September 1999

Welcome to the September Newsletter:

1 have spent one conversation during this last month defending birdwatchers who treat their hobby as a pure leisure pursuit and, as such, if they bother to attend meetings, wish to be entertained by bird finding/identification/foreign trip-type talks rather than more academically-challenging single-species studies or - shock- horror - someone trying to get them to do a survey. These people have every right to adopt this approach to birdwatching and, by sheer weight of numbers, they are partly responsible for its very high profile. However, if we were all like that, bird clubs would become branches of the entertainment industry and not vehicles for detailed study of the local birds, either self- generated or as a result of requests from the likes of the BTO. My own view is that a healthy bird club should consist of a full cross-section of the birding scene (other than egg-collectors and raptor thieves) and I can think of no better example in this respect than our own society.

However, as Dave Sharpe details in the current Newsletter, in one or two survey areas we are a little threadbare. The obvious major problem is the gap in the Waterways survey. Water-bodies such as Ashton Hall Lake and Abbeystead Reservoir take about 5 minutes to count and are, as such, not time consuming at all. So please help if you can. Dave also details the BTO Farmland surveys. I’ll start the ball rolling by offering to do the megascenic SD4259 (the old ICI site at Middleton). If you live in one of the selected squares, and therefore know the farmers involved, why not give it a try?

Details are also given of a new form of competitive birding; the ’fixed point’ counts, which can either, be a sponsored event or a friendly competition between people’s ’pet’ sites!

Sadly, once again we have to report the death of one of the stalwarts of the local birdwatching scene. Stan Craig was best known for his photographic skills and clarity of presentation (no need for microphones) and also involvement with developments at Wyreside fisheries and counting the Over-Wyre geese.  As a teenager, I remember ringing with Stan at a Preston Blackbird roost and during that period he was one of the earliest helpers at Leighton Moss, an active member of the cannon-netting team and a major contributor to Nest Record Cards.  He served on the LDBWS committee for many years. Our condolences go to his wife, Barbara.

Contributions welcome for the next Newsletter.  Deadlines: 8 December (handwritten) or 10 December (ready to print)

Word 6 or similar e-mail attachments (which I can format) are very welcome.

Please can I have posted copy ready to print in the following format: Block, not indented paragraphs; Times New Roman 10 or 11, width not exceeding 16cm; no more than one third of a side of A4 left blank (i.e. an illustration can be slotted in which is not an over-large space filler)

Please send to Pete Marsh, 17 Albion Street, Lancaster LA1 1DY or

Many thanks to British Energy (Heysham 2) for providing use of photocopier

Newsletter contents

Birdwatching Trip reports from around the world