(UPDATED) – GNS meetings & COVID-19

UPDATE 22nd March – In light of the worsening situation and in accordance with government advice, we have now cancelled ALL meetings (indoor meetings and field meetings) until at least the end of April, but we must expect further cancellations in the future. Stay safe and we look forward to seeing everyone again once it is safe and sensible to do so.

GNS has decided to cancel the forthcoming field meeting scheduled for Saturday 21st March, Newent, “How to Use the iNaturalist phone app” for identification and recording due to the need for close proximity of users to one another and mobile phones.

After further consideration GNS has decided to cancel the forthcoming Cirencester indoor meeting scheduled for Friday 3rd April – Oliver Smart showing and talking about British Butterflies.

Similarly, we have cancelled the Exec. Committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday 25th March but will continue to conduct the Society’s business by telephone or e-mail. We have to act responsibly and with caution and follow best advice on this matter.

Other Field Meetings have a lower risk attached so will continue for the time being, but we will re-consider that position if necessary, on a case by case basis. If for any reason you do not feel comfortable attending a meeting, do not do so – your health & well-being and that of all others must take priority. More information will follow in due course.

Website accessibility

Please note that the website now has a new tool for the benefit of anyone who has problems reading any part of the site, whether that be due to font size, colour or contrast level. You can now set these attributes according to your own requirements. Note that most browsers also feature a universal zoom function which will apply to all websites.

Unlocking the Severn

Unlocking the Severn’ is a project that aims to restore 158 miles of river for shad to reach their natural spawning grounds once again. This will be achieved by installing fish passes along weirs in the River Severn. The Severn Rivers Trust has been in touch to let us know that there are some exciting volunteer opportunities to contribute to this project. The main activity is Shad monitoring which involves carrying out bankside timed counts, counting the numbers of migrating Shad, in Tewkesbury at Upper Lode weir. If any of our members would be interested in coming along to Tewkesbury for a day trip to learn more about the project and have a go at carrying out some shad counts, then they can contact Rachel Davies on 07923220394 or [email protected] There are several dates in May to choose from.

AGM – 6th March

A reminder than the GNS Annual General Meeting will take place on 6th March, with a talk by Julian Hector, head of the BBC Natural History Unit. More information here. In preparation for the AGM, please note that the following documents are all now available to view:

The Science & Publications Committee Annual Report 2020
AGM minutes March 2019
AGM agenda for March 2020
Cirencester Branch Chairman’s Report
GNS Chairman’s Report Feb 2020
Treasurer’s Report 2020
Membership Report Summary Dec 2019.

All of the above documents are available to read by following this link.

Adder identification & survey workshop

News of an upcoming ‘Back From The Brink’ Adder identification and survey workshop for anyone interested in helping to survey for Adders in the Cotswolds. The training will take place on Saturday 21st March from 9.30am-4pm at the National Trust’s Ebworth Centre.

The day will provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to help us undertake surveys for adders and other reptiles which we aim to begin following the training day. The aim is to get a comprehensive picture of where adders currently are and how they are doing which in turn will help us conserve them here in Gloucestershire and across the Cotswolds as a whole.

If you would like to come along please reply by email to [email protected] to book your place but please note spaces are limited. Click here for more information.

New WeBS site in Gloucestershire

Alney Island (photo: Andrew Jayne)

The Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) is a nationwide survey, administered by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), which aims to make monthly counts of water birds at as many wetlands as possible, in order to assess numbers of birds, and to pinpoint the principal sites important for them. (Similar surveys are carried out all over Europe and Africa, so this is part of an international effort).

Many Gloucestershire sites are already covered – on the Severn estuary, in the Severn and Avon Vales, at pools and reservoirs, along Cotswold rivers and at the Cotswold Water Park. The counts are carried out by a large group of volunteer observers, many of then GNS members, whose results contribute to the national picture, with an annual report produced by BTO; (new volunteers always welcome!).

The latest addition to the county list of WeBS sites is Alney Island, an area of low floodable meadow alongside the Severn, very close to the centre of Gloucester, part of which is a reserve managed by Gloucester City Council. In times like the present, with extensive flooding, the site holds a variety of surface-feeding ducks such as Teal, Wigeon and Shoveler, as well as birds that frequent thicker vegetation like Water Rail and Coot; in addition the site is a winter home to Reed Buntings which roost in the Typha bed at Port Ham, and rarer birds like Yellow-browed Warbler or Siberian Chiffchaff.

Talk by Julian Hector at the AGM on 6th March

Gloucestershire Naturalists’ Society 

“Big Natural History Television and the Conservation of the Natural World”. 

A Talk by Julian Hector, 
head of the BBC Natural History Unit. 

Julian heads up the BBC Studios Natural History Unit, a department of nearly 300 staff making best in the world content for BBC channels, digital platforms and broadcasters around the world. Julian has worked for the NHU for over 25 years with an executive producer portfolio across radio, TV and digital. Under his leadership the NHU has delivered Planet Earth II, Blue Planet II, Dynasties, Springwatch, Blue Planet Live, Seven Worlds One Planet and other cutting edge series such as Earth from Space and Animals with Cameras.

Date: 6th March 2020

Venue: Gala Club Gloucester, Fairmile Gardens, Longford, Gloucester. GL2 9EB

Time 19.30

Talk to be preceded by short (10 minutes) AGM of the Gloucestershire Naturalists Society.

Refreshments available

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