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"View From The Pit Top"- Latest news from SK58 Birders
Updated 23 July, 2022

 

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© SK58 Birders 2022

est. 1992

website est. 1996

 

News Archive

! NEW ! 23rd July This past week saw unprecedented temperatures arrive in the UK, with a max. of 40 degrees Celsius in many parts of the UK, including SK58. The ongoing arid conditions and lack of rain fall meant the area was bone dry and susceptible to a wildfire. Several fires did break out, the largest covering a swathe of cereal crops stretching from the outskirts of Dinnington/ Throapham to Firbeck.

Extent of the fire- (based on observations, and not hundred percent accurate).click for pic

The monetary cost can only be measured against the impact on wildlife, as the fire touched prime habitats including hedgerows and woodlands such as Long Thwaite Wood & Kings Wood.

Lingodell > Long Thwaite Wood © Andy Hirstclick for pic

There were of course many other smaller fires including at NAPT (Dinnington Community Woodland). Thankfully this was brought under control by locals and didn't affect the nature reserve, just a bank of leggy Gorse and a hedgerow (planted by SK58 Birders).

Kings Wood © Andy Hirstclick for pic

Non of these fires started on their own, speculating on the main fire around Long Thwaite Wood; a discarded cigarette end or glass bottle? At NAPT a discarded disposable BBQ, and glass bottles were found at the scene.

NAPT > N © Andy Hirstclick for pic

Of course the Emergency services performed heroically, but were spread thinly, and rightly so focussing where there was a threat to life and property. It was indeed locals who extinguished the NAPT fire. I wonder how many were parents of the youths who had discarded the BBQ and the umpteen bottles at the picnic site?

Main path, NAPT > N © Andy Hirstclick for pic

1st July With regard to the proposed Solar farm within the square, our Conservation Officer is setting up a meeting to discuss all the issues, from creating habitats, to mitigation for the loss of habitat for certain species. Watch this space!

15th June We've just found out the superb farmland around Common Farm, butting up to Dinnington Marsh, will have a planning application submitted to house ground based solar panels, this a significant sized development! This takes out another area of farmland with industrialisation encroaching even further into the green belt. This area is a haven for wildlife.

Common Farm- site plan of of proposed solar farm - Banks Renewables

The companies own map shows Common Farm as a green agricultural area surrounded by housing & industry; Rotherham to the N & NW,Thurcroft to the N, Laughton & Dinnington to the E, Aughton to the W and Todwick to the S. Will there be any green areas left??. The group has been watching this area for decades, so have thousands of records to prove what an excellent area this is for wildlife. https://www.banksgroup.co.uk/projects/renewables/common-farm-solar/

6th June Despite the very cold and delayed spring due to the unfavourable winds from the N & E, summer migrants are all in, albeit in what appears to be in greatly reduced numbers. There appears to be very few hirundines & Swift around and many warblers are around in lower numbers, such as Willow Warbler & Whitethroat. Having said that the number of species recorded so far this year within SK58 is a very respectable 124 species. Birds seem to be well in, just in lower numbers. Lets hope this is just a one off year and not the start of a drastic downward spiral.

22nd May A few updates to catch up on:

  • Speakers Organiser- You may remember a while ago Geoff Facer, our Speakers Organiser indicated he wished to step down, well from 2023 we will need a new Speakers Organiser. From the end of 2022, Geoff is stepping down after twenty plus years organising the speakers for our indoor meetings. A huge thank you to Geoff for year on year, finding first rate speakers. The hunt is on for Geoff's successor! This is an important role within the group, but not too arduous. Without a Speakers Organiser, there are no indoor meetings! so it's vital we find someone to take over, and ideally a transition period so Geoff can pass on his wisdom. Email the following for details or further information: membership@sk58birders.com, contact@sk58birders.com.
  • Remember our Great White Egret (leg ring AAU), Mick Clay photographed last autumn at Langold Lake - he returned to Somerset but has been back up north, this time to the NE. More information on the wandering Egret here: https://community.rspb.org.uk/placestovisit/hamwall/b/hamwall-blog/posts/guest-blog-update-on-the-great-white-egrets-of-the-avalon-marshes
  • Tetrad Atlas Survey- Ideally your first tetrad visits should be completed by now, with a gap of 3 weeks until your second visits.
  • SK58 Newsletters- It's come to light that some members haven't received all their newsletters over the past year or so. We send out the monthly newsletter in a mass emailing, usually the week before the indoor meeting. Sometimes overzealous spam / junk email filters block these from your inbox. So if you've not had your newsletter please check: 1). You are a current paid up member, 2). Check any junk email, spam folder in your email. 3). If you've still not received it, contact the recorder and we can send individual newsletters to you, or provide a disc/ memory stick with them all on from January 2017.

21st May If you haven't renewed your SK58 membership (due in January), the April newsletter was the last one you'll receive. You can of course still renew, it's not too late. Contact membership@sk58birders.com.

23rd April Our Conservation Officer, Mick Clay, has been busy yet again! In conjunction with Bob Bellis, the Tropical Butterfly House at Anston and the TCV (The Conservation Volunteers), we've erected a pole mounted owl box at NAPT. Hopefully it wont be long before we hear the 'hissing' of owlets! The poles kindly supplied by the Tropical Butterfly House click for pic

19th April Our Conservation Officer, Mick Clay, has been busy again, this time installing the Willow Tit stump nest boxes he made earlier, at NAPT.click for pic

He's also been helping Tarmac erect "ground nesting breeding birds" warning signs at Harry Croft's Quarry.click for pic

11th April SK58 Birders walk at Langold Lake.
A Red Kite >E over the car park before 1000, eluding some members. Water birds counted were 7 Great Crested Grebe, 10 Mute Swan, 18 Greylag Goose, 56 Canada Goose, 14 Mallard, 3 Tufted Duck, 9 Moorhen and 10 Coot. 4 Buzzard were recorded and a Green Woodpecker called from the tip area. 2 Pied Wagtail were on the cricket pitch and a pair of Grey Wagtail were on the outflow from the lake. The spring migrants were represented by a single Swallow, 4 Blackcap and 13 Chiffchaff. Geoff and Lyn Facer.

10th April The landscape at NAPT has changed markedly over recent years, this involves the loss of quite a bit of habitat. The trees where our first Yellow-browed Warbler occurred have gone, but the new site owners have planted a new row of trees. Hopefully in a few yeas we'll be listening out for the distinctive call of a YBW! click for pic

10th April There is a little water remaining in the scrape at NAPT, so for the time being we will warden the hide at NAPT on Saturday mornings between 0800-1100, although if there's less water we will cancel these hide openings.click for picclick for pic

8th April Our Conservation Officer, Mick Clay, has been busy again, this time drilling out Willow Tit nest boxes. Willow Tits have undergone a massive decline locally and nationally. Hopefully this will help those remaining birds.click for pic


25th March With a higher than usual level of water in the scrape at NAPT, we'll be looking to warden the hide on Saturday mornings between 0800-1100. This has been on hold due to a combination of Covid and low water levels. Those who hold keys to the hide, I'll be putting together a hide duty rota.

24th March As mentioned previously, 2022 is Tetrad Atlas year. Quite a few tetrads have been allocated, but we still have a few left. We hope to allocate these at the March indoor meeting. If you want to to choose a tetrad, let out our recorder know ASAP.

15th March Our Conservation Officer, Mick Clay has been busy constructing Barn Owl boxes.

These are destined for sites at North Anston Pit Top (Dinnington Community Woodland, Kiveton Pit Top (Kiveton Community Woodland), Oldcotes and Harthill. click for pic

2nd March 2022 is Tetrad Atlas Survey year. We allocated about half of the 25 tetrads at the January indoor meeting, so still plenty to choose from. If you did a tetrad(s) in previous years, and want to take part again this year, can you let Andy Hirst know, so we can allocate you you the same squares as you had last time, for consistency in recording.

16th February At the AGM in January, Farrell Kent took over as Treasurer from Jan Jarrold. Farrell has been a member for a number of years and runs his own successful business, so well used to high finance, not that he'll need that with SK58. We welcome him as one of the group organisers, knowing the groups finances are still in safe hands.

Farrell advised that income from subscriptions has been quite low- can we remind folk that subscriptions now run from January to December. So were due on 1st Jan 2022. If you haven't renewed already, or wish to join, please contact Lyn Facer, our Membership Officer.

Also a reminder, following the cancellation of the Tetrad Atlas Survey for the past two years, it looks like 2022 will be fine for it to go ahead. Andy Hirst will go through the survey goals and guidelines at the February indoor meeting and allocate tetrads (2km x 2km squares) at the next few meetings. The survey begins in April. Ideally we'd like the same folk to cover the same squares as previous surveys for consistency, but not vital. If you want to get involved in this simple survey then get in touch with our Recorder; Andy Hirst.

26th January At the AGM, with falling attendance at indoor meetings, it was proposed and agreed to reduce the quorum of 15 to 10, the number of members required at the AGM. The minutes of the AGM will be circulated with the February newsletter.

17th January We've just updated the website with the latest records, so far this year we're up to 73 species, which isn't bad!

5th January Just a reminder that subscriptions to SK58 are now due. Because of Covid we decided not to take subs as we were not running any indoor meetings. However we have now started indoor meetings again and subs are due as of 1st January. You can contact our Membership Secretary here or by email: membership@sk58birders.com or pay at the next indoor meeting.

4th January A very Happy New Year! Just a few notes which won't wait until the Jan Newsletter at the end of the month.

  • Our AGM is held during the January indoor meeting- we need a quorum of 15 members to make/ vote on any changes/ approvals. Currently all current organisers are standing for re-election, although Jan Jarrold is stepping down and Geoff Facer would like step down ASAP, but we will need a successor for Geoff. If you can help with the running of the group, can you indicate your candidacy to any group organisers ahead of the AGM.
  • 2021 Records- can I ask everyone to send in their 2021 records as soon as possible, so we have an accurate report for the AGM, also any outstanding descriptions.
  • We have a FaceBook page- Lewis Sadler has kindly set up and will administer this page. It's open to anyone, so should hopefully be another avenue to promote our work and gain more members. For those on FB, the link is: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1391644581268309
  • Organisers- Can I request all officer reports for the AGM are with me around the time of the Organisers meeting, to give me time to correlate them all to go out with the newsletter.

20th December A reminder the January meeting is our AGM. Please don't be put off by this, the formalities only take 20 minutes! At the time of writing all the current officers are willing to stand for 2022, BUT Geoff Facer would like to step down as Speakers Organiser, so we are seeking a replacement for him. Also Jan Jarrold is also wishing to step down, as Treasurer at the end of 2022. So we are quite desperate to seek replacements for these pivotal roles within the group. Any nominations for ANY post within the group (see contacts), to the chairman a week before the AGM (the night of the organisers meeting- 19/01/2022). An agenda and notes for the AGM will be sent out with the January Newsletter.

15th December Despite the current climate of Covid, 14 members attended the SK58 Annual Christmas meal, the first since 2019. Everyone enjoyed the evening along with an excellent meal, plus quizzes provided Geoff Facer and Paul Tennyson.

SK58 members enjoying their Christmas meal @ the Loyal Trooper © Lyn Facer click for pic

A group dedicated to recording the bird life of a single 10km square between Sheffield, Rotherham & Worksop

content & design by Andy Hirst