been conducting research in Kielder Forest to study how vole populations go through cycles of ‘boom and burst’ and also seemingly do the ‘Mexican wave’. In this talk he will show how the life choices of Tawny Owls in Kielder are tightly constrained by changes in vole abundance and how the vole cycle drives many ecological processes involving, plants, animals and their pathogens. He will discuss how the heart beat of the vole cycle has become fainter in recent years in Kielder and other grass dominated ecosystems in Europe and what the consequences of this change might be for predators relying on voles as their staple food.

Xavier Lambin is Professor of Ecology at the University of Aberdeen. He trains students and conducts research on a wide range of topics in population ecology. He seeks to understand how the way different species interact in ecosystems cause fluctuations in the abundance of some species, including the striking multi-annual cycles of abundance of small mammals that result in years of plenty and years of scarcity for vole predators. Xavier is very active in community based conservation and works on a wide range of organisms including Water Vole, American Mink, birds of prey, plants and microbes of birds and mammals.

5th
October
2013

Druridge Bay Bioblitz

Start 12pm on Saturday 5th and continues until 12pm on Sunday 6th.

This event will seek to capture as much wildlife information as possible from across the Druridge Bay area in a 24hour period. It will include surveys with experts, family activities and presentations from local experts. The event will be free and we hope to see as many people as possible enjoying the wide range of wildlife on land and sea, during the day and night!

The Bioblitz base will be at Hauxley Nature Reserve, which is near Low Hauxley, south of Amble and signposted from the A1068 (Grid ref NU284026 or postcode NE65 0JP). For further details <a href=’http://www.nwt.org.uk/’>Northumberland Wildlife Trust</a>

10th
October
2013

Watching and Identifying Birds

Thursdays 10.30am-12.30

Learn more about bird watching and how to better identify the birds you see. Keith Bowey, one of the region’s best known ornithologists, leads this 10 week course to introduce you to the birds of the North East and their habitats, with a focus on County Durham. There will be 5 field trips including to Derwent Reservoir, Shibdon Pond and the migration Mecca of the South Shields coast. Indoor classes will take place at Shakespeare Hall in Durham city.

Cost: £84 (Concessions: £68)

11th
October
2013

Mantle plumes: latest research

7pm Great North Museum:Hancock

Some regions of the Earth’s crust appear anomalously hot and are subject to large-scale volcanism. What causes this? Professor Gillian Foulger from Durham University is an expert on these zones and will explore the latest research on a possible explanation – up-welling currents of hot mantle material.

18th
October
2013

Mountain Plants of Sichuan, China Professor John Richards

7pm. Great North Museum: Hancock.

The mystical mountains of western China are home to the richest temperate flora in the world with remarkable numbers of species of Clematis, Gentiana, Primula, Rhododendron as well as hundreds of orchids, poppies, camellias and peonies. Professor Richards has visited on three occasions to study this flora, most recently in 2011 to Sichuan.

Professor Richards is Emeritus Professor of Botany at the University of Newcastle where he taught and studied for 34 years. For the last 10 years he has led the volunteers at the University’s Moorbank Botanic Garden, due to shut in November 2013. He is Joint County Recorder for Plants for South Northumberland for the BSBI. He has a life-long interest in alpine plants, has travelled extensively in the mountains of many parts of the world and is a past President of the Alpine Garden Society.

25th
October
2013

The effect of extreme weather on seabirds

7pm. Great North Museum:Hancock

There is now good evidence that one effect of global warming, however caused, will be increased frequency of extreme weather events. Summer storms and rains can affect the breeding performance of seabirds, and severe weather at other times of the year can also impact on bird survival, as the recent wrecks of Shags and then Puffins earlier this year demonstrate. Detailed studies on seabird colonies are important to be able to measure these effects, and large-scale colour-ringing and resighting programmes have an important part to play in quantifying the effects on seabird populations and how these vary between colonies.

Dr Francis Daunt is a Seabird Ecologist who leads a team of researchers at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) in Edinburgh, based on the Isle of May, on the east coast of Scotland.

This is a slight change to the talk originally advertised ‘The foraging and population biology of Shags in the North Sea’.

27th
October
2013

Autumn Birds on Holy Island

10am-4pm.

Ian Kerr, author of ‘The Birds of Holy Island’, will help us track down migrating birds and if conditions are favourable we hope to find some of the rarer species. At this time of year wintering wildfowl and waders will also be arriving along with associated birds of prey. This is an all-day event so you will need a packed lunch.

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

31st
October
2013

Halloween Bat & Bird Box Making

10.30am, 11am and 11.30am at the Great North Museum:Hancock

The Society’s nest box experts will be on hand to help you to make your own bird and bat boxes. This is a family event and all materials are provided but boxes cost £3 (birds) or £5.50 (bats) and are limited to one per family. There will be 3 sessions (each one lasting 30 minutes) on a first come, first served basis.

Event takes place in the Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle.

1st
November
2013

The 8.2 ka BP event: the most important in our island history? Dr Angus Lunn

7pm. Great North Museum: Hancock.

Forget Hastings, Agincourt, Bannockburn, Waterloo, El Alamein. 8,200 years ago should rather be regarded as the formative date in British human history. It was a unique combination of at least three separate geological processes that very likely made us what we are today. 8.2 ka BP is even being proposed as a formal geological stratigraphic boundary within the Holocene.

Angus Lunn is the former head of Adult Education at the University of Newcastle, teaches a course on the Quaternary for the Society, and is the author of the New Naturalist volume on Northumberland.

2nd
November
2013

Grey Seal Pups on the Farne Islands

12.45-3.30pm

We will have good views of Grey Seals and their new pups on this boat trip from Seahouses to the Farne Islands. One of the National Trust Wardens will join us to help locate the seals and answer any questions. We also hope to see winter seabirds such as divers and auks. Please wear clothing and footwear suitable for all weathers.

The cost is £20 per person and booking is essential. Please contact the Society Office to book.

8th
November
2013

Roe Deer in the North East of England

7pm. Great North Museum: Hancock.

Roe Deer are our smallest native deer and the most common deer species in the North East. This talk and debate will range from Roe Deer ecology, to Roe Deer management issues and regional population variances (and interlopers).

Ian Smailes is a local Chartered Surveyor who describes himself as an ‘amateur’ deer enthusiast. His former role as Trustee, Director and Chair of the North East Section of the British Deer Society perhaps makes him more of an ‘expert’? Ian remains active in providing advice to estates on deer management issues.

15th
November
2013

Kielder Forest: past, present and future

7pm. Great North Museum: Hancock.

Kielder Forest is the largest planted forest in northern Europe. This talk will describe its origins as a strategic timber reserve after the First World War, its importance for timber production, its development as a visitor destination (with Kielder Water and Forest Park this year receiving Visit England’s award of Best Tourism Experience in England), and its maturation into a haven for many species of wildlife. The talk will describe the process of transformation from the original post-war plantation into a diverse-structured forest, capable of delivering the multiple outputs required of it in future, and will consider the potential changes in governance of the public forest estate in future.

Graham Gill is Forest Manager for the Forestry Commission’s forests in the north of England, including Kielder Forest where he has been the manager for the last 19 years.

17th
November
2013

Introduction to Winter Wildfowl

1pm-3pm. Cresswell.

Thousands of ducks spend the winter in the North East and birds such as Teal, Shoveler, Wigeon, Pochard, Gadwall and Goldeneye should be in fine plumage. James will give you some pointers on how to identify the main species. We will also look out for other winter birds such as geese and waders. We will mainly be watching birds from wildlife hides with short walks in between. Please bring binoculars if you have them and dress for the weather.

Meet in Cresswell Dunes Car Park ½ mile north of Cresswell Village (grid ref NZ289938 or postcode NE61 5EH), Northumberland.

22nd
November
2013

The Harlequin Ladybird: Unravelling the story of an alien invader

7pm. Great North Museum: Hancock.

The Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis was first recorded in England in 2004. It subsequently spread at approximately 100 km per year and by 2008 it had reached Scotland. People across Britain were invited to track the spread of the Harlequin and native ladybirds, through the on-line UK Ladybird Survey (www.ladybird-survey.org) launched in 2005. The response was inspirational. Tens of thousands of people reported their sightings and consequently the invasion of Britain by the Harlequin Ladybird is documented through their amazing observations.

There are a number of reasons why the harlequin ladybird is considered the ‘most invasive ladybird on Earth’. It is a threat to native biodiversity; the harlequin ladybird is voracious and known to be a predator of both pest and beneficial insects. It is also known to be escaping natural enemies, mainly parasites that interact with native ladybirds. It is a highly dispersive ladybird that can exploit a range of habitats and environmental conditions.

In this talk Richard Comont from the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology will explore some of the insights we have gained on the life history of the Harlequin Ladybird in Britain through the UK Ladybird Survey. He will also highlight the enormous value of engaging people in biological recording and particularly the important role that they can play in non-native species surveillance.

29th
November
2013

East Scotland Sea Eagles

7pm. Great North Museum: Hancock.

The last British White-tailed Eagle was shot in 1918. Two formal reintroductions, releasing a total of 140 birds, were carried out on Rum (1975 to 1985) and Wester Ross (1993-1998). These birds have gone on to establish a population of over 60 breeding pairs on the west coast of Scotland. White-tailed Eagles last bred in East Scotland approximately 200 years ago. The third phase of the reintroduction, which began in 2007, aims to establish a breeding population in East Scotland and is being carried out as a partnership project between RSPB Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and Forestry Commission Scotland.

Rhian Evans is the East Scotland Sea Eagle Officer for the RSPB and in this talk she will tell us about the ecology of White-tailed Eagles and the east coast reintroduction scheme. Has it been successful? Can we expect to see White-tailed Eagles spreading south to our region?

1st
December
2013

Winter Birds at Ross Back Sands, Northumberland

12.30pm-3.30pm

If it’s not blowing a gale or raining (like last year!) this beautiful bay just south of Holy Island is one of the best places in the North East for wintering sea birds. We should see Long-tailed Duck, Slavonian Grebe and Red-throated Diver and with a bit of luck other species. We will also look for winter wading birds. This will involve a walk of around 4 miles and standing around looking out to sea, so please come dressed for the winter and bring a telescope if you have one. We will have a packed lunch while we watch the birds at high tide, so bring food and drink.

Meet in the car parking area alongside the road just before the village of Ross (grid ref. NU369132), which is 3 miles north east of the A1 from Belford via minor roads. Postcode for Satnav NE70 7EN.

6th
December
2013

Shale Gas: Geology, Hype, Reality by Professor Andrew Aplin

7pm Great North Museum: Hancock

The US shale gas revolution and its ripple to Europe has brought geology once more into the public eye, with the British Geological Survey suggesting a significant potential for the UK. So: what constitutes a good shale gas reservoir, can we produce it safely and will it make much difference to our future energy mix?

Andrew Aplin is Professor of Unconventional Petroleum in the Department of Earth Sciences at Durham University. He is a highly respected petroleum geoscientist with a particular interest in shales and mudstones. He has worked on many problems linked to the physical and chemical properties of fine-grained sediments, including seals to petroleum reservoirs and CO2 storage sites, leakage, gas shales and pore pressure estimation. Professor Aplin has been involved with and led several major Joint Industry Projects, he has published over 70 peer-reviewed papers and was awarded the Wallace E. Pratt Memorial Award for Best Paper in AAPG Bulletin in both 2009 and 2013

4th
January
2014

Birds of the Tyne Estuary

The mouth of the Tyne Estuary in winter is a great place to view gulls, waders and seabirds. Dan Turner will help explain the different species and if we are lucky we may come across Glaucous or Iceland Gulls at the fish quay. Dan will also explain about some of the history and geography of the area. The walk will be around 1 mile, mostly on paths but dress for the cold. This is also a great place to buy fish & chips or fresh fish! These events are free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society office.

10th
January
2014

Studies in Wild Goats

Talk, 7-8pm. Great North Museum:Hancock.

England’s most northerly population of wild goats lives in the Cheviot Hills. The goats are known to congregate around Yeavering Bell, which means ‘the hill of the goats’ and which is the site of the biggest Iron Age hillfort in the north of England and a special landmark for prehistoric people. The Northumberland goat herd is made up of between 100-150 individuals. They are believed to be descended from the original goats introduced by the first farmers of the Neolithic period. The area in which the goats are found contains open moorland, woodland and Sites of Special Scientific Interest which are flanked by farmland. As such, there is the potential for conflict between the goats, conservationists and farmers.

The wild goats have been the focus of a study led by Dr Richard Bevan and Dr Pete Garson from Newcastle University, supported by Northumberland National Park and local landowners and farmers. The aim of this project was to understand exactly how far the goats roam and how they used the local landscape, as well as recording when, where and how long they spend eating so that they can advise on any future management of the goats.

Dr. Richard Bevan is the Degree Program Director for MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation & Ecotourism, School of Biology at Newcastle University.

17th
January
2014

Northumberland Bird Atlas 2007-11

Talk, 7-8pm. Great North Museum:Hancock.

With changes to our climate and habitats and the decline in some of our migrant species has the size, distribution and diversity of bird populations in Northumberland also changed? From 2007-2011 the British Trust for Ornithology co-ordinated a survey of the nation’s birds. Fieldwork for this was undertaken on a county basis by willing volunteers surveying 2km x 2km tetrads. The National Bird Atlas has just been published by the BTO and the Northumberland Bird Atlas is scheduled for publication by the Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club at the end of 2014. This will include breeding and winter distribution maps showing the abundance, breeding status and change in bird species since previous surveys. This talk will show a selection of results from the Atlas fieldwork highlighting those species which have declined and those which have increased, plus a discussion on bird distribution in Northumberland and a chance to admire Northumberland’s bird life.

Tim Dean has been County Recorder for Northumberland since 2006 and has been leading the Atlas sub-committee of the Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club. He has been a keen birder and photographer for 40 years, both in the UK and overseas. His base in Rothbury ensured easy access to all parts of the county for Atlas surveying and with his ultra keen wife also helping they dedicatedly surveyed over 1,000 tetrads for the Atlas – nearly two-thirds of the total!

18th
January
2014

Introduction to Woodland Birds in Winter

9am – 11am (drop-in).

One of the best ways to begin to learn bird identification is to study the species that come to bird feeders during the winter.This drop-in session will take place in the hide in front of the feeding station at Gosforth Nature Reserve and Geoff Lawrence will be on hand to help you to identify birds such as finches, Dunnock, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker and 4 species of tits.

To take part just turn up at the hide (turn immediate right when you go through the entrance to the nature reserve <a href=’http://nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/news/wp-content/uploads/How-to-get-to-Gosforth-Park-Nature-Reserve-MASTER.pdf’>click here for directions</a>

19th
January
2014

Winter Gulls at the Tyne Estuary

9.30am – 11.30am

The Tyne Estuary in winter is one of the best places to view gulls. Dan Turner will help explain the different species and their sub-adult phases and if we are lucky we may come across Mediterranean, Glaucous or Iceland Gulls as well as other harbour birds such as Eider and waders. The walk will be around 1 mile, mostly on paths but dress for the cold. This is also a great place to buy fish & chips or fresh fish!

Free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society office on 0191 232 6386 or nhsn@ncl.ac.uk

20th
January
2014

Iceland and the Opening of the Atlantic Ocean

Mondays from 20th January, 2pm-4pm.

The Atlantic Ocean has been opening for some 55 million years, following a period of intense volcanism and the extrusion of widespread flood basalts across northwest Britain. Derek Teasdale leads this 10 week course that will explore the fascinating plate tectonic evolution of Britain and the Atlantic Ocean. We will also take a detailed look at the unique and beautiful volcanic geology of Iceland.

Cost: £84 (Concessions £68)

21st
January
2014

Winter Birds of the North East

Tuesdays from 21st January, 1.00 pm.

Sorry – this course is now fully booked. However we have places on ‘Winter Birdwatching’, see below.

Expert ornithologist David Noble-Rollin leads this 10-week course teaching the identification,
adaptations and behaviour of our region’s varied winter birds. Indoor classes use field guides,
film, photos, diagrams and sound recordings. There will be 5 field visits including Budle Bay,
Teesmouth/Saltholme, Hauxley, Newton Pools and the Solway Estuary.

23rd
January
2014

Winter Birdwatching

Thursdays from 23rd Jan, 10.30am-12.30pm.

Learn more about bird watching and how to better identify the birds you see. Keith Bowey, one of the region’s best known ornithologists, leads this 10 week course to introduce you to the birds
of the North East and their habitats, with a focus on County Durham in winter. There will be 5 field trips including to Teesmouth, Rainton Meadows, Derwent Valley and South Shields. Indoor classes will take place at Shakespeare Hall in Durham city.

23rd
January
2014

From the Bronze Age to the Roman Occupation

Thursdays from 23rd Jan, 2pm-4pm.

Steve Speak leads this 10 week course exploring the archaeology of the later Bronze Age in the North East up to the arrival of the Romans and the construction of Hadrian’s Wall. This has left us with a host of military structures particularly in the Tyne Valley. The Romans relied on the native
population to help their economy. The importance of the legacy of the earlier native communities
has often been overlooked but this course will attempt to reassess the impact of two highly different
societies. Field trip(s) included (weather permitting!).

23rd
January
2014

Iceland and the Opening of the Atlantic Ocean

Thursdays from 23rd January, 10.15am-12.15pm.

Sorry – this course is now fully booked, however we have put on an additional class on Monday afternoons (see above).

The Atlantic Ocean has been opening for some 55 million years, following a period of intense
volcanism and the extrusion of widespread flood basalts across northwest Britain. Derek Teasdale
leads this 10 week course that will explore the fascinating plate tectonic evolution of Britain and
the Atlantic Ocean. We will also take a detailed look at the unique and beautiful volcanic geology
of Iceland.

25th
January
2014

Unconventional energy - the future?

Talk/seminar. 2-5pm. Great North Museum: Hancock.

Following the highly successful joint meeting with the Yorkshire Geological Society to celebrate the work of Sir Kingsley Dunham, our two societies are joining forces once again for a Saturday afternoon meeting when we will examine how geology can contribute to meeting our future energy needs, with a particular focus on alternative or unconventional energy sources.

Four distinguished speakers will contribute:

Professor Ian Fells (Fells Associates, Emeritus Professor University of Newcastle):’Energy, Engineering and Economics’.

Professor Richard Davies (Durham University and Durham GeoEnergy Group); (title tbc)

Professor Peter Tavner (ret Durham University Engineering & Computer Sciences: ‘Wind, waves and tides – an overview of current capability for renewable energy generation’

Professor Paul Younger (University of Glasgow): ‘The contribution of geology to the pursuit of a low-carbon economy’.

26th
January
2014

Red Kite Roost, Derwent Valley, Gateshead

2.45pm-5pm.

On winter afternoons Red Kites flock together to roost, sometimes making a spectacular sight. Following their reintroduction to the North East there is now a roost site in the Derwent Valley which is monitored by The Friends of Red Kites. They have kindly offered the opportunity for our members to join them. This event will involve an easy walk of around half a mile to the viewing point and then watching the birds come in to roost. We recommend that as well as very warm clothes you also bring a torch. You may also wish to bring a flask of hot drink and snacks.

Meet in the free car park signposted on the A694
at Winlaton Mill. If you are travelling from the Newcastle direction the car park is on the left (Grid ref NZ187609). Postcode for Satnav is NE21 6RU.

27th
January
2014

What are rocks made of?

2.30pm-4.30pm

Rocks are all around us. The crust of the Earth, mountains, cliffs and valleys are made of rock, and so are our buildings and roads. But not all rocks are the same. What are the
differences, and how does that change the way they can be used? The best way to find out and learn is to look at some real examples with geologist Derek Teasdale. Aimed at beginners.

We are running this course in partnership with Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums. To book a place please call 0191 222 5121 or info@greatnorthmuseum.org.uk

31st
January
2014

Fossilised Fish Embryos: Insights into Evolution

Talk, 7-8pm. Great North Museum:Hancock.

Placoderms are a fossil group of primitive jawed vertebrates critical to understanding how characters evolve in vertebrates such as sharks and bony fishes. Along with colleagues from Australia, Zerina Johanson is studying exquisitely preserved early growth stages of placoderms from the Gogo Formation of Western Australia, including embryonic material. These embryos have only recently been discovered in newly prepared specimens and by careful study of existing museum collections; new non-destructive methods such as CT- and synchrotron scanning show great promise for future discoveries. Gogo placoderm embryos provide information about the early development of skeletal elements such as head and trunkshield bony plates, dentitions, and vertebral elements, but also about reproduction. With respect to the latter, new discoveries include multiple embryos in pregnant females, embryos of differing sizes, and of different sexes. By comparison to well-studied sharks, we can make inferences as to the nature of vertebrate reproduction at the evolutionary transition from jawless to jawed vertebrates.

Zerina Johanson is a Researcher at the Department of Earth Sciences, Natural History Museum, London. Her research focuses on the evolution and development of early vertebrates, and she is currently working on projects involving the evolution of dentition, evolution of the vertebrate backbone, and parts of the vertebrate skeleton involved in reproduction. She is particularly interested in groups such as the placoderms and sharks, and has done extensive fieldwork in Australia, where she obtained her Ph.D.

5th
February
2014

Northumbrian Plants

Wednesdays from 5th February, 10.15am – 12.12pm.

Explore the fascinating world of the North East’s plants, their identification and ecology with Dr Janet Simkin on this 10 session course, which includes 2 all-day field trips in the spring. This is a continuation from last term but new students are welcome.

7th
February
2014

The Whaling Trade of Northeast England 1750-1850

Talk, 7-8pm. Great North Museum:Hancock.

It is easy to forget that whaling once took place in the North East. This talk will explore the origins of the whaling trade and the reasons it became established on Tyneside and other regional ports during the 18th century. Tony will explain the importance of the whaling trade to the regional economy, the special character of the ships and seamen involved in it and the hardships and dangers of a whaling life. He will also look at the decline of whaling from the region and explore some of its surviving heritage in the form of whalebone arches; whaling harpoons and, of course, the Hancock Museum’s Polar bear!!

Dr Tony Barrow was awarded his doctorate by the University of Northumbria in 1989, the subject of this talk being the title of his Ph.D research. This was later published by University of Sunderland Press in 2001. A number of papers and academic articles have followed on a wide range of subjects and Dr. Barrow has published extensively on a variety of aspects of regional maritime history.

8th
February
2014

Introduction to Winter Tree Identification

11am-12.30pm.

Would you like to learn how to identify the different trees found in our woodlands? The reserve warden will lead you on a walk in Gosforth Nature Reserve and teach you how to tell the different trees species apart in winter.

This event is free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book on 0191 232 6386 or nhsn@ncl.ac.uk

14th
February
2014

Treasures of Cambodia's Rainforests

Talk, 7-8pm. Great North Museum:Hancock.

Cambodia’s rainforests hold some of the most remarkable and rarest creatures on the planet, as well as a lot of leeches! For 3 months at the end of 2013 Will Nicholls will be undertaking a solo expedition to explore protected scientific sites within the rainforest. He hopes to see and capture on film animals ranging from the endangered Red-shanked Douc Langur to the critically endangered Bengal Florican. Assuming he returns alive, this illustrated talk will feature images from the expedition and describe the efforts and techniques in tracking down and filming wildlife in such a challenging environment.

Will Nicholls is a young award-winning wildlife photographer from Northumberland and an aspiring natural history presenter and filmmaker. In 2009 he won the Young British Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award.

16th
February
2014

Winter Gulls at the Tyne Estuary

9.30am – 11.30am

The Tyne Estuary in winter is one of the best places to view gulls. Dan Turner will help explain the different species and their sub-adult phases and if we are lucky we may come across Mediterranean, Glaucous or Iceland Gulls as well as other harbour birds such as Eider and waders. The walk will be around 1 mile, mostly on paths but dress for the cold. This is also a great place to buy fish & chips or fresh fish!

Free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society office on 0191 232 6386 or nhsn@ncl.ac.uk

18th
February
2014

Before the Golden Age: Bernicia, Deira, then Northumbria

Sorry – now fully booked.

2.30pm-4.30pm

Northumbria was one of the most important kingdoms in Europe during the late 7th and 8th centuries, producing
incredible works of art such as the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Ruthwell Cross, as well as highly influential scholars
like Alcuin and Bede. But how did Northumbria attain this pre-eminent position? The past decade has seen a plethora
of new archaeology brought to light, and Dr Rob Collins will lead this class examining the formation of Northumbria and its foundation kingdoms of Bernicia and Deira.

We are running this course in partnership with Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums. To book a place please call 0191 222 5121 or info@greatnorthmuseum.org.uk

21st
February
2014

The death of Liliaceae and other stories: how molecular evidence changed plant classification

Talk, 7-8pm. Great North Museum:Hancock.

This talk will attempt to make sense of recent changes to plant classification at higher taxonomic levels, looking at some of the changes to family membership, why they happened, and whether the resulting classifications make sense. Does DNA-based classification tell us anything new about plant evolution?

Richard Milne is a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, who has won several awards for his teaching. He is also a very keen field botanist with a particular interest in training novices in plant identification. Richard will also have copies of a colourful poster that he has designed illustrating the current classification system for all vascular plants (£5 ea).

26th
February
2014

Tour of the Great North Museum: Hancock Collections - biology

1pm – 2pm

The Society has ½ million items in its collections from Dodo bones to Egyptian mummies and most of these are held in
special stores in the basement of Newcastle’s Discovery Museum. The museum curators have kindly agreed to lead tours of these collections exclusively for Society members. This is a fantastic opportunity to see material that is not on display and to learn about the items and their care first hand.

Join Dan Gordon for a look at extinct species, trophy heads, whale bones, butterfly cabinets and other highlights from our biology stores.

This tour is free but you must book in advance as numbers are limited. To book places please contact the Society office 0191 232 6386 or nhsn@ncl.ac.uk

28th
February
2014

The Geology of The Moon

Talk, 7-8pm. Great North Museum:Hancock.

Derek Teasdale will consider what we know about the geology of the moon, how we found out and what we have learnt as a result.

Derek is the leader of the Society’s Geology Section and teaches classes in geology for us.

This is a change to our advertised talk. Unfortunately Dr Dempsey is not able to give his talk about the North Pennine Ore Field.

[Note: this is a change to the talk advertised in our autumn newsletter and programme flyer]

7th
March
2014

Beached birds, fulmars and pollution in the North Sea

Talk, 7-8pm. Great North Museum:Hancock.

It is over 10 years since the Northeast England Beached Bird Survey (NEBBS) Group began collecting data on bird species that wash up on our shore. This work includes the collection of beach-washed Fulmar corpses to determine the extent and impact of pollution in the North Sea. The ‘Save the North Sea’ Fulmar project involves all North Sea bordering countries. Dan has attended several international Fulmar workshops in The Netherlands and has been trained to perform necropsies. He will outline some of the methods and findings of the beach surveys and Fulmar analysis and what they can tell us about the health of our marine environment.

Tyneside ornithologist Dan Turner has a particular interest in seabirds and coastal species. He co-ordinates the Wetland Bird Surveys for coastal Northumberland and since instigating the NEBBS Group in 2003, he has coordinated the volunteers on their monthly surveys.

14th
March
2014

Butterflies & Books

Talk, 7-8pm. Great North Museum:Hancock.

This year should see the publication of a major review of the butterflies of Northumberland and Durham, so it is perhaps a good opportunity to look back at butterflies in books through history.

The Society’s library has 137 items with the word ‘butterflies’ in the title. By taking a quick tour through these, and others that we don’t have, we will see how butterflies have been portrayed in natural history literature and art over the past 500 years. We can also allow ourselves a brief celebration of some North-East Lepidopterists. One of the highlights of the evening will include a chance to inspect some of the fine illustrated works given to the Society by W.C. Hewitson.

Leslie Jessop is Chairman of the Society’s Library Committee and a former entomologist at the Natural History Museum in London.

19th
March
2014

Tour of the Great North Museum: Hancock Collections - Minerals

2pm – 3pm

The Society has ½ million items in its collections from Dodo bones to Egyptian mummies and most of these are held in
special stores in the basement of Newcastle’s Discovery Museum. The museum curators have kindly agreed to lead tours of these collections exclusively for Society members. This is a fantastic opportunity to see material that is not on display and to learn about the items and their care first hand.

To mark the International Year of Crystallography join Sylvia Humphrey and Derek Teasdale to explore some of the Society’s mineral collections.

This tour is free but you must book in advance as numbers are limited. To book places please contact the Society office 0191 232 6386 or nhsn@ncl.ac.uk

21st
March
2014

Britain's rarest orchids

Talk, 7-8pm. Great North Museum:Hancock.

Some of the most attractive orchids we have in this country are also the rarest. Several are restricted to a handful of localities in the south-east of England, on the edge of their European range. They include, for example, the manikin orchids (Military, Monkey and Lady) and Lizard Orchid as well as two of our four species of bee orchids. Further north, the Lindisfarne Helleborine is restricted to Holy Island and in Scotland, the Hebridean Marsh Orchid only occurs on North Uist, with a recent foray onto Berneray. These and others, including the Ghost Orchid and Lady’s Slipper Orchid, will be the subject of this talk.

Dr Colin Scrutton developed his interest in wild orchids following his retirement from the Department of Earth Sciences at Durham University. He and his wife Angela travel widely to find and photograph orchids in temperate and Mediterranean environments across the World.

22nd
March
2014

Amphibians of the North East

1.30pm-3.30pm and 5.45pm-7.45pm. First session indoors
at Great North Museum: Hancock, followed by a break and then a local site visit
looking for amphibians.

Join local expert John R Grundy to learn about the
different types of newts, frogs and toads that can be found in the North East and
have a go at finding and identifying them in the wild.

We are running this course in partnership with Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums. To book a place please call 0191 222 5121 or info@greatnorthmuseum.org.uk

13th
April
2014

Badger Watches at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

SORRY-ALL DATES FULLY BOOKED

April 13, 16, 23, 27 and May 1, 7pm.

Paul Drummond & Mervyn Anthony.

Our evening vigil starts with a talk about badgers and we will examine badger paths, prints, etc before viewing the sett, and with luck badgers. You will need to be prepared to sit reasonably still outdoors for 2 hours or more and to cope with wind, rain, cold, biting insects and muddy paths!

Free but booking is required as places are limited. Please contact the Society Office to book.

23rd
April
2014

Introduction to Bats of the North East

First class is on Wednesday 23rd April, 2.30pm-4.30pm at Great North Museum: Hancock. Second class is on
Wednesday 30th April, 8pm-10pm at Gosforth Nature Reserve.

Join expert Tina Wiffen to learn about the bats that can be found in the North East and have a go at detecting and
identifying bats in the wild.

We are running this course in partnership with Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums. To book a place please call 0191 222 5121 or info@greatnorthmuseum.org.uk

25th
April
2014

Myriapods & Isopods of Northumberland

Friday 25 April, 9am-5pm.
Saturday 26 April, 9am-5pm.

The British Myriapod and Isopod Group (millipedes, centipedes and woodlice) have kindly invited us to join them on their field visits when they visit the Hadrian’s Wall area in April. They will be carrying out field surveys of various sites which will include experienced as well as new members.

Meet at Saughy Rigg Farm guesthouse, which is off the minor road north of the B6318 at Once Brewed, grid ref NY739684, postcode NE49 9PT). Take a packed lunch. For more information contact Paul arachne2222@aol.com

26th
April
2014

Black Grouse Lek & Upland Birds

5am onwards

Location: Upper Teasdale

Thanks to the work of the North Pennines Black Grouse Recovery Programme our region is one of the best places in England to see these charismatic moorland birds. We will be visiting the site of a Lek (where large numbers of males try to attract females) which takes place in early morning. After watching this wonderful natural spectacle we will go on a short safari-style drive to look for other upland wildlife and then return to the Langdon Beck Hotel for a cooked breakfast, where we will also have a short film and talk about Black Grouse by Chris McCarty from Natural England.

For those who would like to, after breakfast we will go on a 3 mile walk looking for breeding waders, Ring Ouzel and other upland birds and plants

The cost for this event is £16, which includes a £5 donation towards the Black Grouse Programme and a cooked breakfast at the Langdon Beck Hotel (veggie option available). An £11 deposit must be paid in advance.

Please contact the Society Office to book by 28th March.

If you would like to stay overnight: Langdon Beck Hotel tel 01833 622267 (ask for Sue & book as B&B and explain you are on the Black Grouse Watch on the 26th so you don’t get charged twice for breakfast) or Youth Hostel (1km away) tel. 01833 622228 (book bed only, don’t order breakfast, have it at Hotel with the rest of the group).

Please do not book any accommodation until you have paid your £11 deposit.

1st
May
2014

Recent Archaeological excavations in Northumberland

Thursdays from 1st May, 2pm-4pm.

Over the past decade new archaeological excavations in Northumberland have taken place on a larger scale than before. Steve Speak will put these new discoveries into perspective in this 10 week course which will examine how these excavations are changing our views of the chronology and development of archaeology. Includes 4 field trips.

Cost: £84 (Concessions: £68)

8th
May
2014

Watching and Identifying Birds in Summer

Thursdays from 8th May, 10.30am-12.30pm.

Learn more about bird watching and how to better identify the birds you see. Keith Bowey, one of the region’s best known ornithologists, leads this 10 session course to introduce you to the birds of the North East and their habitats, with a focus on County Durham in summer. There will be 5 field trips including to Marsden Bay (seabirds), Muggleswick (upland wooded valley) and the Durham Uplands (grouse and waders). Indoor classes will take place at Shakespeare Hall in Durham city.

Cost: £84 (Concessions: £68)

8th
May
2014

Bats in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Thursday 8 May, 8.15pm-10.15pm.

Hazel Makepeace

This will be an evening event starting around sunset and continuing till dark. There will be 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.

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

10th
May
2014

Introduction to woodland flowers, Plessey Woods, nr Morpeth

Saturday 10 May,
Due to forecast of rain in the morning this will now start at 2pm.

Janet Angel & Angus Lunn.

Spring is a wonderful time to see woodland flowers. If you appreciate their beauty, but have little or no idea how to identify them, this half-day outing is for you.

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

11th
May
2014

Spring Migration at Druridge Bay, Northumberland

Sunday 11 May, 2pm-5pm.

James Littlewood.

Spring bird migration will be at its peak and we will search the wetlands, fields and coastline of Druridge Bay in pursuit of waders, passerines, sea birds and anything else that is on the wing. Will involve walking and watching from hides.

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

12th
May
2014

Geology of the Cheviot Hills

Mondays from 12th May at 2.15pm and Thursdays from 15th May, 10.15am. (Sorry but both classes are now fully booked).

The beautiful lavas, tuffs and granites of the Cheviot Hills are the eroded remnants of a long-extinct volcano. This practical course, led by Derek Teasdale, will explore basic geological mapping techniques by linking the geological map of the Cheviot Hills and the reality that we can see on the ground. Four indoor classes followed by 3 full-day field outings in the Cheviots (not suitable for people with limited mobility).

Cost: £84 (Concessions: £68)

14th
May
2014

Wildlife Digital Photography

Wednesdays from 14th May, 1pm-2pm.

Learn how to take fantastic digital photographs of our amazing local wildlife. David Noble-Rollin leads this practical 10-week course aimed at those who have a digital camera but still tend to use it on the automatic settings and would like to take better photographs and improve their wildlife photography techniques. Includes 3 field sessions.

Cost: £84 (Concessions: £68)

22nd
May
2014

Bird song in Thornley Woods, Rowlands Gill

Cancelled due to heavy rain – sorry

Thursday 22 May, 7.30am-9.30am.

David Noble-Rollin.

An early morning visit to Thornley Woods to hear and try to learn the songs of woodland bird species, in particular warblers such as Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest. We also hope to see and hear a wide range of woodland birds and hopefully Red Kite. Meet at the Thornley Woodland Centre car park, off the A694 at Rowlands Gill. Postcode NE39 1AU.

24th
May
2014

Great North Museum 5th Birthday & Half-Tern Activities, Newcastle

Saturday 24th – Saturday 31st May.

Come and help us celebrate the Great North Museum’s 5th birthday on 24 May with family fun activities all day. Throughout half-term week there will be themed activities including live animals on the Thursday and gems and crystals on the Friday.

For details: www.twmuseums.org.uk

28th
May
2014

Northumbria's Plants

Wednesdays from 28th May. Three classes: Wednesday 28th May, 18th June and 25th June.

We are sorry but this course is now fully booked. However you may be interested in the ‘Introduction to Wild Flowers’ course below.

Explore the colourful world of the North East’s plants, their identification and habitats with Dr Janet Simkin on 3 all-day field outings which will take you from the Spring Gentians of Upper Teesdale to the Dark Red Helleborines of the magnesium limestone.

Cost: £48 (Concessions: £39)

1st
June
2014

Butterfly Identification at Havannah Nature Reserve, Hazelrigg

Sunday 1 June, 11am-1pm.

Ken Dawson & Cathleen Thomas.

We will be looking for butterflies on the wing and learning how to tell the different species apart. There are a wide range of habitats on the reserve and with fine weather we should see a good variety of species including the rare Dingy Skipper.

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

10th
June
2014

Introduction to Wild Flowers

Tuesday 10th June, 2.30pm-4.30pm (@ Great North Museum: Hancock)

Tuesday 17th June, 2.30pm-4.30pm (@ Derwent Valley Walk, Gateshead)

Join Keith Bowey to learn how to identify some of our local wild flowers.

Cost £15.50 (concessions £12.50)

6th
July
2014

Marine Mammals of the North East

Sunday 6th July, 1pm-3pm (@ Great North Museum: Hancock)

Join Dr Martin Kitching to learn about the whales, dolphins and porpoises found off the North East coast. What do they look like? Where do we find them? What are they doing? How do we know this?

Cost £7.75 (concessions £6.25)

13th
July
2014

Plants & Butterflies of Hutton Roof Crag, Cumbria

Sunday 13 July, 11am-4pm,

Dr Angus Lunn.

This Cumbria Wildlife Trust reserve includes splendid limestone pavement, and other mainly calcareous habitats. Special plants include Rigid Buckler-fern Dryopteris submontana, Limestone Fern Gymnocarpium robertianum, Angular Solomon’s Seal Polygonatum odoratum and Dark-red Helleborine Epipactis atrorubens. The site is also one of the best in the region for butterfly species.

The easiest approach is from the M6, leaving at the A65 Kirkby Lonsdale junction. From the A6070 (southwards) turn left along a minor road at Clawthorpes and within a mile park on the verge where there is a bridleway signpost for Burton (grid ref SD543783). Bring lunch and walking boots (the limestone pavement can be awkward, especially if damp).

19th
July
2014

Petrel ringing & BBQ at Whitburn Coastal Park, South Tyneside

Saturday 19 July, 7.30pm-early hours!

During the summer the bird ringers at Whitburn Coastal Park observatory use tape lures to catch, ring and study species of petrel (mainly Storm Petrel). These small seabirds are rarely seen on land so this is an excellent chance (if we are lucky!) to get up close and learn about the work to study them. Durham Bird Club has kindly invited us to join them for a BBQ followed by ringing (the first birds are sometimes not caught until 1am).

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

19th
July
2014

North East Marine Wildlife Festival, Newcastle

Saturday 19 July – Friday 25 July.

Help the Great North Museum: Hancock to celebrate our marine wildlife and explore the diversity of our regions’ seas and coasts through a series of free events, workshops and displays. Highlights of the week long festival include an interactive exhibition of inflatable life-size whales, dolphins and sharks, as well as impressive objects from the museum’s biology collection.

Full details at www.twmuseums.org.uk/greatnorthmuseum

20th
July
2014

Plants of East Chevington, Northumberland

Sunday 20 July, 11am-4pm.

Professor John Richards.

From Druridge Bay Country Park we will walk south to Chibburn Mouth (2km) and perhaps beyond, concentrating on the flora of the dunes, and the grasslands inland. Amongst the orchids that have been recorded recently are Marsh Helleborine Epipactis palustris, Lesser Butterfly Orchid Platanthera bifolia and Fragrant Orchid Gymnadenia conopsea. Dyer’s Greenweed Genista tinctoria is locally abundant, and characteristic Northumberland dune plants such as Bloody Cranesbill Geranium sanguineum, Houndstongue Cynoglossum officinale and Burnet Rose Rosa spinosissima will be flowering freely. There should also be some butterflies on the wing and perhaps a bird or two.

Bring lunch and meet at Druridge Bay Country Park Visitor Centre (pay and display parking). Grid ref NZ271998 or postcode NE61 5BX.

28th
July
2014

Summer Activities in the Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

28 July – 31 August.

Throughout the school holidays there will be themed activities for all the family. In particular, join us to help celebrate the museums 130th birthday from 18-24 August with a week of Hancock inspired activities, followed by Dinosaur week.

For details: www.twmuseums.org.uk nearer to the time.

2nd
August
2014

Introduction to Dragonflies, Derwent Valley Walk

Cancelled due to rain. Sorry! Saturday 2 August, 11am-1pm.

Expert Keith Gittens will take us along the varied habitats of the Derwent Valley, Gateshead, in search of dragonflies and damselflies. He will help us to find and identify the different species.

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

2nd
August
2014

The Building Stones of Newcastle upon Tyne

Saturday 2 August, 11.00am-1pm.

Derek Teasdale

The churches, shops, banks and public buildings of Newcastle upon Tyne’s city centre are built and/or faced with many types of stone. Whilst most use local sandstones of varying quality, many other buildings proudly display exotic rock types from around the globe. This gentle 2 hour walk will highlight some of the architectural and geologic gems right under our noses.

Suitable for all – beginners and experts alike.

Meet on the steps at the front of the Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle (post code NE2 4PT).

9th
August
2014

Small Mammals at Weetslade Country Park, Newcastle

Saturday 9 August, 10am-12pm

Leader = Veronica Carnell

We will be examining bait tubes and live traps to see what small mammals live in the park. If we are lucky we should get up close to mice, voles and shrews. Accompanied children welcome. Free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book.

17th
August
2014

Plants of Hallington Reservoir, Northumberland

Sunday 17 August, 2pm-5pm.

Professor John Richards.

We will walk to the causeway, and examine the draw-down area which has a rich and fascinating flora. Here we should see one of our smallest plants, Needle Spike-rush Eleocharis acicularis in great abundance, together with Shoreweed Littorella uniflora, Marsh Yellow-cress Rorippa palustris, Marsh Speedwell Veronica scutellata, Common Fleabane Pulicaria dysenterica, Amphibious Bistort Persicaria amphibia and many other plants. If we walk sufficiently far round the perimeter, we will encounter the rare sedge Carex oederi.

Meet on the minor road 1km north of Hallington Village at NY983769 (nearest postcode for Satnav NE19 2LR), where track leads to reservoir.

18th
August
2014

Exclusive Tour of Hancock Collections

11am-12pm at the Discovery Museum

As part of Hancock Week at the Great North Museum join Museum Curator, Dan Gordon, to take a behind the scenes look at the amazing collection of items prepared and donated by one of the Museums’ founders, John Hancock. This will include some of his most famous works of taxidermy. These items are not on public display so this is a unique opportunity to see and learn about this important and fascinating collection. The tour takes place in our stores, held in the basement of the Discovery Museum in Blandford Square in Newcastle.

Free but booking is essential at info@greatnorthmuseum.org.uk or 0191 222 5121

20th
August
2014

John Hancock - A man of many talents

Great North Museum: Hancock, 6.30-7.30pm.

The Hancock Museum was named after John and Albany Hancock in recognition of their efforts to create the museum and their work as naturalists and taxidermists. John Hancock was a man of many talents and amongst other things he was a landscape designer, artist and falconer. To celebrate the 130th anniversary of the Hancock Museum, James Littlewood (Director of the Natural History Society of Northumbria), will give an illustrated talk about John’s life and his many achievements.

Entrance will be towards the rear of the building via the side-doors.

22nd
August
2014

Exclusive Tour of Hancock Collections

11am-12pm at the Discovery Museum

As part of Hancock Week at the Great North Museum join Museum Curator, Dan Gordon, to take a behind the scenes look at the amazing collection of items prepared and donated by one of the Museums’ founders, John Hancock. This will include some of his most famous works of taxidermy. These items are not on public display so this is a unique opportunity to see and learn about this important and fascinating collection. The tour takes place in our stores, held in the basement of the Discovery Museum in Blandford Square in Newcastle.

Free but booking is essential at info@greatnorthmuseum.org.uk or 0191 222 5121

22nd
August
2014

The geology of Beadnell & Bamburgh

Saturday 22 August, 10am-3.30pm

We will visit the coast and explore Upper and Middle Limestone groups of the Carboniferous including associated coals along with later igneous intrusions such as the Beadnell Dyke and Whin Sill. Will involve visiting 2 sites with total walking distance of around 4 miles.

Meet in the public car park in Beadnell (grid ref NU 235288 or postcode NE67 5EG). Bring a packed lunch.

Leader: Karl Egeland-Eriksen

30th
August
2014

Volunteer Work Party

Gosforth Park Nature Reserve. Meet at the entrance <a href=’http://nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/news/wp-content/uploads/How-to-get-to-Gosforth-Park-Nature-Reserve-MASTER.pdf’>click here for directions</a>

10am-1pm.

Come along and give us a hand to improve habitats for wildlife. Please wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty and suitable footwear (we recommend wellies), also bring with you any drinks or snacks to keep you going. Everyone is welcome, including friends and family, as long as you are able to carry out light physical work. If you have gardening gloves please bring them with you. We will go ahead in rain.

31st
August
2014

Bewick & Back Walks

As part of a new project to share the history and heritage of Thomas Bewick there are a series of guided Bewick themed walks in the Tyne Valley:

Sunday 31st August, 10.00-16.00hrs. Starts at the site of Thomas Bewick’s House, on West Street, Gateshead, ends on the south side of Newburn Bridge; distance 7.7 miles.

Sunday 7th September, 10.00-16.00hrs. Starts at Newburn Bridge, ends at Cherryburn National Trust Prudhoe; distance 7.2 miles.

Sunday 14th September, 09.30-16.00hrs. Starts at ‘Ferry Landing’, Ovington and finishes at Newburn; distance 6.3 miles.

Sunday 28th September, 10.00-16.00hrs. Start at Newburn Leisure Centre car park, ends at St. Nicholas’ Cathedral, Newcastle; distance 7.2 miles.

For full details <a href=’http://tinyurl.com/nytujzz’>click here</a> These are free but booking is essential to limit numbers. Email gleadees-bewickandback@yahoo.co.uk and specify which walk and provide contact details.

6th
September
2014

Lindisfarne Wildlife Exploration Day

9.30am – 5.30pm (incl. travel time).

Join the Environmental Records Information Centre (ERIC) North East and Northumbria Mammal Group for a small mammal survey and guided bird walk on Holy Island.

This event is suitable for children, it is free and transport will be provided from the Great North Museum: Hancock but booking is essential, call 0191 222 5158 or www.ericnortheast.org.uk/news-events for more details.

7th
September
2014

Bats in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Sunday 7 September, 7.45pm (1½ hours).

Jonathan Pounder

This will be an evening event starting around sunset and continuing till dark. There will be 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.

This event is free but booking is required to limit numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book.

14th
September
2014

Wild Goats of the Cheviots, College Valley

Sunday 14 September, 1.30pm.

Join former Northumberland National Park Ranger John Steele for a walk in the Cheviot Hills to see the wild goats that live there. John will help to track down the goats and talk about their origin, behaviour and habits. We will also see other upland wildlife and plants. We won’t know the general location of the goats until nearer to the date, and this will determine where we meet and how long the walk will last, however you should be prepared to walk a maximum of 5 miles (3 hours) in hilly terrain.

This event is free but you must reserve a place so that we can advise you of the exact meeting point nearer to the date. Please contact the Society Office to book.

18th
September
2014

The Sun and the Earth's climate

7pm.

Room A003, Ellison Building, Northumbria University, Newcastle.

We have been invited by the Institute of Physics to join them for this lecture about how changes in the Sun affect the Earth’s climate and the implications for climate change.

In the late 1970s it was established that the Sun’s energy output varies alongside other measures of activity such as sunspots – and thus the ‘solar constant’ isn’t constant. Over the most recent sunspot cycle, satellite measurements have shown unpredicted large variations at ultraviolet wavelengths. These have interesting implications for solar effects on the stratosphere and for the mechanisms involved in Sun-climate links.

Joanna Haigh is Professor of Atmospheric Physics and co-Director of the Grantham Institute (Climate Change and the Environment) at Imperial College London. She has been fascinated by weather since childhood and she has been lucky enough to follow a career in meteorology. Her particular expertise is in how solar radiation and heat interact with the atmosphere, how these processes are represented in climate models and the physics of climate change.

20th
September
2014

Bird migration at Whitburn Coastal Park, South Tyneside

Saturday 20 September, 6.40am-10am.

Leaders: Jimmy Steel & South Tyneside Coastal Conservation Group.

We will be joining the bird ringers at Whitburn Coastal Park observatory to watch them in action and learn about their work. This stretch of coastline has an enviable reputation for migrant birds with Pallas’ Grasshopper, Greenish, Barred, Arctic and Yellow-Browed Warblers all seen last autumn! We will be mainly searching for migrant passerines but will also try our luck with seabirds if the weather conditions are good.

Meet at Whitburn Coastal Park car park, signed off A183 – turn right after entrance and drive to southern end of road (grid ref NZ410635).

20th
September
2014

Fungal Foray at Chopwell Woods

Saturday 20th Sept
10am start (duration 2-3hrs)

Society members are very welcome to join OPAL for a fungal foray walk at Chopwell Woods guided by local mycology expert Dr Gordon Beakes. This event is free but booking is required. To book places email Christopher.Madine@newcastle.ac.uk

27th
September
2014

Volunteer Work Party

Gosforth Park Nature Reserve. Meet at the entrance.
10am-1pm.

Come along and give us a hand to improve habitats for wildlife. Please wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty and suitable footwear (we recommend wellies), also bring with you any drinks or snacks to keep you going. Everyone is welcome, including friends and family, as long as you are able to carry out light physical work. If you have gardening gloves please bring them with you. We will go ahead in rain.

29th
September
2014

Birds of the North East

Mondays, 1.30-3.30pm. Learn more about bird watching and how to better identify the birds you see. Keith Bowey, one of the region’s best known ornithologists, leads this 10 week course on the birds of the North East and their habitats. There will be 5 field trips including migrants at Whitburn and Hartlepool Headland, Derwent Reservoir for wildfowl and Chopwell for woodland species.
Indoor classes take place at the Great North Museum: Hancock.

29th
September
2014

Seaside Geology - Sorry both classes now fully booked

Two classes: Mondays from 29th Sept or Thursdays from 2nd Oct. 10.30am-12.30pm.
Explore the three classic coastal geological sites of Cullercoats, Howick Bay and Siccar Point with Derek Teasdale. Learn the basic principles of stratigraphy whilst having a trip to the coast. 4 indoor classes and 3 full day field visits.

1st
October
2014

The Sky at Night

Wednesdays from 1st Oct, 7-9pm.
Explore the night sky on this 10-week introduction to astronomy with Fred Stevenson. Learn how to identify stars, planets and moons and their seasonal movements with the naked eye, binoculars and telescopes. We will discuss the make up of our universe and try to relate discussions to observations that you can make yourself. Includes 1 field visit. Indoor classes take place at Newcastle University campus.

2nd
October
2014

Cups, Camps, Cairns and Roman Forts

Thursdays from 2nd Oct, 2-4pm.
Cup and ring marked rocks, hillforts, burial cairns and Hadrian’s Wall have all been strongly influenced by the resources that lie below ground. Steve Speak leads this 8-week course exploring the relationship between rocks and man in the prehistoric and Roman archaeology of Northumberland. Includes at least 1 field visit.

3rd
October
2014

The Path of the Panther - reports of big cats in the North East by Ian Bond

Friday 3 Oct, 7-8pm.

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

Scores of people claim to have seen a big cat in the North East; in some places it almost seems to have passed into local folklore. But could that really be what they saw, are big cats still at large and might we one day admit them to our mammal fauna?

Ian Bond is a full-time ecologist, some-time wildlife writer and compiler of Northumbria Mammal Group’s ‘Big Cat Diaries’.

7th
October
2014

Autumn Birds of the North East

Sorry but this class is fully booked. We are running an additional class on Monday afternoons and still have places available.Tuesdays, 1-3pm.
Expert ornithologist David Noble-Rollin leads this 10-week course teaching the identification and habits of birds found in the north east during the autumn. This will include some of the uncommon species that arrive as migrants. There will be 5 field visits looking for birds at a wide range of habitats including Holy Island, Druridge Pools and Boulmer Haven.

10th
October
2014

From faulting and fluids to mineralisation and magma. A new genetic model for the North Pennines Orefield by Dr Edward Dempsey

Friday 10 Oct, 7-8pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

This talk will reinvestigate the North Pennines Orefield from both a structural point of view using stress inversion
modelling and from a geochemical stance using Rhenium-Osmium isotope geochemistry. We will discuss the timing
and origin of the orefield and its place in a much larger northern European story.

Dr. Edward Dempsey is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Department of Earth Sciences at Durham University

11th
October
2014

Hidden Treasures: The Drawings of Thomas Bewick by Keir Davidson

Saturday 11 Oct, 1-2pm
Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

Preserved in our archives is a remarkable collection of drawings saved by Thomas Bewick’s children from the floor of his wood engraving workshop around the turn of the 18th century. On tiny scraps of paper, these drawings represent Bewick’s initial moments of inspiration and studying them in this talk will give us an insight into the artistic vision of England’s greatest wood engraver.

This is joint event with the Bewick Society. Keir Davidson is a landscape designer, author and lecturer for the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Society.

16th
October
2014

Bird migration in the North East

Thursday 16th October, 2.30pm-4.30pm
At the Great North Museum: Hancock

David Noble-Rollin explains how and why birds migrate and what is happening locally along the North East coast at this time of year.

Cost: £7.95 (NHSN members £6.95)

To book please contact the museum 0191 222 5121 or info@greatnorthmuseum.org.uk

17th
October
2014

Ancient lime woods in the UK: genetics reveals their history by Dr Kirsten Wolff

Friday 17 Oct, 7-8pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

Small-leaved Lime and Large-leaved Lime are endemic to the UK and northwest Europe. Recent molecular genetic research is revealing how different the two tree species are and how frequently hybridisation and clonal reproduction occurs. Genetics has also aided those working to restore historic ‘linden lanes’.

Dr Kirsten Wolff from Newcastle University is an evolutionary geneticist with a broad interest in population genetic diversity and adaptation in plants. Her skills using DNA markers allow her to play ‘the plant detective’ and 4 years ago she initiated, with her PhD students, the first genetic research into lime trees.

24th
October
2014

A birders story by Richard Crossley

Friday 24 Oct, 7-8pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

Richard Crossley’s story of lessons learned while growing up in the British birding scene; from travels around the world to living in Cape May, USA. This is a fast-paced story told with humour and depth, through a camera lens that loves colour and art.

Richard is an internationally acclaimed birder, photographer and the award winning author of ‘The Crossley ID Guide’ series and co-author of ‘The Shorebird Guide’. Richard’s dream is to help popularise birding and so promote conservation. He is co-founder of the global birding initiative ‘Pledge to Fledge’ and the Cape May Young Birder’s Club and is working on other diverse projects.

29th
October
2014

Red Squirrels at Woodhorn Museum

Wednesday 29 Oct, 11am-3pm

Woodhorn Museum, Ashington, Northumberland

Thanks to some dedicated conservation work Red Squirrels have been making a come-back in the Ashington area and Woodhorn Museum is a really good place to see them. We are teaming up with Red Squirrels Northern England, Morpeth & District Red Squirrels and the museum to help you learn more about our native squirrels. There will be squirrel spotting walks starting at 11am and 1pm, plus bird of prey displays at 12am and 2pm. Entry to the museum is free; car parking is £3.50.

The museum entrance is signposted from the A189 just northeast of Ashington <a href=’http://www.experiencewoodhorn.com/’>www.experiencewoodhorn.com</a> has details of public transport.

31st
October
2014

Social and antisocial behaviour in parasitic wasps by Dr Ian Hardy

Friday 31 Oct, 7-8pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

Wasps can be a nuisance when they steal our food and drink, but these are the social wasps. There are many more species of beneficial parasitic wasps. In this talk Ian Hardy from the School of Biosciences at the University of Nottingham will introduce parasitic, or ‘parasitoid’, wasps, of which there are many thousands of species worldwide. He will go on to discuss species in which adult wasps fight each other directly for vital resources and outline what determines which contestant wins. His talk will also consider some very unusual parasitoids that do not fight, but instead several mothers look after broods of offspring communally (termed quasi-sociality). Both fighting and non-fighting wasps tend to produce mainly females in their offspring groups. The reasons for biased sex ratios in fighting wasps are well understood but the sex ratios of quasi-social wasps require explanations that are novel among parasitoids.

1st
November
2014

Grey Seal pups on the Farne Islands

Saturday 1 Nov, late morning (exact time tbc)

We will have good views of Grey Seals and their new pups on this boat trip from Seahouses to the Farne Islands. One of the National Trust Wardens will join us to help locate the seals and answer any questions. We also hope to see winter seabirds such as divers and auks. Please wear clothing and footwear suitable for all weathers.

Cost for the boat is £20 per person. Please contact the Society Office to book.

Leader: Ann Wilson

1st
November
2014

North East Wildlife Photography Competition 2015

We are excited to announce the launch of the North East Wildlife Photography Competition for 2015.

The competition is free and open to all ages and abilities, and includes six different competitive photograph categories. A variety of prizes will be awarded, including £250 for the overall winner.

Photo submission is open up until 10th May 2015.

For more information, please visit http://nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/news/cms/ne-wildlife-photo-comp/

7th
November
2014

Water Voles in the North East by Amy Carrick

Friday 7th November, 7-8pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

This charismatic and once common species has declined dramatically in recent decades and is now a rare sight. Amy Carrick will explore Water Vole distribution around the North East, its ecology, habitats and threats. We will learn the field signs of Water Voles – what to look for when out and about and how to get involved with surveying. Amy will also feedback the results of a recent Tees Valley Water Vole Survey and what this is telling us about future populations and the changing face of our waterways.

Amy works for the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust and has co-ordinated the Tees Valley Water Vole Survey Project.

13th
November
2014

The beauty of lichen: Exhibition & Workshops, Hexham

An exhibition of lichen photographs by Northumberland photographer Iain Duncan has just opened in the Queen’s Hall Art Centre, Hexham, and will be showing until 22 November. This is the culmination of a two year project to showcase the aesthetic qualities of the lichens found around Hadrian’s Wall.

The exhibition will be supported by a number of workshops, including two ‘Introductions to Lichens’ on 13 and 15 November (both 10.00-13.00). These half day sessions will introduce you to the fascinating world of the lichen symbiosis and the diversity of lichens to be found in Northumberland. We will meet at Cawfields Quarry and go for a short walk to see what we can find locally, and learn to identify some common species. These are being run by Janet Simkin in conjunction with the Natural History Society of Northumbria.

Cost: £10.00

For details and to book contact Queen’s Hall 01434 652477 or http://www.queenshall.co.uk/whats-on/seasons-diary/918

14th
November
2014

WildWatch North Pennines by Samantha Finn

Friday 14th November, 7-8pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

WildWatch is a 3-year project funded by the Lottery to increase the recording of species in the North Pennines. Over 650 people and almost 20,000 records later, this talk will highlight what species have been recorded in the North Pennines in the last 3 years, including new discoveries, and how people of all experience levels have contributed to a significant surge in biological data gathering in this special landscape.

Sam Finn grew up in Allendale, Northumberland and started out as a volunteer wildlife recorder before leading the WildWatch project for the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership.

21st
November
2014

Wood Pasture - not just a walk in the park by Paulo Muto

Friday 21st November, 7-8pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

Wood pasture is a dynamic ecosystem of trees, scrub, open habitat and grazing animals that has many unique and useful features. In this talk we will explore the evolution, history and future potential of wood pasture habitat in the UK and Europe.

Paul Muto is a land management adviser with Natural England. His interest in wood pasture has developed from his work in woodlands, grazing and the historic environment. He is active in the promotion of agroforestry as a sustainable and productive land management system.

28th
November
2014

The remarkable foraging behaviour of Gannets by Professor Keith Hamer

Friday 28th November, 7-8pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

Gannets are one of the few UK seabirds that has dramatically increased in recent decades, but why? Keith Hamer will describe how studies of Gannets at different colonies around the UK have helped to reveal some of the secrets of this remarkable bird’s sustained success and to highlight key dangers for the future.

Keith Hamer is Professor of Animal Ecology at the University of Leeds. His research focuses on wildlife ecology and the conservation of biodiversity in natural and managed landscapes and seascapes, with a particular emphasis on trophic ecology: what animals eat, how they get enough, and how this determines both their responses to environmental change and their contributions to broader ecosystem-level processes.

5th
December
2014

Gliding Reptiles, Strange Fishes & Barrier Reefs: Northumbrian Wildlife in the Permian Period by Tim Pettigrew

Friday 5th December, 7-8pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

Tim will describe the evidence for the catastrophic flooding of the Northumbrian Permian desert by the Zechstein Sea, which then formed the habitat for an amazing diversity of plants and animals. The creatures of the remarkable barrier reef, which developed in what is now County Durham, will also be described, including one animal hitherto un-recorded in the UK. The slow demise of the Zechstein Sea coincided with the gradual elimination of the remaining Permian wildlife. The last fossils in Northumbria were preserved in the rocks around Seaham Harbour, before the world-wide mass extinction at the end of the Period, which is widely believed to have been caused by a global warming event.

Tim Pettigrew was in charge of the geological collections at Sunderland Museum from 1975 until 1991.

9th
December
2014

The Ice Age and its plants and animals

Tuesday 9 December, 2.30pm-4.30pm
At the Great North Museum: Hancock

Join Dr Angus Lunn to look at the causes of ice ages, the sequence of events within them, their particular effects in our part of the world, and the spectacular mammals which lived on the so-called ‘mammoth steppe’ of northern Eurasia.

Cost: £7.95 (NHSN members £6.95)

To book please contact the museum 0191 222 5121 or info@greatnorthmuseum.org.uk

14th
January
2015

Recent Developments in Astronomy

Wednesdays from 14 Jan, 7-9pm.

Thanks to a new generation of telescopes and from spacecraft visiting planets, asteroids and comets hardly a day passes without a new astronomical discovery making the headlines. In this 7-week course Fred Stephenson will discuss the many exciting discoveries being made and the unique insight they give us into our place in the universe. No previous knowledge required.

16th
January
2015

Land of the Jaguar by Bob Wilkin

Friday 16th January, 7-8pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

It is some years since local naturalist and photographer Bob Wilkin gave us his account of his successful quest for the Snow Leopard in the Himalayas. This time he has ventured into the much warmer climes of the riparian forests and wetlands of the Brazilian Pantanal in search of the equally elusive Jaguar and Giant Otter. Bob will describe his search and the other creatures seen on his journey including mammals such as Ocelot, Tapir and Armadillo as well as 138 species of birds and many reptiles.

19th
January
2015

Winter Birdwatching (Newcastle)

Mondays from 19 Jan, 1.30-3.30pm.

We are sorry but this class is now fully booked.
Learn more about bird watching and how to better identify the birds you see. Keith Bowey leads this 10 week course on the birds of the North East and their habitats, with a focus on County Durham. There will be 5 field trips including Teesmouth, Rainton Meadows, Derwent Valley and South Shields. Indoor classes take place at the Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle.

22nd
January
2015

Winter Birdwatching (Durham)

Thursdays from 22 Jan, 10.30am-12.30am.

We are sorry but this class is now fully booked.

Learn more about bird watching and how to better identify the birds you see. Keith Bowey leads this 10 week course on the birds of the North East and their habitats, with a focus on County Durham. There will be 5 field trips including Teesmouth, Rainton Meadows, Derwent Valley and South Shields. Indoor classes take place at Shakespeare Hall in Durham city.

23rd
January
2015

Large White Headed Gulls of Northern England by Andrew Kinghorn

Friday 23rd January, 7-8pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

In this talk Andrew will focus on the identification of species of large white headed gulls that may be encountered in the North East, primarily Herring, Lesser black-backed, Great black-backed, Iceland, Glaucous, Kumlien’s, Caspian and Yellow-legged Gull but American Herring Gull and Thayer’s Gull will also feature. Although this is a complex and potentially confusing set of species this talk is suitable for all levels and will take us from the ID of gulls you would find on roofs in a city centre to gulls you wouldn’t normally see at all.

Andrew Kinghorn is a young Ornithological Surveyor working for TNEI in Newcastle. He is the founder of the Next Generation Birders and current serving committee member. He is also the website manager and current committee member of the Durham Bird Club.

23rd
January
2015

Annual Meeting

6pm at the Great North Museum: Hancock.

All Society members are welcome to the Annual Meeting. On the agenda is the election of trustees, the approval of the accounts and an short presentation about our new Lottery funded Archive project. Followed by a talk by Andrew Kinghorn (above).

28th
January
2015

Northumbrian Botany

Wednesdays from 28 Jan, 10.15am-12.15am.
SORRY – FULLY BOOKED
Janet Simkin leads this 10-session course to explore the rich variety of local habitats and their plants, from islands and coastal denes to the border mires and North Pennine lead mines. We will concentrate on flowering plants, but ferns, lichens and bryophytes will get a look in as well and we will discuss aspects of plant biology, identification and ecology. There will be field trips, including two all day meetings.

30th
January
2015

Geodiversity - shaping the North East by Lesley Dunlop

Friday 30th January, 7-8pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

Geodiversity is the variety of rocks, minerals, fossils, landforms and soils, together with the natural processes that shape them. Geodiversity is a foundation for life and our society. It influences landscape, habitats and species as well as our economy, historical and cultural heritage, education, health and well-being.

Why does protection of geodiversity matter? In England a ‘Charter for Geodiversity’ has recently been published and this illustrates how the shaping of the land over the last 700 million years has led to a rich and diverse country. The Charter can be used by groups, industry and individuals to help inform and protect geodiversity resources.

The effects of geodiversity to life and society are very visible in the north east with strong links to early development, land use, defensive sites, building materials and social history to name a few. From the strategic position afforded by the Whin Sill, minerals mined from Carboniferous strata, and splendid building stones the north east has a rich source of resources and this talk will look at some of these and links to diversity.

Lesley Dunlop is at the Department of Geography, Northumbria University and also an Associate Lecturer for the Open University. She is Chair of the English Geodiversity Forum and GeoConservationUK and has particular interests in economic mineral deposits in the UK and Portugal and in widening understanding and appreciation of local geodiversity.

This talk is a replacement for the previously advertised talk by Prof Jon Gluyas about ‘Energy security for the UK; can we keep ‘the home fires burning’? Unfortunately Prof Gluyas is unable to give this talk.

2nd
February
2015

Practical Maps & Navigation

Choice of 2 classes:
Mondays from 2 Feb, 10.30am-12.30am OR
Thursdays from 5 Feb, 10.30am-12.30am

On this practical course Derek Teasdale will teach the map-reading and navigation skills that you need to safely explore the natural history of the Northumbria, and how to represent data on maps. No previous knowledge required. 6 indoor classes and 2 full-day field visits.

6th
February
2015

Status of Marine Mammals in Northumberland by Simon Laing

Friday 6th Feb, 7-8pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

Marine mammal populations are threatened by human activities including entanglement in fishing gear, vessel and propeller strikes, noise and environmental pollution. Northumberland coastal waters offers a range of habitats from those exposed to industry around the Tyne and Blyth to more pristine areas in north. The area attracts a range of marine mammals with a year around presence of Harbour Porpoise, White-beaked Dolphin, Minke Whale, Grey and Harbour Seal. In this lecture the ecology, threats and status of these marine mammals will be presented and discussed in relation to fisheries and renewable energy developments.

Simon Laing is a part-time Research Assistant at the Dove Marine Laboratory, working under the supervision of marine mammal ecologist Dr. Per Berggren. Simon has been surveying local marine mammal populations since 2012. He is interested in how autonomous acoustic monitoring devices can provide low-cost and year-round marine mammal survey methods, but unfortunately he keeps losing them! Thankfully they do tend to show up again, sometimes as far away as Oslo.

This talk was originally advertised as being given by Dr Per Berggren. Unfortunately Per is now unable to give this talk.

8th
February
2015

Birds of the Tyne Estuary

Sunday 8th February, 9.30-11.30am
SORRY – FULLY BOOKED
The mouth of the Tyne Estuary in winter is a great place to view gulls, waders and seabirds. Dan Turner will help explain the different species and if we are lucky we may come across Glaucous or Iceland Gulls at the fish quay. Dan will also explain about some of the history and geography of the area. The walk will be around 1 mile, mostly on paths but dress for the cold. This is also a great place to buy fish & chips or fresh fish! These events are free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society office.

9th
February
2015

Finding Local Fossils

Monday 9 February, 2.30pm-4.30pm.

At the Great North Museum: Hancock.

Join Derek Teasdale to explore the local fossils held in the Society’s collection. We will find out how life has evolved through time and where you can go to find fossils in the North East. No prior knowledge needed so suitable for all.

To book please contact the museum 0191 222 5121 or info@greatnorthmuseum.org.uk

13th
February
2015

History of Beavers in the UK by Prof Bryony Coles

Friday 13th February, 7-8pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

After an introduction to European Beavers and their activities, this talk will outline the types of evidence which can be used to identify their presence in former times, and their history in Britain from the end of the last Ice Age to the probable time of their extinction, including recent evidence found in Northumberland. People hunted Beavers from early times, for food and fur and medicine, and questions to consider will include the extent of human contribution to their extinction. With the trial release of Beavers and their establishment in Scotland the pros and cons of reintroducing this native species throughout Britain will also be considered.

Bryony Coles, Emeritus Professor at Exeter University, is an archaeologist with particular interests in prehistory, wetland archaeology and the long-term interactions between humans and their environment. In 2004 she won the Earth Watch Balloon Debate at the Natural History Museum in London as advocate for Beavers, and in 2006 she published Beavers in Britain’s Past.

19th
February
2015

Archive Roadshow

Thursday 19 Feb, 10am-3.30pm.

The Library on 2nd floor of the Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle.

The Natural History Society has a collection of natural history artwork, photographs, letters and notebooks dating back to the 18th century. We are keen to receive new donations about the Hancock Museum and natural history in the North East.

If you think you may have something of interest then bring at along, like the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow, and June Holmes, Archivist for the Natural History Society of Northumbria will have a look at it with you.

There will also be a small display of archive material to look at.

20th
February
2015

What does the Past tell us about Climate Change in a Warmer World? by Prof Ulrich Salzmann

Friday 20th February, 7-8pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

Our understanding of future global warming relies heavily on the prediction of climate model simulations. Although progressively more sophisticated, climate models have many uncertainties. One approach to explore these uncertainties and understand mechanisms of potential future climate change is to look at time periods in the past for which geological and palaeo-botanical data are available.

Professor Salzmann will present results from an international programme focussing on the global reconstruction of vegetation and climate of the warm late Pliocene world, ca 3 million years ago, using geological data and models. The late Pliocene period is widely regarded as an example of a world that may be similar to the Earth in the late 21st Century. The talk will present global reconstructions of Pliocene vegetation, sea and land surface temperatures, soils and lakes. Challenges of reconstructing and quantifying a Pliocene warm world with data and model will be discussed.

Ulrich Salzmann is Professor of Palaeoecology at the Department of Geography, Northumbria University Newcastle. He is palynologist and biogeographer with a particular interest in past vegetation and climate change of the tropical and polar regions.

27th
February
2015

Rocks from space: the geology of Meteorites by Dr Alan Cayless

Friday 27th February, 7-8pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

In 2013 a huge fireball streaked across the sky near the Russian city of Chelyabinsk – a dramatic reminder of the fact that space is not empty, and of the objects that occasionally fall to Earth.

Meteorites are rocks from space and can be fragments of asteroids, pieces of our planetary neighbours, and even remnants of the original primordial material from which the Earth and the solar system were formed 4.5 billion years ago. Some meteorites are therefore older than even the most primitive rocks and are indeed the oldest objects to be found on the surface of the Earth.

Alan will describe the different types of meteorites, their origins and how they come to fall to Earth. He will also examine what can be learned about the origins of the solar system and of the Earth itself, and about the most likely places in which meteorites are to be found.

Alan Cayless is a physics and astronomy lecturer with the Open University and also a former chairman of the Stirling Astronomical Society whose activities include preserving an observatory in the centre of the city.

6th
March
2015

Twite Conservation by Jenny Oldroyd

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.

6th
March
2015

Reintroducing Milvus milvus: A Performed Abstract by Rachel Magdeburg

Rachel has contacted us to say that she is unwell. We are sorry but this event is cancelled. We hope to reschedule later in the year.

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.

7th
March
2015

Birds of Kielder Forest

Saturday 7th March, 9.30am – 3pm
SORRY – FULLY BOOKED

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.

13th
March
2015

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

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.

20th
March
2015

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

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.

23rd
March
2015

NHSN Summer Programme

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.

24th
March
2015

How does a museum really work?

Tuesday 24 March, 1-2pm.

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle.

Have you ever wanted to know how a museum actually works? Roy Bearpark from the Great North Museum will give you an insight into how things operate in one of the busiest museums in the region. From tales of road kill at the front door, to how they plan and deliver a programme of exhibitions and keep objects that were collected hundreds of years ago in top condition.

Cost £4. To book a place or for more information 0191 222 5121 or info@greatnorthmuseum.org.uk

8th
April
2015

Badger watch at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Weds 8 April, 7pm

Our evening vigil starts with a talk about badgers and we will examine badger paths, prints, etc before viewing the sett, and with luck badgers. You will need to be prepared to sit quietly outdoors for 2 hours or more and to cope with wind, rain, cold, biting insects and muddy paths!

Free but booking is required as places are limited. Please contact the Society Office to book.

We are sorry but this event is now fully booked.

9th
April
2015

Learn to take wildlife photos & Birds of Prey Display

Thursday 9 April, 11am-3pm

Bring your camera along to the Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle and get some great wildlife photography tips from professional photographer Alan Hewitt.

Alan will be alongside the Birds of Prey on the front lawn and can help you get that great action shot. Suitable for all ages.

We hope that this session will encourage you to get out and take some photos of your local wildlife and enter them into the North East Wildlife Photography Competition 2015. The winners and runners up will be displayed in the museum.

12th
April
2015

Badger watch at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Sunday 12 April, 7pm

Our evening vigil starts with a talk about badgers and we will examine badger paths, prints, etc before viewing the sett, and with luck badgers. You will need to be prepared to sit quietly outdoors for 2 hours or more and to cope with wind, rain, cold, biting insects and muddy paths!

Free but booking is required as places are limited. Please contact the Society Office to book.

We are sorry but this event is now fully booked.

15th
April
2015

Badger watch at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Wednesday 15 April, 7pm

Our evening vigil starts with a talk about badgers and we will examine badger paths, prints, etc before viewing the sett, and with luck badgers. You will need to be prepared to sit quietly outdoors for 2 hours or more and to cope with wind, rain, cold, biting insects and muddy paths!

Free but booking is required as places are limited. Please contact the Society Office to book.

19th
April
2015

Birds of Bass Rock & Aberlady Bay

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.

21st
April
2015

Bird Song & Breeding Behaviour

We are sorry but this course is now fully booked. However we still have places on our ‘Birdwatching in Summer’ courses.

Tuesdays from 21st April. Two classes: at 10.15am-12.15pm or 1pm-3pm.

Expert ornithologist David Noble-Rollin leads this 10-week course teaching the songs, calls and breeding behaviour of birds living in the North East. Indoor classes use field guides, film, photos, diagrams and sound recordings. There will be 5 field visits to a variety of habitats including Farne Islands, Druridge Bay, Northumberland National Park and lowland woodlands and wetlands.

Cost: £85 (concessions: £69)

21st
April
2015

Badger watch at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Tuesday 21 April, 7pm

Our evening vigil starts with a talk about badgers and we will examine badger paths, prints, etc before viewing the sett, and with luck badgers. You will need to be prepared to sit quietly outdoors for 2 hours or more and to cope with wind, rain, cold, biting insects and muddy paths!

Free but booking is required as places are limited. Please contact the Society Office to book.

We are sorry but this event is now fully booked.

26th
April
2015

Birds of Backstone Bank Woods, Durham

Sunday 26 April, 9am-11am

Durham Bird Club have kindly invited us to join their outing to Backstone Bank Woods behind Tunstall Reservoir. We should be able to hear and see a range of woodland passerines and we will be in search of specialist woodland valley birds such as Pied Flycatcher, Redstart and if lucky the now rare Wood Warbler.

Meet at the car park next to the fishing hut halfway along the western side of Tunstall Reservoir (grid ref NZ065415; nearest postcode DL13 3LT). The car park is reached via Leazes Lane from Wolsingham.

27th
April
2015

Landscapes of the North Tyne

Mondays from 27 April, 10.30am

The catchments of the River North Tyne and River Rede stretch from the wild open moors of the Scottish Border to the benign farmlands of Tynedale near Hexham. Derek Teasdale will help you explore the unspoilt beauty of this least-visited corner of Northumberland through its geology and turbulent history. 4 indoor sessions and 3 full-day field trips.

Cost: £85 (Concessions: £69)

28th
April
2015

Badger watch at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Tuesday 28 April, 7pm

Our evening vigil starts with a talk about badgers and we will examine badger paths, prints, etc before viewing the sett, and with luck badgers. You will need to be prepared to sit quietly outdoors for 2 hours or more and to cope with wind, rain, cold, biting insects and muddy paths!

Free but booking is required as places are limited. Please contact the Society Office to book.

We are sorry but this event is now fully booked.

30th
April
2015

Landscapes of the North Tyne

Thursdays from 30 April, 10.30am

The catchments of the River North Tyne and River Rede stretch from the wild open moors of the Scottish Border to the benign farmlands of Tynedale near Hexham. Derek Teasdale will help you explore the unspoilt beauty of this least-visited corner of Northumberland through its geology and turbulent history. 4 indoor sessions and 3 full-day field trips.

Cost: £85 (Concessions: £69)

3rd
May
2015

The flora of Haughton Castle, Humshaugh

Sunday 3 May, 2pm

This is a species-rich stretch of the North Tyne containing, as well as such species as Globeflower (Trollius europaeus) and Northern Bedstraw (Galium boreale), England’s only site for the northern species Holy-grass (Anthoxanthum nitens). We will be the guests of Antony Braithwaite in his private grounds and are invited to park at the Castle (where we will be directed to parking) and it would be helpful to double up on cars where practical.

Meet at Haughton Castle, 1 mile north of Humshaugh (grid ref NY919729).

Leader: Prof John Richards

6th
May
2015

Badger watch at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Wednesday 6 May, 7pm

Our evening vigil starts with a talk about badgers and we will examine badger paths, prints, etc before viewing the sett, and with luck badgers. You will need to be prepared to sit quietly outdoors for 2 hours or more and to cope with wind, rain, cold, biting insects and muddy paths!

Free but booking is required as places are limited. Please contact the Society Office to book.

We are sorry but this event is now fully booked.

7th
May
2015

Great North Museum: Hancock Library and Archive Tour

Thursday 7th May, 10.00-11.30am

This year, to celebrate Local History Month the Natural History Society of Northumbria is working in partnership with Newcastle City Libraries.
You can take a tour of the Great North Museum: Hancock Library and the Natural History Society Archives.
There will be an opportunity to look at rare and interesting books as well as seeing some of the unique watercolour drawings by local wood engraver and artist Thomas Bewick (1753-1828).

Pick up a programme of events brochure from the City Library, Newcastle upon Tyne or the Great North Museum: Hancock Library.

Please book for this event by calling 0191 208 3555 or e-mail gnmlibrary@twmuseums.org.uk

11th
May
2015

Watching and Identifying Birds in Summer

Mondays from 11 May, 1.30pm
Learn more about bird watching and how to better identify the birds you see. Keith Bowey, one of the region’s best known ornithologists, leads this 10 session course to introduce you to the birds of the North East and their habitats, with a focus on County Durham in summer. There will be 5 field trips including to the coast (seabirds), Muggleswick (dales woodland birds), lowlands (warblers) and the Durham Uplands (grouse and waders). Indoor classes will take place at Great North Museum Hancock in Newcastle.

Cost: £85 (Concessions: £69)

13th
May
2015

Mammals in Gosforth Park

We are sorry but this event is now fully booked.

Wednesday 13 May, 6.30pm-9.30pm

Join local expert Bob Wilkin on an evening walk through the nature reserve to look for the signs/tracks of mammals and perhaps with luck to see one or two. Bob will explain about mammal habits and habitats and how our knowledge of and attitude to local mammals has changed since the 1950s. We will be looking for evidence of the whole range of species, from small mammals such as voles and shrews to carnivores like the Fox and Otter and herbivores like Rabbit and Roe Deer.

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

Leader: Bob Wilkin

14th
May
2015

Watching and Identifying Birds in Summer

Thursdays from 14 May, 10.30am-12.30pm.

Learn more about bird watching and how to better identify the birds you see. Keith Bowey, one of the region’s best known ornithologists, leads this 10 session course to introduce you to the birds of the North East and their habitats, with a focus on County Durham in summer. There will be 5 field trips including to the coast (seabirds), Muggleswick (dales woodland birds), lowlands (warblers) and the Durham Uplands (grouse and waders). Indoor classes will take place at Shakespeare Hall in Durham city.

Cost: £85 (Concessions: £69)

19th
May
2015

My Wild Northumbria, Newcastle

Tuesday 19 May, 7pm-9pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

Illustrated talk by Mike Pratt from Northumberland Wildlife Trust about his journey through wild Northumbria, including excerpts from his latest book: My Wild Northumbria. Mike will also be signing copies of the book. Free but booking is required to manage numbers www.nwt.org.uk/whats-on or 0191 284 6884.

20th
May
2015

Glow Worms at Thrislington, Sedgefield

Saturday 20 June, 10pm-midnight

Burn the midnight oil with ERIC North East and Natural England at Thrislington National Nature Reserve in search of the elusive Glow Worms which inhabit this unique wildlife site.

This event is free but booking is essential. Transport will be provided from the Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle to Thrislington NNR and back again. Tel 0191 222 5158 or email eric.ne@twmuseums.org.uk to book your place or find out more.

21st
May
2015

Great North Museum: Hancock Library and Archive Tour

Thursday 21 May, 10-11.30am

This year, to celebrate Local History Month the Natural History Society of Northumbria is working in partnership with Newcastle City Libraries.

You can take a tour of the Great North Museum: Hancock Library and the Natural History Society Archives. There will be a chance to look at rare and interesting books as well as seeing some of the unique watercolour drawings by local wood engraver and artist Thomas Bewick (1753-1828).

Pick up a programme of events brochure from the City Library, Newcastle upon Tyne or the Great North Museum: Hancock Library.

Please book for this event by calling 0191 208 3555 or e-mail gnmlibrary@twmuseums.org.uk

30th
May
2015

The plants of Slitt Wood, Weardale

Saturday 30 May, 11am-3pm

Slitt Wood SSSI is in the valley of the Middlehope Burn in Weardale. We will walk through a variety of interesting habitats, including ancient woodland, calcareous grassland and the remains of an old lead mine. Plants we hope to see include Goldilocks Buttercup (Ranunculus auricomus), Sanicle (Sanicula europaea), Betony (Betonica officinalis) and the heavy-metal tolerant Spring Sandwort (Minuartia verna) and Mountain pansy (Viola lutea).

Meet in the lay-by on the north side of the A689 at the western end of Westgate village (grid ref NY905381 or postcode DL13 1JL). Wear sturdy footwear as the ground is uneven and bring a packed lunch.

Leader: Angus Lunn

30th
May
2015

Brierdene BioBlitz, Whitley Bay

Saturday 30 May, all day

Help the Friends of Brierdene record as many species as possible throughout the day. Everybody is welcome! The Environmental Records Information Centre (ERIC) North East will be on hand to collate the results with great local experts to help with identification. Meet at the scout hut located in the large free car park behind the Briardene Pub (postcode NE26 1UE). Details at www.friendsofbrierdene.org.uk

6th
June
2015

Permian & Carboniferous Geology: Claxheugh Rock, Sunderland

Saturday 6 June, 10.30am-3.30pm

We will see desert sandstones of the Yellow Sands as well as the top Carboniferous / base Permian unconformity below which the youngest Coal Measures to outcrop in northeast England are exposed. The Yellow Sands are overlain by the Magnesian Limestone (now called the Zechstein Group) which comprises, at its base, the Marl Slate (known for its well preserved fossil fish and plants) overlain by the limestones and dolomites of the Raisby and Ford formations, the latter containing a fossil reef with a wide variety of fossils.

Meet at the car park on Riverside Park, south bank of the River Wear at Claxheugh Rock, South Hylton, Sunderland (grid ref NZ360576 or postcode SR5 3JG). Bring lunch and hard hats are recommended.

Leader: Michael Mawson

11th
June
2015

Bird song in Thornley Woods, Rowlands Gill

Thursday 11 June, 7.30am-9.30am

An early morning visit to Thornley Woods to hear and try to learn the songs of woodland bird species, in particular warblers such as Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest. We also hope to see and hear a wide range of woodland birds and hopefully Red Kite.

Meet at the Thornley Woodland Centre car park, off the A694 at Rowlands Gill. Postcode NE39 1AU.

Leader: David Noble-Rollin

13th
June
2015

Bird photography

Saturdays from 13 June

Wildlife photographer David Noble-Rollin leads this practical introductory course to teach you how to get high quality digital images of wild birds. The first session is a 2-hour tutorial (10.15-12.15) followed by 2 field trips to get close to birds and practice techniques: Farne Islands on 20 June (12.30-4.30pm) and Gosforth Park on 27 June (10.00-12.00).

Cost: £42 (Concessions: £37) does not include cost of boat/landing fee for Farnes

21st
June
2015

Kittiwake Watching

Sunday 21 June. 10am-3.30pm. Drop-in at any time.

Every summer Newcastle-Gateshead quayside is home to 600 pairs of breeding Kittiwakes. At the end of June the chicks are hatched and hungry and the colony is a hive of activity. Join Society Director, James Littlewood at Newcastle Quayside to watch these fascinating seabirds and learn about them.

The watching will take place amongst the stalls of Newcastle’s quayside market almost underneath the Tyne Bridge. We will have a telescope for close up views.

25th
June
2015

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries at Waskerley, County Durham

Thursday 25 June, 10.30am-3pm

The Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary is one of Durham’s rarest butterflies. A consortium of conservation organisations is working to restore suitable habitats for this species in the Waskerley area. Anne Porter from Durham Wildlife Trust and Dave Liddle from Durham County Council will lead this walk to look for the butterfly during its peak flight period. They will also talk about its life-cycle, habitat requirements and the work that they are doing to conserve this attractive butterfly.

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

Leaders: Anne Porter & Dave Liddle

27th
June
2015

Bee workshop, Cockle Park Science Centre, Northumberland

Saturday 27 June, 10am-4pm

In addition to the well-known honeybees and bumblebees there are more than 200 other species of bee in the UK. We will show you methods for collecting and observing bees, find out how to identify them and how to contribute records to the national recording scheme.

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

Leaders: Louise Hislop & Gordon Port

28th
June
2015

New Members' Walk at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Sunday 28 June, 10am-12pm.

All new members are invited for an introductory walk around the reserve. The Society Director will show you the most important wildlife areas and explain how the reserve has changed over time and how we are managing it for the future. We hope this event will improve your enjoyment and appreciation of the reserve and its wildlife.

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

Leader: James Littlewood

4th
July
2015

Butterflies at Bishop Middleham Quarry, nr Sedgefield

Saturday 4 July, 10am-12.30pm.

Bishop Middleham Quarry in County Durham is a good place to see many of the butterfly species we have in the region, including the rare Northern Brown Argus which should be on the wing at this time. There are a variety of habitats, so Steve le Fleming from the local branch of Butterfly Conservation should be able to help show you which species live in which habitats. The quarry is also of considerable interest to botanists.

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

Leader: Steve le Fleming

4th
July
2015

The geology of Haltwhistle Burn, Northumberland

Saturday 4 July, 10am-4pm

The Haltwhistle Burn cuts down through a cyclic sedimentary succession of Carboniferous Namurian strata deposited in the Northumberland Basin, with fluvial to shallow marine sediments being superbly exposed in the sides of the very picturesque gorge. A changing series of sedimentary environments is encountered that reflect the balance between fluvial progradation and marine transgression, and characterise the lower part of the Upper Carboniferous sedimentary history of the Northumberland Basin. Some superb sedimentary features are displayed, and the whole section allows one to embark on palaeogeographic reconstruction of this part of Britain in Namurian times.

Meet at Cawfields Quarry car park on Hadrian’s Wall, turn north off B6318 Military Road at Milecastle Inn (grid ref NY713666 or postcode NE49 9PJ). Pay & Display requires £1 & £2 coins. Bring packed lunch.

Leader: Paul Williams

5th
July
2015

The plants of Caw Lough & Greenlee Lough, nr Bardon Mill

Sunday 5 July, 10.30am-3pm

From West Hotbank we will walk east, and then southwest, to Caw Lough where we will see rich fen vegetation with 15 or more sedges. These include Lesser Tussock-sedge (Carex diandra) and Slender Sedge (C. lasiocarpa). We should also see Grey Club-rush (Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani), several orchids and much else. In the afternoon we will return to the farm and then down to the boardwalk in Greenlee Nature Reserve where there is a good range of sedges and pondweeds and we will try to relocate Greater Bladderwort (Utricularia vulgaris), last recorded in 1982.

Park at West Hotbank Farm (grid ref NY767693 or postcode NE47 7AR). It is approached by turning north off the Military road (B6318) at Once Brewed Visitor Centre, take first right towards Gibbs Hill and then right to Gallowshield Rigg and Bonnyrigg Hall, continuing to West Hotbank. This is mostly a surfaced road, ignore private road signs. Parking is rather limited so please car-share if you can. Bring lunch.

Leader: Prof John Richards

18th
July
2015

Close up nature photography

Saturdays from 18 July, 10.15am

Wildlife photographer David Noble-Rollin leads this practical 4 session course to teach you how to get high quality digital images of flowers and insects. The first session is a 2-hour tutorial (10.15-12.15) followed by 3 field trips to get close to wild flowers and some of the larger insects. The first trip is an afternoon visit to Holy Island on 25 July.

Cost: £42 (Concessions: £37)

19th
July
2015

Kittiwake Watching

Sorryt – cancelled due to rain. Sunday 19 July. 10am-3.30pm. Drop-in at any time.

Every summer Newcastle-Gateshead quayside is home to 600 pairs of breeding Kittiwakes. In mid-July the chicks are getting ready to leave the nest and the colony is a hive of activity. Join Society Director, James Littlewood at Newcastle Quayside to watch these fascinating seabirds and learn about them.

The watching will take place amongst the stalls of Newcastle’s quayside market almost underneath the Tyne Bridge. We will have a telescope for close up views.

This event is part of the North East Marine Wildlife Festival

19th
July
2015

Beginners botany at the Spetchells, Prudhoe

Sunday 19 July, 10.30am-12.30pm

If you would like to start to learn how to identify some of our wild flowers then this activity is for you! We will start by looking at the parts of the plant and how a little knowledge of this helps to correctly identify plants (not just by looking at the pictures!). We will walk through grassland and by the River Tyne to the vegetated chalk hills (not displaced southern Downs but wartime factory waste) looking at a wide variety of flowers along the way. Bring a plant ID book if you have one.

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

Leaders: Janet Simkin & Judy Summerson

23rd
July
2015

Seashore Explore, Whitley Bay

Thursday 23 July, 2pm – 4pm (including travel time)

Delve into the rockpools of St. Mary’s Island and discover the amazing variety of wildlife to be found there.

Transport will be provided from the Great North Museum: Hancock to St. Mary’s Island and back again. This is a family event which is part of the Marine Wildlife Festival. Free but booking is essential 0191 208 5158 or at www.ericnortheast.org.uk/news-events

25th
July
2015

Big Watch Weekend

Saturday 25 – Sunday 26 July.

Environmental Records Information Centre (ERIC) North East ERIC North East is collaborating with local and national marine conservation charities to record sightings of whales, dolphins and porpoises over a ‘Big Watch Weekend’. July is the best month to see a range of marine mammals off our coastline. ERIC will be recruiting a team of volunteers to help survey at key coastal watching sites and will be running training sessions in marine mammal identification prior to the event. To register your interest 0191 222 5158 or eric.ne@twmuseums.org.uk

25th
July
2015

Visit to the Society's geology archives, Newcastle

Saturday 25 July, 10.30am-12.30pm

Our archives contain many hidden geological wonders, including: William Hutton’s letters from famous geologists of the day; material by Sopwith; early work on Krakatoa; beautiful hand-painted plates on different types of marble; fossil drawings of Anthracosaurus and of course the fossil plant drawings by Lindley and Hutton. This is a wonderful opportunity to see this unique material and learn about it.

Meet in the library in the Great North Museum: Hancock (on the 2nd floor).

30th
July
2015

Storm Petrels, White-beaked Dolphins and the North East Cetacean Project. Talk by Dr Martin Kitching.

Thursday 30 July, 7pm-8pm (Doors open from 6.30pm)

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle.

How a fascination with a nocturnal seabird got a bit out of hand, and became an obsession with one of our most beautiful marine mammals, leading to a ground breaking research project… and a lot of images!

Dr Martin Kitching is one of the leading authorities on marine mammals and seabirds in the North East. He undertakes research as well as guiding visitors on pelagic tours into the North Sea in search of these elusive creatures.

We have organised this event in partnership with the Living Seas Project being run by the Northumberland Wildlife Trust.

1st
August
2015

Wild Cattle of Chillingham, Northumberland

We are sorry but this event is now fully booked.

Saturday 1 August, 11am-1pm

The Wild Cattle of Chillingham are said to be the only survivors of the wild herds which once roamed Britain’s forests. They have lived for 800 years in a scenic park between Alnwick and Bamburgh. The herd numbers around 100. The Warden for the Chillingham Wild Cattle Association will escort us on an informative tour to see the herd and learn about their behaviour, ecology and history. They are completely untamed and have never been touched by human hand. We will enter their enclosure but remain at a safe distance. This outing will involve walking across open ground for at least 1km.

The cost for the tour is £8 adults, £6 (OAP) and £3 child. Please contact the Society Office to book.

Leader: Steve Lowe

1st
August
2015

Hoverfly workshop, Cockle Park Science Centre

Saturday 1 August, 10am-4pm

There are many species of this easily recognised family of flies. Stuart Ball is a co-ordinator of the national Hoverfly Recording Scheme. We will show you methods for collecting and observing hoverflies, find out how to identify them and how to contribute records to the national recording scheme.

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

Cockle Park Science Centre is run by Newcastle University and is 4 miles north of Morpeth, Northumberland.

Leaders: Stuart Ball & Gordon Port

15th
August
2015

Insect workshop, Cockle Park Science Centre

Saturday 15 August, 10am-4pm

For many insects it is necessary to collect voucher specimens for correct identification and these can be saved in collections. Methods for presenting butterflies and moths, beetles and other groups of insects will be demonstrated and practised.

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

Cockle Park Science Centre is run by Newcastle University and is 4 miles north of Morpeth, Northumberland.

Leader: Dr Gordon Port

21st
August
2015

Northumberland Coast Bioblitz, Low Newton by-the-Sea

Friday 21 August 11pm – Saturday 22 August 11pm

For 24 hours local naturalists will attempt to record as many species of the flora and fauna as possible. If you want to improve your identification skills or are just keen to see local wildlife, everyone is welcome! From rockpooling to moth surveys there will be lots to get involved with. Times of specific activities tbc, details near the time at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/whats-on/events/

22nd
August
2015

The geology of Beadnell & Bamburgh

Saturday 22 August, 10am-3.30pm

We will visit the coast and explore Upper and Middle Limestone groups of the Carboniferous including associated coals along with later igneous intrusions such as the Beadnell Dyke and Whin Sill. Will involve visiting 2 sites with total walking distance of around 4 miles.

Meet in the public car park in Beadnell (grid ref NU 235288 or postcode NE67 5EG). Bring a packed lunch.

Leader: Karl Egeland-Eriksen

25th
August
2015

Surveying bees of Northumberland, Newcastle

Tuesday 25 August, 10am-1pm

Bees are important pollinators that play an essential role in our ecosystems and farming but we still have very limited information about where the different species live. In this event you will learn how to identify the different bee species found in Northumberland, including looking in the grounds for them. We hope that afterwards you will be able to identify bees and send us your records to help improve our knowledge of their distribution in our region.

This free event is being delivered in partnership with Northumberland Wildlife Trust and takes place at St Nicholas Park in Gosforth. To book www.nwt.org.uk/whats-on or 0191 284 6884.

4th
September
2015

Mini-beast hunt

Friday 4 September, 1pm-3pm
Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Have fun hunting for beetles, caterpillars, millipedes and lots of other small creatures hiding in the undergrowth.

Children (3+) must be accompanied by an adult. Drop in any time and stay for as long or as little as you like.

Follow the signs from the reserve entrance <a href=’http://nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/news/wp-content/uploads/How-to-get-to-Gosforth-Park-Nature-Reserve-MASTER.pdf’>directions</a>.

This is just one of the insect themed activities we are running to accompany the Spineless exhibition at the Great North Museum: Hancock.

11th
September
2015

Society Archives Heritage Open Day, Newcastle

Friday 11 September, 11am-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. We will be displaying some of our fascinating archive material, including manuscripts and drawings relating to the story of the Museum’s spectacular Giant Spider Crab. Visitors can also see the historic furnishings and paintings in the room.

20th
September
2015

Bird migration at Low Newton, Northumberland coast

We are sorry but this event is now fully booked.

Sunday 20 September, 8am-10.30am

We will start the morning with a visit to the Society’s bird ringers to watch them in action and learn about their work at Low Newton. This is the peak autumn migration period so afterwards we will look around this small National Trust nature reserve for passerines, waders and seabirds. Local expert Jimmy Steele knows the site well and will help to point out the birds and how to identify them. If the weather is in our favour we hope to see some uncommon species. Bring binoculars. Free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book.

Leader: Jimmy Steele

28th
September
2015

North Pennine Mineralisation

Choice of two courses:
Mondays from 28 Sept, 10.30am-12.30pm or
Thursdays from 1 Oct, 10.30am-12.30pm
Explore the lead-mining history and landscape of the North Pennines with Derek Teasdale. ‘There’s gold in them there hills!’ (actually it is lead, with some silver and zinc and barium etc). 4 indoor classes and 3 full day field visits. For course dates please <a href=’http://nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/news/wp-content/uploads/North_Pennine_Mineralisation_Course_Dates.pdf’>click here</a>
We are sorry but both these courses are now fully booked.

2nd
October
2015

Can cities save bees? Insights from the Urban Pollinators Project. Talk by Dr Mark Goddard

Friday 2 October, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

There has been much concern about the decline of bees and other pollinators in recent years. The Urban Pollinators Project was set up to explore the importance of urban habitats for pollinators and asks three main research questions: (i) How does pollinator biodiversity in towns and cities compare to that of nature reserves and farmland? (ii) Where are the hot-spots of pollinator biodiversity in cities? (iii) What can we do to improve pollinator diversity and abundance in cities? In his talk Mark will discuss the results of the project and the implications for how we manage our urban green spaces to make cities more pollinator-friendly.

Mark Goddard is researcher at Newcastle University studying biodiversity on urban land. He has been working on nature conservation for over 10 years. Before coming to Newcastle, Mark worked on pollinators in urban environments at the University of Leeds.

4th
October
2015

Introduction to Fungi

Sunday 4th October. 1-3pm
Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Join Newcastle Ranger, Mike Hancock, for a walk around the reserve to see what species of mushroom and toadstool can be found. Mike has only recently learnt to identify fungi himself; this event is aimed at beginners who would like to start to learn more about this fascinating group of species. Free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book.

9th
October
2015

Aliens amongst us: how to see the world like an insect. Talk by Dr Vivek Nityananda

Friday 9 October, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

Humans and insects are really different, right? Yet we have a lot of common problems. The world is full of information and both insects and humans have to make sense of it all. Remember trying to listen to a single conversation in the middle of noisy party? Crickets have to do something similar to find out where their mates are calling. Imagine searching for your favourite chocolate in a supermarket with many shelves of products. Bees do something similar every day when searching for rewarding flowers in a meadow full of other flowers. How about deciding how far to throw a ball in a game of basketball? Mantises have to make similar judgements about how far their prey is before reaching out to grab it. We know something about how we manage these everyday problems. But how do insects do this? I will talk about the different solutions they have and how scientists try to get inside insect brains to figure them out. Perhaps, after all, we might sometimes have more in common with insects than we think.

Vivek Nityananda is a researcher at the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University. He studies sensory biology in several animal systems including crickets, frogs and bees. Right now he’s figuring out how mantises see in 3D. He was awarded a Great North Museum: Hancock public engagement fellowship this year.

13th
October
2015

Autumn Birds of the North East

Choice of two classes:
Tuesdays 10.15am-12.15 or
Tuesdays 1pm-3pm.

Expert ornithologist David Noble-Rollin leads this 10-week course teaching the identification and habits of birds found in the north east during the autumn. This will include some of the uncommon species that arrive as migrants. There will be 5 field visits looking for birds at a wide range of habitats including Holy Island, Druridge Pools and Boulmer Haven.

We are sorry but both these classes are fully booked.

Cost for 10 weeks: £85 (Concessions: £69)

15th
October
2015

Wildlife Digital Photography

Thursdays from 15 October, 1-3pm.
Learn how to take fantastic digital photographs of our amazing local wildlife. David Noble-Rollin leads this practical 20-week course aimed at those who have a digital camera but still tend to use it on the automatic settings and would like to take better photographs and improve their wildlife photography techniques. Includes 6 field visits.

For a full course programme please <a href=’http://nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/news/wp-content/uploads/Wildlife_Digital_Photography_Course_Outline.pdf’>click here</a>

16th
October
2015

The wild flowers of Orkney and some comparisons with Shetland. Talk by Eric Meek

Friday 16 October, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

Born and brought up in Northumberland, Eric Meek moved to Orkney in 1981 to become the RSPB’s Area Officer in the islands, a post he held until his retirement in 2012. His main area of study has been birds and he co-authored ‘Northumberland’s Birds’. While in Orkney he has published papers on raptors, seabirds, wildfowl and the effects of wind turbines on birds. Like many birdwatchers, his interests have widened and botany now plays as much a part in his life as ornithology. He has recently co-authored the ‘Orkney Rare Plant Register’ and in this talk he will describe some of the unique aspects of Orcadian botany and discuss the main differences between the plants of that archipelago and those of its northern neighbour, Shetland.

18th
October
2015

Autumn Birds on Holy Island

Sunday 18th Oct, 10am-3.45pm

Ian Kerr, author of The Birds of Holy Island, will help us track down migrating birds and if conditions are favourable we hope to find some of the rarer species. At this time of year wintering wildfowl and waders will also be arriving along with associated birds of prey. This is an all-day event so you will need a packed lunch.

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

23rd
October
2015

Mammals through a lens. Talk by Cain Scrimgeour

Friday 23 October, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

Photographing and filming wild mammals in Britain requires field craft, patience and some luck. Local naturalist, photographer and filmmaker Cain Scrimgeour will show us some of his work and talk about his experiences of capturing mammals through a lens.

Cain is a freelance filmmaker, cameraman, time-lapse photographer, wildlife photographer and editor who grew up in Whitley Bay. His inspiration has always been the suburban wildlife around him and he has recently brought this to screen on BBC’s ‘Inside Out’. He has produced footage for the BBC, ITV, Northumberland National Park and English Heritage. He won a Royal Television Society Award in 2013.

26th
October
2015

Make Your Own Bird & Halloween Bat Boxes

Monday 26 October
10.30am – 12.15pm
Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

The Society’s nest box expert Geoff Lawrence will help you to make your own bird and bat boxes. This is a family event and all materials are provided but boxes cost £3 (birds) or £5.50 (bats) and are limited to one per family on a first come, first served basis.

28th
October
2015

Other Worlds - planets and moons in the solar system and beyond

Wednesdays from 28 October, 7-9pm.
From the fiery furnace of the Sun to the frozen wastes of Pluto – an exploration of the Solar System’s diverse and intriguing worlds. Astronomer Fred Stephenson leads this 7-week course covering the nature and origin of planetary moons, asteroids, comets, meteorites and techniques for finding/observing Sun, Moon and planets. We will also discuss recent discoveries of planetary systems beyond our own which have a bearing on the important question ‘are we alone?’. Weather permitting some practical observation will be carried out.

30th
October
2015

Woodcock in Britain: Migration, Populations and Trends. Talk by Chris Heward

Friday 30 October, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

Until recently, many aspects of the Woodcock’s ecology were a mystery to us. Now, new technology is helping us answer important questions regarding the origins and habits of our migrant Woodcock. The use of stable isotope analysis, satellite transmitters and geolocators has given us a previously-unseen insight into their incredible journeys. But these migrants are only one side of the story; Britain is also home to a small resident breeding population of Woodcock. This population has undergone marked declines over the last 40 years, raising concerns about its future. The questions that we currently need to address centre on this resident population, about which relatively little is known.

Chris is a research assistant at the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust which is leading research into Woodcock. He is also a PhD student at the University of Nottingham. He has worked with Woodcock for the past five years and is currently writing a thesis on the status and ecology of Britain’s breeding population.

31st
October
2015

Fantastic Fungi at Castle Eden Dene Nature Reserve, Peterlee

Sunday 31st October 10am-1pm.

Join the Environmental Records Information Centre North East & Natural England to find out more about the exciting world of fungi as we venture into Castle Eden Dene National Nature Reserve. Learn how to identify different species and play an active role in their conservation through recording.

This event is suitable for children, it is free and transport will be provided from the Great North Museum: Hancock but booking is essential, call 0191 222 5158 or www.ericnortheast.org.uk/news-events for more details.

1st
November
2015

Introduction to Winter Waders, Blyth Estuary, Northumberland

Sunday 1st November, 2.30pm-4.30pm

Despite it’s industrial setting, the Blyth Estuary is one of the most important areas along the Northumberland coast for winter wading birds. As the tide rises we will walk along the river bank to look for a selection of wading and estuary birds in winter plumage. Hopefully there will be Dunlin, godwits, plovers, Redshanks, Turnstone, Curlew and perhaps a few others. Society Director, James Littlewood, will give you pointers on how to tell the different species apart in the field. Please dress for the weather and bring binoculars or a telescope if you have them.

Meet on the riverside path adjacent to Cowley Road, Blyth, NE24 5TF (grid ref NZ298 824).

6th
November
2015

Northumbrian Geologists of the 19th Century. Talk by Karl Egeland-Eriksen

Friday 6 November, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

A look into the lives and works of the pioneers of geological investigation in northeast England. Those men with connections to the region and their contributions to the field of geology, both locally and in general. Including geologist such as Sir Roderick Impey Murchison (1792-1871), George Tate (1805-1871), C.T. Trechmann (1884-1964) and Arthur Holmes (1890-1965).

Karl is heavily involved in the Open University Geological Society and this talk will lead on from a recent paper he published in the OUGS Journal.

13th
November
2015

British Divers Marine Life Rescue. Talk by Richard Ilderton

Friday 13 November, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

British Divers Marine Life Rescue’s (BDMLR) volunteer medics were in the national news earlier this year when they helped rescue a pod of Pilot Whales that had stranded on the Isle of Skye.

BDMLR is a voluntary network of trained marine mammal medics who respond to call outs from the general public and the emergency services. They are the only marine animal rescue organisation operating across the UK. BDMLR is operated entirely by volunteers and their rescue teams are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They have a wide range of equipment strategically placed throughout the country to deal with strandings of marine animals, oil spills, fishing gear entanglement and in fact any type of marine animal in trouble.

Richard is the Co-ordinator for BDLMR in the North East and he will tell us about their work saving marine mammals and share his stories of cold wet nights, the highs and lows of volunteering and 101 uses for an old towel.

20th
November
2015

Lichens in the Attic. Talk by Dr Rebecca Yahr

Friday 20 November, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

Those who study lichens often wonder about the lichen flora of Britain before the industrial revolution; was it very different to now? Some timbers in old houses still have bark on, and on this the lichens that grew on the trees before they were felled are remarkably well preserved. Lichens are sensitive indicators of environmental conditions, so the new science of Archaeolichenology uses this evidence to reconstruct past environments, with some surprising results.

Rebecca is a researcher at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh studying lichen diversity and evolution. She is also a member of the Editorial Board for The Lichenologist and The Edinburgh Journal of Botany

27th
November
2015

The Birds of Nepal and their Conservation. Talk by Carol Inskipp

Friday 27 November, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

Nepal is exceptionally diverse and beautiful with habitats ranging from tropical lowland forests to alpine peaks including some of the world’s highest mountains. It also lies in the region of overlap between the Palaearctic and Indo-Malayan realms resulting in a rich and diverse bird life.

Carol Inskipp is the co-author of the Birds of Nepal field guide and several books on Nepal bird conservation including Important Bird Areas of Nepal and Nepal’s Forest Birds and their Conservation. In this talk she will give an overview of Nepal’s birds and the challenges of their conservation. Donations on the night will go to the Nepalese charity, Go School Initiative which is funding the building of temporary schools in Gaurishankar Conservation Area.

4th
December
2015

Active tectonics of the central Apennines. Talk by Prof Ken McCaffery

Friday 4 December, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

The historical record of Italy shows that many destructive earthquakes have taken place in central Italy. This talk will highlight ongoing work to understand activity on the normal fault systems that are responsible for the present-day active tectonics and to discuss implications for seismic hazard in the region including Rome itself.

Ken McCaffrey is a Professor in Earth Sciences at Durham University. He has made significant contributions to the fields of continental tectonics, particularly basement inheritance and igneous intrusion and fractured reservoir description.

10th
January
2016

Birds of the Tyne Estuary

Birds of the Tyne Estuary

Sunday 10th January, 09.30 – 11.30

The mouth of the Tyne Estuary in winter is a great place to view gulls, waders and seabirds. Dan Turner will help explain the different species and if we are lucky we may come across Glaucous or Iceland Gulls at the fish quay. Dan will also explain about some of the history and geography of the area. The walk will be around 1 mile, mostly on paths but dress for the cold. This is also a great place to buy fish & chips or fresh fish! These events are free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society office.

SORRY, THIS EVENT IS NOW FULLY BOOKED

13th
January
2016

Mammals of the North East

Wednesdays from 13 January, 1.30pm-3.30pm

There are records of nearly 80 species of mammal in our region, from the Pygmy Shrew to the Humpback Whale. In this 10 week course wildlife expert Martin Kitching will help you learn about the UK’s amazing land and sea mammals and how to find and identify them. Includes at least one field outing.
Indoor classes at Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle.

15th
January
2016

Lichens in northeast England.Talk by Dr Janet Simkin

Lichens in northeast England.Talk by Dr Janet Simkin

Friday 15 January, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

The study of lichens has a long history in the North East, starting with Winch in the 18th century. This talk will introduce us to some remarkable characters, and will also consider how the lichen flora of the area has changed over the years. Rarely seen herbarium specimens, books and archive material from the natural history society’s collections will be on display. This is a joint event with the British Lichen Society

16th
January
2016

Winter seabirds boat trip, Seahouses & Farne Islands

Winter seabirds boat trip, Seahouses & Farne Islands

Saturday 16 January, 10.15am-2.30pm

In previous years we have searched for winter seabirds from land. This year we will head out to sea around the Farne Islands to try and get closer views of divers, grebes and seaduck such as scoters and Long-tailed Duck. We should also see seals and with luck porpoise. We will be sailing with Serenity boat tours and the cost is £25 ea. Please contact the Society office to book.

Leader: James Littlewood

18th
January
2016

Our Energy Future

Our Energy Future

Woodhorn Colliery © Terry Cavner

Mondays from 18 January, 10.30am-12.30pm.
Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle.

The expertise of geologists has always been crucial to the discovery and recovery of oil, gas and coal. Hydrocarbons will continue to meet the majority of our energy needs in the future, but there are clouds on the horizon – supplies are finite, increasingly difficult to recover, and climate change is a reality that needs addressing. What are the alternatives? Explore our energy future on this 10 week course with Derek Teasdale.

21st
January
2016

Our Energy Future

Our Energy Future

Woodhorn Colliery © Terry Cavner

Thursdays from 21 January, 10.30am-12.30pm.
Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle.

The expertise of geologists has always been crucial to the discovery and recovery of oil, gas and coal. Hydrocarbons will continue to meet the majority of our energy needs in the future, but there are clouds on the horizon – supplies are finite, increasingly difficult to recover, and climate change is a reality that needs addressing. What are the alternatives? Explore our energy future on this 10 week course with Derek Teasdale.

22nd
January
2016

Adding Adders in County Durham. Talk by Anne Porter

Adding Adders in County Durham. Talk by Anne Porter

Adder © Dave Jarema

Friday 22 January, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

The Heart of Durham Adder Project was set up in 2011 in response to alarming reports from the south of the UK of Adders being found with genetic mutations. ‘In breeding depression’ was the explanation put forward by scientists as the cause, which was also leading to declining Adder populations in some places. How were Adders in County Durham faring? Over the last four years Durham Wildlife Trust has been trying to find out. In conjunction with Sunderland University, volunteers have been collecting ‘sloughs’, shed skins which are contributing to a genetic database. In 2016 the project is aiming to map the location of reptile hibernation sites.

Anne is the Project Officer for Durham Wildlife Trust’s Heart of Durham Project. She will give an overview of Adder ecology and the project so far and explain why locating these hibernation sites are crucial, especially on the moorland of County Durham.

24th
January
2016

Red Kite Roost, Derwent Valley, Gateshead

Red Kite Roost, Derwent Valley, Gateshead

Sunday 24 January, 2.30 – 5pm

On winter afternoons Red Kites flock together to roost, sometimes making a spectacular sight. Following their reintroduction to the North East there is now a roost site in the Derwent Valley which is monitored by The Friends of Red Kites. They have kindly offered the opportunity for our members to join them. This event will involve an easy walk of around half a mile to the viewing point and then watching the birds come in to roost. The Friends will also explain about some of the birds’ behaviour and the reintroduction programme so far. The walk back from the roost will take place in the dusk and so we recommend that as well as very warm clothes you also bring a torch. You may also wish to bring a flask of hot drink and snacks.

Meet in the free car park signposted on the A694 at Winlaton Mill, if you are travelling from Newcastle direction the car park is on the left (Grid ref NZ187609). Postcode for Satnav NE21 6RU.

25th
January
2016

Winter Birdwatching

Winter Birdwatching

Fieldfare at Gosforth Park © Richard Potts

Mondays from 25 January, 1.30pm-3.30pm.
Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle.

WE ARE SORRY BUT THIS COURSE IS NOW FULLY BOOKED. HOWEVER WE DO HAVE PLACES ON THE BIRDWATCHING COURSE ON THURSDAYS IN DURHAM.

Learn more about bird watching and how to better identify the birds you see. Keith Bowey leads this 10 week course on the birds of the North East and their habitats, with a focus on County Durham. There will be 5 field trips including Teesmouth, Rainton Meadows, Derwent Valley and South Shields.. Indoor classes take place at

28th
January
2016

Winter Birdwatching

Winter Birdwatching

Redwing at Gosforth Park © Richard Potts

Thursdays from 28 January, 10.30am-12.30pm.
Indoor classes take place at Shakespeare Hall, Durham city centre

Learn more about bird watching and how to better identify the birds you see. Keith Bowey leads this 10 week course on the birds of the North East and their habitats, with a focus on County Durham. There will be 5 field trips including Teesmouth, Rainton Meadows, Derwent Valley and South Shields.

29th
January
2016

Quaternary Fluvial Archives: a new paradigm. Talk by Prof Dave Bridgland

Quaternary Fluvial Archives: a new paradigm. Talk by Prof Dave Bridgland

Friday 29 January, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

Work over the past few decades has pulled together geological and geomorphological records from rivers in the Quaternary Period that show interesting patterns of similarity and difference, which can be related to climate, its zonation and fluctuation, and to crustal provinces. Quaternary ice ages have influenced our landscape far beyond the immediate reach of the ice sheets themselves.

David Bridgland is a Professor in the Department of Geography at Durham University, with research interests in Quaternary environmental change and fluvial history, with reference to palaeontology and archaeology. Until recently he was President of the Geologist’s Association.

30th
January
2016

Geology and War

Geology and War

Saturday 30 January, 1pm-4pm.
Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

The unequal global distribution of geological resources (including hydrocarbons, industrial minerals and water) is partly to blame for many wars. Once conflict erupts, terrain, bedrock geology and ground conditions become key military considerations – wars are won and lost ‘on the ground’. In the aftermath, geologists can advise on remediation of contaminated ground and the safe disposal of nuclear weapons and other toxins. Looking forward, can geology help with conflict avoidance?

Join Peter Doyle, Noel Worley and Andrew Morrison to explore Geology and War. This is a free joint event run in partnership with the Yorkshire Geological Society. A more detailed programme will be available here closer to the event.

5th
February
2016

Foraging strategies of Shags breeding on the Farne Islands. Talk by Liz Morgan

Foraging strategies of Shags breeding on the Farne Islands. Talk by Liz Morgan

Shag © Ann Wilson

Friday 5 February, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

Shags are sometimes overshadowed by their more colourful and aggressive neighbours on the Farne Islands but Liz will show us that the Shags are just as remarkable as the terns and Puffins! This talk will highlight some of the fascinating patterns uncovered by recent research, primarily from fitting individual Shags with tracking devices. This research aims to answer questions such as: Do individual birds have favoured feeding locations? How flexible are their feeding habits? Are there differences between the main Island groups? Understanding the answers will help assess how local birds could respond to changes in the marine environment.

Liz Morgan is a PhD student at the University of Leeds, supervised by Prof. Keith Hamer. As part of her research project, she has spent the last two breeding seasons studying the behaviour of Shags on the Farne Islands. Her work is carried out in collaboration with Newcastle University and the National Trust, and is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

12th
February
2016

Re-introducing Water Voles to Kielder. Talk by Kevin O'Hara

Re-introducing Water Voles to Kielder. Talk by Kevin O'Hara

Water Vole © David Gibbon

Friday 12 February, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

The ‘Restoring Ratty’ project has the principle aim of re-establishing a viable, self-sustaining population of Water Voles in the Kielder/north Tyne catchment of Northumberland. This will be through the reintroduction of captive bred animals sourced from wild donor stocks from viable northern British populations. The added aim of any such substantial release would be to restore a complete Water Vole meta-population system and to maintain the whole catchment free of breeding American Mink which is the end goal of the project. The project hopes to expand its boundaries and practices throughout the Tyne catchment with the ultimate goal of restoring Water Voles to the entire Tyne catchment.

Kevin is Conservation Officer for Northumberland Wildlife Trust where he has worked for over 16 years, principally with wetlands and their associated species such as Otter. He has worked on the re-establishment of Water Voles to the region for the past 10 years establishing a regional working group and regional management strategy for the species. He has managed the Restoring Ratty project since 2013 and hopes to see it to fruition by 2021.

15th
February
2016

Make your own bird box

Make your own bird box

Monday 15 February, 10.30am-12.30pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

It’s National Nest Box Week, so why not join our experts to assemble your own bird box and take it home to put up in your garden. This is a family event and all materials are provided but boxes cost £3 and are limited to one per family on a first come, first served basis. Children under 6 years will need adult assistance.

19th
February
2016

Genetic insights into plant diversity. Talk by Professor Pete Hollingsworth

Genetic insights into plant diversity. Talk by Professor Pete Hollingsworth

Friday 19 February, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

Telling species apart can be difficult. Some species look similar but aren’t; and sometimes closely related individuals can look different. Furthermore some plant groups and some areas of the planet have simply had inadequate attention to characterise the diversity they contain. Using examples from the UK and elsewhere, Professor Hollingsworth will summarise how DNA data is helping tell plant species apart. He will also give an overview of the International Barcode of Life project: a large-scale international initiative building a DNA reference library of life on earth.

Pete Hollingsworth is Director of Science at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh

20th
February
2016

Introduction to Winter Tree Identification

Introduction to Winter Tree Identification

Saturday 20th February, 1 – 2.30pm
Gosforth Park Nature Reserve, Newcastle

Would you like to learn how to identify the different trees found in our woodlands? The reserve warden, Paul Drummond, will lead you on a walk in Gosforth Nature Reserve and teach you how to tell the different trees species apart in winter.

WE ARE SORRY BUT THIS ACTIVITY IS NOW FULLY BOOKED.

26th
February
2016

The retreat of the North Sea Ice lobe: New seafloor evidence from the Britice Chrono project. Talk by Dr Dave Roberts

The retreat of the North Sea Ice lobe: New seafloor evidence from the Britice Chrono project. Talk by Dr Dave Roberts

Friday 26 February, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

The ice sheet history of the east coast of the UK and western North Sea has long fascinated geologists. During the last glacial cycle the North East was overrun by the British-Irish Ice Sheet (BIIS) flowing eastwards and southwards. In recent years it has become evident that several ice streams including the Tweed, Tyne, and Stainmore Gap ice streams, as well as the late stage North Sea Lobe, played a role in shaping the landscape. Understanding the flow phasing of these ice streams is important for understanding the dynamic behaviour of the BIIS and ice sheet collapse patterns. Here we present new data from the seafloor collected during recent work undertaken by the BritIce Chrono project in the North Sea.

Dave Roberts is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography at Durham University. His research interests centre on glacial sedimentary processes, subglacial processes and controls on ice sheet and ice stream dynamics, in Greenland and the UK.

27th
February
2016

Herbarium Tour, Newcastle

Herbarium Tour, Newcastle

Saturday 27 February, 11am-12pm
A tour of the Society’s Herbarium collection at Discovery Museum, Newcastle

The Natural History Society of Northumbria’s important collection of dried plant specimens is held in special stores in the basement of the Discovery Museum in Newcastle. Our herbarium contains over 15,000 plants from the North East and beyond collected from the 1800s to the present day, including a great number from John, Albany and Mary Hancock. Our Botany Group has been diligently working on this collection for two years, documenting, remounting, photographing and preserving this important collection. They have kindly offered to talk to members about the collection, some of the interesting items in it and about herbaria generally and why they are important. Meet at the reception desk at the Discovery Museum, Blandford Square, Newcastle NE1 4JA.

4th
March
2016

Hen Harriers and the Langholm Moor Demonstration Project. Talk by Dr Sonja Ludwig & Dr Catherine Barlow

Hen Harriers and the Langholm Moor Demonstration Project. Talk by Dr Sonja Ludwig & Dr Catherine Barlow

Hen Harrier male in Riddsdale © Mike Reid

Friday 4 March, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

One of the most controversial human-wildlife conflicts in the UK is between the conservation of Hen Harriers and the management of moorland for Red Grouse shooting. The Langholm Moor Demonstration Project (LMDP) is a partnership between the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage, Buccleuch Estate, RSPB and Natural England, and aims to demonstrate practical means to recover Red Grouse density in the presence of Hen Harriers, using diversionary feeding as the main mitigation tool.

The first half of the talk will present an overview about the project, its background and success stories, and discuss interactions between grouse and raptors. The second half of the talk will present some of the ways in which a community and education project running alongside the LMDP (Making the Most of Moorlands) raises awareness about this controversial subject – including sharing some insights into the lives of the Langholm Hen Harriers from birds fitted with satellite tags, and how you can help continue this vital work.

Sonja is the head scientist of the Langholm Moor Demonstration Project and Catherine is Project Manager for the Making the Most of Moorlands Project. Both are members of the Scottish Raptor Study Group.

11th
March
2016

Darwin's bulldog, Albany Hancock & the theory of evolution. Talk by Prof Wallace Arthur

Darwin's bulldog, Albany Hancock & the theory of evolution. Talk by Prof Wallace Arthur

Friday 11 March, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

Charles Darwin’s 1859 book, On the Origin of Species, changed our view of the living world. But the change only became widely accepted after numerous heated debates, which the evolutionists won. Darwin himself did not take part in these debates, mainly because of his recurring illness. But his ‘bulldog’, Thomas Henry Huxley, did. Indeed, he was the key figure in the fight for Darwin’s theory in public gatherings, such as the great Oxford evolution debate of 1860. Throughout the decades before and after this – the 1850s and 1860s – Huxley maintained a correspondence with Albany Hancock. Both men were experts on molluscs and their correspondence was based on how to interpret similarities and differences between various groups of molluscs such as sea slugs and squid. Huxley wrote about 40 letters to Hancock over 20 years, but he never once mentioned Darwin. Why not? In contrast, he did mention, many times, the infamous Richard Owen. Why? In this talk, we’ll look at what was really at issue in the correspondence between Huxley and Hancock; as a result, we’ll see the evolution debate from an interesting and unusual angle.

Wallace Arthur is a zoologist specialising in evolutionary developmental biology. He is Emeritus Professor of Zoology at the National University of Ireland, Galway and prior to 2004 he was Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Sunderland. He is one of the founding editors of the journal Evolution and Development, and has written several books on evolution.

18th
March
2016

A light-hearted meander through the botanical byways of taxonomic Latin. Talk by Chris Metherell

A light-hearted meander through the botanical byways of taxonomic Latin. Talk by Chris Metherell

Friday 18 March, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

Latin names have been annoying laymen and scientists alike since well before Linnaeus in the 18th century. Why is the Oxford Ragwort called Senecio squalidus – ‘dirty old man’? Why is there a beetle called Agra katewinsletae, not to mention a genus of fish called Batman. Why do zoologists like repeating themselves with names such as Gorilla gorilla gorilla? (no prizes for guessing the English name). Chris will throw a light-hearted spotlight into the dusty corners of scientific Latin (mainly botanical) and promises that there will be no test at the end! No need to polish your declensions or buff up your gerundives for this end of term amusement.

Chris is botanical recorder for vice-county 68 (North Northumberland), and is Honorary General Secretary of the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland.

21st
March
2016

How to create a wild flower meadow. Talk by Cath Shellswell

How to create a wild flower meadow. Talk by Cath Shellswell

Northumberland meadow © NHSN

Monday 21 March, 7-8pm (doors 6.30pm)

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

Would you like to create a wildflower meadow in your garden? Or find out about how meadows are created and cared for? This illustrated talk will cover general principles such as preparing the site, choice of seeds, how to sow seed and how to care for the meadow afterwards.

Cath Shellswell is the Magnificent Meadows Adviser for Plantlife. The Save Our Magnificent Meadows Project, led by Plantlife and funded primarily by the Heritage Lottery Fund is a partnership between 11 organisations including Northumberland Wildlife Trust who are partnering with the Natural History Society of Northumbria to put on this event.

9th
April
2016

Black Grouse lek & upland birds

Black Grouse lek & upland birds

SORRY – THIS EVENT IS NOW FULLY BOOKED

Saturday 9 April, 5am onwards

Location: Upper Teesdale

Thanks to the work of the North Pennines Black Grouse Recovery Programme our region is one of the best places in England to see these charismatic moorland birds. We will be visiting the site of a lek (where large numbers of males try to attract females) which takes place in early morning. After watching this wonderful natural spectacle we will go on a short safari-style drive to look for other upland wildlife and then return to the Langdon Beck Hotel for a cooked breakfast, where we will also have a short film and talk about Black Grouse.

For those who would like to, after breakfast we will go on a 3 mile walk looking for breeding waders, Ring Ouzel and other upland birds and plants

The cost for this event is £25, which includes a donation towards the Black Grouse Programme and a cooked breakfast at the Langdon Beck Hotel (veggie option available).

Please contact the Society Office to book by 21st March.

If you would like to stay overnight: Langdon Beck Hotel tel 01833 622267 (ask for Sue & book as B&B and explain you are on the Black Grouse Watch on the 9th so you don’t get charged twice for breakfast) or Youth Hostel (1km away) tel. 01833 622228 (book bed only, don’t order breakfast, have it at Hotel with the rest of the group).

Please do not book any accommodation until you have paid your £25 deposit.

9th
April
2016

Ennion's Coast tour

Ennion's Coast tour

Saturday 9 April, 9.30am-5pm.

Eric Ennion was an outstanding 20th century bird artist who spent the 1950s living and working at Seahouses on the Northumberland coast. His drawings and watercolours of native British birds and the importance he placed on drawing birds from life has been a major influence on many of today’s finest wildlife artists.

On this outing we will explore some of Ennion’s life and work and visit the places that inspired him. We will have a guided tour of ‘Ennion’s coast’ (a 3km walk along the dunes/shore from Monk’s House to Bamburgh, Northumberland, looking for birds and wildlife), followed by a trip to the Ripples from the House on the Shore art exhibition at The Granary Gallery, Berwick-on-Tweed.

This is a coach based outing, departing from the Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle at 9.30am and returning for about 4.30-5pm. Free but booking is required 0191 208 2790 or nhsn@ncl.ac.uk  You will need to bring a packed lunch and dress for a beach walk and the weather.

This activity is part of the University of Sunderland’s WALK Research Group Project, which is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Leader: Keith Bowey

21st
April
2016

Badger watches at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

April 21st, 24th, 29th and May 5th, 7-9.30pm

Our evening vigil starts with a talk about Badgers and we will examine badger paths, prints, etc before viewing the sett, and with luck Badgers. You will need to be prepared to sit quietly outdoors for 2 hours or more and to cope with wind, rain, cold, biting insects and muddy paths!

Free but booking is required as places are limited. Please contact the Society Office to book.

Accompanied children 8+ welcome

 

 

26th
April
2016

Bird Song & Breeding Behaviour

Bird Song & Breeding Behaviour

Water Rail at Gosforth Park © Keith Cochrane

Tuesdays from 26 April, 10.15am or 1pm

Great North Museum: Hancock + Field Outings

Expert ornithologist David Noble-Rollin leads this 10-week course teaching the songs, calls and breeding behaviour of birds living in the North East. Indoor classes use field guides, film, photos, diagrams and sound recordings.  There will be 5 field visits to a variety of habitats including Farne Islands, Druridge Bay, Northumberland National Park and lowland woodlands and wetlands.

There is a choice of 2 courses beginning at 10.15am or 1pm.

Cost: £85 (Concessions: £69)

WE ARE SORRY – THIS COURSE IS FULLY BOOKED.

30th
April
2016

Echoes of Ennion, Newcastle

Echoes of Ennion, Newcastle

Saturday 30 April, 10.30am-12pm

The Society is hosting this event about the wildlife artist Eric Ennion and his life and work on the Northumberland Coast. Local wildlife expert Keith Bowey will give a short talk on Ennion and there will be an opportunity to look at the Society’s collection of Ennion’s literary works and illustrations alongside collections of archives relating to Ennion and his contemporaries.

This event takes place in the library of the Great North Museum: Hancock. Free but booking is required to manage numbers, contact Society Office.

This activity is part of the University of Sunderland’s WALK Research Group Project, which is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Leaders: Keith Bowey & June Holmes

Accompanied children 12+ welcome.

9th
May
2016

Triassic and Jurassic Northumbria

Triassic and Jurassic Northumbria

Mondays from 9 May, 10.30am-12.30pm (field outings are all-day).

The youngest rocks exposed in Northumbria date from the Triassic and Jurassic periods. These were times of dramatic environmental change which were famously dominated by the dinosaurs. Derek Teasdale will help you explore their geology through 4 indoor sessions and 3 full-day field outings. Note that exposures of these rocks only occur on and beyond the borders of Northumberland and Durham and the course will involve field outings to Jedburgh including Hutton’s Unconformity, Penrith and the Vale of Eden and the coast south of Redcar.

Cost: £85 (Concessions: £69)

12th
May
2016

Bats in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Bats in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Thursday 12 May, 8.15pm-10.15pm

Evening event starting around sunset and continuing until dark. There will be 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, Duabenton’s and Noctule.

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

Leader: Hazel Makepeace

Accompanied children 5+ welcome

12th
May
2016

Triassic and Jurassic Northumbria

Triassic and Jurassic Northumbria

Thursdays from 12 May, 10.30am-12.30pm

Great North Museum: Hancock + Field Outings

The youngest rocks exposed in Northumbria date from the Triassic and Jurassic periods. These were times of dramatic environmental change which were famously dominated by the dinosaurs. Derek Teasdale will help you explore their geology through 4 indoor sessions and 3 full-day field trips. Note that exposures of these rocks only occur on and beyond the borders of Northumberland and Durham and the course will involve field-trips to Jedburgh including Hutton’s Unconformity, Penrith and the Vale of Eden and the coast south of Redcar.

Cost: £85 (Concessions: £69)

12th
May
2016

Green Hairstreaks near Waskerley, County Durham

Green Hairstreaks near Waskerley, County Durham

Green Hairstreak © Samuel Hood

Thursday 12 May, 10.30am-1pm 

Green Hairstreak butterflies are amongst our most attractive insects, but tricky to find and see. We will go on a walk through suitable moorland edge habitat at a good time of year – and with expert help from Durham County Council we hope to find some, as well as other butterfly species.

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

Leaders: David Liddle & Coralie Niven

Accompanied children 10+ welcome

12th
May
2016

Tour of Society Library & Archives, Newcastle

Tour of Society Library & Archives, Newcastle

Great North Museum Library

Thursday 12 May, 11:00 – 12:00.

See the treasures of the Great North Museum: Hancock Library and the Archives of the Natural History Society of Northumbria. This includes a chance to see rare and fascinating first editions of books on the history, archaeology and natural history of the northern region and also unique watercolours by the famous wood engraver, Thomas Bewick.

Free but booking is essential  – please telephone 0191 208 3555, or email gnmlibrary@twmuseums.org.uk

Part of Local History Month.

20th
May
2016

Bird song at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Bird song at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Wren © Peter Fawcett

Friday 20 May, 7:30am-9:30am

An early morning visit to Gosforth Park Nature Reserve to hear and try to learn the songs of woodland and wetland bird species, in particular warblers such as Blackcap, Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler but also thrushes and buntings. We also hope to see and hear a range of woodland and wetland birds.

Meet at the reserve entrance.

Leader: David Noble-Rollin

Accompanied children 8+ welcome

21st
May
2016

Geological sites in Sunderland South

Geological sites in Sunderland South

Saturday 21 May, 10am-3pm

The morning will be spent walking around Mowbray Park (Building Hill) and nearby parts of Sunderland town centre looking at a natural outcrop of the Concretionary Limestone, and some prominent building stones. We will move on to Tunstall Hill or an appreciation of the Ford Formation (reef facies), before visiting Hendon Promenade to view an excellent but poorly known outcrop of the Concretionary Limestone (complete with cannon balls). This is a joint meeting with the North Eastern Geological Society.

Meet at Gorse Road Car Park, on Stockton Road, close to St George’s Church, and not far from Park Lane Metro station, Sunderland. The car park is on the left going into Sunderland, on a short stretch of Stockton Road that is one way. (OS grid ref NZ396561, nearest postcode SR2 7DE).

Leader: Dr Andy Lane

Accompanied children 12+ welcome

25th
May
2016

Bird photography

Bird photography

Kingfisher at Gosforth Park © Keith Cochrane

Wednesdays from 25 May 10.15am

Great North Museum: Hancock + Field Outings

Wildlife photographer David Noble-Rollin leads this 5-week practical introductory course to teach you how to get high quality digital images of wild birds. The first session is a tutorial followed by field trips to Gosforth Park, Farne Islands (12.30-5pm), and Harthope Valley (nr Wooler) to practice techniques including record, portrait, behaviour and flight shots. The final session is a review of work and learning.

Cost: £43 (Concessions: £35) [does not include cost of boat/landing fee for Farne Islands – boat will be approx. £10 and if you are not a member of the National Trust then landing fees approx. £6]

26th
May
2016

Tour of Society Library & Archives, Newcastle

Tour of Society Library & Archives, Newcastle

Thursday 26 May, 2pm-3pm.

See the treasures of the Great North Museum: Hancock Library and the Archives of the Natural History Society of Northumbria. This includes a chance to see rare and fascinating first editions of books on the history, archaeology and natural history of the northern region and also unique watercolours by the famous wood engraver, Thomas Bewick.

Free but booking is essential  – please telephone 0191 208 3555, or email gnmlibrary@twmuseums.org.uk

Part of Local History Month.

28th
May
2016

Bees and other insects, Prudhoe Spetchells

Bees and other insects, Prudhoe Spetchells

Queen Garden Bumblebee at Wylam © Louise Hislop

Saturday 28 May, 11am-3pm

The Spetchells at Prudhoe are a unique site supporting chalk loving plants and a wide range of insects. We will look for species of bee and other insects found at the Spetchells and to look at site management in relation to insects.

Meet at the Low Prudhoe Riverside Country Park car park (OS grid ref NZ 086634 or postcode NE42 6NP). [Note that Ovingham Bridge may not have reopened to vehicles, although it is open to pedestrians].

Leaders: Louise Hislop & Gordon Port

Accompanied children 11+ welcome

4th
June
2016

Introduction to tree identification at Gosforth Nature Reserve

Introduction to tree identification at Gosforth Nature Reserve

Saturday 4 June, 3pm-5pm

Would you like to learn how to identify the different trees found in our woodlands? The reserve warden will lead you on a walk helping to teach you how to tell the different trees species in summer.

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

Leader: Paul Drummond

Accompanied children 8+ welcome

10th
June
2016

Northumbrian Botany

Northumbrian Botany

Ragged Robin at Gosforth Park © Olive Taylor

Fridays from 10 June, 10.30am-3pm

WE ARE SORRY BUT THIS COURSE IS FULLY BOOKED [it is a continuation from last term].

Explore the North East’s plants and their ecology with Dr Janet Simkin on 3 all-day field outings. These will include visits to a variety of habitats on the coast and in the uplands.

Cost: £51 (Concessions: £41)

10th
June
2016

A geological visit to Sunderland Museum

A geological visit to Sunderland Museum

Friday 10 June, 2pm-4pm

We will pay a visit behind the scenes at Sunderland Museum and the museum store. Sunderland holds an internationally important collection of geological material and is particularly blessed with Permian specimens, especially fossil fish. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see some of the best fossil specimens in the North East in the company of their curator.

Meet in the entrance area of Sunderland Museum, Burdon Road, Sunderland, SR1 1PP.

Leader: Sylvia Humphrey

Accompanied children 11+ welcome

12th
June
2016

New members' walk at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

New members' walk at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Matthew Ridley Hide copyright Jill Tate

Sunday 12 June 10am-1pm

Introductory walk around the reserve with the Society Director who will show you the most important wildlife areas and the species that can be found. He will also tell us the history of the site and 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.

Leader: James Littlewood

Accompanied children 8+ welcome

14th
June
2016

Nightjar & Woodcock Walk, Slaley Forest, nr Blanchland

Nightjar & Woodcock Walk, Slaley Forest, nr Blanchland

SORRY, THIS EVENT IS NOW FULLY BOOKED.

Tuesday 14 June, 9.30pm-11pm

Celebrate mid-summer with an evening 2 mile walk through the pine plantations at Slaley Forest. 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.

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

Leader: James Littlewood.

Accompanied children 8+ welcome

19th
June
2016

Flora of the Whittle Dene, Prudhoe

Flora of the Whittle Dene, Prudhoe

Sunday 19 June, 2pm-5pm

This is a Woodland Trust reserve along the steep sided valley of the stream. In addition to a variety of ancient woodland plants, we should find Dutch Rush Equisetum hyemale, Spindle Euonymus europaeus, Three-nerved Sandwort Moehringia trinervia, Giant Bellflower Campanula latifolia and, if we can relocate it, Downy Currant Ribes spicatum.

Meet at Low Prudhoe Riverside Country Park (OS grid ref NZ 087635 or postcode NE42 6NP). [Note that Ovingham Bridge may not have reopened to vehicles, although it is open to pedestrians].

Leader: Janet Simkin & Angus Lunn

Accompanied children 12+ welcome

25th
June
2016

Bugs & Botany at Cockle Park, Northumberland

Bugs & Botany at Cockle Park, Northumberland

Comma © John Buxton

Saturday 25 June, 10am-4pm

Join us for National Insect Week to catch and identify insects and learn about plant research. Including the Palace Leas Hay Meadow Experiment, started in 1896 this is 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.

Leaders: Gordon Port & Janet Simkin

26th
June
2016

Flora of Blackhall Rocks Nature Reserve

Flora of Blackhall Rocks Nature Reserve

Sunday 26 June, 11am-3pm   

The sea cliffs of the Durham Coast are unique in the British Isles, being the only place in the country where Magnesian Limestone outcrops on the coast. They support a diverse assemblage of calcareous, neutral and maritime grassland communities and unusual flush and fen vegetation of national and international importance. We should see Bird’s-eye Primrose Primula farinosa, Blunt-flowered Rush Juncus subnodulosus, Round-leaved Wintergreen Pyrola rotundifolia, Sea Spleenwort Asplenium marinum and Brookweed Samolus valerandi. This botanical tour will involve reaching some awkward spots to find some of the rare plants (these scrambles will be optional).

Meet at Blackhall Rocks car park (OS grid ref NZ 473388 or nearest postcode TS27 4AT) (approx. 5 miles north of Hartlepool).

Leader: Dr Dave Mitchell is well-known to the Society; he works for Natural England and provides advice on plant and vegetation ecology, and on protected sites, throughout the North East.

Accompanied children 12+ welcome

30th
June
2016

Wildflowers of Barrowburn, Northumberland

Wildflowers of Barrowburn, Northumberland

Barrowburn www.coronationmeadows.org.uk

Thursday 30 June, 1-3pm

We will enjoy an easy walk through upland hay meadows in the beautiful Coquet valley to look for and identify wildflowers and pollinating insects. We will also learn how the meadows are managed. Our leader is a Northumberland National Park Ranger and knows this location well. This activity will involve a short walk in and around the fields with a slight gradient on made up tractor road with some loose stones at times.

Meet in the National Park carpark at Wedder Leap, which is on the left-hand side of the road just before you reach Barrowburn (grid ref NT866104 or nearest postcode NE65 7BP).

Note that there is a good tearoom at Barrowburn!

Leader: Shaun Hackett (National Park Ranger)

2nd
July
2016

Gosforth Nature Reserve Exploration Day

Gosforth Nature Reserve Exploration Day

Saturday 2 July, 10.30am – 3.30pm

An opportunity to learn about the creatures and plants of Gosforth Park Nature Reserve and try and spot some for yourself. Local experts will be on hand to talk to visitors about birds, plants, mammals and insects. There will be pond dipping, small mammals, wildlife spotting from hides and much more. Drop in anytime between 10.30am – 3.30pm, suitable for all ages and abilities (no dogs).

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

Directions to reserve entrance.

In partnership with Environmental Records Information Centre North East.

 

2nd
July
2016

Farne Islands Wildlife Tour

Farne Islands Wildlife Tour

Farnes seabirds © Anne Wilson

Saturday 2 July, 9am-4pm

A full day touring the Farne Islands with landings on Staple Island and Inner Farne to enjoy one of our region’s greatest wildlife spectacles. 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, our leader is an expert on the islands and their history.

Cost for the boat is £30 adult and £20 child. (If you are not a member of the National Trust then there will also be landing fees of £16 (adult) and £8.80 (child)). Please contact the Society Office to book.

Leader: Anne Wilson

Accompanied children 12+ welcome

6th
July
2016

Wildlife sketchbook

Wildlife sketchbook

Long-tailed Duck © John Steele

SORRY, THIS COURSE IS NOW FULLY BOOKED.

Wednesdays 6 & 13 July, 2-4pm

Great North Museum: Hancock + Gosforth Park Nature Reserve (Newcastle).

Sketching is a simplistic form of drawing that allows you to speedily record key features and activity of the chosen subject, rather than finished artworks. Well known wildlife artist John Steele leads this 2 session course (1 indoors and 1 outdoors) for anyone who would like to sketch wildlife subjects a little better, to help create a journal of their wildlife encounters or to enliven and record key features in their field notebooks.

Cost: £17 (Concessions: £15).

8th
July
2016

Cetacean Boat Trips, departing North & South Shields

Fridays July 8th, 22nd and August 3rd, 5th & 10th, 6pm-10pm

Join the Northumbria Mammal Group/Northern Experience Wildlife Tours for any of these four hour evening pelagic trips in the North Sea looking for whales, dolphins and seabirds. Early-bird discount for NHSN members is £28.50.

This year bookings are being handled by Northumberland Wildlife Trust please click here to book.

Leader: Martin Kitching from Northern Experience Wildlife Tours.

Accompanied children 8+ welcome

(Note that booking and price details have been revised since publication in the Society’s newsletter, which was incorrect. Apologies for any confusion caused).

14th
July
2016

North East Wildlife Photography Awards 2016 & George McGavin

North East Wildlife Photography Awards 2016 & George McGavin

Grey Heron by Keith Cochrane

Thursday 14 July, 6pm-8.30pm
Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle.
Free and open to all.

Forget the Oscars; this is the awards ceremony that counts! Join us for this free, fun and informal event.

Guest speaker is TV presenter, scientist, naturalist and author George McGavin.

You can see the 140 best entries and watch as the winners are announced (it’s a secret so no-one knows if they have won until announced). You will also have a special preview of the exhibition and can meet wildlife photographers and naturalists. Everyone welcome. Refreshments available.

16th
July
2016

Seals of Teesside

Seals of Teesside

Seal Pup © Terry Cavner

Saturday 16 July, 10am-3pm

This is a coach trip with the Environmental Records Information Centre to see the colony of Common Seals at Greatham Creek in the Tees Estuary. This is the only place where this species of seal breeds in the North East and we should get good views of the seals with their pups and maybe the odd Grey Seal for comparison. The coach departs and returns from the Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle.

Free but booking required eric.ne@twmuseums.org.uk or 0191 208 5158.

17th
July
2016

Flora of Knock Ore Gill, Cumbria

Flora of Knock Ore Gill, Cumbria

Sunday 17 July, 11am – 3pm

Between Penrith and Teesdale, just below the highest summits in the Pennines, Knock Ore Gill is famous for its montane flora, and we should see, among others, Yellow Marsh Saxifrage Saxifraga hirculus, Alpine Forget-me-not Myosotis alpestris and Hairy Stonecrop Sedum villosum. This outing will involve being at high altitude on quite steep slopes.

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

Leader: Professor John Richards

Accompanied children 12+ welcome.

24th
July
2016

Roseate Tern Evening, Coquet Island

Roseate Tern Evening, Coquet Island

Roseate Tern watching Coquet Island

Monday 25 July, 6.45pm-8.30pm – Fully Booked, so now booking additional trip on:

Sunday 24 July, 6.30pm-8.15pm.

This is a joint event between the North Northumberland Bird Club and the Society to see and learn about the rare 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 (adult) and £5.00 (child). Please contact the Society Office to book places.

Leaders: David Noble-Rollin, Tom Cadwallander, Graham Bell & Sam Hood.

Accompanied children 8+ welcome.

24th
July
2016

The flora of Newton Links - Long Nanny

The flora of Newton Links - Long Nanny

Sunday 24 July, 10.30am-3pm

A visit to the dunes, slacks and other coastal habitats of part of the north Northumberland coast, which contain great floral diversity. Among many other species we should see Pyramidal Orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis, Lesser Meadow Rue Thalictrum minus, Sea Wormwood Seriphidium maritimum and (given the interests of the leader) numerous eyebrights Eurphrasias.

Meet at Newton Links pay & display car park (OS grid ref NU235260 or nearest postcode NE66 3DF), which is 1km north of High Newton-on-Sea.

Leader: Chris Metherell is the botanical recorder for vice-county 68 (North Northumberland).

Accompanied children 10+ welcome.

 

31st
July
2016

Introduction to sea-watching, Snab Point, Northumberland

Introduction to sea-watching, Snab Point, Northumberland

Sunday 31 July, 9am-12.30pm (drop in).

Migrating seabirds such as shearwaters, gannets and skuas start to pass off our coast at this time of year. It is also a good time to see whales, dolphins and porpoise. We will scan the sea to try and spot them and give tips on how to tell the different species. This is a drop-in event so come along for as long as you like. If you have binoculars or a spotting scope then bring them with you.

Watching will take place from the headland at Snab Point, which is at the northern tip of Lynmouth Bay (grid ref NZ300 926). There is a small car park here, if it gets full then there is further parking just along the road towards Cresswell Village.

This event is part of the Big Watch Weekend.

Accompanied children 8+ welcome.

Leader: James Littlewood

2nd
August
2016

Introduction to Ladybirds, Newcastle

Introduction to Ladybirds, Newcastle

Tuesday 2 August, 11.30am-1pm

Local insect expert Gordon Port will give an introductory talk about the different ladybird species found in our area and we will then go out into the grounds of the museum and surrounding areas to find and identify ladybirds in the field.

Meet at the front desk of the Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle, NE2 4PT.

Accompanied children 6+ welcome

6th
August
2016

Purple Hairstreak spotting at Gosforth Nature Reserve

Purple Hairstreak spotting at Gosforth Nature Reserve

Saturday 6 August, 5pm – 6pm

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 just past the members hut near the reserve entrance.

Accompanied children 6+ welcome

6th
August
2016

Geology of Durham riverbanks and Cathedral

Geology of Durham riverbanks and Cathedral

© Mick306

Saturday 6 August, 10.30am-3.30pm

One of Europe’s finest Normal cathedrals and dubbed ‘the best cathedral on Planet Earth’ by Bill Bryson, Durham Cathedral derives much of its size, shape and character from the site conditions and the materials available for its construction in the 11th and 12th centuries. In the morning we will explore parts of the river banks to understand how the local Coal Measures and Quaternary geology have created the magnificent setting for this World Heritage Site. We will also examine how some of the varied materials used in the Cathedral’s construction have performed over almost nine centuries.

In the afternoon, inside the Cathedral, we will look in detail at some of the different ways in which these site conditions have given us the building we see today, and explore something of the surprisingly wide diversity of stones used in its construction. This is a great opportunity to see a familiar building in a new light. Although Durham Cathedral is proud of its free entry policy, a modest charge of £5 per person (£4-50 for concessions), payable on the day, is made for guided tours of this sort. Please note that photography is not permitted inside the Cathedral.

Meet at 10.30am outside the North Door (Palace Green) entrance of the Cathedral.

Leader: Brian Young is from the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Durham and a Volunteer Guide at Durham Cathedral.

12th
August
2016

Moths at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Moths at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Merveille du Jour © Andy Atkinson

Friday 12 August, 8.30pm – 10.15pm

Join the 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 (the moths are released afterwards). Gosforth Park has a range of common and rare woodland moths.

We recommend you bring sunglasses as the trapping light is bright, a torch and insect repellent.

Meet at the reserve entrance.

Accompanied children 8+ welcome.

4th
September
2016

Bats in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Bats in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Sunday 4 September, 7.45-9.15pm

Evening event starting around sunset and continuing until dark. There will be 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, Duabenton’s and Noctule.

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

Leader: Jonathan Pounder

Accompanied children 6+ welcome

9th
September
2016

Great Auk at the Hancock, Newcastle

Great Auk at the Hancock, Newcastle

Head of Hancock's specimen of the adult Great Auk © NHSN

Friday 9 September, 11 – 3.30pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

We are opening the doors of our prestigious Council Room in the Great North Museum: Hancock as part of the national Heritage Open Day weekend. Come and see some of our fascinating archive material, including manuscripts and artwork relating to the Society’s Great Auk collections, as well as two Great Auk specimens from our museum collection. This is a fantastic opportunity to see these rare extinct species which are not normally on display. You can also see the historic furnishings and paintings in the room and speak to the Society’s archivist, June Holmes.

Accompanied children 10+ welcome.

12th
September
2016

Bats in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve, Newcastle

Bats in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve, Newcastle

Monday 12 September, 7pm-9pm

Evening event starting around sunset and continuing until dark. There will be 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, Duabenton’s and Noctule.

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

Leader: Hazel Makepeace

25th
September
2016

Small Mammals in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Small Mammals in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Field Voles at Teeside © Chris Brown

Saturday 24 September, 10.30am-12.30pm

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

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

Leader: Veronica Carnell

Accompanied children 5+ welcome

3rd
October
2016

Permian Rocks of Durham

Permian Rocks of Durham

Mondays from 3 Oct, 10.30am-12.30pm.

Durham is famous for the variety of its Permian age rocks. On this 10-session course Derek Teasdale will help you explore desert dunes, fossil-rich marine fish-beds, reef limestones and much more as you learn about Durham’s geological story. 4 indoor sessions and 3 full outdoor days.

Indoor classes take place at the Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle NE2 4PT. Outdoor classes involve walking in the wider countryside (for further details click here).

Indoor classes will be on 3rd, 10th, 31st October and 14th Nov; Outdoors on 17th Oct, 7th and 21st Nov. No class during half-term week (24th Oct).

Cost: £85 (concessions £70).

5th
October
2016

Exploring the night sky

Exploring the night sky

Wednesdays from 5 October, 7pm-9pm.

Explore the night sky on this 7-week introduction to astronomy with Fred Stevenson. Learn how to identify stars, planets and moons and their seasonal movements with the naked eye, binoculars and telescopes. We will discuss the make up of our universe and the many exciting new discoveries being made by the latest generation of telescopes and spacecraft.

Classes take place on Newcastle University campus, close to the city centre.

Cost: £59 (concessions £49)

Course takes place on Newcastle University Campus in the Percy Building in room G13. For a map of the campus click here.

THIS COURSE IS NOW FULLY BOOKED

6th
October
2016

Autumn Birdwatching (Durham)

Autumn Birdwatching (Durham)

Red-flanked Bluetail by Brian Robson

Thursdays from 6 Oct, 10.30am-12.30pm.

Learn more about bird watching and how to better identify the birds you see. Keith Bowey, one of the region’s best known ornithologists, leads this 10 week course on the autumn birds of the North East and their habitats, with a focus on County Durham. There will be 5 field trips including migrants at Whitburn, Derwent Reservoir for wildfowl and Derwent Valley for woodland species.

Indoor classes will take place at Shakespeare Hall in Durham city. Outdoor classes involve walking in the wider countryside (for further details click here).

Cost: £85 (concessions £70).

THIS COURSE IS NOW FULLY BOOKED.

6th
October
2016

Autumn Birdwatching (Newcastle)

Autumn Birdwatching (Newcastle)

Brambling © Peter Fawcett

Thursdays from 6 October, 2pm-4pm.

Learn more about bird watching and how to better identify the birds you see. Keith Bowey, one of the region’s best known ornithologists, leads this 10 week course on the autumn birds of the North East and their habitats, with a focus on County Durham. There will be 5 field trips including migrants at Whitburn, Derwent Reservoir for wildfowl and Derwent Valley for woodland species.

Indoor classes take place at the Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle NE2 4PT. Outdoor classes involve walking in the wider countryside (for further details click here) and may be 1pm-3pm.

Cost: £85 (concessions £70).

THIS COURSE IS NOW FULLY BOOKED.

6th
October
2016

Permian Rocks of Durham

Permian Rocks of Durham

Thursdays from 6 Oct, 10.30am-12.30pm.

Durham is famous for the variety of its Permian age rocks. On this 10-session course Derek Teasdale will help you explore desert dunes, fossil-rich marine fish-beds, reef limestones and much more as you learn about Durham’s geological story. 4 indoor sessions and 3 full outdoor days.

Indoor classes take place at the Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle NE2 4PT. Outdoor classes involve walking in the wider countryside (for further details click here).

Indoor classes on 6th, 13th October, 3rd and 17th Nov; Outdoors on 20th Oct, 10th Nov and 24th Nov. No class during half-term week (27th Oct).

Cost: £85 (concessions £70).

7th
October
2016

Short-eared Owls - unravelling some of their secrets

Short-eared Owls - unravelling some of their secrets

Illustrated talk by John Calladine

Friday 7 October, 7-8pm.

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle, NE2 4PT

Short-eared Owls are a strong contender to be one of the most charismatic but least understood bird species in Britain. Still breeding quite extensively on our upland moorlands, they have undergone one of the most marked contractions in range of any bird in Britain over recent decades. Using information gained from studies ranging from extensive surveys to local autecological studies, the talk will explore what factors might be limiting the owls. It will be a case study of how citizen scientists are helping to unravel some of the secrets of this enigmatic bird.

John Calladine is Senior Research Ecologist with the British Trust for Ornithology in Scotland. His research interests include land management issues and how they influence bird conservation.

8th
October
2016

William Turner and tradition of natural history research in Northumberland

Saturday 8 October, 10am–12.30pm

Clore Suite, Great Northern Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

We are hosting a series of short talks and small exhibition about 16th century botanist William Turner, who was born in Morpeth. Guest speaker is Michael Chapman.

10.00: Museum doors open
10.15: Greetings and introduction: June Holmes & Marie Addyman
10.25- 11.10: “George Chapman, William Turner and A New Herball” by Michael Chapman
11.10-11.40: Coffee break and chance to examine archive materials
11.40-12.30: “William Turner and the tradition of natural research in Northumberland” by Marie Addyman
12.30: Close

Free, no booking required.

10th
October
2016

Animal Evolution

Animal Evolution

Mondays starting on 10 October. 2pm-4pm.

Learn how animals evolved from a few tiny marine creatures about 600 million years ago through to the amazingly diverse and complex forms of animal life on earth today, including us. This 10 week indoor course will be taught by Professor Wallace Arthur, author of Evolving Animals: The Story of Our Kingdom. It is aimed at anyone with an interest in how the animal kingdom evolved from its origin as a few tiny creatures in the marine realm more than half a billion years ago to its current splendour of more than a million species of animals inhabiting almost every environment on Earth.

The course will cover both evolutionary pattern – the issue of which animals are related to which other ones – and evolutionary process – the mechanisms through which evolution happens. We will look at most of the major groups of animals and fossils will also be considered – both how they form and the range of animal fossils that we have. Human evolution will be covered: we, after all, are as much a part of the animal kingdom as any of its other constituent species. And there will be a close look at a new approach to evolution (often nicknamed ‘evo-devo’) in which the development of an animal from a fertilized egg is central.

The course will be delivered in a conversational, interactive way, and with emphasis on general principles rather than technical details. We will have some fossils to look at in the classroom; and we can also make use of the displays in the Great North Museum: Hancock.

Classes take place in the Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle NE2 4PT.

Cost: £85 (concessions £70).

12th
October
2016

Northumbrian Botany

Northumbrian Botany

Wednesdays from 12 October, 10.30am-12.30pm (there will be a break over Christmas and the course will continue in 2017).

Janet Simkin leads this 20-session course to explore the rich variety of local habitats and their plants, from the coast to the North Pennines. We will concentrate on flowering plants, but ferns, lichens and bryophytes will get a look in as well and we will discuss aspects of plant biology, identification and ecology. There will be several all-day field trips to sites in Northumberland and Durham.

Indoor classes take place at the Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle NE2 4PT. Outdoor classes involve walking in the wider countryside (for further details click here).

Cost for 20 sessions: £159 (Concessions: £136)

THIS COURSE IS NOW FULLY BOOKED.

13th
October
2016

The Quaternary

The Quaternary

Thursdays from 13 October, 6.15-8.15pm (there will be a break over Christmas and the course will continue in 2017).

Dr Angus Lunn leads a 16-week journey through the last 2 million years. We will investigate the most significant climatic, geological and biological events of the Quaternary, with particular attention to northern England. The subject is so vast that the course itself continues to evolve and is suitable for new and previous students. Some knowledge about the subject is helpful but not essential.

Classes take place on Newcastle University Campus in the Percy Building in room G13. For a map of the campus click here.

Cost for 16 classes: £129 (concessions £105).

14th
October
2016

Northumbrian Botany

Northumbrian Botany

Northumberland meadow © NHSN

Fridays from 14 October, 10.30am-12.30pm (there will be a break over Christmas and the course will continue in 2017).

Janet Simkin leads this 20-session course to explore the rich variety of local habitats and their plants, from the coast to the North Pennines. We will concentrate on flowering plants, but ferns, lichens and bryophytes will get a look in as well and we will discuss aspects of plant biology, identification and ecology. There will be several all-day field trips to sites in Northumberland and Durham.

Indoor classes take place at the Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle NE2 4PT. Outdoor classes involve walking in the wider countryside (for further details click here).

Cost for 20 sessions: £159 (Concessions: £136)

THIS COURSE IS NOW FULLY BOOKED.

14th
October
2016

The impact of invasive species control on a declining mammal, the Red Squirrel

The impact of invasive species control on a declining mammal, the Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel © Terry Cavner

Illustrated talk by Deborah Brady

Friday 14 October, 7-8pm.

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle NE2 4PT.

The Red Squirrel population in the UK is in decline as the introduced Grey Squirrel population continues to expand. In the North East there is active culling of the invasive Grey Squirrel in order to prevent local extinction of Red Squirrels. Deborah is investigating the effect of this control on Red Squirrel populations, in particular her research is focusing on the use of a small woodland by Grey Squirrels prior to and during culling operations and subsequent recolonization by Red Squirrels.

Deborah Brady is a PhD candidate at Newcastle University, School of Biology.

15th
October
2016

An ode to Bewick, Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

An ode to Bewick, Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

Brown Hare by Thomas Bewick

Saturday 15 October, 1pm-3pm

Reading by local poet, Joanne Clement, illustrated with a special selection of Thomas Bewick prints from our archives.

Poetry and print lovers alike can delight in this opportunity to see the wood engravings of one of the North East’s greatest artists and hear new poems inspired by their legacy.

This event is part of the International Print Biennale. Free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book.

16th
October
2016

Deer rut at Raby Castle, County Durham

Deer rut at Raby Castle, County Durham

Sunday 16 October, 8.30am start

We are very lucky to have been offered an exclusive tour to watch deer rutting in the grounds of Raby Castle. The head gamekeeper will take us on a walking tour to see the deer, explaining their behaviour, history, environment and management. The park has both Red and Fallow Deer. Afterwards we will have refreshments in the tearoom and if there is enough interest a visit to the Castle, which will be closed to the public.

Cost is £15 for the deer tour and refreshments (hot sandwich and hot drink) and an additional £10 to visit the castle. To book your place please contact the Society Office.

21st
October
2016

The story of pollination: a bee for every blossom?

The story of pollination: a bee for every blossom?

Bee on flower by Florence Davis

Illustrated talk by Dr Rinke Vinkenoog

Friday 21 October, 7-8pm.

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle NE2 4PT.

Flowering plants emerged over a 100 million years ago, and have rapidly evolved into the rich variety of plants we see today. Part of the success story of the flowering plants was their co-evolution with flying insects which act as pollinators. However, pollination is not restricted to insects alone. In this talk, we will explore the multiple interactions between flowers and their pollinators. How well adapted are they to each other? Is the partnership between plant and pollinator very tight and specific, or is there room for flexibility? In this changing world, can we predict what will happen to the pollination of our wild flora and crop plants?

Rinke Vinkenoog hails from the Netherlands, where he developed his love for the natural world in the lowlands around Amsterdam. He is a senior lecturer at Northumbria University, with a keen interest in pollination.

24th
October
2016

Make Your Own Hedgehog House or Bird Box, Newcastle

Make Your Own Hedgehog House or Bird Box, Newcastle

Monday 24 October, 10.30am

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

Our Hedgehog population is in decline and they need our help. Make your own Hedgehog house (£6) to provide them with a safe place to sleep or hibernate and learn about these fascinating creatures. You can also make a bird box to give a bird a home (£3). This is a family event and all materials are provided but boxes and are limited to one per family on a first come, first served basis.

28th
October
2016

The changing Dales - an ecologist's view

The changing Dales - an ecologist's view

Yorkshire Dales by Emmanuel Giel

Illustrated talk by Professor John Lee

Friday 28 October, 7-8pm.

Lecture Theatre 1, Herschel Building, Newcastle University. Click for map.

To many visitors the Yorkshire Dales form an iconic and ageless landscape but there has been considerable change both in landscape and in animal and plant communities largely caused by human activities. The Dales have attracted naturalists for at least two centuries, but even during this comparatively short period in ecological terms, there has been considerable change. This talk examines some examples of these changes and looks to the future of the recently expanded National Park through the eyes of an ecologist.

John Lee is Emeritus Professor of Environmental Biology in the University of Sheffield, and a former President of both the British Ecological Society and the International Association for Ecology. He is also the author of the New Naturalist title Yorkshire Dales.

4th
November
2016

Animal and human microbial parasites: evolutionary and natural history perspectives

Animal and human microbial parasites: evolutionary and natural history perspectives

Greenfinch by Andreas Trepte

Illustrated talk by Professor Robert Hirt

Friday 4 November, 7-8pm.

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle NE2 4PT.

Animals, including humans, host a myriad of single cell species that have developed mutual relationships with their hosts. Many of these can induce pathologies and are typically referred to as parasites. In this talk Robert will discuss integrating the study of animal and human microbial parasites to gain insights into their biology and how human activities can disturb animal-parasite interactions. This will illustrate the importance of environmental and biological factors in determining the outcome of the relationship between host and parasite. In particular, he will talk about examples of parasites commonly found among birds, with dramatic impact on UK finch populations and also parasites common among insects, including UK pollinators.

Robert is Professor of Evolutionary Parasitology at Newcastle University and was previously a researcher at the Natural History Museum, London.

11th
November
2016

Antarctic glaciers and global warming – The view from space

Antarctic glaciers and global warming – The view from space

Ross Sea Glaciers

Illustrated talk by Professor Chris Stokes

Friday 11 November, 7-8pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle NE2 4PT.

Climate change – specifically ‘global warming’ – poses a major threat to the world’s glaciers, with potentially serious implications for hundreds of millions of people around the world who live in coastal areas. Antarctica hosts the largest mass of ice on the planet (27 million km3), which is enough to raise global sea level by almost 60 metres. Professor Stokes will provide an up-to-date and accessible overview of how global warming is affecting Antarctic glaciers, emphasising that although they are remote, they are having, and will continue to have, profound effects on human activity throughout the world.

Chris Stokes is a professor in the Department of Geography at Durham University. His research is focused on glaciers, and ranges from the monitoring of small mountain glaciers over the last few decades to large-scale reconstructions of ice sheets over tens of thousands of years.

13th
November
2016

Introduction to winter shorebirds, Boulmer, Northumberland

Introduction to winter shorebirds, Boulmer, Northumberland

Sunday 13 November, 10.45am-1pm

As high tide approaches, wading birds such as plovers, godwits, Redshank, Dunlin and Knot will be pushed towards the rocky shore at Boulmer. At this time of year they will be in winter plumage and James will give you some pointers on how to identify them. We will also look for other shorebirds such as Red-breasted Merganser. This will involve a circular walk of about 2 miles, some of it along rocky shore so wear walking boots or similar. Please bring binoculars or telescopes if you have them and dress for the weather.

Meet in the main car park near the beach in Boulmer. Grid ref NU265140 or postcode for Satnav NE66 3BN.

Leader: James Littlewood

16th
November
2016

Wildlife Video-Making for Beginners

Wildlife Video-Making for Beginners

Wednesdays from 16 November, 1-3pm

Learn how to use the video function on your camera to film wildlife and then learn how to edit it to create an interesting short wildlife film. David Noble-Rollin leads this practical 5 week course which includes 2 field trips to film wildlife. Click here for course programme and details.

Indoor classes take place at Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle NE2 4PT.

Cost: £43 (Concessions: £35)

18th
November
2016

Bryophytes - an appreciation of small things

Bryophytes - an appreciation of small things

By Kristian Peters

Illustrated talk by John O’Reilly

Friday 18 November, 7-8pm.

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle NE2 4PT.

What are bryophytes? What is their relationship to water? How do they reproduce? Where are they found? John will answer these and other questions, and will discuss bryophytes as habitat for other things. And he will expand on his appreciation of small things.

John O’Reilly is a freelance vegetation ecologist. He studies bryophytes both as a hobby and as part of his work.

25th
November
2016

Roosting together but foraging apart; The spatial and social dynamics of the Natterer’s Bat

Roosting together but foraging apart; The spatial and social dynamics of the Natterer’s Bat

By Armin Kübelbeck

CHANGE OF SPEAKER – DUE TO ILLNESS SIMONE IS UNFORTUNATELY NOT ABLE TO GIVE HER TALK THIS EVENING.  WE ARE VERY FORTUNATE THAT, AT VERY SHORT NOTICE, TINA WIFFEN HAS OFFERED TO STEP IN.  HER TALK WILL BE ABOUT BATS IN THE NORTH EAST.

Illustrated talk by Simone Mordue

Friday 25 November, 7-8pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle NE2 4PT.

Natterer’s Bats are typical of many British bats in that they participate in a variety of distinct seasonal communities and behaviours. In summer, adult females are thought to be loyal to their natal community/landscape where they rear their young. Individuals in communities are thought to constantly re-assort themselves across a network of roosts, although it is uncertain if these roosts are exclusive to one community or whether communities have key sites (e.g. social hubs). Their behaviour and social participation is largely unknown. Simone has been studying the spatial and social dynamics of one community of Natterer’s Bats in Northumberland to try and find out what is going on.

Simone Mordue is a PhD candidate at Newcastle University, School of Biology.

29th
November
2016

The Holly & The Ivy - A Natural History of Christmas

Tuesdays from 29 November, 2-4pm.

Discover the connections between wildlife, the natural world and the year’s biggest seasonal celebration with Keith Bowey. From the greenery you decorate your home with to the food you eat at Christmas this 4 week course (incl 2 seasonal walks starting 1.30pm) will take you deep into the natural origins of our Christmas customs and traditions and will shine a festive light on the darkest and most wonderful time of the year.

Indoor classes take place at the Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle NE2 4PT. Outdoor classes involve walking in the wider countryside (for further details click here).

Cost: £34 (concessions £28).

[This course is open to non-members].

2nd
December
2016

Cuckoo - cheating by nature

Cuckoo - cheating by nature

Cuckoo © Terry Cavner

Illustrated talk by Professor Nick Davies

Friday 2 December, 7-8pm.

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle NE2 4PT.

The sight of a little warbler or pipit feeding an enormous Cuckoo chick is astonishing. Why are the hosts apparently so stupid? In this talk Nick will show how field observations and experiments reveal a continuing evolutionary arms race between host defences and cuckoo trickery, which has led to remarkable egg signatures and forgeries and manipulative begging displays.

Nick Davies is Professor of Behavioural Ecology at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of the Royal Society. His Cuckoo research has been presented on BBC Radio 4, as a BBC film narrated by David Attenborough and published in his recent book “Cuckoo – Cheating by Nature”.

9th
December
2016

The glaciation of the Lake District

The glaciation of the Lake District

Lake District by Nessy-Pic

Illustrated talk by Dr Angus Lunn

Friday 9 December, 7-8pm.

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle NE2 4PT.

Yes, the Lake District of Cumbria is a text-book example of a glaciated mountain landscape, but recent research is revealing new interpretations of the ways in which repeated Quaternary glaciations have shaped the landscape and generated the sediments. It is also an iconic National Park (indeed it is where the very concept of national parks was first formulated, by Wordsworth). But how dare we call Great Gable, not even reaching 3,000 feet, a mountain? How has this benign illusion arisen?

Angus Lunn, retired from the University of Newcastle, has lectured on Quaternary geology and biology for many years, and enjoys the Lake District almost as much as his native Northumberland. He is the author of Northumberland in the New Naturalist series.

13th
January
2017

Managing the marine environment - Northumberland Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority

Managing the marine environment - Northumberland Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority

Illustrated talk by Vicky Rae

Friday 13 January, 7-8pm.

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle NE2 4PT.

Set up in October 2010 the Northumberland Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (NIFCA) aims to regulate and manage sea fisheries and the marine environment. Vicky is Environmental Officer for NIFCA and will outline the work that they do and some of the challenges of trying to manage our coastal waters, which includes research, fisheries patrols and enforcement at sea within the 6-mile nautical limit.

14th
January
2017

Introduction to Winter Tree Identification

Introduction to Winter Tree Identification

Would you like to learn how to identify the different trees found in our woodlands? The Reserve Warden, Paul Drummond, will lead you on a walk in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve and teach you how to tell the different tree species apart in winter.

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

16th
January
2017

Climate Change and Geology

Climate Change and Geology

** FULLY BOOKED **

Mondays from 16 January, 10.30am and Thursdays from 19 January, 10.30am

It is now agreed that humans are having a significant impact on climate, but what will the effects be?  How can the geological record help us prepare for an uncertain future? Will carbon capture technology offer a long-term remedy? Join Derek Teasdale for a 10-week introductory course exploring our current understanding of the Earth’s climate.

Cost: £85 (Concessions: £70).

18th
January
2017

Wildlife Digital Photography

Wildlife Digital Photography

Wednesdays 1pm-3pm from 18 January (with a break during April)

Learn how to take fantastic digital photographs of our amazing local wildlife.

Naturalist and photographer, David Noble-Rollin, leads this practical 20-week course aimed at those who have a digital camera but still tend to use it on the automatic settings and would like to take better photographs and improve their wildlife photography techniques. Includes 10 field sessions. Click here for full course programme.

Cost for 20-sessions: £159 (concessions £136).

 

19th
January
2017

Winter Birdwatching

Winter Birdwatching

** FULLY BOOKED **

Thursdays from 19 Jan, 10.30am (Durham) or 2pm (Newcastle)

Learn more about bird watching and how to better identify the birds you see. Keith Bowey leads this 10-week course on the birds of the North East and their habitats, with a focus on County Durham. There will be 5 field trips including Teesmouth, Rainton Meadows, Derwent Valley and South Shields.

Cost: £85 (Concessions: £70)

20th
January
2017

The dark side of street lighting: the importance of moths as pollinators, and the effects of artificial light at night

The dark side of street lighting: the importance of moths as pollinators, and the effects of artificial light at night

Illustrated talk by Callum Macgregor

Friday 20 January, 7-8pm.

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle NE2 4PT.

Callum’s work has received a great deal of media interest recently. He will show evidence that moths are important pollinators and give some background on the effects of artificial light on moths and other species, including humans. He will talk about his research showing how street lights can affect moths and pollination including some discussion of what we can do to reduce the impacts of street lights.

Callum Macgregor is in the final stages of completing his Phd in the School of Biology at Newcastle University.  Last summer he gave a media commentary on the moths landing on Christiano Ronaldo in the European Cup football final!

22nd
January
2017

Red Kite Roost, Derwent Valley, Gateshead

Red Kite Roost, Derwent Valley, Gateshead

Sunday 22 January, 2.30pm-5pm

On Winter afternoons Red Kites flock together to roost, sometimes making a spectacular sight. Following their reintroduction to the North East, there is now a roost in the Derwent Valley. The Friends of Red Kites have kindly offered us the opportunity to join them in an easy 1/2 mile walk to the viewing point and then watching the birds come in to roost. They will also explain about the birds’ behaviour and the reintroduction plan so far. The walk back will take place at dusk and so we recommend that as well as warm clothes you also bring a torch. You may also wish to bring a flask of hot drink and snacks.

Meet in the free car park signposted on the A694 at Winlaton Mill, if you are travelling from Newcastle direction the car park is on the left (Grid ref NZ187609). Postcode for Satnav NE21 6RU.

27th
January
2017

Fracked or fiction – what does the science tell us about the environmental impact?

Fracked or fiction – what does the science tell us about the environmental impact?

Illustrated talk by Professor Richard Davies

Friday 27 January, 7-8pm.

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle NE2 4PT.

Fracking has been an issue of public concern since the first attempted fracking operation in Lancashire in 2011. In this talk, Richard will introduce the subject of hydraulic fracturing: How is fracking conducted? What is the current state of the UK fracking industry? Why is fracking a controversial issue? He will also summarise some of the research being conducted by the ReFINE consortium, addressing concerns such as:

  • Well integrity and the issue of abandoned wells
  • The extent of hydraulic fractures and the potential for aquifer contamination
  • The potential for fracking to trigger earthquakes, and the history of induced seismicity in the UK
  • Fugitive emissions of gas from oil and gas infrastructure

Richard Davies is Professor of geo-energy at Newcastle University, having previously been Director of the Durham Energy Institute at Durham University. He has been working on hydraulic fracturing for the last ten years. Since 2013 Richard has led the ReFINE consortium which focuses on researching the environmental and social impacts of shale gas development.

3rd
February
2017

Curlew Recovery Programme

Curlew Recovery Programme

Illustrated talk by Sarah Sanders

Friday 3 February, 7-8pm.

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle NE2 4PT.

The Curlew is an iconic species of our uplands and coastal estuaries. Its familiar ‘curloo-curloo’ call has inspired music, poetry and literature for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, the Curlew has declined dramatically since the mid-1990s and is in urgent need of conservation. As the UK is the third most important country in the world for the breeding population we have a global responsibility to take action. The Curlew Recovery Programme looks to improve the conservation prospects for this species. In this talk we will learn about the Curlew and the Programme, which aims to better understand the land management practices required to reverse Curlew population declines and to adopt a no regrets approach to Curlew recovery across the RSPB.

Sarah is the Curlew Recovery Programme Manager for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, based from their Newcastle office. Her interest is working with people and partners in the UK and around the world to save nature.

 

8th
February
2017

Recent Developments in Astronomy

Recent Developments in Astronomy

Wednesdays from 8 Feb, 7pm

Thanks to a new generation of telescopes and from spacecraft visiting planets, asteroids and comets hardly a day passes without a new astronomical discovery making the headlines. In this 7-week course, Fred Stephenson will discuss the many exciting discoveries being made and the unique insight they give us into our place in the universe. No previous knowledge required.

Cost: £59 (Concessions: £49)

10th
February
2017

Mara Mammals – up close

Mara Mammals – up close

Illustrated talk by Alan Hewitt

Friday 10 February, 7-8pm.

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle NE2 4PT.

Alan is a freelance professional wildlife photographer and writer, acting as one of our judges in the NE Wildlife Photography competition. In his “spare time” he acts as a safari guide in Africa and brings some of his experiences to life in his talk, illustrated by his own images of African wildlife. He will reflect on the “ethical side” of safari tourism  and has promised that there may be the odd photo of a lion.

17th
February
2017

Genetic insights into plant diversity

Genetic insights into plant diversity

Illustrated talk by Professor Pete Hollingsworth

Friday 17 February, 7-8pm.

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle NE2 4PT.

Telling species apart can be difficult.  Some species look similar but aren’t, and sometimes closely related individuals can look different. Furthermore some plant groups and some areas of the planet have simply had inadequate attention to characterise the diversity they contain. Using examples from the UK and elsewhere, Professor Hollingsworth will summarise how DNA data is helping tell plant species apart. He will also give an overview of the International Barcode of Life project: a large-scale international initiative building a DNA reference library of life on earth.

Pete Hollingsworth is Director of Science at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. (Although advertised this talk was postponed last year because of illness.)

21st
February
2017

Make Your Own Hedgehog House or Bird Box, Newcastle

Make Your Own Hedgehog House or Bird Box, Newcastle

Tuesday 21 February, 10.30am

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

Our Hedgehog population is in decline and they need our help. Make your own Hedgehog house (£6) to provide them with a safe place to sleep or hibernate and learn about these fascinating creatures. You can also make a bird box to give a bird a home (£4).

This is a family event and all materials are provided but boxes are limited to one per family on a first come, first served basis whilst stocks last.

23rd
February
2017

What did the Owl eat?

What did the Owl eat?

Thursday 23 February, 1pm-3pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

To coincide with the Great North Museum: Hancock’s bone-themed exhibition, we are running this half term family friendly activity which involves dissecting owl pellets and looking for bones – and then with the help of our expert, Don Griss, seeing if you can tell from the bones which creatures the owls have been eating. A fun way to learn about the food chain and animal skeletons.

Free (first come, first served until we run out of pellets!).

24th
February
2017

Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea - on top of a Mountain: The Cyprus Ophiolite

Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea - on top of a Mountain: The Cyprus Ophiolite

Illustrated talk by Dr Paul Williams

Friday 24 February, 7-8pm.

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle NE2 4PT.

The Cyprus Ophiolite represents a section of Oceanic Lithosphere generated at abyssal depth on the Late Cretaceous Tethyan Ocean floor, but is now preserved on land at an altitude of around 2000m in the Troodos Mountains, Cyprus. This talk looks at the geology of the ophiolite set amidst amazing scenery, and which unlike many of the world’s major ophiolites has not suffered from any major tectonic dislocation, presenting an almost in-tact section through the oceanic crust. Its origins and formation will be discussed and the history of research outlined, following the development from early ideas about a layered igneous body up to the recognition of the igneous complex as a section of oceanic lithosphere, results which have modified our thinking on many of the world’s ophiolite bodies. The Cyprus Ophiolite has thus ground-breaking significance in the development of our understanding of many of the Earth’s plate-tectonic processes.

Dr Paul Williams is retired from the Department of Earth and Environmental Science at The Open University.

3rd
March
2017

Arctic Terns on the Farne Islands: why are they here and what do they get up to when

Arctic Terns on the Farne Islands: why are they here and what do they get up to when

Illustrated talk by Dr Chris Redfern

Friday 3 March, 7-8pm.

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle NE2 4PT.

Around 6,000 pairs of this charismatic seabird nest on the Northumberland coast. Arctic Terns have been ringed on the Farne Islands for many years, and Chris has been studying their breeding biology on Northumberland’s islands since 1995. With the increasing miniaturisation of electronic dataloggers, it is now possible to fit lightweight devices to birds allowing us to study aspects of their behaviour in the non-breeding season. In this talk, he will describe some of the findings from fitting geolocators to Farnes Arctic Terns and what this is telling us about their migration routes and behaviour in their Antarctic summer.

Dr Chris Redfern is based at Newcastle University and leads the Society’s bird ringing and seabird research.

7th
March
2017

Tour of the Great North Museum: Hancock Collections - world treasures

Tour of the Great North Museum: Hancock Collections - world treasures

Tuesday 7 March, 11am-12pm

Discovery Museum, Newcastle.

The Natural History Society of Northumbria has a 1/2 million items in its collections from Dodo bones to Egyptian mummies. Some of these are on display in the Great North Museum: Hancock but most are held in special stores in the basement of Newcastle’s Discovery Museum. This is a fantastic opportunity to see material that is not on display and to learn about the items and their care first hand.

Andrew Parkin will explore our treasure trove of amazing objects from around the world such as headhunters swords from Borneo, opium pipes from China and sharks teeth swords from Kirabati.

This tour is free but you must book in advance as numbers are limited. To book places please contact the Society Office 0191 208 2790 or nhsn@ncl.ac.uk

8th
March
2017

Fossil Collections Tour, Newcastle

Fossil Collections Tour, Newcastle

Wednesday 8 March, 2pm-3pm  SORRY -NOW FULLY BOOKED

Discovery Museum, Newcastle

Sylvia Humphrey is the curator of the Natural History Society of Northumbria’s geology collections, the majority of which are held in special stores in the basement of the Discovery Museum in Newcastle. This is a fantastic opportunity to see some of the fossils that have come to us via notable 19th century collectors such as William Hutton and Thomas Atthey. We will see examples of a variety of fossils, including fish and plants.

Free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book: nhsn@ncl.ac.uk or 0191 208 2790.

9th
March
2017

Rare, Extinct and Unusual Specimens - Collections Tour

Thursday 9 March, 2pm-3.30pm. SORRY – NOW FULLY BOOKED

A tour of the Natural History Society of Northumbria’s rare species collection at the Discovery Museum, Newcastle.

The Natural History Society of Northumbria is fortunate to have some amazing items in our collections. Passenger Pigeon, Slender-billed Curlew, Great Auk and Hawaiian Crow are just some of the rare and extinct specimens that are kept in storage in the basement of the Discovery Museum in Newcastle. Dan Gordon is the curator of the biology stores and he has kindly agreed to lead a tour based on some of our rare, extinct and unusual items. This will cover birds and mammals and include taxidermy, skins, bones and eggs and the fascinating stories behind them.

Free but booking is required to manage numbers. Please contact the Society Office to book: nhsn@ncl.ac.uk or 0191 208 2790.

10th
March
2017

Thomas Bewick and his dogs

Thomas Bewick and his dogs

Illustrated talk by Dr Leslie Jessop

Friday 10 March, 7-8pm.

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle NE2 4PT.

Dogs are some of the most lively and lifelike of Bewick’s illustrations of quadrupeds. Not only the portraits of the different varieties but also the various scenes of activity. In this talk we will take a look at Quadrupeds and other books illustrated by Bewick and marvel at the felicity of his depictions. The Society has one of the most important collections of Thomas Bewick illustrations in our library and archives and this is a great opportunity to showcase them to members.

Les Jessop is the Society’s Honorary Librarian who has an interest in the Society’s historic collections.

(Please note that due to ill health this is a change to the previously advertised talk by William Hale about Cannon Henry Baker Tristram)

11th
March
2017

Birds of Kielder Forest

Birds of Kielder Forest

Saturday 11 March, 9.30am – 2pm, with Martin Davison. SORRY- NOW FULLY BOOKED

Weather permitting, early March is a good time to look for some of the specialist bird species found in our upland coniferous forests, in particular Goshawk and Crossbill. We will also keep our eye out for Red Squirrel. This will involve a gentle walk of several miles along forest tracks.

Martin Davison is an expert on the birds of Kielder.

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

17th
March
2017

The wildlife and habitats of the North Pennines

The wildlife and habitats of the North Pennines

Illustrated talk by Rebecca Barrett

Friday 17 March, 7-8pm.

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle NE2 4PT.

This talk will introduce the range of habitats found in the North Pennines, the very special plants and other wildlife associated with them and some of the people and projects involved with their management.

Rebecca has been involved in land management and nature conservation in the North Pennines since 1995.  She has worked for the North Pennines AONB Partnership since 2004 and prior to that for the RSPB.

 

10th
April
2017

Discovering Animal Bones

Discovering Animal Bones

Monday 10 April, 10.30 – 12.30

As part of school holiday activities, pop into the learning zone of the Bones exhibition for an opportunity to discover more about the wonder of animal skeletons with Clare and Suzanne.

Free drop-in family friendly session at the Great North Museum: Hancock.

12th
April
2017

Intertidal Rocky Shore Survey

Intertidal Rocky Shore Survey

Wednesday 12 April, 9.30am – 12.30pm

An introduction to Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s (NWT) Shoresearch survey, transect surveys for a list of species; common, climate change indicators and invasive, on the rocky shore. The survey will be carried out at NWT’s Cresswell Foreshore Nature Reserve at the southern end of Druridge Bay with Aurelie Bohan. The survey will contribute towards data collection within the Coquet to St Mary’s Marine Conservation Zone. Wear wellies and appropriate clothes for the weather.

Booking required via the Society Office on 0191 208 2790. Meet – Cresswell Foreshore, NZ294935, NE61 5LD.

18th
April
2017

Newcastle City Centre Bat Walk

Newcastle City Centre Bat Walk

Tuesday 18 April, 7.30pm – 9.30pm

Join Hazel Makepeace at a new city centre venue for a short talk on bat ecology then a walk to Exhibition Park lake and Leazes Park to watch and hear bats foraging over water bodies. Northumberland Bat Group members will help to identify what bats we are seeing.  Easy walking on mostly tarmac paths.

Booking required via the Society Office on 0191 208 2790.

21st
April
2017

Badger Watches at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Friday 21 April, Wednesday 26 April,  Saturday 29 April, Wednesday 3 May at 7pm

Our evening vigil with Paul Drummond/Bob Wilkin starts with a talk about Badgers. We will then examine badger paths, prints, etc before viewing the sett, and with luck Badgers. You will need to be prepared to sit quietly outdoors for 2 hours or more and to cope with wind, rain, cold, biting insects and muddy paths!

Unfortunately all our badger watches are fully booked.

22nd
April
2017

Invertebrate Identification for Beginners  

Invertebrate Identification for Beginners  

Saturday  22 April, 10am-4pm

This introductory workshop run by the North Pennines AONB Partnership, delivered by Dr Gordon Port, will offer an overview of insects and look at how the different orders can be identified, based on body form. This will give you a chance to refresh your understanding of invertebrates and possible approaches for identification according to taxon group. Guidance on field techniques appropriate to habitat and species of interest will also be offered. The afternoon will offer a range of sessions including finding and identifying invertebrates in the context of site surveys (i.e. use of pitfall traps), field studies with youth groups (what species level to aim for depending on your group) and considerations for specimen collecting (when this is appropriate).

This workshop is suited to amateur naturalists, teachers, youth leaders and anyone interested in recording invertebrates who are at a beginner level. At the Old Schoolhouse, Allenheads, Northumberland.

This workshop is free, please book online at www.northpennines.org.uk/events

25th
April
2017

Spring Birds at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Spring Birds at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Tuesday 25 April, 10am

A morning walk led by Society Member and local birder Philip Jordan, looking and listening for spring birds.  We hope to find spring migrants in the woodland and wetlands of the nature reserve such as Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Grasshopper Warbler, Sand Martin and Common Tern.

This event is free, meet at the reserve entrance. Paths may be muddy, please wear suitable footwear.

27th
April
2017

Summer Birdwatching (Newcastle based)

Summer Birdwatching (Newcastle based)

 

Thursdays from 27 April, 2pm – 4.0pm

Great North Museum: Hancock + Field Outings

Learn more about bird watching and how to better identify the birds you see. Keith Bowey, one of the region’s best known ornithologists, leads this 10 session course to introduce you to the birds of the North East and their habitats, with a focus on County Durham in summer. There will be 5 field trips.

Cost: £85 (Concessions: £70)

 

27th
April
2017

Summer Birdwatching (Durham based)

Summer Birdwatching (Durham based)

Thursdays from 27 April, 10.30am-12.30pm.

Shakespeare Hall (Durham City Centre) + Field Outings

Learn more about bird watching and how to better identify the birds you see. Keith Bowey, one of the region’s best known ornithologists, leads this 10 session course to introduce you to the birds of the North East and their habitats, with a focus on County Durham in summer. There will be 5 field trips

Cost: £85 (Concessions: £70)

28th
April
2017

Sunderland Geology Store and Gallery

Sunderland Geology Store and Gallery

Friday 28 April, 2 – 4 pm

Join curator Sylvia Humphrey to discover a range of Permian and Carboniferous fossils, fish, plants, vertebrates and invertebrates, including rare gliding reptile fossil.  Minerals from the North Pennines and elsewhere.  Concretionary Limestone (‘cannonball rock’).

Sorry but this event is not suitable for young children, older children must be accompanied by an adult.

Free event, meet Sunderland Museum, Burdon Road, Sunderland, SR1 1PP.

28th
April
2017

Bones: After Hours Talks

Bones: After Hours Talks

Friday 28 April 5.30 – 7.30pm

Unfortunately this event has been cancelled.

 

7th
May
2017

Mega-Scale Glacial Lineations in Mid-Northumberland

Mega-Scale Glacial Lineations in Mid-Northumberland

Sun 7th May 2017, 10am  – 3.30pm

The movement of glacier ice across Northumberland during the Quaternary has both eroded bedrock weaknesses where they exist, and deposited extensive drumlin fields.  The interaction of the bedrock geology and ice flow direction created a continuum of landforms.  These range in size from small scratches on rock surfaces, to Mega-Scale Glacial Lineations, up to 10s of km in length.  These landforms can be interpreted to tell us about the retreat of ice some 20 to 14 thousand years ago.

Join Derek Teasdale for this full-day trip which begins by examining the largest terminal moraine of the inland ice at Kirkley Hall.  In the afternoon, we will undertake a car-based journey, in an up-ice direction, to examine glacial landforms, before finishing near Kirkwelpington, Northumberland.  Bring a packed lunch.  Walking will be along country paths, across fields and over stiles. This is a joint field meeting with North Eastern Geological Society.

Meet at 10.00 am at Kirkley Hall, Ponteland,​​ Northumberland, NE20 0AQ.  The car park is free, with a cafe and toilets available.

10th
May
2017

Society Wildlife Watching Holiday - Catalonia & Eastern Pyrenees

Society Wildlife Watching Holiday - Catalonia & Eastern Pyrenees

Wednesday 26 April to Wednesday 3 May 2017.

Wednesday 10 May to Wednesday 17 May 2017 (fully booked).

A week-long Society holiday of birdwatching and botanical walks and excursions from the plains to the stunning snow-capped pinnacles of the high Pyrenees. This tour will offer us a chance to explore a wide range of habitats including lowland wetlands, dry steppe, rocky crags and hidden river valleys and high mountains and is being organised in partnership with NatureTrek.

Based firstly at the monastery of Santa Maria de Bellpuig, near les Avellanes, and then Espot in the Pyrenees, with excursions to surrounding areas. Highlights are numerous but include: Little Bustard, Bee-eater, Black Wheatear, Lammergeier, several eagle species, Black Woodpecker, Squacco Heron and Alpine Accentor. Wonderful spring flowers including alpine specialities. Reptiles, butterflies & other insects. Direct flights from/to Newcastle. Price of £1,410pp (£140 single sup) includes accommodation, food, flights and guides. Click here for the full itinerary, details and how to book your place.

10th
May
2017

Mammals of Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Mammals of Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Roe deer fawn, GPNR © Colin Waite

Wednesday 10 May, evening walk

An evening walk with Bob Wilkin around the nature reserve looking for mammal tracks and signs.  If we are lucky, and quiet, mammals may be seen.

Limited places, booking required via the Society Office on 0191 208 2790.

12th
May
2017

Spring Birds and Birdwatching - Residential

Spring Birds and Birdwatching - Residential

*** Unfortunately our Spring Residential has been cancelled due to low numbers ***

Spring is one of the most exciting times of the year to be birdwatching and where better to do this than the beautiful Derwent valley. This is the Society’s first residential course and using classroom sessions and ‘in the field’ activities it will explore spring bird themes and the cacophonous splendour of springtime woodlands. Target species will include red kite as well as a wide range of woodland birds and wetland warblers.

This two-night residential (5pm on Friday 12th May until 4pm on Sunday 14th May) will deliver the equivalent of a ten session, mid-week course over a seasonally themed weekend. It has been developed in response to demand from members who are unable to attend the existing programme of courses.

By its very nature this course will be ‘immersive’; participants will be birdwatching, learning and eating together. Accommodation comprises ‘superior hostel’ standard spilt between a a number of double-rooms and one small dormitory, set in a beautiful location at Kites’ Rise, Rowlands Gill. Full details to be provided on booking.

Cost £210 per head for Society members, includes accommodation and all catering (excluding Saturday evening meal). Non-refundable deposit of £40.

12th
May
2017

Bones: After Hours Talks 

Bones: After Hours Talks 

Friday 12 May 5.30 – 7.30pm

Unfortunately this event has been cancelled.

 

15th
May
2017

My Favourite Northumbrian Places

My Favourite Northumbrian Places

Monday 15th May 2017 – 10.30 am or Thursday 18th May 2017 – 10.30 am

4 indoor sessions and 3 full day field-trips.

Join Derek Teasdale as he visits some of his favourite geological sites in Northumberland.  Highlights will include: the sublime Northumberland coast between Howick Bay and Cullernose Point; the Fell Sandstone ridge at Bowden Doors in North Northumberland, with its stunning views of the Cheviot Hills; and a day out to Rothbury.  Learn about the geology of Northumberland, whilst having a grand day out (ice creams optional).

Booking required via Society Office. Price £85, concessions £70.

 

19th
May
2017

A Tour of the Great North Museum: Hancock

A Tour of the Great North Museum: Hancock

Friday 19 May, 2.00pm

An afternoon tour with Peter Davis exploring the fascinating history of the Great North Museum:Hancock, with a chance to hear about some of the most important natural history specimens that are on display.  Where did these specimens come from, how and when were they collected and who collected them? Why are they considered to be so significant even today? The geographical range of the specimens collected is of particular interest – why do we have early material from Australia, Egypt and Iceland? Who were the amazing people who despite the hardships of travel, spent their time and money making collections of birds, insects and fossil reptiles? Peter was previously Deputy Curator of the museum and has a keen interested in the stories and personalities associated with specific museum specimens.

Free event, no booking required.

20th
May
2017

Bird Song at Thornley Woods

Bird Song at Thornley Woods

Willow Warbler, Seaton Delaval © Olive Taylor

Saturday 20 May, 7.30am – 9.30am

An early morning visit to Thornley Woods with David Noble-Rollin to hear and try to learn the songs of woodland and riverine species, all warblers present, an especially good site for distinguishing Blackcap and Garden Warbler.

Free event, no booking required. Meet at the Visitor Centre, Rowlands Gill NE39 1AU.

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

Wildlife Sketching

Wildlife Sketching

Saturday 1st July, 2 – 5 pm

“Did you ever fancy sketching to enhance a field notebook or start a journal of wildlife encounters? Aimed at nature enthusiasts, botanists and birders, this sketching session by the seashore with John Steele, will encourage everyone to “see” rather than just “view” a subject and help develop personal observation skills.”

Participants will need a sketch book and a soft 2B pencil, boots and waterproofs. An umbrella may be helpful if weather is changeable.

Booking necessary via Society Office on 0191 2082790. Price £10, concessions £8.

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

Cheviot Hills

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.

12th
September
2017

Birds of the North East

Birds of the North East

Course Tutor David Noble-Rollin

NB: BOTH THE MORNING AND AFTERNOON BIRDS OF THE NORTH EAST COURSES ARE NOW FULLY BOOKED.
There are still spaces available our other bird watching courses.

Tuesdays starting 12 September 2017, 10:15 or 13.00

This 20-week course will cover the identification of species in the area including their winter call notes. Particular emphasis will be given to the study of migration The indoor meetings will be used to prepare for each visit with extensive use of videos, sound recordings and diagrams to help in the learning of identification and behaviour patterns. Each indoor session will include a particular topic or species that will be dealt with in detail.
Led by expert ornithologist, David Noble-Rollin

Cost: £162 (concessions £139)

14th
September
2017

Druridge Bay Country Park Bat Walk

Nathusius pipistrelle (Pipistrellus nathusii)

Thursday 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. Meet at Reserve entrance, no need to book.

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.

28th
September
2017

Autumn Birdwatching

Autumn Birdwatching

Thursday mornings starting 28 September 2017, 10.30 – 12.30 (Durham).
Thursday afternoons starting 28 September 2017, 14:00 – 16:00 (Newcastle)

This ten-week course offers you the chance to learn more about bird watching and better identify the birds you see, with a seasonal autumn theme. The course will cover a variety of topics, all of which are designed to bring you greater enjoyment and understanding from watching birds in their habitats. Led by one of the region’s best-known ornithologists,
Keith Bowey.

The indoor and outdoor sessions will alternate, with five indoor sessions and five outdoor
field trips over each ten-week course. Field trips will include visits to Whitburn Steel,
Hartlepool Headland and the Derwent Reservoir. Indoor classes take place in
Durham (mornings) or Newcastle (afternoons).

Cost £88 (concessions £72)

2nd
October
2017

Three Pennine Rivers: Geology and Industry

Three Pennine Rivers: Geology and Industry

Course Tutor Derek Teasdale

NB: THE MONDAY OPTION FOR THIS COURSE IS NOW FULLY BOOKED. PLACES ARE STILL AVAILABLE ON THE THURSDAY OPTION

Mondays starting 2 October 2017, 10.30. Thursdays starting 5 October 2017, 10.30.

Join Derek Teasdale on a field-based course to look at the landscape, geology and industries associated with the Allen, Wear and Derwent Rivers. We will visit Carboniferous outcrops in the Allenbanks / Staward and Derwent Gorges, quarries in the Frosterley Marble and
Great Limestone, and explore the beginnings of the iron and steel industry in Consett.
Three outdoor field days and four indoor session

Cost:£88 (concessions £72)

4th
October
2017

Northumbrian Botany

Northumbrian Botany

Course tutor Janet Simkin

NB: THE FRIDAY NORTHUMBRIAN BOTANY COURSE IS NOW FULLY BOOKED.
There are still spaces available on the Wednesday option.

Wednesdays starting 4 October 2017, 10:30. Fridays starting 6 October 2017, 10:30.

Explore the fascinating world of plants, their identification and ecology in this course on botany with a local flavour, led by Dr Janet Simkin. 20 sessions including several full day field trips.

 Cost: £162 (concessions £139)

4th
October
2017

From Newcastle to the Stars and Beyond

From Newcastle to the Stars and Beyond

Wednesday evenings starting 4 October 2017, 19:00, for 7 weeks.

For the first time in history we know that there are planets similar to Earth orbiting stars beyond our solar system. Led by Fred Stevenson, we will consider how these extraordinary discoveries are changing our views as to the possibility of life existing beyond Earth.
Other recent developments in astronomy will also be considered – from the space probes currently exploring our solar system to observations of the very distant universe using the world’s largest telescopes. We will take a journey from here to the farthest objects in the universe and see what they can tell us about the origins of both the universe and ourselves.

If weather permits, a practical observing session will be arranged at some point during the course. No previous knowledge or experience of astronomy is required.

Cost: £60 (concessions £50)

4th
October
2017

Wildlife Video Course for Beginners

Wildlife Video Course for Beginners

Course Tutor David Noble-Rollin

Wednesday afternoons starting 4 October 2017, 13.00

This six-week course with David Noble-Rollin is aimed at people who have a digital camera with HD video facility, but have yet to explore this exciting and useful part of their camera.
The course will show participants how to take video and then edit it into a reasonable and interesting short film. The course will consist of techniques for capturing video and editing the results.

There will be two demonstrations of capture techniques and editing, two field meetings to shoot video, a practical editing session and end of course showing of the results. David Noble-Rollin has been teaching courses on digital photography for the Society for the last five years and has been enthusiastically making short videos for over 10 years on everything from birds to insects.

Cost £44 (concessions £36)

6th
October
2017

Bucking the Trend on Coquet Island

Bucking the Trend on Coquet Island

Roseate Tern

Friday 6 October 2017, 19:00.  Newcastle University – Ridley Building, Lecture Hall RIDB2.1.65

Coquet Island is an important seabird colony off the Northumberland coast which is home to the UK’s only substantial colony of Roseate Terns, and the numbers of pairs breeding there has increased steadily over recent years. Join Paul Morrison, RSPB warden for Coquet Island, to hear about the way in which the island is managed for breeding seabirds.

10th
October
2017

An Introduction to Bird Watching

An Introduction to Bird Watching

Hop, Skip and a Jump: Grey Heron ©Terry Cavner

Tuesday mornings starting 10 October 2017, 10:00 – 12:00 – first session is a full day with a field trip in the afternoon. Packed lunch recommended.

This eight-week course aims to engage the less experienced birdwatcher or the absolute beginner who wants to learn more to enjoy and understand their birdwatching. Led by
Keith Bowey, one of the region’s best-known ornithologists.

The classroom sessions (held at Blaydon Youth & Community Centre) will provide participants with background knowledge about birds and birdwatching. They will include:

·         using and choosing binoculars, buying field guides and other equipment

·         bodies, bits and biology: what makes a bird ‘a bird’

·         from wildfowl to warblers: an introduction to the main bird groups

·         basic field craft for better birdwatching; and, of course,

·         ways to identify the birds you see

On the four 3-hour field trips, participants will visit a range of bird-rich habitats, including wetlands, woodlands, coastline and upland, to build on their developing skills. Most of the field trips
will be in relatively easy travelling distances of Tyneside.

Cost £65 (concessions £55)

12th
October
2017

The Quaternary

The Quaternary

Course Tutor Angus Lunn

Thursday evenings starting 12 October, 18:00

Dr Angus Lunn leads a 16-week journey through the last 2 million years. Students will investigate the most significant climatic, geological and biological events of the Quaternary,
with particular attention to northern England. The subject is so vast that the course itself continues to evolve and is suitable for new and previous students. Some knowledge about
the subject is helpful but not essential.

Cost: £132 (concessions £107)

13th
October
2017

Back from the Brink – Pine Marten in Northumberland

Back from the Brink – Pine Marten in Northumberland

Pine Marten

Friday 13 October 2017, 19:00.  Newcastle University – Ridley Building, Lecture Hall RIDB2.1.65

In the ancient wildwoods that once blanketed much of Britain, the pine marten was one of our most common carnivores. Today the story is rather different.

This talk by Kevin O’Hara will focus on the history and future of the pine marten in northern Britain, and will explain what the future plans for the species are and how people can be involved and help. Kevin is the project officer within the Back from the Brink programme, Vincent Wildlife Trust, which aims to pave the way for the recovery of the pine marten in northern England.

14th
October
2017

The English Renaissance Herbal and its European Antecedents

The English Renaissance Herbal and its European Antecedents

Turner’s Illustration of the Mandrage or Mandrake

Saturday 14 October, 10:30 – 13:00, in the Clore Suite at the Great North Museum: Hancock.

William Turner (1508-1568) is often referred to as the ‘Father of English Botany’ and his major publication A New Herball (1551-1568) is considered to be the first herbal in English to give accurate descriptions of the plants listed as well as their medical uses. But although Turner radically modified the English herbal, he did not invent the genre.

Using resources housed in the Society’s Library and from the speaker’s personal collection, this lecture and exhibition looks at the centuries of European and English precedents which Turner had available, and glances briefly at the herbal in the hundred years after his death.

Local historian Dr Marie Addyman is the foremost expert on William Turner.

15th
October
2017

Autumn Bird Migration on Holy Island

Autumn Bird Migration on Holy Island

Turnstones © Peter Fawcett

Sunday 15 October 2017, 9:45 – 15:30

An opportunity to experience the autumn bird migration at this key Northumberland coastal site, looking for passerines, waders and wildfowl. Led by Graham Bell, founder and Chairman of North Northumberland Bird Club, who retired after thirty years of service and is now Honorary President.

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

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. Training provided, please bring your own spade if you have one.

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.

3rd
January
2018

Wednesday Work Parties

Wednesday Work Parties

Wednesday 03 January will be the first of the Wednesday morning work parties for 2018. 10:00am – 1:00pm.
Everyone welcome, tools and training provided.
Meet at the Reserve entrance at 10am.

At the reserve, there are always more tasks than there are people to do them. Each week, a handful of volunteers work for a few hours to make the reserve a better place for everyone, including wildlife! Tasks include:

  • building new boardwalks to increase accessibility
  • improving the hides for greater comfort and bird-watching potential
  • woodland management
  • removal of invasive species to support and conserve our local species.

There is something to do for members of all ages and abilities, and every little bit helps to ensure the short, medium and long-term success of our beautiful nature reserve. Whether you would like an opportunity to get active, to pick up new skills, meet new people, or add something to your CV, we need you at the reserve.

Training (and biscuits) will be provided, please wear sensible clothing and footwear.

12th
January
2018

Northumberland's Secret Seas

Northumberland's Secret Seas

Grey Seal, Farne Islands © Sven Roden

Friday 12 January, 7pm.  Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

Discovering the mysterious underwater world off the Northumberland coast, this talk by Ben Burville will focus on the behaviour of grey seals and white beaked dolphin. It will also feature some incredible marine birds.

Ben is a Visiting Researcher at Newcastle University’s School of Marine Science. A keen diver with over thirty years of experience, he has spent more time in the water with grey seals than anyone in the world.

13th
January
2018

Introduction to Winter Tree Identification

Introduction to Winter Tree Identification

GPNR © Paul Drummond

NB: This event is now fully booked.

Saturday 13 January, 11:30am – 1:00pm

Paul Drummond, Reserve Warden, will lead you on a walk in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve and show you how to tell apart different tree species in winter.

Booking required.

15th
January
2018

Geology Answers

Geology Answers

Course Tutor Derek Teasdale

Monday mornings starting 15 January, 10:30am
Thursday mornings starting 18 January, 10.30am

Last term, Derek Teasdale asked his class to submit their favourite geology questions. What did they most want to know? The subjects covered everything, from plate tectonics to volcanoes to dinosaurs. Join this ten-week indoor course for the surprising answers.

Cost £88 (Concessions £72)

17th
January
2018

Rainbows, Halos and Glories

Rainbows, Halos and Glories

Course Tutor Fred Stevenson

Wednesday evenings starting January 17, 7pm

Everyone is familiar with the beauty of the rainbow, but how many people understand exactly how they are formed? Over this seven-week course, Fred Stevenson will explain the formation of rainbows in detail. We will also discuss the host of other optical marvels that can be seen in the sky, including halos, coronas, sun pillars, sundogs and glories.

Cost £60 (Concessions £50)

17th
January
2018

Wildlife Digital Photography

Wildlife Digital Photography

Course Tutor David Noble Rollin

Wednesday afternoons starting 17 January 2018, 1pm

20-week course with David Noble-Rollin, introducing the basic techniques of camera settings and field skills required to undertake bird, close-up, flash and landscape photography. There will be field meetings to practise the photographic techniques and indoor practical sessions with laptops aimed at learning editing skills and creating an editing workflow in Lightroom and Photoshop Elements.

Cost £162 (Concessions £139)

18th
January
2018

Winter Birdwatching

Winter Birdwatching

Course Tutor Keith Bowey

Durham – Thursday mornings starting 18 January, 10:30 – 12:30pm
Newcastle – Thursday afternoons starting 18 January, 2 – 4pm
Field trips – 1:30 – 3:30pm

These ten-week courses with Keith Bowey comprise five two-hour indoor sessions and five field trips, covering a variety of winter topics designed to bring participants greater enjoyment and understanding from watching birds in their habitats.

The indoor and outdoor sessions alternate, and the field trips will include visits to RSPB Saltholme for waders and wildfowl, the South Shields coast for sanderling and rock pipit, and the Weardale uplands for black grouse and moorland waders.

Cost £88 (Concessions £72)

19th
January
2018

Dragonflies - Masters of Air and Water

Dragonflies - Masters of Air and Water

Common Hawker © Florence Davis

Friday 19 January, 7pm. Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

David Clarke explores the uniquely fascinating history and biology of dragonflies, looks at species and habitats of particular importance, and reveals how they are responding locally to a changing climate.

David is the British Dragonfly Society’s county recorder for Cumbria.

21st
January
2018

Red Kite Roost

Red Kite Roost

Sunday 21 January, 2:30 – 5:00pm

Join the Friends of the Red Kites for a half-mile walk to the roost viewing point. Hear about the bird’s behaviour and the reintroduction programme. Bring a torch and warm clothing.

Please meet at Spa Well Car Park (grid reference NZ 189614) at 2:30pm. To get there: coming from the direction of the A1 or Western Bypass, take the A694 signposted to Consett. After two roundabouts, take the second pull-in (NOT Swalwell Cricket Club). The walk to Nine Arches viaduct will be a gentle 30-40 minutes.

26th
January
2018

The Tectonics of the Cleveland Basin

The Tectonics of the Cleveland Basin

Friday 26 January, 7pm. Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

The Cleveland Basin in North East England is famous for its Jurassic fossils, Whitby jet, moorland, and coastal scenery. Join Dr Johnny Imber to combine geological interpretations of historic maps from the former Cleveland ironstone mines with laser ablation analysis of uranium and lead isotopes within calcite-filled veins, to re-evaluate the tectonic history of the Cleveland Basin.

2nd
February
2018

Isle of May National Nature Reserve Uncovered

Isle of May National Nature Reserve Uncovered

Puffin © Clare Freeman

Friday 02 February, 7pm. Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

David Steel, Reserve Manager of the Isle of May, will reveal all about this hidden gem that is home to the largest Puffin colony on the east coast of the UK. David is well known to many, having formerly been Head Ranger of the Farne Islands over a period of fourteen years.

9th
February
2018

Non-native Species in a Changing World

Non-native Species in a Changing World

Touch-me-not or Himalayan Balsam Impatiens glandulifera © Colin Scrutton

Friday 09 February, 7pm. Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

Join Pete Robertson to look at the history and consequences of non-native species on the British countryside, their role in our ecosystems, and how their effects and our responses are changing.

Pete has a background in research and policy in the charitable and government sectors. He is now at Newcastle University, focusing on wildlife management and invasive non-native species.

10th
February
2018

Winter Tree Identification

Winter Tree Identification

Saturday 10 February, 10am – 2pm (TBC)

Learn to identify trees while out in the winter months on this great opportunity to visit
Castle Eden Dene. Led by ERIC (Environmental Records Information Centre).

Booking required. Please contact eric.ne@twmuseums.org.uk. Coach travel
from GNM: Hancock will be available.

16th
February
2018

North East Botanists

North East Botanists

Friday 16 February, 7pm. Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

One could say that British botany began in the North East with William Turner of Morpeth.
Dr Angus Lunn, former Head of Adult Education at the University of Newcastle, is old enough to have known a few of his subjects.

Angus is the author of Northumberland in Collin’s New Naturalist series.

17th
February
2018

Herbarium Tour

Herbarium Tour

Myrica gale © herbaria@home / University of Birmingham

Saturday 17 February, 11:00am – 12:00pm

Join Chris Metherell for a rare chance to visit the NHSN herbarium – an impressive collection of over 15,000 plants, collected from the 1800s to the present day.

Free to members. If you would like to join the NHSN, please go to http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/

Meet at the reception desk of the Discovery Museum, Blandford Square, Newcastle, NE1 4JA.

23rd
February
2018

Beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet

Beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet

Friday 23 February, 7pm. Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

Professor John Woodward will provide us with highlights from his Antarctic journey. The coldest and highest continent is now the subject of intense research as concerns have been raised about the long-term stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

23rd
February
2018

Owling at the Moon: an Introduction to the Owls of the North East

Owling at the Moon: an Introduction to the Owls of the North East

Barn Owl © Maria Schusler

Saturday 23 February and Sunday 03 March, 12.30 – 6.30pm

Course tutor: Keith Bowey
Course length: 2 days
Course structure: indoor session and field trip for each day

This two-day course will include: an overview of owls (their biology and taxonomy); information on British owls, with an emphasis on those that may be seen/heard in the northeast; and how to find owls, especially by ear.  Each day will finish with a field trip to locations where owls may be seen and heard.

The venue for the classroom sessions will be the Land of Oak & Iron Heritage Centre at Winlaton Mill, in the lower Derwent valley. The field trips will take place in the lower Derwent valley.

Cost: £60 (concessions £50)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

24th
February
2018

An Introduction to Rock Pools

An Introduction to Rock Pools

Rockpooling © NHSN

Saturday 24 February, 2pm – 4pm

Join Christopher Surtees at Cullercoats (next to Dove Marine Laboratory) to take a tour through the incredible world of rock pools, learning to identify everything from starfish to seaweed. Learn about the challenges of this variable environment and the fascinating adaptations of the species within.

Children and adults welcome, warm clothing and wellington boots are advised.

Booking required.

8th
March
2018

George Johnston and the Dredgers

George Johnston and the Dredgers

Friday 08 March, 7.00pm-8.00pm – Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

With Prof Peter Davis

In the July 1855 issue of the Annals and Magazine of Natural Historythe marine biologist Philip Henry Gosse named a species of sabellid worm Othonia johnstoni , stating ‘I have named this species after George Johnston, who may be called the father of our marine invertebrate zoology’.  Johnston (1797-1855was indeed a figure of national significance; through his correspondence with notable scientists and his major taxonomic publications, Johnston influenced marine biology at a national level.  However, as a doctor based in Berwick upon Tweed, he also formed an active network of naturalists in Northumberland, having particularly strong links with those based in Newcastle, and with Joshua Alder and Albany Hancock in particular. Peter Davis will introduce us to George Johnston and to many former members of the Natural History Society of Northumbria who worked with him to promote an understanding of marine life. 

9th
March
2018

Red Kites in North East England

Red Kites in North East England

Red Kite © Andy Jackson

Friday 09 March, 7pm. Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

Red Kites were re-introduced to the Derwent Valley between 2003 and 2006. This talk by
Ian Kerr, a member of Friends of Red Kites’ monitoring team, covers the history, progress and problems they still face in becoming once more a common sight in the region’s skies.

13th
March
2018

Treasures of the NHSN Collections

Treasures of the NHSN Collections

Tuesday 13 March, 3:00 – 5:00pm

Join GNM: Hancock librarian Ian Bower for a wonderful opportunity to view a range of rare and fascinating items from the NHSN library collections that are not normally on display. You will also have a chance to get ‘behind the scenes’ in the library.

Booking required.

16th
March
2018

The Secret World of Rhododendrons

The Secret World of Rhododendrons

Friday 16 March, 7pm. Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

Discovering the evolution of Rhododendron and how it spread across four continents.
Dr Richard Milne explains the role of natural and cultivar hybridisation before delving into the ethnobotany of the plant, and mythbusting the extraordinary story of Rhododendron in Britain.

Richard is a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh. He is a keen field botanist with a particular interest in training novices in plant identification.

17th
March
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.

18th
March
2018

Kielder Goshawk Walk

Kielder Goshawk Walk

NB: This event is now fully booked.

Sunday 18 March, 9:30am – 2:00pm

March is a good time to look for some of the specialist bird species found in upland coniferous forest, in particular Goshawk and Crossbill. Join Martin Davison for a slow walk along forest tracks with plenty of stops to scan for displaying/flying raptors.

Booking required.

23rd
March
2018

NHSN Annual General Meeting & Social Evening

NHSN Annual General Meeting & Social Evening

Friday 23 March, 7:00 – 8:30pm

A friendly social evening open to all NHSN members and non-members to find out more about what NHSN has achieved over the last year, and look ahead to an exciting 2018. The library and archive will be open to visitors 7:30 – 8:30pm.

Clore Suite, Great North Museum: HancockAccess the museum by the side doors near the back of the museum by the car park.

24th
March
2018

Gosforth Park Nature Reserve Needs You!

Gosforth Park Nature Reserve Needs You!

Every Wednesday, and Saturday 27 January, 24 February and 24 March. 10:00am – 1:00pm

At the reserve, there are always more tasks than there are people to do them. Each week, a handful of volunteers work for a few hours to make the reserve a better place for everyone, including wildlife! Tasks include:

  • building new boardwalks to increase accessibility
  • improving the hides for greater comfort and bird-watching potential
  • woodland management
  • removal of invasive species to support and conserve our local species.

There is something to do for members of all ages (teen & up) and abilities, and every little bit helps to ensure the short, medium and long-term success of our beautiful nature reserve. Whether you would like an opportunity to get active, to pick up new skills, meet new people, or add something to your CV, we need you at the reserve.

Training (and biscuits) will be provided, please wear sensible clothing and footwear.

16th
April
2018

Newcastle City Centre Bat Walk

Newcastle City Centre Bat Walk

Soprano pipistrelle © Paul Drummond

Monday 16 April, 7.30 – 9.30pm

Join Hazel Makepeace and Northumberland Bat Group members for a short talk on bat ecology, then a walk to Leazes Park and Exhibition Park to watch, hear and identify bats foraging over water bodies.

Accessibility: tarmac paths.

Booking essential. Please phone 0191 208 2790 to book.

20th
April
2018

Migration and Wintering Strategies of Arctic Terns

Migration and Wintering Strategies of Arctic Terns

Arctic tern © Chris Redfern

Friday 20 April, 7pm. Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

Rescheduled from Friday 2 March.

Chris Redfern will give an update on his research on Arctic Terns from the Farne Islands, what he has learned since last winter, a progress report on this season’s work, and what more we hope to learn if we can recover geolocator devices in the 2018 breeding season.

25th
April
2018

Invertebrate Illustration

Invertebrate Illustration

Insect illustrations © Joan Holding

Wednesday 25 April, 10.00am – 1.00pm

A chance to participate in observational drawing, learn about scientific illustration and draw an insect of your choice with local artist Ann Sheppard. The workshop will take place at Allendale Forge Studios in Allendale Town, Hexham.

£30 per person incl. materials. £25 concessions.

Booking essential. We are advertising this workshop on behalf of the artist. To book, please email ruth@northpenninesaonb.org.uk

26th
April
2018

Spring and Summer Birdwatching

Spring and Summer Birdwatching

Course Tutor Keith Bowey

Thursday mornings starting 26 April, 10.30 – 12.30pm at Shakespeare Hall, Durham
Thursday afternoons starting 26 April, 2.00 – 4.00pm at NHSN Council Room, Newcastle

From Pied Flycatchers to Little Terns, this course will take participants into seasonal bird themes and find birds from upland woodlands to lowlands seabird colonies, with an emphasis on visiting sites south of the River Tyne. Over ten weeks there will be five indoor and five outdoor sessions.

Indoor sessions are 26 April, 10 May, 24 May, 07 June and 21 June at the above locations. Outdoor sessions will take place on 03 May, 17 May, 31 May, 14 June and 28 June.

Cost £88 (Concessions £72)

28th
April
2018

Ridley Hide Guide Sessions

Ridley Hide Guide Sessions

The Ridley bird hide, GPNR © Jill Tate

Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 April, 9.00am – 12.00pm
Wednesday 02 May, 9.00am – 12.00pm

Pop into the Ridley Hide at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve for an informal drop-in session with Chris Castling. Chris will be able to give you tips on wildlife photography and basic bird identification, and will have some of his own photography taken at the Reserve to view.

1st
May
2018

Bird Song and Breeding Behaviour

Bird Song and Breeding Behaviour

Course Tutor David Noble Rollin

Tuesday mornings starting 01 May, 10.15am
Tuesday afternoons starting 01 May, 1.00pm

This ten-week course will cover Spring migration, bird song and breeding behaviour of species living in the North East. Particular emphasis will be placed on the identification and interpretation of songs, calls and territory. There will be six field meetings, which will cover a wide range of habitats including visits to woodlands, hill valleys, the coast and the Farne Islands.

You can sign up to do either mornings or afternoons. Indoor meetings will start at either 10.15am or 1.00pm.

Cost £88 (Concessions £72)

6th
May
2018

Spring Walk in Hulne Park

Spring Walk in Hulne Park

Willow Warbler © Olive Taylor

Sunday 06 May, 10.00am – 1.00pm

Time update, 02/05/2018: please be aware that this event does start at 10.00am.

Put a spring in your step and join Graham Bell for a walk through Hulne Park in Alnwick, to listen to and identify spring migrant birds.

Meet at 10am outside Hulne Park gates. Please bring a packed lunch.

9th
May
2018

Badger Watching at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Badger Watching at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Wednesdays 18 and 25 April, and 09 May, 7.00pm
Saturdays 21 and 28 April, and 12 May, 7.00pm

N.B. All main slots are now fully booked. We are still taking reserve places for Wednesday 9 May and Saturday 12 May.

Our evening vigil starts with a talk about Badgers and we will examine their paths, prints, etc. before viewing the sett, and with luck, Badgers. You will need to be prepared to sit quietly outdoors for 2 hours or more and to cope with wind, rain, cold, biting insects and muddy paths!

Booking essential. Please phone 0191 208 2790 to book. Priority will be given to members who have not attended previous Badger watches.

10th
May
2018

Geology Collections Visit

Geology Collections Visit

Fluorite © Great North Museum: Hancock

Thursday 10 May, 2.00 – 4.00pm
N.B. This event will be held at the Discovery Museum

Join Geology Curator Sylvia Humphrey at the Discovery Museum to discover a variety of minerals from the famous North Pennine Orefield, including galena (lead ore), sphalerite (zinc ore) and fluorite, an attractive gangue (waste) mineral more recently used as a jewellery material.

Sorry, event not suitable for young children; older children must be accompanied. Meet in the Discovery Museum shop, Blandford Square, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4JA.

11th
May
2018

Bats and Moths Walk & Talk

Bats and Moths Walk & Talk

Soprano pipistrelle © Paul Drummond

Friday 11 May, Evening – time TBC on booking

Learn about the different species of bats that live in the UK in a short talk and walk with the Newcastle City Council Rangers.

Suggested age 8+, children must be accompanied. Ouseburn Parks Visitor Centre, Jesmond Dene. £5 per person.

Booking essential. We are advertising this event on behalf of the hosts. Please phone Ouseburn Parks Visitor Centre on 0191 281 2082 to book.

12th
May
2018

Springtime Walk at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Springtime Walk at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Coral Root Orchid © Paul Drummond

Saturday 12 May, 8.00 – 11.00am

Join Gosforth Park Nature Reserve Warden Paul Drummond for an early morning springtime walk around the reserve. We’ll be on the lookout for signs of spring and our coralroot orchid.

Meet at the Information Hut just inside the reserve entrance.

12th
May
2018

Invertebrate Identification for Beginners

Invertebrate Identification for Beginners

Froghopper ©John Buxton

Saturday 12 May, 10.00am – 4.00pm

Join NHSN Entomology lead Dr Gordon Port for an introductory session about invertebrates, with a wander through the woodlands in the afternoon. To be held at Allendale Forge Studios, Allendale Town near Hexham.

Booking essential. We are advertising this workshop on behalf of the host. To book, please email ruth@northpenninesaonb.org.uk

13th
May
2018

Dawn Chorus

Dawn Chorus

Grasshopper Warbler © Geoff Sample

Sunday 13 May, 4.30 – 7.30am

To celebrate International Dawn Chorus Day, join the Newcastle City Council Rangers on this early morning bird walk through Jesmond Dene. Please note the early start time! The walk will be about 2 hours finishing with a hot drink and breakfast roll.

Booking essential. £7.50 per person. We are advertising this event on behalf of the host. Please phone Ouseburn Parks Visitor Centre on 0191 281 2082 to book.

14th
May
2018

Favourite Geology

Favourite Geology

Course Tutor Derek Teasdale

Monday mornings starting 14 May, 10.30am
Thursday mornings starting 17 May, 10.30am

Learn about some of Northumberland’s best geology on this seven week course with Derek Teasdale. This term we will visit Harbottle Crags and the Drake Stone to see the Fell Sandstone, the Bradford Kaime and glacial history of the Alnwick area, and examine the Carboniferous strata, wildlife and archaeology between Amble and Low Hauxley on the coast. Suitable for all levels of interest. Some of the outdoor trips may not be suitable for those with mobility issues.

Three full-day field trips on 4/6* June, 25/28 June and 02/05 July.
(*Note 06 June is a Wednesday). No classes on 28 and 31 May (half-term).

Cost £60 (Concessions £50).

16th
May
2018

History of Gosforth Park Nature Reserve Walk & Talk

History of Gosforth Park Nature Reserve Walk & Talk

Lake Lodge, April 1977 © NHSN

Wednesday 16 May, Evening – time TBC on booking

Join Bob Wilkin for a gentle evening stroll with plenty of stops to explore the history of the park and reserve from the Brandling family to the present day. We shall also reflect on the mammals found in the park past and present, and be looking out for mammal tracks.

Booking essential. Please phone 0191 208 2790 to book.

17th
May
2018

Local History Month Library Event

Local History Month Library Event

Library Collection Montage © NHSN

Thursday 17 May, 2.00 – 4.00pm

Join Great North Museum: Hancock Librarian Ian Bower for a rare chance to see a display of beautiful illustrations of the natural world in our book collection. The books are precious first editions and range from the 16th-19th centuries.

18th
May
2018

Reptile Survey

Reptile Survey

Common Lizard © John Grundy

Friday 18 May, 9.00 – 11.00am

Learn how to carry out a reptile survey with John Grundy, project manager for the Durham Wildlife Trust’s ‘Revealing Reptiles Project’. You will look at how to reduce your search from a landscape wide area to specific habitats and features within a habitat, increase your chances of finding reptiles and learn the specific skills needed to find and observe these cryptic creatures without disturbing them.

Meet at Pow Hill Country Park at Derwent Reservoir.

19th
May
2018

Bird Song at Plessey Woods Country Park

Bird Song at Plessey Woods Country Park

Dipper, Plessey Woods © Terry Cavner

Saturday 19 May, 10.00am – 12.00pm

David Noble-Rollin will lead a walk through the area identifying the songs, calls and behaviour of the birds we encounter. Plessey Woods provides a range of habitats from established deciduous woodland to the banks of the Blyth River. In the spring and early summer, both resident and summer migrant birds set up territories.

Meet at Plessey Woods Country Park car park. (Accessed from A192 in the village of Hartford Bridge. Country Park Centre NE22 6AN).

19th
May
2018

The Geology of St. Mary's Island to Seaton Sluice

The Geology of St. Mary's Island to Seaton Sluice

© St Mary's Lighthouse

Saturday 19 May, 10.00am – 4.00pm

A chance to view superb Carboniferous outcrops and faulting along this classic seashore section with Eric Johnson.

Accessibility: please note that we will be crossing the foreshore, which can be rough and slippery.

Meet at the car park at St. Mary’s Island, Whitley Bay (NZ350751).

20th
May
2018

Seaton Sluice Dunes

Seaton Sluice Dunes

Dune Flora © NHSN

Sunday 20 May, 2.00 – 5.00pm

Come and explore  this fragile dune habitat with Dr Janet Simkin and Judy Summerson. This designated Local Nature Reserve is home to some interesting plants: Bloody Crane’s-bill, Bur Chervil, Lesser Chickweed, Spring Beauty and Burnet Rose, all excellent records for the county.

Meet car park, north of Seaton Sluice. (NZ 326 781).

25th
May
2018

Bat Walk

Bat Walk

Soprano pipistrelle © Paul Drummond

Friday 25 May, Evening – time TBC on booking

Newcastle City Council Rangers will be leading a short talk and walk in Heaton Park on different species of bats that live in the UK.

Booking essential. £5 per person. We are advertising this event on behalf of the host. To book, please phone Ouseburn Parks Visitor Centre on 0191 281 2082.

26th
May
2018

Spring Walk at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Spring Walk at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

GPNR In Spring © David Noble Rollin

Saturday 26 May, 10.00am – 2.00pm (approx.)

A two-mile walk led by Philip Jordan and Jane Gray through Gosforth Park Nature Reserve, looking for signs of spring. Migrant birds will have arrived, and butterflies and damselflies should be on the wing. We hope to ring a brood of Blue Tits from a nest box.

Meet at the Information Hut just inside the reserve entrance.

2nd
June
2018

Bees & Other Insects at Prudhoe Spetchells

Bees & Other Insects at Prudhoe Spetchells

Male Ashy Mining Bee, Prudhoe © Louise Hislop

Saturday 02 June, 2.00 – 4.00pm

Louise Hislop and Dr Gordon Port will be exploring the Spetchells at Prudhoe, a unique site supporting chalk loving plants and a wide range of insects.

Meet at the Prudhoe Riverside car park (NZ 086 634) at 2.00pm. In the event of poor weather such as heavy rain, this visit may be cancelled. If in doubt, please ring 07941 710162 to confirm.

5th
June
2018

Identifying Diptera with a focus on Hoverflies

Identifying Diptera with a focus on Hoverflies

Hoverfly © Olive Taylor

Tuesday 05 June and Wednesday 06 June, 10.00am – 4.00pm

A two-day workshop for beginners to intermediates led by Diptera expert, Martin Harvey. Indoor and outdoor sessions at Bowlees Visitor Centre, and a walk to Wynch Bridge End Cottage, Teesdale.

Booking essential. £60 per person, £50 concessions. We are advertising this workshop on behalf of the host. To book, please email ruth@northpenninesaonb.org.uk

10th
June
2018

Seabird Walk

Seabird Walk

Gannet © Keith Cochrane

Sunday 10 June, 11.00am – 2.00pm

Graham Bell will lead a walk along the cliffs of St Abbs Head Nature Reserve to see nesting auks and gannets.

Bring a packed lunch. Strong footwear recommended. Meet in the reserve car park at St Abbs (NT 913 674).

16th
June
2018

Introduction to Insects and other Invertebrates at GPNR

Introduction to Insects and other Invertebrates at GPNR

Nettle Weevil © John Buxton

Saturday 16 June, 2.00 – 4.00pm

There are over 25,000 species of insects in the UK. This workshop with our Entomology Group lead Dr Gordon Port will give you a chance to learn the difference between the more common types.

17th
June
2018

Introduction to Tree Identification at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Introduction to Tree Identification at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

GPNR Trees © Florence Davis

Sunday 17 June, 3.00 – 5.00pm

Would you like to learn how to identify the different trees found in our woodlands? Reserve Warden Paul Drummond will lead you on a walk helping to teach you how to tell the different trees species in summer.

Booking essential. Please phone 0191 208 2790 to book.

23rd
June
2018

Tyne Kittiwake Tour

Tyne Kittiwake Tour

Kittiwake Millenium Bridge © Ian Cook

Saturday 23 June, 11.00am – approx. 3.00pm

N.B. This event is now fully booked.

Daniel Turner will lead a tour along Newcastle and Gateshead quaysides on foot to observe Kittiwake nesting sites. Then meet 1:00pm outside entrance to BALTIC Art Gallery for a limited availability tour by car to observe Saltmeadows Tower and Akzo Nobel river sites.

Booking essential. Please phone 0191 208 2790 to book.

24th
June
2018

Meadow and Orchard Tour at Wylam Community Orchard

Meadow and Orchard Tour at Wylam Community Orchard

© Wylam Community Orchid Tour, June 2017

Sunday 24 June, 2.00 – 4.00pm

Come and see the beautiful meadow in flower on this tour led by Alison and Peter Fisher. A south-facing site overlooking the River Tyne, the orchard is managed for biodiversity. Regular surveys of bats, moths, butterflies, bees, wasps and flowers are undertaken. Results show a year on year improvement.

Booking essential. Please phone 0191 208 2790 to book.

29th
June
2018

Identifying Solitary Bees and other Hymenoptera

Identifying Solitary Bees and other Hymenoptera

Male Solitary Bee, Colletes Species © Louise Hislop

Friday 29 and Saturday 30 June, 10.00am – 4.00pm

A two-day workshop for beginners to intermediates led by hymenoptera expert, Steven Falk. Indoor and outdoor sessions at Newbiggin Village Hall, Middleton-in-Teesdale.

Booking essential. £60 per person, £50 concessions. We are advertising this workshop on behalf of the host. To book, please email ruth@northpenninesaonb.org.uk

30th
June
2018

Gosforth Park Nature Reserve Exploration Day and Insect BioBlitz

Gosforth Park Nature Reserve Exploration Day and Insect BioBlitz

GPNR Open Day 2017 © NHSN

Saturday 30 June, 10.30am – 3.30pm

Take the opportunity to experience Gosforth Park Nature Reserve at our annual open day for everyone of all ages, members and non-members. Drop in any time between 10:30 am-3.30pm to learn about birds, plants, mammals and insects from local experts.
 
This year, we will also be attempting to identify as many insects and other invertebrates as we can in an ‘Insect BioBlitz’ with our entomology lead, Dr Gordon Port.
 
Accessibility: please note that the ground can be wet, muddy and uneven.

30th
June
2018

The Geology of Kingwater and Crammel Linn, Gilsland

The Geology of Kingwater and Crammel Linn, Gilsland

Saturday 30 June, 10.00am – 4.00pm

A rare chance to explore the wild scenery and geology of the Cumbria/Northumberland border with Karl Egeland-Eriksen. Kingwater provides the best examples of in situ fossil tree stumps in the Lower Carboniferous of Britain.

Meet at the Gilsland Hall Hotel (formerly Gilsland Spa Hotel Grid Ref NY635677).

6th
July
2018

Discovering Wildlife at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Discovering Wildlife at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Ridley Bird Hide, GPNR © Jill Tate

Friday 06 July, 9.30am – 11.30am

If you would like help identifying birds or some photography top tips, pop into the Ridley Hide at the reserve any time between 9:30-11:30am where Neil Pont will be happy to help.

7th
July
2018

Farne Islands Wildlife

Farne Islands Wildlife

Inner Farne Lighthouse © Anne Wilson

Saturday 07 July, 2.00 – 4.45pm

Please note this event is fully-booked.

An opportunity to enjoy one of our region’s greatest wildlife spectacles. Join Anne Wilson for this half-day visit including landing on the Inner Farne. 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 explore the island’s history.

Booking essential. Cost for the boat is £15 per person. Landing fee for non-National Trust members £9. Over 16s only. Phone 0191 208 2790 to book.

8th
July
2018

Thrislington Plantation

Thrislington Plantation

Dark-red Helleborine © John Richards

Sunday 08 July, 11.00am

A chance to visit the richest magnesian limestone grassland in Durham with Professor John Richards, featuring Perennial Flax, Dark-red Helleborine and good butterflies.

Thrislington lies between Cornforth and Bishop Middleham. Park in the Tarmac quarry office managers car park at NZ310327 (follow signs from weighbridge). This is east of the minor road between Cornforth and Ferryhill Station (DL17 9EY).
Please bring a packed lunch.

9th
July
2018

Women Naturalists of the North-East: Members Event

Monday 9 July, 11.00am-12.30pm

Join PhD student, Claire Jones, for an informative, social session for a closer look at our female naturalists exhibition. Hear first-hand about the exciting titbits uncovered during Claire’s time working on the exhibition and catch up with fellow society members in friendly and welcoming session.

Booking essential via NHSN on 0191 208 2790.

14th
July
2018

Dragonflies and other Insects at Dinnington

Dragonflies and other Insects at Dinnington

Dragonfly © Maria Schusler

Saturday 14 July, 2.00 – 4.00pm

N.B. This event is now fully booked.

Join Drs Christopher Wren and Gordon Port to look at the dragonflies, damselflies and other insects at a site near Dinnington.

Booking essential. Phone 0191 208 2790 to book. In the event of poor weather such as heavy rain, this visit may be cancelled.

14th
July
2018

Wildflower Grassland Moths of the North Pennines

Wildflower Grassland Moths of the North Pennines

Five-spot Burnet Moth © Jim Meikle

Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 July, 10.00am – 4.00pm

A two-day workshop for beginners to intermediates led by moth expert, Dave Grundy. Indoor and outdoor sessions at Bowlees Visitor Centre, Forest-in-Teesdale.

Booking essential. £60 per person, £50 concessions. We are advertising this workshop on behalf of the host. To book, please email ruth@northpenninesaonb.org.uk

14th
July
2018

Rockpooling at Cullercoats

Rockpooling at Cullercoats

Rockpooling © NHSN

Saturday 14 July, 11.00am – 1.00pm

Join Chris Surtees to discover the wonders of the intertidal zone. The event will cover rockpooling techniques, species identification and an introduction to the ecology of this fascinating ecosystem.

Booking essential. Please phone 0191 208 2790 to book.

16th
July
2018

Great Exhibition of the North - NHSN Members Exclusive Access Evening

Great Exhibition of the North - NHSN Members Exclusive Access Evening

Lithograph drawn from 'Struggle with the Quarry' by John Hancock © NHSN

Monday 16 July, 6.30 – 8.00pm

A chance to enjoy the special exhibitions that showcase innovation from the North after all the crowds have left for the day. Items from the NHSN collections and archive are included in the exhibitions, including the magnificent Gyrfalcon ‘The Struggle with the Quarry’ by John Hancock, celebrated when it was part of the Great Exhibition in 1851 for how lifelike his preservation technique was.

16th
July
2018

Women Naturalists of the North-East: Launch Event

Women Naturalists of the North-East: Launch Event

Mary Hancock

Monday 16 July, 6.30pm-8.00pm

N.B. This event is now fully booked.

An introduction to the ‘woman naturalists’ exhibition. This informal session provides an insight into the lives and legacies of the naturalists featured in the exhibit through a first-hand account of the information discovered during the start of this project. Join Claire Jones, a chemistry postgraduate, who found her own personal story of a female in the world of science resonating with some of the histories she described in the exhibition.

Booking essential via NHSN on 0191 208 2790.

17th
July
2018

Grassland Butterflies and Moths

Grassland Butterflies and Moths

Small Skipper Butterfly © John Buxton

Tuesday 17 July, 11.00am – 1.00pm

Exploring the flower rich grasslands of Weetslade Country Park with David Stebbings, looking for butterflies and moths. Target species include Small Skipper, Ringlet, Common Blue and Small Heath. Plus, how to identify the different species of burnet moths and carpet moths.

Meet at the car park near High Weetslade Farm on the B1319 near its junction with the A189, (NZ 260723).

21st
July
2018

Castle Eden Dene National Nature Reserve

Castle Eden Dene National Nature Reserve

Denemouth Viaduct, Castle Eden Dene © Steve Metcalfe

Saturday 21 July, 10.00am – 12.00pm

A walk through part of the largest of the wooded valleys in north east England with Steve Metcalfe, looking at the management, history and natural history of this spectacular gorge woodland.

Meet at car park, Oakerside Dene Lodge, Stanhope Chase, Peterlee. SR8 1NJ.

22nd
July
2018

Bird Ringing at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Bird Ringing at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Ringing Group Hut © David Noble-Rollin

Sunday 22 July, 9.00 – 11.00am

Join Chris Redfern and Reserve Warden Paul Drummond for an opportunity to see bird ringing in action, hear how ringing increases our knowledge of birds and contributes to the national scheme.

Booking essential.  Please phone 0191 208 2970 to book.

22nd
July
2018

Crag Lough

Crag Lough

Dactylorhiza maculata © John Richards

Sunday 22 July, 11.00am

Professor John Richards will lead an exploration of whin scree and cliffs, then fen, fen carr and aquatics. This is one of Northumberland’s premier sites for plants with scarce sedges, pondweeds and fern-allies.

Park at Steel Rigg car park north of ‘Once Brewed’ on the Military Road at NY750677. Parking is £4, and there are limited spaces. Try to share cars. There is alternative parking at The Sill, 700m to the south (£1/hour, maximum £5). Bring stout, waterproof boots and lunch

1st
August
2018

Women Naturalists of the North East: Grace Hickling

Women Naturalists of the North East: Grace Hickling

Wednesday 1 August, 10.30am-12.30 pm

N.B. This event is now fully booked.

From her love of the Farne Islands’ Grey Seals and her pioneering study into their movements, to her bird ringing: Grace Hickling is a name synonymous with the Farne Islands and natural history in our region. This informal session provides a perfect opportunity to find out more about her life and work. Take a journey through the pioneering life of Grace Hickling with Farne Islands Archivist and longstanding NHSN member, Anne Wilson.

Booking essential via NHSN on 0191 208 2790

4th
August
2018

Purple Hairstreak Spotting at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Purple Hairstreak Spotting at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Purple Hairstreak © Paul Drummond

Saturday 04 August, 5.00 – 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 along binoculars if you have them.

Meet at the Information Hut just inside the reserve entrance.

8th
August
2018

Botanical Afternoon at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Botanical Afternoon at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Bluebells In Wood © Christopher Castling

Wednesday 08 August, 2.00 – 4.00pm

A walk around the reserve to look for the broad-leaved helleborine with botanist and NHSN Trustee Professor John Richards and Reserve Warden Paul Drummond. With an impressive 60 years of experience between them, this is a great opportunity to learn about plant identification and reserve management!

Meet at the Information Hut just inside the reserve entrance.

10th
August
2018

Cetacean Boat Trips

Cetacean Boat Trips

White-beaked Dolphin © John Carnell

Friday 10 August, 6.00 – 10.00pm

Join Martin Kitching with Northern Experience Wildlife Tours for a four-hour pelagic boat trip on the North Sea. We hope to see dolphins, porpoises and sea birds.

Booking essential. Discounted price for NHSN members £30.00 (normally £35). We are advertising this workshop on behalf of the host. To book, go to the Northumberland Wildlife Trust website.

Boat departs from Royal Quays Marina, North Shields. Pick-up from the Customs House in South Shields is also available.

12th
August
2018

Tynemouth and Tyne River Mouth Tour

Tynemouth and Tyne River Mouth Tour

Black Headed Gull © Richard Potts

Sunday 12 August, 10.00am – 12.00pm

Meet Daniel Turner at the entrance to Tynemouth Priory for a walk down onto the pier to view nesting fulmars, then along the promenade on the river mouth to observe low tide birds of shore and river. Birds present should be a good mix of gulls, terns, waders and cormorant.

15th
August
2018

Women Naturalists of the North-East: Kathleen Blackburn

Women Naturalists of the North-East: Kathleen Blackburn

Kathleen Blackburn

Wednesday 15 August, 10.00am-1.00pm,

Join Alan Hart for a snapshot into the life and legacy of Kathleen Blackburn.

Teacher, scientist and botanist recognised for her work in plant genetics and pollen analysis that helped reveal the history of vegetation especially following the last ice-age. Find out more about Kathleen’s life and career through decades of accumulated materials, including rarely seen photos, samples and past articles.

Booking essential via NHSN on 0191 208 2790

18th
August
2018

Skull Workshop at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Skull Workshop at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Badger skull © NHSN

Saturday 18 August, 10.00am – 12.00pm

Discover what is really going on in your head! Jonathan Pounder will lead this family-friendly session to investigate how to identify animal skulls and relate their features to animal functions that will hopefully make identifying them easier!

Booking essential. Please phone 0191 208 2790 to book.

18th
August
2018

Identifying Shield Bugs and other Hemiptera

Identifying Shield Bugs and other Hemiptera

Birch Shield Bug, GPNR © Chris Barlow

Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 August, 10.00am – 4.00pm

A two-day workshop for beginners to intermediates led by hemiptera expert, Steve Hewitt. Indoor and outdoor sessions at Stanhope Methodist Church.

Booking essential. £60 per person, £50 concessions. We are advertising this workshop on behalf of the host. To book, please email ruth@northpenninesaonb.org.uk

22nd
August
2018

Women Naturalists of the North-East: Margaret Dickinson

Women Naturalists of the North-East: Margaret Dickinson

Red Bryony - Margaret Dickinson

Wednesday 22 August, 6.00pm-7.15pm

N.B. This event is now fully booked.

Join award-winning poet and PhD student Linda France for an exclusive reading of ‘Portrait of an Artist as an Island Flower’ – a poem inspired by Margaret Rebecca Dickinson’s 1874 expedition to Holy Island, where she added a number of new flowers to her botanical collection. Also an opportunity to see Margaret’s original artwork.  It believed that no portrait of Margaret Dickinson exists in the present day, thus Linda’s reading provides the perfect opportunity to familiarise yourself with a true pioneer of North-East botany, and botanical art.

Booking essential via NHSN on 0191 208 2790

23rd
August
2018

Druridge Bay Country Park Bat Walk

Druridge Bay Country Park Bat Walk

Soprano pipistrelle © Paul Drummond

Thursday 23 August, 8.00 – 10.00pm

Join Hazel Makepeace and Northumberland Bat Group members for a short talk on bat ecology, then a walk around Ladyburn Lake to watch, hear and identify bats foraging. We hope to see Noctules, Daubenton’s and Pipistrelles.

Accessibility: tarmac and grass paths.

Booking essential. Please phone 0191 208 2790 to book.

26th
August
2018

Seal Watch at Seal Sands

26th August 2018, 10:00am – 12:00pm

Join the Northumbria Mammal Group for a visit to Seal Sands to enjoy both of our native seal species.  Late August is the peak time of year for Harbour Seal haulouts, so we can expect to see around 100 seals in total, alongside a few Grey Seals.  Venator have kindly given permission for us to access their seal hide on Greenabella Marsh to see the seals on Seal Sands, which is where the majority of the sites seals will be at low tide.  The visit will be led by Ian Bond of INCA, who co-ordinates the Teesmouth seal monitoring programme.

Time: Start at 10am to coincide with low tide and will take about 2 hours.

Meeting place: Main car park at Venator on the A178 Seal Sand Road, TS25 2DD.  There is a bus service from Hartlepool which stops there.

Route: The intention is to walk to the seal hide then continue along the sea wall to Greatham Creek to count the seals there, to get a total population count.  This would involve a walk of around 4km in total but it would be possible to shorten this depending on participant’s fitness levels to a walk to the seal hide and back, which would be around 2km in total.  The paths are mainly flat and partially surfaced but there are some steps up to the seal hide and the occasional pipe to cross.

Facilities:  No toilets or refreshments on site.  The nearest are at Seaton Carew or, in the opposite direction, at Saltholme, both of which are about 1 mile away.  (There is a £5 charge per car to visit Saltholme but its free just to use the café).

If you would like to attend or for more information please contact Ian Bond on bondian@hotmail.co.uk

1st
September
2018

Bats at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Bats at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Noctule Bat, GPNR © Chris Castling

Saturday 01 September, 7.45 – 9.15pm

N.B. This event is now fully booked.

Evening event starting around sunset and continuing until dark. Jonathan Pounder will give a short talk on bat biology and ecology, then as the sun is setting we will walk through the reserve looking for and listening to the bats we find. Hopefully we will encounter Pipistrelle, Daubenton’s and Noctule bats.

Booking essential. Please ring 0191 208 2790 to book.

7th
September
2018

Heritage Open Day at NHSN Library and Archive

Heritage Open Day at NHSN Library and Archive

NHSN Council Room © NHSN

Friday 07 September, 11.00am – 3.30pm

A chance to view the treasures of the Natural History Society of Northumbria.

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.  Come along and see historic furnishings and paintings, including a magnificent portrait of Thomas Bewick by Ramsay. A selection of our fascinating archival material will also be on display.

This year we are celebrating the bicentenary of the publication of Thomas Bewick’s iconic work The Fables of Aesop and Others, 1818. Some of Bewick’s original drawings for the Fables will be on show with a small collection of his unique woodblocks.

 

8th
September
2018

Moths at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Moths at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Moth trapping at GPNR © Andy Atkinson

Saturday 08 September, 9.00pm

Join County Moth Recorder Tom Tams and Reserve Warden Paul Drummond to get close up to these beautiful and rarely seen insects. The moths are trapped using a bright light 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 Information Hut just inside the reserve entrance.

15th
September
2018

Spider Ecology and Identification

Spider Ecology and Identification

Spider © NHSN

Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 September, 10.00am – 4.00pm

A two-day workshop for beginners to intermediates led by spider expert, Fran Garcia, organised through the North Pennines AONB Partnership’s Cold-blooded and Spineless Project.
Indoor and outdoor sessions at Allendale Village Hall, Hexham.

Booking essential. £60 per person, £50 concessions. We are advertising this workshop on behalf of the host. To book, please email ruth@northpenninesaonb.org.uk

22nd
September
2018

Building Stones of Grainger Town, Newcastle

Building Stones of Grainger Town, Newcastle

Grainger Town © Derek Teasdale

Saturday 22 September, 11.00am – 3.00pm

Join Derek Teasdale for a gentle guided walk to examine the beautiful sandstone buildings and exotic finishing stones used to create one of the country’s architectural gems.

Meet at Grey’s Monument, Newcastle upon Tyne.

24th
September
2018

Anemones of the Spirit, Sea, Air and Juvenescence

Anemones of the Spirit, Sea, Air and Juvenescence

Blue Anemone © Charlotte Powell

Monday 24 September – Monday 10 December

In this autumn art exhibition, artist Charlotte Powell takes the theme of anemones and highlights the inspiration gained through her research of the books, paintings and records in the NHSN library, archive, herbarium, and the spirit and Blaschka collections in the Discovery Museum.

Explore Charlotte’s nine drawings born from this research, and discover how museum and library collections can inspire each and every one of us differently.

26th
September
2018

Meet the Artist: Charlotte Powell

Meet the Artist: Charlotte Powell

Blue Anemone © Charlotte Powell

Wednesday 26 September, 1.00 – 2.00pm

Join us in the GNM: Hancock Library to meet Charlotte Powell, the local artist behind our new exhibition Anemones of the Spirit, Sea, Air and Juvenescence. Hear more about Charlotte’s journey and how she was inspired by the botanical artworks of the late Margaret Rebecca Dickinson and the contents of the NHSN archive.

Free to members. If you are not an NHSN member, we would welcome a suggested donation of £5:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/make-a-donation/

Or please consider joining us:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/become-a-member/

Booking essential. To book, please go to Eventbrite here.

 

27th
September
2018

Autumn Birdwatching - Durham

Autumn Birdwatching - Durham

Course Tutor Keith Bowey

Thursday 27 September (Durham), 10.30am – 12.30pm

Course length: 10 sessions
Course structure: 5 indoor sessions, 5 outdoor field trips

This ten-week course taught by Keith Bowey offers you the chance to learn more about birdwatching and to better identify the birds you see, with a seasonal autumn theme. The course will cover a variety of topics, all of which are designed to bring you greater enjoyment and understanding from watching birds.

The indoor and outdoor sessions will alternate, with five of each over the ten weeks. Indoor sessions will take place at Shakespeare Hall, Durham, DH1 4SQ. Site visits will include Whitburn, Hartlepool Headland and Derwent Reservoir.

Cost: £88 (concessions £72)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

27th
September
2018

Autumn Birdwatching - Newcastle

Autumn Birdwatching - Newcastle

Course Tutor Keith Bowey

Thursday 27 September (Newcastle), 2.00 – 4.00pm

Course length: 10 sessions
Course structure: 5 indoor sessions, 5 outdoor field trips

This ten week course taught by Keith Bowey offers you the chance to learn more about birdwatching and to better identify the birds you see, with a seasonal autumn theme. The course will cover a variety of topics, all of which are designed to bring you greater enjoyment and understanding from watching birds.

The indoor and outdoor sessions will alternate, with five of each over the ten weeks. Site visits will include Whitburn, Hartlepool Headland and Derwent Reservoir.

Cost: £88 (concessions £72)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

28th
September
2018

Great North Museum: Hancock presents 'Planet 2.0'

Great North Museum: Hancock presents 'Planet 2.0'

Friday 28 September, 6.00 – 10.00pm

Science Uncovered returns for European Researchers Night 2018. Join us in the GNM: Hancock library to view a fascinating range of material associated with this year’s theme, biodiversity. Please come along and also visit the NHSN stall in the main museum.

Free to all, no booking required.

29th
September
2018

Boundary Beating at GPNR

Boundary Beating at GPNR

Woodland, GPNR © Florence Davis

Saturday 29 September, 10.00 – 11.30am
Saturday 01 December, 10.00 – 11.30am

Keep fit, healthy and wild on a brisk walk beating the boundary of Gosforth Park Nature Reserve with Volunteer Warden Des Matheson. This event is not a race but is unsuitable for those looking to stop to take numerous photographs or wait to see rare birds. Please bring snacks and water to keep yourself fighting fit.

Meet at the entrance to Gosforth Park Nature Reserve, NE3 5EP.

Free to members, no booking required. If you are not an NHSN member, we would welcome a suggested donation of £3:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/make-a-donation/

Or please consider joining us:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/become-a-member/

2nd
October
2018

Birds of the North East - morning

Birds of the North East - morning

Course Leader David Noble-Rollin and class

Tuesday 02 October, 10.15am – 12.15pm

N.B. This course is now fully booked, but places on the waiting list may still be available. Follow the link to Eventbrite below.

Course length: 20 sessions
Course structure: 10 indoor sessions, 10 outdoor field trips

Join David Noble-Rollin to cover the identification of species in the area, including their winter call notes. Particular emphasis will be given to new material becoming available on migration and identification. The indoor meetings will prepare attendees for each field trip, using videos, sound recordings and diagrams to help learn identification and behaviour patterns. Each indoor session will include a particular topic or species that will be dealt with in detail.

Cost: £162 (concessions £139)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

2nd
October
2018

Birds of the North East - afternoon

Birds of the North East - afternoon

Course Leader David Noble-Rollin and class

Tuesday 02 October, 1.00 – 3.00pm

N.B. This course is now fully booked, but places on the waiting list may still be available. Follow the link to Eventbrite below.

Course length: 20 sessions
Course structure: 10 indoor sessions, 10 outdoor field trips

Join David Noble-Rollin to cover the identification of species in the area, including their winter call notes. Particular emphasis will be given to new material becoming available on migration and identification. The indoor meetings will prepare attendees for each field trip, using videos, sound recordings and diagrams to help learn identification and behaviour patterns. Each indoor session will include a particular topic or species that will be dealt with in detail.

Cost: £162 (concessions £139)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

3rd
October
2018

Northumbrian Botany (Wednesdays)

Northumbrian Botany (Wednesdays)

Wednesday 03 October, 10.30am – 12.30pm

N.B. This course is now fully booked, but places on the waiting list may still be available. Follow the link to Eventbrite below.

Course length: 20 sessions
Course structure: approx. 10 indoor sessions, 10 outdoor field trips (weather permitting)

Through indoor sessions and outdoor field trips, Dr Janet Simkin will cover a wide variety of topics, including plant identification, ecology and evolution, as well as topical items from the news and recent research. Much of this will have a Northumbrian theme and students are encourage to bring in specimens and photographs for discussion. The basics of plant identification will also be covered, and beginners are very welcome.

Cost: £162 (concessions £139)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

3rd
October
2018

Astronomy and Observing the Sky at Night

Astronomy and Observing the Sky at Night

Course Tutor Fred Stevenson

Wednesday 03 October, 7.00 – 9.00pm

Course length: 8 sessions
Course structure: mainly indoor sessions with at least 1 outdoor field trip

A general course on all things astronomical, with an emphasis on observations that participants can make themselves. As well as practical astronomy, we will discuss the most recent discoveries in astronomy and space science. At least one class will be a practical observing session in the Druridge Bay area, where help and advice on using telescopes and other equipment will be given.

This course will be held in the Percy Building on Newcastle University Campus. For a map of Newcastle University Campus, please click here.

Cost: £70 (concessions £56.60)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

3rd
October
2018

Wildlife Digital Photography

Wildlife Digital Photography

Course tutor David Noble-Rollin

Wednesday 3 October, 1.00 – 3.00pm

Course length: 20 sessions
Course structure: 11 indoor sessions, 9 outdoor field trips

Photography is in the middle of a major revolution: the modern equipment means that the limits on photography are the imagination of the photographer. The course will introduce members to the basic techniques of how to take close-up, landscape and bird photography. There will be field meetings and practical indoor sessions using lighting equipment and Photoshop on laptops.

The course is aimed at those who have a digital camera, but still tend to use it on automatic settings and would like to understand how to improve their natural history photography techniques.

Cost: £162 (concessions £139)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

4th
October
2018

The Quaternary

The Quaternary

Course Tutor Angus Lunn

Thursday 04 October, 6.15 – 8.15pm

Course length: 16 sessions
Course structure: indoor sessions

Dr Angus Lunn and Derek Teasdale lead a 16-week journey through the last 2 million years. Students will investigate the most significant climatic, geological and biological events of the Quaternary, with particular attention to Northern England. Some knowledge of the subject is helpful, but not essential.

This course will be held in the Percy Building on Newcastle University Campus. For a map of Newcastle University Campus, please click here.

Cost: £132 (concessions £107)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

5th
October
2018

Northumbrian Botany (Fridays)

Northumbrian Botany (Fridays)

Friday 05 October, 10.30am – 12.30pm

N.B. This course is now fully booked, but places on the waiting list may still be available. Follow the link to Eventbrite below.

Course length: 20 sessions
Course structure: approx. 10 indoor sessions, 10 outdoor field trips (weather permitting)

Through indoor sessions and outdoor field trips, Dr Janet Simkin will cover a wide variety of topics, including plant identification, ecology and evolution, as well as topical items from the news and recent research. Much of this will have a Northumbrian theme and students are encouraged to bring in specimens and photographs for discussion. The basics of plant identification will also be covered, and beginners are very welcome.

Cost: £162 (concessions £139)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

5th
October
2018

A History of Fishing & Fisheries in the North Sea

A History of Fishing & Fisheries in the North Sea

Friday 05 October, 18.29 – 18.45.  Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

Georgina Hunt will give a talk on the development of the fishing industry in the North Sea from the 19th century to the present, including the changes on fishing gear and power over the course of the past century. She will also discuss the associated impacts of fishing on North Sea fish.

These ‘1829 Lectures’, named after the year NHSN was founded, all take place at the apt time of 6.29 pm, or 18:29. The talks will allow members and supporters to enjoy a greater range of engaging topics alongside our popular and regular Friday evening talks.

5th
October
2018

Connecting people through birds: insights from colour-ringing seabirds

Connecting people through birds: insights from colour-ringing seabirds

Ringed Juvenile Common Tern ©

Friday 05 October, 7.00 – 8.00pm.  Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

Although uniquely-numbered metal rings have been used to study bird movements, migration and survival rates for many years, useful information is only generated if the bird is recaptured or found dead. In addition to metal rings, coloured plastic rings inscribed with simple codes that are readable with good optics are increasingly being used for specific projects. Such colour rings offer a powerful approach for gaining new insights into bird biology and provide additional value from national and international birding.

In this talk, Dr Chris Redfern will describe some initial results from colour-ringing projects on seabirds in Northumberland and what we hope to learn in the future.

6th
October
2018

A Beginner's Guide to Tree Identification

A Beginner's Guide to Tree Identification

GPNR Trees © Florence Davis

Saturday 06 October, 10.00am – 12.00pm

N.B. This event is now fully booked, but places on the waiting list may still be available. Follow the link to Eventbrite below.

Have you ever wanted to identify trees but have no idea where to start? Bill Burlton, retired Forestry Commission regional Environment Manager, for a how-to session suitable for beginner and perennial learners.

From little seeds, big trees grow. This event is one of three ‘Acorn Sessions’ to provide new ways for NHSN members and supporters to experience and enjoy Gosforth Park Nature Reserve relating to health and well-being, ecological knowledge and cultural inspiration.

Free to members. If you are not an NHSN member, we would welcome a suggested donation of £5:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/make-a-donation/

Or please consider joining us:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/become-a-member/

Booking essential. To book, please go to Eventbrite here.

6th
October
2018

Fungal Foray at Holystone North Wood

Fungal Foray at Holystone North Wood

Common Ink Caps © Geoff Taylor

Saturday 06 October, 11.00am

Expert, Dr Gordon Beakes will lead a search for autumn fungi with a possible detour higher into the Holystone Burn valley. Gordon is a mycologist, retired from the University of Newcastle, and has led many forays for the Society.

Meet at the Forestry Commission car park at NT 951023 at 11 am and bring a packed lunch. Please wear clothing suitable for upland Northumberland in autumn.

Free to members, no booking required. If you are not an NHSN member, we would welcome a suggested donation of £5:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/make-a-donation/

Or please consider joining us:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/become-a-member/

 

8th
October
2018

Northumbrian Soils: Causes and Effects (Mondays)

Northumbrian Soils: Causes and Effects (Mondays)

Course Tutor Derek Teasdale

Monday 8 October, 10.30am – 12.30pm

Course length: 10 sessions
Course structure: 7 indoor sessions, 3 outdoor field trips

Northumbria’s varied topography, climate and especially bedrock geology help create a range of soil types, including brown soils, stagnoleys and stagnohumic gleys. These in turn influence vegetation types and the quality of habitats and farmland.

Join Derek Teasdale to discover how soils form, what they can tell us, and visit as many soil types as we can in three outdoor sessions.

Cost: £88 (concessions £72)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

11th
October
2018

Northumbrian Soils: Causes and Effects (Thursdays)

Northumbrian Soils: Causes and Effects (Thursdays)

Course Tutor Derek Teasdale

Thursday 11 October, 10.30am – 12.30pm

Course length: 10 sessions
Course structure: 7 indoor sessions, 3 outdoor field trips

Northumbria’s varied topography, climate and especially bedrock geology help create a range of soil types, including brown soils, stagnoleys and stagnohumic gleys. These in turn influence vegetation types and the quality of habitats and farmland.

Join Derek Teasdale to discover how soils form, what they can tell us, and visit as many soil types as we can in three outdoor sessions.

Cost: £88 (concessions £72)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

12th
October
2018

Monitoring UK Mammals through the Citizen Science Project 'MammalWeb'

Monitoring UK Mammals through the Citizen Science Project 'MammalWeb'

Friday 12 October, 18.29 – 18.45.  Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

‘MammalWeb’ is a project designed by Durham University in collaboration with Durham Wildlife Trust, which involves citizen scientists uploading and classifying camera trap images of UK mammals. The data gathered can provide important information about the distribution and behaviour of mammals. Sammy Mason will talk about some of the accomplishments and findings from the project so far and the plans they have for the future.

These ‘1829 Lectures’, named after the year NHSN was founded, all take place at the apt time of 6.29 pm, or 18:29. The talks will allow members and supporters to enjoy a greater range of engaging topics alongside our popular and regular Friday evening talks.

12th
October
2018

Wild Deer and their Management in Britain: Burden or Benefit?

Wild Deer and their Management in Britain: Burden or Benefit?

Red Deer © Shaun Morrison

Friday 12 October, 7.00 – 8.00pm. Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

Professor Rory Putman from the British Deer Society

19th
October
2018

The Impact of Human Settlements on Seagrasses in the Bahamas

The Impact of Human Settlements on Seagrasses in the Bahamas

Friday 19 October, 18.29 – 18.45.  Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

Izzy Lake will discuss the differences in turtle grass occurring both near to and far from human settlements in Eleuthera, Bahamas. To do this, she uses a combination of metrics including the density of seagrass pastures, the density of the human settlements and the biomass of seagrass tissue.

These ‘1829 Lectures’, named after the year NHSN was founded, all take place at the apt time of 6.29 pm, or 18:29. The talks will allow members and supporters to enjoy a greater range of engaging topics alongside our popular and regular Friday evening talks.

19th
October
2018

How soils influence vegetation: Africa, SE Asia and Northern England

How soils influence vegetation: Africa, SE Asia and Northern England

Friday 19 October, 7.00 – 8.00pm.  Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

The relationships between soils and plant communities can often be far from straightforward. In order to illustrate the difficulties and provide some of the answers, including how soils can be used in habitat assessment, Dr Robert Payton will draw upon his extensive work in tropical rainforests and savannas, as well as in Cumbrian woodland and Northumberland moorland.

Robert Payton, until his retirement, was Senior Lecturer in Soil Resources at the University of Newcastle, where he is still a Guest Lecturer. Previously, he had worked for the Soil Survey of England and Wales, when he was involved in soil mapping, especially in Northumberland.

20th
October
2018

A View from the Hide

A View from the Hide

Ridley Bird Hide, GPNR © Jill Tate

Saturday 20 October, 1.00 – 3.00pm

Join photographer Chris Castling for an introductory look at the wetlands of Gosforth Park Nature Reserve. Find out more about the reserve and, if you are lucky, enjoy views of otter, bittern, water rail and other local specialities. Please ask questions!

Meet in the Ridley Hide.

Free to members, no booking required. If you are not an NHSN member, we would welcome a suggested donation of £5:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/make-a-donation/

Or please consider joining us:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/become-a-member/

23rd
October
2018

The Amazing Mr Lear

The Amazing Mr Lear

Blue & Yellow Macaw by Edward Lear © NHSN

Tuesday 23 October, 5.30pm – 7.00pm

N.B. This event is now fully booked, but places on the waiting list may still be available. Follow the link to Eventbrite below.

Join us in the GNM: Hancock library for a rare chance to view the works of Edward Lear. Appreciate the beauty of nature and how it has been represented by highly-skilled artists in his many books.

Free to members. If you are not an NHSN member, we would welcome a suggested donation of £5:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/make-a-donation/

Or please consider joining us:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/become-a-member/

Booking essential. To book, please go to Eventbrite here.

24th
October
2018

A Wild Intrigue for Northumberland

A Wild Intrigue for Northumberland

Wednesday 24 October, 5.30 – 7.00pm

Join conservationist, Heather Louise Devey, and filmmaker, Cain Scrimgeour, for an evening of film, photography and discussion, to discover how they are re-embracing families and individuals with their ‘wild sides’ through the intrigue of nature.

Free to members. If you are not an NHSN member, we would welcome a suggested donation of £5: http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/make-a-donation/

Or please consider joining us:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/become-a-member/

Booking essential. To book, please visit Eventbrite here.

26th
October
2018

Tales of Scavenging Amphipods from the West Australian Basin

Tales of Scavenging Amphipods from the West Australian Basin

Friday 26 October, 18.29 – 18.45.  Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

The deepest 45% of the ocean (6000-11,000m) encompasses the hadal zone and one of the least understood ecosystems on the planet. Endemic hadal fauna, such as scavenging amphipods, must withstand low food availability, no natural light, and crushing hydrostatic pressure. This talk by Johanna Weston will focus on the scavenging amphipod community from the West Australian Basin in the Indian Ocean, an area which is not a subduction trench, but just deep enough to be classed as hadal.

These ‘1829 Lectures’, named after the year NHSN was founded, all take place at the apt time of 6.29 pm, or 18:29. The talks will allow members and supporters to enjoy a greater range of engaging topics alongside our popular and regular Friday evening talks.

26th
October
2018

Mineral Solutions to Global Problems

Friday 26 October, 7.00 – 8.00pm. Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

The world faces tremendous challenges to resolve the problems associated with climate change and food supply, especially in the poorer southern hemisphere. Minerals have a vital role to play in sustaining future populations, and yet their exploitation is impossible without social licence. In the context of sustainable development, this presentation by Professor David Manning gives a brief insight into two key areas: carbon mitigation and food security.

David Manning is Professor of Soil Science at Newcastle University and Honorary Professor of Soil Mineral Processes at Edinburgh University. He is a geologist by training, with special interests in the processes that take place at the interface between the biosphere and the geosphere. He has served as President of the Geological Society of London, and has been awarded the Mineralogical Society’s Schlumberger Medal for mineralogy applied to industry.

27th
October
2018

Coffee Flask and Camera Session

Coffee Flask and Camera Session

Chiffchaff, GPNR © Christopher Wren

Saturday 27 October, 10.00am – 1.00pm

Join Neil Pont for an informal, drop-in session to discover the bird-life of Gosforth Park Nature Reserve. There will also be an opportunity to learn more about wildlife photography and to socialise with friends in the reserves Laurence Hide.

Free to members, no booking required. If you are not an NHSN member, we would welcome a suggested donation of £5:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/make-a-donation/

Or please consider joining us:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/become-a-member/

 

2nd
November
2018

How to Kill Slugs - a Guide!

How to Kill Slugs - a Guide!

Friday 02 November, 18.29 – 18.45.  Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

Gastropod damage to crop plants has a significant economic impact on the UK’s agricultural and horticultural industries, with the grey field slug being particularly culpable. Samantha Da Silva will introduce the grey field slug, explain why slugs are such a problem to agriculture and are so hard to kill; then, discuss what to do about the problem and touch on how slugs can be killed on an agricultural scale.

These ‘1829 Lectures’, named after the year NHSN was founded, all take place at the apt time of 6.29 pm, or 18:29. The talks will allow members and supporters to enjoy a greater range of engaging topics alongside our popular and regular Friday evening talks.

2nd
November
2018

Spiders: a natural history

Spiders: a natural history

Spider © NHSN

Friday 02 November, 7.00 – 8.00pm.  Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

Spiders are all around us and an important component of our ecosystem, but generally receive a bad press. In his presentation, Geoff Oxford will cover aspects of the fascinating biology of spiders, including their arachnid relatives in Britain, silk and the multiple ways it is used, feeding, reproduction and growth. Finally, he will say a few words about the British Arachnological Society and end on why we should all care about spiders.

Geoff is an Honorary Fellow of the University of York. He has had a fondness for spiders (an arachnophile) for many years and is an authority on both colour variation and speciation in spiders. He co-authored the recently published Britain’s Spiders (2017) and will bring some copies for sale (£18) and some packs of factsheets (£3.50) to buy at the talk (cash only).

3rd
November
2018

CANCELLED: Birdwatching Basics and Beyond

CANCELLED: Birdwatching Basics and Beyond

Goldfinch © Chris Wren

Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 November, 10.00am-4.00pm

CANCELLED: This course has now been cancelled. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused.

Course length: 2 full day sessions

A class aimed at the ‘less experienced’ birdwatcher, the absolute beginner or those who want a ‘bit of a refresher’. This urban-based, weekend course will comprise a combination of classroom sessions supported by local field trips around Newcastle City on both days of the course.

Cost: £60 (concessions £50)

6th
November
2018

Tales from the Museum Tour

Tales from the Museum Tour

Tuesday 06 November, 6.00 – 7.15pm

N.B. This event is now fully booked, but places on the waiting list may still be available. Follow the link to Eventbrite below.

Have you ever wondered about the stories some of the amazing objects in the Great North Museum: Hancock could tell us if they could talk? Join our Archivist June Holmes on a fantastic journey through the museum, as she reveals the legends and anecdotes behind some of our best-loved exhibits.

Free to members. If you are not an NHSN member, we would welcome a suggested donation of £5:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/make-a-donation/

Or please consider joining us:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/become-a-member/

Booking essential. To book, please go to Eventbrite here.

9th
November
2018

Sentinel of the North Sea - Introducing the White-Beaked Dolphin Project

Sentinel of the North Sea - Introducing the White-Beaked Dolphin Project

Friday 09 November, 18.29 – 18.45.  Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

Matt Sharpe introduces the North East White Beaked (NEWBD), a new project based at Newcastle university that combines state-of-the-art research methods and citizen involvement to comprehensively assess the conservation status of white-beaked dolphins off the Northumberland Coast. The project’s goals are to provide baseline data on the population, assess anthropogenic threats, inform management, and increase the profile of marine mammals in the North East. The talk will also discuss the use of marine mammals as ecosystem sentinels, and how we plan to assess persistent organic pollutants and their potential impact to the North Sea ecosystem.

These ‘1829 Lectures’, named after the year NHSN was founded, all take place at the apt time of 6.29 pm, or 18:29. The talks will allow members and supporters to enjoy a greater range of engaging topics alongside our popular and regular Friday evening talks.

9th
November
2018

The Reintroduction of the Lynx

The Reintroduction of the Lynx

Friday 9 November, 7.00-8.00. Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

Join Dr Paul O’Donoghue from Lynx Trust UK as he talks about the project to re-introduce the once native Eurasian Lynx to the British Isles.

14th
November
2018

Saplings and Spades: the story behind the book

Saplings and Spades: the story behind the book

Woodland clearing © Florence Davis

Wednesday 14 November, 5.30 – 7.00pm

N.B. This event is now fully booked.

Author David Parkins gives an insight into the background and inspiration for his new book, Saplings and Spades: a Woodland Returns. A tale of one man’s quest to establish a woodland from scratch in the Northumbrian countryside.

Buy David’s book from our shop here.

Free to members. If you are not an NHSN member, we would welcome a suggested donation of £5: http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/make-a-donation/

Or please consider joining us:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/become-a-member/

Booking essential. To book, please visit Eventbrite here.

16th
November
2018

Kathleen Blackburn: Botanist

Kathleen Blackburn: Botanist

Kathleen Bever Blackburn

Friday 16 November, 7.00 – 8.00pm.  Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

Living in the first half of the 20th century, Kathleen Blackburn was one of the most important botanists the North East has ever produced. Based in Newcastle, she had an international reputation in cytogenetics and palynology.

Dr Alan Hart’s talk will expand on his paper in Northumbrian Naturalist (2017, v.83), including a discussion of cytogenetic methods of the day, the recognition given for her early work, data collection for pollen analysis, the expeditions to the Hebrides and, briefly, her later life. Her connections with the controversial Professor J.W. Heslop Harrison will also be touched on.

Alan is a retired plant scientist and biotechnologist who now appears from time to time in the NHSN library and archives.

17th
November
2018

ERIC Conference 2018

ERIC Conference 2018

Saturday 17 November, 9.30am

A great opportunity to find out about some of the wildlife recording and survey work that is taking place across the region. The programme will include a number of short talks and an opportunity to network over lunch.

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

19th
November
2018

Tom Russell Goddard (1889-1948)

Tom Russell Goddard (1889-1948)

T.R. Goddard © NHSN

Monday 19 November, 2.00 – 3.00pm

Learn about one of the North East’s most influential museum curators, T. Russell Goddard. Join long-standing NHSN member and Farne Islands Archivist Anne Wilson for a journey through Goddard’s life and achievements, with an illustrated talk and selected material from our archive.

Free to members. If you are not an NHSN member, we would welcome a suggested donation of £5: http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/make-a-donation/

Or please consider joining us:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/become-a-member/

Booking essential. To book, please visit Eventbrite here.

23rd
November
2018

Bird Ringing at the Gosforth Park Nature Reserve Feeding Station

Bird Ringing at the Gosforth Park Nature Reserve Feeding Station

Nuthatch © Phil Hanmer

Friday 23 November, 10.00am – 1.00pm

N.B. This event is now fully booked, but places on the waiting list may still be available. Follow the link to Eventbrite below.

An opportunity to see birds visiting the feeding station in the hand and to learn what information may be gained through the study of bird movements. Join Dr Chris Redfern, and volunteer wardens Jane Gray and Philip Jordan, to get up close and personal with the bird-life of the reserve.

Free to members. If you are not an NHSN member, we would welcome a suggested donation of £5:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/make-a-donation/

Or please consider joining us:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/become-a-member/

Booking essential. To book, please go to Eventbrite here.

23rd
November
2018

Prioritising conservation action under a changing climate

Prioritising conservation action under a changing climate

Silver-washed Fritillary

Friday 23 November, 7.00 – 8.00pm.  Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

Climate change is already altering the populations and distributions of species, but how should conservationists respond to these impacts? Dr Colin Beale is working to identify the species and spaces that might be changing in conservation status due to climate change across the UK and worldwide. 

Colin is a lecturer in the Department of Biology at York University. His research looks into the spatial processes in ecology and species distribution, from single landscapes to global biodiversity patterns.

This talk is our annual ‘Hancock Lecture’, named in honour of John Hancock (1808-1890). Hancock was a significant NHSN member who organised and raised funds for the building of the Hancock Museum in the 1880s (now the Great North Museum: Hancock). The Hancock lecture provides an opportunity to invite a speaker with an international reputation to talk to NHSN about their special interests which coincide with our own.

24th
November
2018

Tree Planting at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Tree Planting at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Tree planting at GPNR

Saturday 24 November, 10.00am – 1.00pm

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

Meet at the entrance to Gosforth Park Nature Reserve, NE3 5EP.

Free to all, no booking required. 

24th
November
2018

In the Grip of Gulls

In the Grip of Gulls

Young Black Headed Gulls © Mike Reid

Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 November, 10.00am-4.00pm

Course length: 2 full day sessions

Don’t ‘do’ gulls? Why not come along and learn to love them? This class is tailored towards more experienced birdwatchers and will attempt to address the issues (identification and others) posed by some of the bird groups that observers find most challenging. This weekend course is dedicated to ‘seeing gulls’ rather than ‘seagulls’.

This course is led by Keith Bowey and will take place in the Blaydon Youth and Community Centre.

Cost: £60 (concessions £50)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

26th
November
2018

The Holly and the Ivy: the Natural History of Christmas

The Holly and the Ivy: the Natural History of Christmas

Holly Berries Ilex aquifolium

Monday 26 November 2018, 2:00 – 4:00pm

Course length: 4 sessions
Course structure: 2 indoor sessions, 2 outdoor sessions

Is there a time of the year with a richer folklore, a more mysterious mythology, and a larger litany of lively legends than Christmas? The season’s facts and folklore woven together form a complex cultural tapestry detailing many fascinating customs and a rich ceremonial history. A constant thread in this is the role of the countryside and its wildlife in developing our modern Christmas customs.

In four two-hour sessions (two class room and two outdoor), the course explores the natural history and countryside origin of so many of our Christmas customs, how these have informed our past and present beliefs, and how they enrich the mid-winter world of Christmas.

Cost: £38 (concessions £30)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

30th
November
2018

Working together: nature and wildlife of the North East and the Trust's strategy for nature from city to countryside

Working together: nature and wildlife of the North East and the Trust's strategy for nature from city to countryside

Fox Cub at Whitley Bay © Richard Potts

Friday 30 November, 7.00 – 8.00pm. Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

Becky Hetherington and Robyn Brown from the National Trust talk about how they are working to help nature in both the urban and rural environments of North East England.

4th
December
2018

The Wonderful Legacies of Hewitson and Tully

The Wonderful Legacies of Hewitson and Tully

W. C. Hewitson's butterflies © NHSN

Tuesday 04 December, 5.30 – 7.00pm

N.B. This event is now fully booked.

A rare chance to view and enjoy rare works of ornithology and entomology donated to the Natural History Society of Northumbria by William Chapman Hewitson (1878) and Harry Tully (1951). Learn more about their work and see examples of some of the beautifully illustrated books they collected.

Free to members. If you are not an NHSN member, we would welcome a suggested donation of £5:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/make-a-donation/

Or please consider joining us:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/become-a-member/

Booking essential. To book, please go to Eventbrite here.

7th
December
2018

Liberating geology: the development of digital geological mapping and modelling in the UK and globally

Liberating geology: the development of digital geological mapping and modelling in the UK and globally

Friday 07 December, 7.00 – 8.00pm.  Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

The advent of dependable spatial computing in the early 1990s allowed the British Geological Survey (BGS) to contemplate production of digital geological maps for the whole of the UK. 2006 saw BGS use this platform to initiate a global project – OneGeology – to help transform the way geological surveys around the world provided access to their map data. The digital revolution has given geologists the ability to share knowledge as never before, but the greatest benefit by far has been the power to communicate the relevance and value of geology to society at large.

Speaker Ian Jackson is the former Director of Information for the British Geological Survey. One of the main tenets of his work is applying geoscience data to the benefit of society, of which the OneGeology project is an example.

7th
January
2019

The Age of the Dinosaurs - Mondays

The Age of the Dinosaurs - Mondays

Monday mornings starting 07 January, 10.30am – 12.30pm

Course tutor: Derek Teasdale
Course length: 10 sessions
Course structure: indoor sessions

The dinosaurs can be recognised as a separate group from the middle of the Triassic period (ca. 235 Ma), and were at their most abundant until the end-Cretaceous mass extinction (65 Ma).  Fortunately, rocks of the right age can be found nearby in Yorkshire which allows us to ask questions such as: What was the environment like at that time?  Which dinosaurs migrated across the North East?  Find out whether they really became extinct.

Cost: £85 (concessions £76)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

10th
January
2019

The Age of the Dinosaurs - Thursdays

The Age of the Dinosaurs - Thursdays

Thursday mornings starting 10 January, 10.30am-12.30pm

N.B. This course is now fully booked.

Course tutor: Derek Teasdale
Course length: 10 sessions
Course structure: indoor sessions

The dinosaurs can be recognised as a separate group from the middle of the Triassic period (ca. 235 Ma), and were at their most abundant until the end-Cretaceous mass extinction (65 Ma).  We are fortunate that rocks of the right age can be found nearby in Yorkshire.  What was the environment like at that time?  Which dinosaurs migrated across the North East?  Find out whether they really became extinct.

Cost: £85 (concessions £76)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

11th
January
2019

Building peace to save nature: the importance of studying human-human interactions in conservation

Building peace to save nature: the importance of studying human-human interactions in conservation

Friday 11 January, 7.00pm-8.00pm. Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

With Dr Isla Hodgson

Are we studying the wrong species?

In trying to address environmental problems, we often overlook the relevance of studying and managing people. Conservation conflict researcher and mediator Dr Isla Hodgson explains the importance of understanding the social and political sides to saving nature, and how we can draw on the principles of trust- building and negotiation from humanitarian conflicts to solve wars over wildlife. She reflects on her own experiences “on the front-line”, including her most recent work studying the conflict over raptor conservation and driven grouse shooting in Scotland.

 

11th
January
2019

Predicting Red List status of plants in the Caatinga, Brazil, to decide on future conservation action

Predicting Red List status of plants in the Caatinga, Brazil, to decide on future conservation action

Friday 11 January, 18.29pm-6.45pm – Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

N.B. The talk ‘Through the Eyes of a Wolf’ has been rescheduled to 22 February.

with Dr Rike Bolam

To prevent extinctions and reverse declines of species, we need to have knowledge regarding species’ conservation status, which is currently lacking for the majority of species. I will talk about how we can predict which plants are threatened with very limited information, to help decide future conservation action in an area of Brazil called the Caatinga.

16th
January
2019

From the Moon to the Distant Universe - recent developments in astronomy

From the Moon to the Distant Universe - recent developments in astronomy

Starting Wednesday 16 January, 7.00 – 9.00pm

Course tutor: Fred Stevenson
Course length: 7 sessions
Course structure: mainly indoor sessions with at least 1 field trip

In this course, we will discuss the many exciting discoveries currently being made thanks to a new generation of huge telescopes based around the world and from spacecraft now visiting various asteroids and planets in our solar system. They give us a unique insight into our origins and place in the universe. The course will also contain at least one observational session to observe the night sky and hopefully see some of the objects that we talk about during the course.

This course will be held in the Percy Building on Newcastle University Campus. For a map of Newcastle University Campus, please click here.

Cost: £65 (concessions £55)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

18th
January
2019

Climate-Driven changes in Rocky Shore Communities

Climate-Driven changes in Rocky Shore Communities

Friday 18 January, 7.00pm-8.00pm – Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

With Heather Sugden

Climate change is causing rapid responses in marine communities, with species in many taxonomic groups showing fast shifts in biogeographic range. Heather will describe a multidisciplinary approach to identify patterns within long-term datasets and the processes driving these patterns. She will then talk about shifts across the boundaries and what is happening in the northeast on a local level together with the results from current work.

Heather is a Teaching Fellow at Newcastle University whose research includes studies on factors affecting marine communities and Citizen Science research projects such as Capturing Our Coast and The Big Sea Survey

18th
January
2019

Fitbits for seals? Using new technology to pry into the intimate lives of grey seals

Fitbits for seals? Using new technology to pry into the intimate lives of grey seals

Friday 18 January, 18.29pm-6.45pm – Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

With Courtney Shuert

Technology is rapidly evolving. Recent advances in sensor technology have allowed us to track our every movement, daily routines, and the calories we burn over time. Here I present my work applying similar technologies to pry into the intimate lives of grey seal mothers as they raise their pups through the intensive, two and a half week lactation period taking place every autumn. Tracking trends in movement and heart rate in these wild grey seals over this period has revealed some interesting strategies to managing such a energy-demanding period including differences in behaviour and innate personality, as well as how individuals are able to cope physiologically with the various pressures of a warming climate and, ultimately, how these differences may affect her pup’s development.

19th
January
2019

Slavonian Grebes and a Seawatch at Stag Rocks

Slavonian Grebes and a Seawatch at Stag Rocks

Common Scoter © Andrew Motion

Saturday 19 January, 9.00am-12.00pm

Enjoy a bracing ‘seawatch’ with local naturalists James Common and Sacha Elliott in the attempt to locate seldom-seen maritime birds, including Slavonian Grebe, Long-tailed Duck, Velvet Scoter and Great Northern Diver. Harkess, or ‘Stag rocks’, is an excellent winter site and one of the best in Northumberland to observe some of our more elusive maritime species.

Sturdy footwear is recommended. Please bring your own optics if possible: we recommend telescopes. Wrap up warm.

Free to members. If you are not an NHSN member, we would welcome a suggested donation of £5:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/make-a-donation/

Or please consider joining us:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/become-a-member/

Booking essential. To book, please go to Eventbrite here.

20th
January
2019

Red Kite Watch

Red Kite Watch

Red Kite © Andy Jackson

Sunday 20 January, 2.30-5.00pm

Join Friends of Red Kites in the Derwent Valley to enjoy one of the most spectacular sights in North East nature. Learn more about kite ecology as you watch the birds arriving to roost at a favoured site just before dusk.

No need to book. Meet at the Land of Oak and Iron Centre at Winlaton Mill, grid reference NZ 18628 60956.
If this car park is full, a volunteer will direct a short drive away (approx. 1/4 mile) to more parking space.

Free to members. If you are not an NHSN member, we would welcome a suggested donation of £5:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/make-a-donation/

Or please consider joining us:
http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/become-a-member/