Events

For the 2018-19 season our indoor meetings will be held at Laurel Avenue Community Centre, Laurel Avenue, Durham DH1 2EY. This is in the Sherburn Road Estate, about a mile from the city centre. Indoor meetings are on Tuesday evenings at 7.30 pm. Entrance is £1. All Welcome!

Our planned programme of outings for the 2018-2019 season includes a mixture of local trips and excursions further afield.

Trips usually start from the Stockton Road entrance to the University of Durham Science Site, but we sometimes meet on Moor Crescent, Gilesgate Moor, DH1 1DL or at the car park close to the Newton Hall Co-op at Carr House Drive, Newton Hall, Durham. Timings may vary.

Advance booking is not usually required for car trips, but further details can be obtained from David Sowerbutts Tel. (0191) 3867201.

April 2019

Sat
27

Day trip to West Durham

Location: Meet at the Stockton Road entrance to the University of Durham Science Site, Durham
Latitude/longitude: 54.768707,-1.569863 (Google map)

By the fourth week of April many of our summer visitors will have begun to arrive in the county, though possibly still in relatively small numbers. Swallows and martins are likely to be around the villages and farms, while the uplands will hold a good range of waders returned from wintering on the coasts of Britain and elsewhere. The exact itinerary for the day is not yet fixed, but it is planned to include mature woodland, where we hope to find redstart, pied flycatcher and some of the summer warblers. The upland streams should produce sightings of dipper, grey wagtail and common sandpiper, while the species to seek in the moorland areas include black grouse and ring ouzel.

Time: 9 am, returning to Durham around 7.00 p.m.

Price: Travel will be in members' cars, sharing fuel costs

Telephone: 0191 3867201

E-mail: David.Sowerbutts@dunelm.org.uk

May 2019

Thu
2

Evening trip to Rosa Shafto Nature Reserve

Location: Meet at the Stockton Road entrance to the University of Durham Science Site, Durham
Latitude/longitude: 54.768707,-1.569863 (Google map)

The Rosa Shafto Nature Reserve is a large area of mixed woodland near Spennymoor. Over 100 species of bird have been recorded here, with woodpeckers, titmice, finches and warblers likely to be seen at this time of year. Yellowhammer and other farmland birds may be in evidence in the open countryside near the start of the walk. The woodland runs along the route of the Valley Burn down to its confluence with the River Wear, where grey heron, common sandpiper, oystercatcher, grey wagtail and sand martin may be among the species to be seen. Tawny owls breed on the reserve and may be getting ready to hunt by the time we finish our visit.

Time: Meet at 6.30 pm

Price: Travel will be in members' cars

Telephone: 0191 3867201

E-mail: David.Sowerbutts@dunelm.org.uk

Tue
14

Evening trip to Deerness Valley

Location: Meet at the Stockton Road entrance to the University of Durham Science Site, Durham
Latitude/longitude: 54.768707,-1.569863 (Google map)

This will be an opportunity to explore one of the less well-known areas of the county. Walking will be along a former railway track with associated scrub, passing through open countryside and woodland as well as riverside habitat. A good range of species, including woodpeckers, dipper, grey wagtail, warblers and farmland birds should be seen.

Time: Meet at 6.30 pm

Price: Travel will be in members' cars

Telephone: 0191 3867201

E-mail: David.Sowerbutts@dunelm.org.uk

Sat
18

Day trip to Mid-Yorkshire

Location: Meet at the Stockton Road entrance to the University of Durham Science Site, Durham
Latitude/longitude: 54.768707,-1.569863 (Google map)

The itinerary for the day is still to be finalised, but the intention is to visit one of the extensive lowland heaths, such as Strensall Common or Skipwith Common - the latter now a National Nature Reserve - as well as a wetland area. Observations in these habitats in Yorkshire may include bird species which are difficult to find in, or are absent from, County Durham. On sunny days the heaths can also be good for finding adders, common lizards, grass snakes and Brimstone butterflies.

Time: 9 am

Price: Travel will be in members' cars, sharing fuel costs

Telephone: 0191 3867201

E-mail: David.Sowerbutts@dunelm.org.uk

Tue
21

Annual General Meeting

Location: The Wild Boar, Houghton le Spring
Latitude/longitude: 54.843418,-1.469145 (Google map)

The AGM this year will be held at The Wild Boar, Frederick Place, Houghton le Spring, DH4 4BN on Tuesday 21 May, starting at 7.30 pm. We can have the use of an alcove room to hold the AGM and then follow it with a meal.

Menu choices are not required in advance. Steak is the special on Tuesday evenings. You can download the menu at: https://www.jdwetherspoon.com/pubs/all-pubs/england/tyne-and-wear/the-wild-boar-houghtonlespring

Time: 7.30 pm

Price: AGM is free, but you pay for your own meal

Telephone: 07397 862833

E-mail: richard.cowen313@gmail.com

June 2019

Sat
8

Day trip to a Northumberland Valley

Location: Meet at the Stockton Road entrance to the University of Durham Science Site, Durham
Latitude/longitude: 54.768707,-1.569863 (Google map)

The Durham Local Group last visited the Upper Coquetdale area in 2003. The first part of this outing will be based in and around the village of Alwinton on the edge of the Cheviot hills. There is a wide range of woodland, moorland and riverside habitat. Sightings on our last visit included good views of siskin and spotted flycatcher as well as grey wagtail and cuckoo. Plans for the remainder of the day are still being developed, but it is hoped to include contrasting habitat to increase the number of species seen.

Time: 9 am

Price: Travel will be in members' cars, sharing fuel costs

Telephone: 0191 3867201

E-mail: David.Sowerbutts@dunelm.org.uk

Wed
12

Evening trip to Crimdon

Location: Meet at the Stockton Road entrance to the University of Durham Science Site, Durham
Latitude/longitude: 54.768707,-1.569863 (Google map)

This visit is planned to take in a number of habitats, including the woodland of Crimdon Dene, the dune vegetation and the shore. In the dene there should be a range of woodland species, while the dunes hold good numbers of skylarks and meadow pipits as well as linnet and reed bunting and often grasshopper warbler. On the shore and over the sea we hope to encounter terns, with the possibility of little tern, and ringed plover. Gannet may be seen passing offshore. Among the dunes some orchid species may be in flower.

Time: Meet at 6.30 pm

Price: Travel will be in members' cars

Telephone: 0191 3867201

E-mail: David.Sowerbutts@dunelm.org.uk

Fri
28

Nightjar Evening

Location: Meet at the Stockton Road entrance to the University of Durham Science Site, Durham
Latitude/longitude: 54.768707,-1.569863 (Google map)

Our nightjar evening is planned to follow the pattern which has become established over recent years. We will meet at the Stockton Road entrance to the Durham University Science Site at 8.00 p.m. and then travel by car to the locality chosen for the evening. This is likely to be in County Durham but may be just over the county boundary into Northumberland, depending on the information we have on where nightjars can be found this year. Many nightjar sites are also good for woodcock, some of which should still be "roding", and there is the possibility of other crepuscular species such as tawny owl. Since nightjars are not active until after sunset, return to Durham may well be after midnight. Midges can be a problem - insect repellent may help!

Time: Meet at 8.00 pm

Price: Travel will be in members' cars

Telephone: 0191 3867201

E-mail: David.Sowerbutts@dunelm.org.uk

August 2019

Sat
3

Day trip to Teesmouth

Location: Meet at the Stockton Road entrance to the University of Durham Science Site, Durham

Latitude/longitude: 54.768707,-1.569863 (Google map)

This outing is likely to include a visit to the RSPB Saltholme Reserve, so remember to bring your RSPB membership card!

The autumn wader migration will be well under way. We may well see a dozen or more species ranging from saltmarsh and mudflat feeders such as grey plover, knot, bar-tailed godwit and possibly whimbrel, through more generalist species like redshank, dunlin and curlew, to those most likely to be found on brackish or freshwater pools, including little ringed plover and black-tailed godwit. Common terns now breed regularly on the North Tees marshes, while other tern species from the more northerly colonies visit Teesmouth on their way south and may be feeding offshore in Tees Bay. A number of the waterfowl species which breed in the area will be observed. In addition, there are likely to be good views of the seals which frequent Greatham Creek, and, if the day is sunny, butterflies and dragonflies should add to the interest.

Time: 9 am, returning to Durham from late afternoon.

Price: Travel with be in member's cars

Telephone: 0191 3867201

E-mail: David.Sowerbutts@dunelm.org.uk