Stourbridge

Outings for 2019

Visits in 2019 included a trip to the Centre of the Earth! Not the fictional one, but the headquarters of the Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust. We were shown around the small, but interesting, site by Emma and heard about the Salmon in the Stour project, to monitor and encourage salmon and trout along the length of the Stour and its tributaries.

In June we went to Baggeridge Country Park where we were successful in spotting a variety of orchids, including the fairly rare bee orchid, as well as other wildflowers, butterflies and birds.

Our May meeting was at Upton Warren Nature Reserve, run by the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust. We visited the various hides at the flash pools (salt water) and saw (distantly through a borrowed telescope) a Temminck's Stint, plus plovers, the usual (ever lovely) avocets and other waders. We didn't spot many young birds. We then drove on to the moor pool and saw a few field and woodland birds including my favourite - bullfinch.

In April we visited the Falconry Centre at Webbs Garden Centre, Hagley. The flying display gave us the chance to see how different birds hunt and catch their food and the two keepers were hugely well informed and entertaining, so we learned a lot about these impressive birds. One of the interesting facts is that many large raptors only fly for a short time in the wild and often not every day. Some of us have concerns about animals being kept in captivity, so it was reassuring to hear that their current 'lifestyle' is not so different to that in their natural habitat. Indeed, when they are released to fly there is nothing to stop them taking off but most birds prefer the comfort of regular food and good care. The whole display lasts for two to three hours, depending on how the birds behave (some take the opportunity to have a fly around before returning for food), so it was definitely good value for money.

In February Pat and Peter Orme shared in words and photos something of the trip they made to the Galapagos Islands. Whilst many of us have heard from the likes of David Attenborough of the wonders of these islands, it was fascinating to hear directly from friends who had visited. They told stories of close encounters with animals and details of the strict rules laid down by the Ecuador government to preserve this unique habitat. A wonderful afternoon.

In January Mick Poulton gave a talk on 'Basic Botany'. This was designed to help those of us who lack a scientific background in this area to understand the basics of how plants work - water, food, sun etc. His clear information with diagrams and photographs delighted and informed us in equal measure.