News archive

September 2014

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Countryside Live weekend at Leyton Marsh

This family friendly event, bringing the countryside into London, has something for all ages and all interests.

The weekend is packed full of arena displays, falconry, sheep dogs and ferret racing and the infamous dancing sheep show. There's also a range of traditional countryside activities to come and try including willow weaving and wood turning or if you just want to watch, you can marvel at the blacksmith demonstrating his trade.

Make sure you pop into see many of the local wildlife groups and organisations who can tell you all about their work in and around the Lee Valley.

We will have a stand there so would love it if you could pop by and say hello.

See link
for more information.

Click on the Download file link to see the flyer put out by Lee Valley.

Download file

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Iceland and Back

Iceland and Back

We welcomed Brian Nobbs back to tell us about Iceland - its landscapes, geology and birds, all accompanied by his excellent photos.

He focussed on three particular areas - the western peninsular and its fjords, the remote northern area and the most frequently visited area around Reyjkavik. Iceland is just below the Arctic Circle - there is one tiny northern island whose tip just makes it into the Arctic Circle!

Iceland is en-route for many birds that migrate via the UK as it lies between Greenland, the eastern side of Arctic Canada and us. In summer you can see many birds in their breeding finery whereas we only see them in the duller hues of winter plumage. One of the exceptions to this general rule is the Long-tailed Duck - if you are lucky enough to find one in the UK, it will be in its glamorous, white winter plumage which is much more attractive than its dark summer feathers as Brian's striking photos illustrated.

We were taken on a trip around the island, seeing beautiful landscapes, rock formations and, of course, birds. I particularly liked the set of photos showing the ten minute cycle of the very active Stokkur geyser!

Brian had also put together migration maps showing the routes of migrating birds that use Iceland and the UK - either staying here over winter or as a staging post as they travel further south. Often there are sub species of birds that only differ in slight ways (e.g. length of bill) and Brian had taken the trouble to try and differentiate them for us - definitely something that would need additional study!

He added some wonderful images from current websites that show how active the volcanoes on Iceland still are as the island is one of the few land masses that sits on the juncture of the North American and Eurasian plates. As these plates move apart at around two centimetres per year, mass from below surges up to fill the gap - currently the Bardarbunga volcano is occupying the headlines. Brian pronounced the 2010 'ash cloud disaster' volcano of Eyjafjallajökull without missing a beat - very impressive.

All in all a very enjoyable, entertaining and informative talk - thanks, Brian.

If you click on the 'Download file' link, then you will see the striking poster that David (our Publicity officer) produced to advertise this talk.

Download file