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SLIMBRIDGE SAFARI EXCURSION – 6th  SEPTEMBER 2014
by Roger Tippett

An early morning start saw our intrepid explorers climb aboard the specially adapted safari trailer with disabled access lift for a trip, which took us into the farming areas along the River Severn.  This area is under the control of the Slimbridge Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, an area that does not allow normal public access.
The first stop gave us a view of a Heron trying to swallow a large Eel, it was eventually successful but not before we had a fleeting glimpse of a Green Sandpiper.
During the two-hour journey we saw migrating Stonechat, Whinchat and Wheatear, many waders and four species of Raptors throughout the visit.  James Lees, the reserve warden gave us a running commentary of all things current for the time of the year.  As we got to the sea wall five Common Crane stayed just in front of us until nosily flying away.
An unexpected and unplanned meeting with two active bird ringers afforded us an insight into catching, data measurement and ringing of two migrating Warbles, an event few us had witnessed before.
At the end of the trip we retired to the restaurant to reminisce on the 32 species seen and to view the Caribbean Flamingo’s outside the window of the restaurant.

Hawkesbury Horticultural Show – 30th August 2014
On Saturday 30th August , Severn Counties F&BBS set up their display once again at Hawkesbury Upton Horticultural Show. This was the second time the club had visited the show and public interest was high and there was plenty to keep them occupied. Despite the time of year, with many potential display birds unavailable as a result of being in moult, there was a very good range of birds on show, and one member also brought a collection of exotic insects and reptiles, which brought additional interest, especially for younger visitors.
Just as important was the fact that the members covering the display enjoyed the day and had a lot of fun with good results achieved at the charity table and we are thrilled to be invited back again in 2015.
As this was a one day event it was a lot of effort to set up a large gazebo and tables, answer questions from the public, and dismantle at the end of the day as well, however the ability to meet a variety of interested members of the public was well worth it, and we can heartily recommend that other clubs use the opportunity provided by these shows for engaging public interest.