Come and join the Stewartry Birdwatchers

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If you are interested in birds and other branches of natural history why not go along to the Stewartry Birdwatchers meetings this winter?

Since 1976 members have held their monthly meetings in Kells School, New Galloway from September to April. Throughout the year the more active members go on excursions to interesting locations on the coast as well as inland. Places such as Caerlaverock and Mersehead for Barnacle Geese, inland to the Mennock Pass for the elusive Ring Ouzel, across to Loch Ryan for Brent Geese and numerous waders, or to woodlands for small birds such as migrant warblers.

Beginners are welcome as these trips are an excellent way to learn how to identify birds, butterflies and flowers, etc.

This winter’s session should get off to a flying start on Thursday, September 25, when Keith Kirk gives his presentation ‘Galloway Gems’. Keith, one of our Dumfries and Galloway Rangers, is an excellent photographer who always accompanies his photographs with interesting and unusual bits of information about his subjects. These will range through birds, mammals, insects, amphibians, butterflies and flowers with some local scenery included. And all will have been photographed in Galloway. Starting at 7.30pm, this will be an entertaining evening not to be missed.

The October 9 illustrated talk, “The Decline of Seabirds”, by Allan Whyte. Allan, who is employed by the RSPB, has been researching into the worrying pollution of our marine environment and what needs to be done to ensure that Scotland remains one of the most important places in the world for seabirds. Jim Cassels’ illustrated talk on November 13 is “The Birds of Arran”. Jim retired to Arran and is now bird recorder for the local natural history society. This has enabled him to map the birds of the island for the first time and in doing so he has collected an enormous amount of information about both the resident breeding birds and the migrants.

December 11 sees the return of another popular speaker, namely Angus Hogg, with his illustrated talk “Ayrshire Birds; the changing scene”. Angus is a long-term resident of the southern part of that county and has produced the Ayrshire bird report for many years. As an expert on the birds of that county he is well qualified to speak on some of the major changes in the birds of Ayrshire over the past 40 years. As that county lies just over the northern border of Galloway some of these changes may also apply to our area.

All are welcome at these meetings and if you want more information contact secretary Joan Howie on 01644 420 280.