It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Pauline Brook who died today in the early hours of the morning. Pauline was a great character at the club, occupying her seat on the front row at every meeting, she always took my ribbing of her in great spirit and she always cointributed sightings and annecdotes as only she could. Pauline was a great friend and very popular amongst the club members and known to us all I think. As her health failed in recent years, she attended less and less but remained a keen naturalist and enjoyed watching the birds coming to her feeders in front of the window at the retirement home. Pauline was a really keen botanist and was a founder member of the Wakefield Flower Group. Her knowledge of flowers and her great personaility will be sorely missed at our club meetings.
Jenny Sergeant, a member of the Nats from way back in the 1970s, has asked me to pass on this invitation Wakefield Naturalists’ Society membbers:
All are invited to participate in the Wakefield Just Transition Forum,
Lightwaves, Lower Yorks St WF1 3LJ on
Friday June 21st 6:00 – 8:00pm
Friday July 19th 6:00 – 8:00pm
What is the Forum? .. well the group doesn’t exist yet… the hope is to create a community forum so that together we can support and realize
The next meeting will be 19th July.
These two meetings have been arranged by a partnership of non-party political Wakefield Trades Council and Wakefield Friends of the Earth. It is hoped that the Forum will draw involvement from individuals and groups from across the Wakefield District: Voluntary organisations, community associations, societies, trade unions, businesses and employers, designers, engineers, faith groups etc etc.
Lightwaves at 6pm on Friday June 21st or Friday 19th July.
Any questions, thoughts, please get in touch in the first instance via Wakefield Trades Council WfandDistrict-TUC@gmx.com
It is with great sadness that I inform you of the passing of Barbara Murray who lost a very short battle with cancer and died recently. Barbara was well known in the RSPB local members’ group where she had helped run the group for many years including serving as group leader. In more recent times Barbara, along with husband Len, joined the WNS and became firm friends with all of us and was regarded as being a very good botanist. Barbara entertained us with her images of flowers at members’ night and gave us a super lecture on the alpine flowers of Austria last year. Barbara will be sadly missed and our thoughts are with Len at this sad time.
Barbara’s funeral will take place at Wakefield Crematorium on 28th August 2018 at 11:40 followed by refreshments at Sandal Rugby Club. Afterwards, close friends and WNS members Karen and Sarah will be walking around either Anglers or Pugneys to remember Barbara and they have asked that anyone wishing to join them is welcome to do so and should bring a change of footwear for the walk,
Richard Brook, for many years our Conservation Officer, died, aged 74, a year ago on 20 April, 2017. I showed some of his slides of local wetland habitats on members’ night, including this surprisingly open view of the top end of Newmillerdam, as it was in 1973.
In the 1980s, Richard ran a commercial nursery specialising in daffodils and developed the award-winning ‘Tripartite Narcissus’. It has three flowers on each stem and is still available globally. Last year it was exhibited at The North of England Horticultural Society’s Spring Flower Show at Harrogate.
A friend of Richard’s from the Daffodil Society laid some on his coffin at the end of his funeral service.
Richard’s cousin, Philippa Coultish, tells me that the family has now sold Richard’s house at Crigglestone and cut back the jungle that had grown up around it over the past ten or twenty years: “All the daffs are coming up in the garden. The people who have bought it are excited to have the garden…I dont think they realise how fast it will all grow in the summer!”
By coincidence in yesterday’s Gardener’s World, on BBC2, Nick Bailey did a piece on daffodil breeding, interviewing Johnny Walkers, Honorary Vice-President of the Daffodil Society at Hever Castle, Kent, so, as I’d been in touch with him via Twitter, I told him of the coincidence of it being the anniversary of Richard’s death.
“I hope it was a fitting tribute,” he tweeted in reply.
I’ve been making a start on archiving the colour slides taken by Richard Brook (1943-2017), for many years the Conservation Officer of the Society. He photographed the East Ash Lagoon at Leventhorpe from the lagoon’s northwest corner on Sunday, 2 September, 1973.
He could see the potential of these lagoons as nature reserves and he documented every one of them – along with subsidence flashes and sand quarries -within five or six miles radius of Wakefield, so his collection of slides form a unique record of post-industrial West Yorkshire. I’m putting together a small selection of his slides for members’ night.
Richard Brook, conservationist, plant breeder and 60s music fanatic, who joined the Society in the 1960s and served as excursion secretary and later conservation officer, died on 20 April, aged 74. Extracts from his diary (below) were compiled by Richard’s second cousin, Ann Brook and read at his funeral on 8 May by her sister Philippa.
The ‘Tripartite’ mentioned in the May entry refers to his award-winning ‘Tripartite’ narcissus, which he developed in the 1980s when he ran a commercial nursery specialising in daffodils. The Tripartite has three flowers on each stem and is still available globally. Last month it was exhibited at The North of England Horticultural Society’s Spring Flower Show at Harrogate.
Aire Valley Wetlands
In the 1970s, he compiled the Society’s bird reports and a survey of the Aire Valley Wetlands. Thanks to Richard’s family, we now have a limited number of copies of Birds Around Wakefield 1974-1979 and Aire Valley Wetlands available. The habitat maps, which Richard compiled by studying aerial views and making numerous field visits, were ahead of their time.
We’d also like to thank Richard’s family for passing on his photographs, which form a unique record of the post-industrial landscape of the Aire and Calder Valleys around Wakefield.
Richard’s observations taken from diaries of 2010
Heard nuthatch in Wakefield Park.
Cloudy, cool, drizzle after dark.
Sitting in a laurel bush.
Saw orange tip butterfly.
Killed one large fly.
19th of May. Blossom out!
Tripartite faded in the heat and drought.
Young Goldfinch came to the seed feeder.
…saw the first gatekeeper
Robin singing an autumn song.
First picking of Victoria plums.
Cloudy, cool, slight North breeze.
Sparrow hawk, hiding in the pear tree.
Evening dull, with light rain.
Buzzard over the garden again.
Warm sun and cloud in the morning,
sweet blackberries ripening,
Green woodpecker laughing.
Pair of jays came to the water bowl.
White frost, sunny, calm and cold.
This is an advance notification that at February’s meeting we will be calling an extra-ordinary AGM to re-present the WNS accounts. The reason for this is to comply with the Charities Commission rules which states that we should present the accounts to the members 14 days in advance of our AGM. As we were unable to do this due to the original AGM being too soon after Christmas to get in all the bank statements from the peregrine account, our auditors have suggested we make the AGM null and void. However, the Society doesn”t wish to have to repeat the AGM business, hence an extra-ordinary AGM to present the fully audited accounts. This should only take five minutes and we would advise thta the accounts are now online for anyone to look at ahead of the meeting.
After the business, we will be heading off to Spain to have a look at some of the iconic species of birds that this vast country has to offer, such as this beautiful pin-tailed sandgrouse.
Primarily a bird watching paradise, Old Moor has developed into a varied habitat for wildflowers, butterflies, damselflies and dragonflies. On our short walk today we were able to enjoy meadow brown butterflies, ringlets and small skippers amongst the purple loose-strife, great willowherb, meadowsweet, bush vetch and meadow vetchling. Marsh (hybrid) orchids and common spotted orchids were coming to their end but marsh bedstraw, ribbed melilot and common centaury were just coming into flower. The ponds were enriched with common blue and blue tailed damsel flies hovering above the water lilies, broad leaved pondweed and yellow iris.
Walton Colliery Nature Park Friends Group, supported by Yorkshire Dragon Fly Society, are holding a ‘ Damsels & Dragonflies Event’ on site on Sunday 28th June between 10am and 12noon. If you would like to attend this free event, please assemble at the Shay Lane car park at 09:45. If the weather is fair, there should be a lot of dragonflies on the wing.
The past week has been exciting for anyone interested in the Sun. Last week, on Friday, I photographed the Sun and captured a picture of a large group of sunspots. One day later, a coronal mass ejection (CME) – a huge explosion – associated with the spots sent millions of tonnes of material towards Earth. On Monday, this material hit the Earth’s atmosphere, causing widespread displays of the Aurora Borealis and turning the night sky green on St Patrick’s Day in some places.
Then, four days after the “St Patrick’s Day storm”, the moon moved across the face of the sun to create a partial eclipse earlier today. The cloud was a bit of a nuisance but it didn’t spoil the day. On the pictures, you can see a sunspot in the top left quarter of the disk.