Bee Watch 2018

6 March: The initial meeting for the 2018 season was held at the Guide Hut in Meopham. Thank you everyone who attended the meeting especially the 4 new members of the group.
The following decisions were made:
Beryl Connelly will continue as the group coordinator for the time being
Anne-Marie Medhurst will be our web manager
Bee watch walks at: Trosley Country Park, Cobham Mausoleum, Meopham Allotments & Northfield will continue during 2018
Beryl will investigate the possibility of a walk suitable for members with restricted mobility at Shorne Woods Country Park
She will also contact Ranscombe Farm to see if that have any suitable training planned.
Anne-Marie will investigate Jeskyns is a possible additional venue.

16 April: A very enjoyable training day run by Lauren Kennedy at the RSPB Reserve - Northward Hill, Hoo. Within a few minutes of starting our walk we spotted a Buff-tailed Queen and after that we became quite blasé – just another one. We watched them nest hunting & foraging for food. A rare Shrill Carder was spotted trying to get down the neck of Chris Hague-Smith’s shirt. Both bee & Chris escaped the encounter unharmed!!! At the end of the walk we spotted Buff/White-tailed workers which is a clear indication that the queens that emerged last month have successfully started the 2018 cycle. In an enclosed area of the edge of the car park a single Early Bumblebee was spotted. The 6 of us who attended had a great time & learnt a great deal.

Trosley Country Park: All dates are the 4th Friday in the month. Meet in the café 10:30 ready to start at 11:00. Contact: Moira Green.
Cobham Mausoleum: Contact: Beryl Connelly.
Meopham Allotments: Contact: Helen Pearce.
Northfield DA3 8EX: The 2017 Northfield DA3 walk was adjusted with the help of the BBCT & will henceforth be known as Northfield DA3 8EX. Meet Wednesdays approx. fortnightly, at Black Lion PH & Tea Room; aim to complete at least one walk a month. During the season we decided to meet at the Black Lion to study, discuss & reschedule over a cup of tea/coffee, even if weather is poor. Contact Chris Hague-Smith.
(To download our 2018 report click NORTHFIELD REPORT 2018).
Jeskyns Community Woodland: (NEW FOR 2018) Refer to the Jeskyns Community Woodland page for further details. Contact: Ann Marie Medhurst.

MAKING A BUZZ FOR THE COAST: More details can be found on the BBCT website Making a Buzz
SHRILL CARDER BEE PROJECT - BACK FROM THE BRINK: (Project Officer Rosie Earwaker). Find out more by visiting the project web page buglife; follow the project on Twitter @Buzzdonttweet or connect on LinkedIn.
FRIENDS OF THE EARTH BUMBLEBEE COUNT 2018: 17 May to 30 June. Follow the link FOE-Bee Count 2018 to find more information & register to take part.

26 November: END OF YEAR MEETING Each bee walk group provided feedback on what they had seen. In general we have seen more and a greater variety of bumblebees. Compared to when we started we are all more knowledgeable and some of us are very much more knowledgeable.

Plans for 2019:
• All 2018 walks plan to continue in 2019, with route modified at Cobham & Jeskyns.
• Sign up for the 2019 season at the monthly meeting on 12 February 2019.
• Whole group meeting around end Feb/beginning of Mar 2019, where new & existing members can find out about the 2019 walks.
• Possible opportunity for those that are interested to try and correlate the findings of the different groups.
• Possible meeting with Nikki Gammans in middle of year.

2018 season - final notes:
Our 2018 Walks Season has now ended & results have been logged on the BBCT BeeWalk Survey Scheme website. Activities will begin again in spring & our plans for 2019 appear below; any further developments will be added.

The Bee Walk Group is in need of a new group coordinator for 2019. The job entails:-
• Enrolling members at the February 12TH monthly meeting
• Start of season meeting February 25TH during the U3A Coffee Morning at the Cricketers Inn, 10.00-11.30.
• Keeping in touch with the membership via Beacon
• Attending group coordinator meetings run by Meopham U3A
• Running end of season meeting
• Nikki has advised us of some courses to take place at Dungeness as follows:
. • Bee ID Beginners - 7 April (£15)
. • Bee ID Intermediate - 5 May (£15)
. • Flower ID: 14 April by leading botanist Heather Silk (no charge)
. • Flower ID: 24 April by leading botanist Heather Silk (no charge)
Plans are already in place for the start of 2019 season including a training session on 8 April. I will continue to plan for the start of the season & will help the new coordinator at enrollment & the initial meeting.
Please do give this some thought - it is not a big job as each of the walks organise themselves, so ideal for someone who wants to help but does not want to/has not the time to get too involved.
Beryl Connelly