Introducing Gloucestershire’s Robberflies

Adult robberflies (Order: Diptera, Family: Asilidae) are effective daytime hunters, relying on sight to target moving insect prey which they then seem able to immobilise by injecting posion through their mouthparts. Martin Matthews has prepared a basic introduction to the adults of the 16 species of robberflies (12 of them illustrated) that have been recorded in Gloucestershire at least once since 1950. The guide can be downloaded from the invertebrates section of our publications pages.

Upcoming GNS events

Due to the country’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic, and our efforts to minimise the spread, GNS obviously cancelled all our scheduled events that were due to take place during the ‘lockdown’. We will continue to schedule events in accordance with government advice, and have therefore cancelled events up to and including 10th May. The government plans to announce the way forward as far as restrictions are concerned this coming Sunday, and we will of course comply with any rules or guidelines set out in that announcement. Therefore it’s quite likely that further cancellations will have to occur. If and when lockdown restrictions are relaxed, some leaders of field meetings may feel that they would still prefer that their respective meetings do not go ahead, so even at this point we will review each meeting individually. Please keep an eye on this website for up to date information.

UPDATE 14th May – In light of the recently revised guidelines from the government which still forbid meeting with more than one person from another household at a time, we have cancelled all meetings that were scheduled to take place during May.

UPDATE 29th May – We have cancelled all meetings that were scheduled to take place during June.

GNS Garden Challenge

All members are invited to take up the challenge of sharing their garden observations of wildlife.

What can be included?
Just about any original observations made in your garden or from the windows of your residence.

What form might these observations take?
• An account or accounts of a memorable wildlife sighting or sightings.
• A report of a study made of wildlife in your garden.
• A diary of what you have observed.
• Annotated list of organisms encountered in your garden.
• Original artwork illustrating an observation or study.
• Anything you think worth sharing about wildlife from your garden

Some guidelines:
• A maximum of one account per month to be submitted. Diary entries and lists should be submitted monthly
• Pictures can be included. E.g. photographs or original artwork.
• All submissions should have a clear title and name of author.
• Your first submission should include a brief introduction about your garden.

How to take up the challenge:
Each submission should be sent to our website manager for posting on our website. Some pieces may be used in the “News”.
If you do not use the internet, you may still enter, and we will try to include some of your material in the “News”. Post your submission to M. Greening who will get it digitised for the website. Best to send a copy of your work if you can, but if you send original work and want it returned, please include an SAE.

Award:
This is not a competition; it is an opportunity for us to share our thoughts about the wildlife we encounter in our gardens.
We want to recognise the efforts made by entrants by awarding an annual prize to the entrant we feel has made the most inspirational contribution each year. The award is a vase, bequeathed to the society by the late Mornee Button, and will be given out each year at the AGM. The decision about the recipient of the award will be made by a committee nominated by the executive committee.

Contact details:
For entries via e-mail please send to our website manager : [email protected]
For paper entries please send to: Mervyn Greening, 23, Lakeside, Newent, Glos. GL18 1SZ.

Head over to the Garden Challenge page to view the latest submissions.

(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.

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