The Ascent of Birds:

How modern science is revealing their story’ is the title of our next talk to be given by our guest speaker Professor John Reilly at Barnsley Town Hall on Wednesday 16 October at 7pm. 

When and where did the ancestors of modern birds evolve? What enabled them to survive the meteoric impact that wiped out the dinosaurs? How did these early birds spread across the globe and give rise to the 10,600-plus bird species we recognise around the world today.
John Reilly’s talk sets out to answer these fundamental questions on the evolution of birds. It is based on the latest scientific discoveries and enriched by his personal observations.


All of our talks are open to anyone with an interest in the topic. So please pass on the invitation to anyone with an interest in birds and their history on our planet.

Wortley Hall Parkland

Our next field visit is on Saturday 12 October to Wortley Hall Gardens and Parkland where the ancient trees will attract our interest alongside other natural history.
The leaders are Doug Brown and Barry Tylee (Friends of Wortley Hall).
We are meeting at 10 am with parking alongside the drive on the way into Wortley Hall grounds.

The Grid Reference for the meeting point is SK312995: The postcode for Wortley Hall is S357DB

There are twenty six acres of grounds to explore at this former stately home, so we should have an interesting field visit, like we usually do.

Many thanks to our leaders, Doug and Barry, on what proved to be a fascinating walk; their combined knowledge is immense. Barry gave us a brief insight into the history of the grounds before we set off. The walk was aimed to be a look at the tree that had been planted over the last 200 years. An arboretum of many American trees which contains a Giant Redwood, a Brewers Weeping Spruce, a Bald Cypress and Black Locus. We had a good look at the grounds possible oldest resident,a Sessile Oak which is estimated at 350 to 500 years of age. One of the group said “if trees could talk what interesting stories would they be able to tell”. This set me thinking too; what could these trees have witnessed. So I intent to provide some additional information; my personal view on on the events that they have lived though along with some fact about the species . We had many other interesting observations too; morel, stinkhorn, fly agaric and jellyear mushrooms and a ladybird larvae to name a few.

Back From Our Summer Break

Wednesday 2nd October
We are looking forward to seeing you all at the first indoor meeting of our Autumn and Winter Programme. As usual, we start with a members evening sharing knowledge and observations. This of a less formal structure than the meetings with guest speakers. Very much a catch up and news of what everyone has spotted over the break; multi-topic and hopefully with some interesting finds, images and stories. Please take part: it’s always really interesting to hear from a variety of people.

Our printed Autumn and Winter Programme will also be available. 

September 8th

For those interested, Tom Higginbottom is leading a Plant Gall field visit at Newmillerdam; 10.30 start.  Details -including contact info for Tom are given at https://www.britishplantgallsociety.org/events.html .
The meeting point is in the car park; which operates a Pay and Display system. so please have some change for this; estimated at £1.70. Please bring a packed lunch if you want.

There is also a drop-in bioblitz at Cannon Hall country park: http://www.cannon-hall.com/bioblitz .

Apologises for the short notice on these two activities. These are not our organised activities, so please refer to the links for correct information.

Looking at a hedgerow with a Naturalist’s eye

This is an addition to our Spring/Summer Programme.

We are continuing our ‘looking at a hedgerow with a Naturalist’s eye’ series on the evening of Wednesday 7 August – with a walk with Catherine Artindale along Stead Lane, Hoyland Common. Again we will be testing the Hooper Hypothesis on dating an hedgerow. This field visit should put our knowledge to the test too. Those of you who helped with the hedgerow survey we conducted in March near Stairfoot will know what an interesting evening it will be. We will be hearing a little about its history as well as looking at the plant species and wildlife of the hedgerow. We will draw our conclusion; the age of the hedge, using the Hooper Hypothesis guideline.

The level of this walk is easy, with plenty of time for discusing our conclusion and resulting age of this hedgerow.

Our walk takes us from Stead Lane towards Skier’s Spring Wood. We are meeting at 7pm at the junction of Stead Lane and Warren View, in Hoyland Common [post code S74 0BZ; grid reference SK361999]. There’s enough road-side parking.
To get there, go down Sheffield Road (the A6135) through Hoyland Common and turn off into Parkside Road, which is the third road on the left from the Hoyland Common crossroads. Then take the second road right which leads to Stead Lane, where you turn right again to get to our meeting place.
Looking forward to seeing you.

Wednesday July 24th to Barrow

Following an excellent field visit walk along the Mucky Lane hedgerows and through Dearne Meadows on Saturday, we are meeting again this coming Wednesday evening for a field visit to Barrow. Again this should be a highly interesting evening with many of our usual flora and fauna favourites to spot; and hopefully something new too.


We are meeting at 7pm and parking in Edmunds Road just below the Boatman’s Rest pub where a footbridge crosses the river Dove and leads to Barrow along Dark Lane and Powder Mill Lane. Leader Ron Marshall
Grid reference SE 361035 Post Code S70 4TD.
After our walk some of us may retire to the Boatman’s Rest!
Looking forward to seeing those who can make it.

We had to take a slight change of route on the actural walk. Having had a bad thunderstorm earlier that made for some tricky ground. We still had plenty thought to keep us occupied. Amoungst our finds was a horseraddish; which I beleive is the first we have spotter this year.

Dearne Meadows Saturday July 20th

Our field visit starts from Ardsley, dropping down Mucky Lane to the River Dearne and the meadows that run alongside it; and coming back through Horsecarr wood and back up Mucky Lane.

Meeting for 10 am near the junction of Penrhyn Walk and Ennerdale Road in Ardsley, grid reference SE384059; postcode S71 5DR.

With our Spring / Summer 2019 programme coming to an end shortly, may we say a very big “thank you” to all of our guest speakers and field visit leads.

Glowworms and Moths

Wednesday July 10th & Thursday July 11th

This field visit is an exception to our usual plans. Not only will we be meeting at a later time, this is to be a two meeting event, with an indoor meeting the following day. The meeting point is Cote Lane, south of Thurgoland (Grid reference SE 291 003).

Our field visit to the TPT near Thurgoland led by Doug Brown and Jill Hayler started with setting up some moth traps; it was getting a little dark for identifying plants but we managed to spot two bat species, common pipestrelle and noctule; and then counted 43 glowworms along the trail.

This was a couple of very interesting and intense meetings for both the 10th and 11th. The glowworm count was over 40; while the moths traps had an array of different species.

The moths recorded were:
GEOMETRIDAE: Riband Wave, Northern Spinach, July Highflyer and Peppered Moth
SPHINGDAE: Elephant Hawkmoth
ARCTIDAE: Buff Ermine and Cinnabar
NOCTUIDAE: Heart and Dart,Large Yellow Underwing, Double Square- Spot, Common Wainscot, Dark Arches, Uncertain, Silver Y and Beauitiful Golden Y
MICRO MOTH: Small Magpie