© SK58 Birders 2023
website est. 1996
!NEW ! 17th May A reminder that after twenty plus years of of carrying out Membership Secretary duties, Lyn Facer is stepping down at the end of the year. This is an important role within the group, but not particularly difficult. If you think you'd like to help out or take over from Lyn, then by all means chat or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
!NEW ! 16th May 2023 is SK58 Birders 30th year. We are hoping to run a 30th Anniversary weekend away to somewhere like Rutland Water in the late summer or autumn. Take up has been slow, so if you would like to go, or have an alternative venue, let Andy Hirst know ASAP, so we can firm up plans. At the moment we are looking at Rutland Water in early September, outside the school holidays. One, possibly two night stay (Friday to Sunday) in a good standard local hotel near Oakham. An itinerary will probably be Fri-Sat birding around Rutland and on the Sunday go to Stamford for a non birdy, touristy day.
28th April Our April indoor meeting ended up being a bit of a celebration, commemorating 30 years of SK58 Birders. Pete Brown gave his enthralling talk "Northumbrian Garden Parrot", but prior to this our first chairman, Rob Hardcastle was presented with a certificate, acknowledging his honorary life membership for his outstanding contribution to the group. Pictured below are all the past and present SK58 Chairmen.
Rob Hardcastle (1992-1997), Andy Hirst (1997-2002), Mick Clay (2002-2016) & Paul Tennyson (2017-)
1st April The final records are in for 2022. During the year we recorded 137 species in 5883 records from 35 observers. Why we record birds.
24th March Further to our 30th Anniversary year, the organisers discussed running a members weekend away. Suggestions included Rutland Water or the Farnes. Anytime is good for Rutland, so possibly a weekend in September. The Farnes would be more time specific, maybe June to early July (to avoid school holiday prices & subject to bird flu!). We could take a minibus. Accommodation would be in a local hotel or B&B. If you are interested or have alternative suggestions , then let one of the group organisers know.
22nd March As part of our 30th Anniversary year the Organisers have decided to make two members Honorary Life Members. This is something new for the group, in recognition of individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the group over the years.
Rob Hardcastle Rob was a founder member of SK58 Birders and instrumental in setting up the group way back in late 1992. Rob was also our first Chair and held the position until 1997, steering the group through those initial years, as the group developed and found its feet and voice. He instigated and wrote our early newsletters, which still today bear the name "A View From the Pit Top" (see the grey bar in the header above).
Rob also helped organise our initial surveys, the Woodland Survey of 1997 and our Common Bird Census which ran for several years in Hawks Wood by the Chesterfield Canal in the mid- to late 1990's.
Rob is still involved with the group, living in North Yorkshire, he analyses the data from our Tetrad Atlas Surveys and has several times talked to the group about the evolving trends the survey has revealed. Rob pictured, at "Bird Rock" in Wales on a weekend away. Note Andy Hirst's Capri in the background- shows how long ago that was! I'm sure you'll all agree, a worthy recipient of an Honorary Life membership.
Harry Vilkaitis Harry is a long time member of SK58, joining way back in early 1990's. Harry was the groups original ringer and was always seen around the area in his little white Suzuki jeep, his ringing poles on the top. Often out early morning, members would bump into him at sites such as NAPT, with his nets set up in the reeds and rides, or maintaining & creating ringing rides at sites around the square.
It was through Harry's ringing efforts, we found the movement of winter thrushes through sites such as NAPT. Consistent counts of birds such as Blackbirds were initially thought to be the same birds over wintering, but ringing new individuals with no re-traps proved the constant numbers were actually birds replacing other birds which had moved through, in effect NAPT was a motorway services for thrushes. This the sort of data ringing yields. Harry also appeared in a promotional video for SK58 Birders back in 2000, his ringing skills caught on video.
Harry was involved with one of the last Barn Owl release schemes in the country. SK58 in conjunction with the Butterfly House released eight Barn Owl back in the wild, this before the population explosion in 2010. In retirement Harry returned to Austria where he enjoys birding around Neusiedl. Again, I'm sure you'll agree a worthy recipient of a Honorary Life membership. Pictured is Harry at the Butterfly House, about to release a Barn Owl in one of the last release schemes, in July 2001.
21st March Did you know we have car stickers to help promote the group? Collect yours at the next indoor meeting.
28th February We've had a request for help from our next door neighbours at the Sheffield Bird Study Group, with assistance with their Willow Tit survey- details below. If you can help let the group know and we'll pass on Richard's email address. (Members will have received this in an email).
wondered if any of your SK58 members would be interested in helping
with the SBSG's final year of Willow Tit surveying please? - there's
one or two squares around Rotherham which we we could do with covering.
27th February Stone Curlew has been added to the SK58 Official List, following the submission and acceptance of a description.
21st February Just a quick reminder that subs are now due. See Join us page for rates and how to pay.
16th February I'm sure the "Friends of Firbeck Hall" won't mind us sharing this image of the newly refurbished Firbeck hall, now looking resplendent with a roof and new windows.
Firbeck Hall © Friends of Firbeck Hall
7th February We've also received details of long time member Wilf Slack's funeral: The funeral is on Thursday 16th February at 1400 at Rotherham Crematorium.
6th February We've received notification of "The 12th South Yorkshire Natural History Day"
12th South Yorkshire Natural History Day
10:30 Introductions and housekeeping
10:40 Bob Croxton
- Rotherham Wetlands Bat Survey
Simmons - Brockadale - a limestone treasure
1:00 - 2:00 Lunch
2:00 Steve Byers
- A Carrion Crow in close up
3:30+ Informal chat and drinks. Dismantle displays.
exhibition of wildlife wood carvings and taxidermy by Steve Toher
29th January Following on from the renewal article below, did you know you can bay by BACS/ online? If you use online banking, contact either our Treasurer or Membership Secretary for online banking details to enable a paperless transfer. If paying online, please use your surname & initial as reference so we know who you are.
24th January Just a reminder it's the AGM on 31st January- don't be put off! the formalities only last 20 mins, then It'll be our own Mick Clay, talking about his local patches within SK58. Also a reminder that subs are now due.
11th January We've received the sad news that long time member Wilf Slack has passed away. Wilf was a member for over 20 years. May the group pass on its heartfelt condolences to his friends and family- and thanks to his son for advising us in person.
17th December Firstly can we wish you all a Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year! Just a few notes from an extra organisers meeting held on Wednesday 14th December:
A group focused on recording the bird life of a single 10km square between Sheffield, Rotherham & Worksop
content & design by Andy Hirst