Minutes from GCCG Meeting 19th December 2017
PO welcomed everyone and opened the meeting.
Attendance and Apologies
Attendance: Peter Owen (PO), Sue Pilling (SP), Chris Nield (CN), Bettina Taylor, Derek Brennan (DB), Linda Cullen, Alan Butler (AB), Emma Burrows (EB), Margaret Brennan, Michelle Inwood (MI), John Pollard (JP), Fran Heron
Apologies: Fiona Campbell
Minutes from last meeting
Minutes of last meeting from the 19th September were agreed and signed off.
No matters arising from previous minutes.
PO welcomed our new treasurer, Michelle Inwood, who had taken over after our last quarterly meeting.
MI reported that our total balance was £4266.22. Christmas events raised £68.29, though possibly some expenses to be deducted from this from Sharon Matthews. There had been two significant expenses in the last quarter, £201.60 for public liability insurance plus £218.50 for plug plants for the wild flower meadow.
PO welcomed back CN, who proceeded to give her bird report as below.
GATLEY CARRS BIRD REPORT DECEMBER 2017
BIRD SPECIES SEEN UP TO YEAR END 54
The winter well and truly set in this month. A mixture of frost, snow, hail, rain, gale force winds and even thunder and lightning, restricted the number of visits I could go to the Carrs to do the Bird Recording.
Although the weather was harsh, plenty of birds were starting to sing and some were seen in courtship display. A large flock of Goldfinch were very vocal, as always, and were seen on all the days I visited. A Goldcrest was with them on one occasion. The pond was frozen on several days but I did see 2 Grey Heron and was pleased to see 3 Snipe giving good views from the birdscreen. So often these birds are so well hidden you would not even know they were there so it was nice to see them out in the open stood on the ice.
On 2 dates I saw 5 and then 3 Redwing and both times they were close to the car park near the Christmas tree. Both Mistle Thrush and Song Thrush were heard singing also Robin and Blackbird.
Nuthatch, Jay, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Bullfinch were also seen this month.
I am rather disappointed not to have found any new bird species for the Reserve this year but I shall do my best to continue to try and increase the total next year.
GATLEY BIRD REPORT OCT 17TH - NOVEMBER 30TH 2017
On the 17th of October it was my first day back for several weeks and it did not take me long to realise how much I had missed being at the Carrs. Although it was a blustery day there were still plenty of birds around. The usual Great Tit, Blue Tit and Long-tailed Tit were abundant. A Grey Wagtail flew over twice and several Jays were very vocal.
On the pond I was surprised to see any birds as the CTV were busy working in the area. A total of 7 Moorhen and 2 Grey Heron, all seen from the Dipping Pond, were the only water birds. At least 4 late Red Admiral butterflies were seen around the Meadows.
My next noteworthy day was 27/10 a beautiful bright crisp frosty morning. The dew on the grass glittered like diamonds, such a lovely sight. Plenty of Golfinch, Chaffinch and Greenfinch about. A constant flyover by Woodpigeons too numerous to count, possibly spooked by the 2 Sparrowhawk seen in the area. A Song Thrush was singing, practicing ready for Spring.
15th November a huge flock of 23 Carrion Crows all in same tree, near the Railway,were making a tremendous noise. As I got closer I could see a Buzzard in the tree. The Crows were doing their best to chase it off, but the Buzzard took no notice, and eventually, the Crows flew off.
On other dates in November a Great-spotted Woodpecker was seen also Coal Tit and several sightings of Bullfinch. The Ring-necked Parakeets were seen on several occasions, often by the nest hole, as they are early nesters it would not surprise me if another attempt is made next year.
Glad to be back at the Carrs again.
SP - membership numbers had dropped slightly again to 72. Some success with individual email reminders than group reminders so maybe this is a way forward. Both email and postal reminders to go out in the New Year.
Wildlife and Nature report
JP gave his report as detailed below.
WILDLIFE REPORT JULY – DECEMBER 2017
This report covers 6 months as I was in Australia for our September meeting
JULY – Display: “ Big Butterfly Count”. Nationally a disappointing year on account of the unsettled and wet summer weather. Down, Meadow Brown -23%; Small White -37%; Large White -38%; Peacock -1%. ( I have full details) July 17th Entomologist Dave HT recorded 6 butterflies, 3 new hoverflies, 2 new moths, 8 new bugs, 2 new dragonflies, 2 new insect galls.
AUGUST – Display: “ Summer flowers in WFM and grassland” Several 60 year old Crack Willows by Gatley Brook path/ Jeffries’ fence dropped their leaves early suggesting that they are dying? Reported to Anthony Crook. Alan and group members cut back the willows by the bird pond.
SEPTEMBER – Display: “ Fruits and seeds, berries and nuts on the Carrs” Willow whips planted by motorway fence in spring were uprooted by vandals
OCTOBER – Display: “ Autumn Fungi” (October – November) October 22nd Autumn tree walk, only 2 attenders, poor weather and limited publicity largely only on car park board. On this walk we observed that the Crack Willows by Gatley Brook path were heavily infested with Honey Fungus, reinforcing possibility dead or dying? Still good group of Earthstars in motorway wood. Conservation Volunteers cleared bullrushes and scrub from the ponds and carr.
NOVEMBER – SMBC contractors cut WFM and grassland but also cut down a Horse Chestnut tree and particularly Rowan and Helsby memorial Sweet Chestnut in the orchard. Regret expressed by several older/former members who hope to have it replaced? John Rowlands has been informed but he is on sick leave after surgery. They also cut back woodland and scrubland in the motorway woodland without consultation! Successful making tree decorations on November 19th.
DECEMBER – Display: “ Carrs in Winter” (December – March 2018) Highly successful Christmas tree decoration, over 50 people with many families on December 10th
Green Flag Community Award 2018/2019 application is to be made before January 31st 2018. It entails a full inspection so let us hope all has recovered from recent groundworks.
Site Maintenance Update
AB – reported a planned meeting on the Carrs the following day with Steve Thompson from the council to discuss maintenance. He would ensure tractor driver was aware of the recently planted crocus bulbs plus he would discuss the issue of the damage to trees and cut down memorial tree when the council had come to cut back the brambles. AB suggested taping the area off when the crocus start to come up and a polite notice asking people to keep off this area. 50 wild flower plugs plus 1000g of yellow rattle seed had been put in the WFM.
PO reported that the bird feeding rota was up and running and going well. Bird seed had been donated by Sumitra and Peter Smith and also Elizabeth Latimer.
Christmas events report
PO reported on our recent Christmas events. Only a few attended the foraging walk on 19th November but over 50 people attended the Christmas tree decoration afternoon. Music, mince pies, singing and even snow arrived to add to the festive mood. Thanks to Margaret and Sharon for their help, and also AB and Jim Arkwright for planting the Christmas tree.
Future events: ideas/dates/plans
We are no further forward in event planning as several promised actions by members have not materialised. It was decided that we should have a meeting in the New Year to plan the next few events. Fiona Campbell had said she may be able to give some help for the forthcoming year. DB suggested resuming events again in March following on from the AGM and to have no more than 1 event per month in future.
EB offered to take over the website updates if Angela and Nigel were struggling to do this.
Fields In Trust
PO reported that we would renew our efforts to get this proposal passed in the New Year with a petition as previously discussed.
JP had attended the AGM of Stockport Greenspace forum. Several matters had been discussed – the importance of maintaining a public right of way (refers to one path on the Carrs), many local parks have orchards so an Orchard Care/Maintenance course was planned which may be of interest to us, also there had been some valuable work by students at Wright’s Wood and this help may possibly become available to us to help with pond clearing.
Proposed next meeting – AGM- Tuesday 20th March 2018 at 7.30pm