Conference highlights varying fortunes of wildfowl and wetland birds in Herts

The 2024 Hertfordshire Bird Conference drew a capacity audience at Affinity Water’s headquarters in Hatfield on Sat 2nd March 2024.  The theme was wetlands and especially gravel pits with talks by Graham White on the fortunes of waterbirds on the restored gravel pits of the Colne Valley and a talk by Herts. Bird Club Chair, Rupert Evershed, on the birds of Stanborough Gravel Pits.

This report includes links to videos allowing those who missed the conference to catch-up with the main presentations.

Lecturer explains how beavers can bring benefits for wildlife and humans

Bringing Eurasian Beavers to an estate in Essex has delivered improvements in biodiversity while helping prevent flooding in a nearby village.

The positive consequences of reintroducing a species that became extinct in Britain in the late 18th century were described by Sarah Brockless, ecologist at the Spains Hall Estate, when she gave the Gerald Salisbury Memorial Lecture in Welwyn Civic Centre on Wednesday 28 February.

Photo: Eurasian Beaver at Spains Hall Estate © Russell Savory

New and improved website for Herts moths

Hertfordshire and Middlesex Moth Group has launched a new and much-improved website.

The upgrade – funded by the HNHS – creates an impressive online resource for finding, identifying and recording moths in the two Vice-Counties.

Information about all moth species that have been reliably recorded – both 'macro' and 'micro' – is combined with photographs (where available) and information on identification and separating similar species.

Wetlands and gravel pits, waterbirds and waders – the 2024 Bird Conference

Join us for the 2024 Herts Bird Club Conference from 2pm to 5.30pm on Saturday 2 March at the offices of Affinity Water, Tamblin Way, Hatfield, AL10 9EZ.

It will include keynote talks on the importance of the Colne Valley wetlands for waterbirds and the increasing popularity of Stanborough Gravel Pits as a site for viewing waders and other birds.

Alongside these presentations, by Graham White and Rupert Evershed (respectively), there will be regular conference features such as Graham Knight's popular 'What did you miss?' review of Hertfordshire last year's bird sightings and results of the Hertfordshire Bird Photograph of the Year competition. Martin Ketcher will give an overview of BTO survey work across the county.

Annual lecture to consider Eurasian Beaver introduction scheme

Reintroduction of Eurasian Beavers to Britain and their role creating diverse wetlands while helping to reduce flooding will feature in the annual Gerald Salisbury Memorial Lecture taking place on Wednesday 28 February (8pm, Welwyn Civic Centre)

Sarah Brockless, Ecologist on the Spains Hall Estate Natural Flood Management Beaver Project at Finchingfield in Essex will describe how she has developed an ecological landscape plan incorporating Beaver-created wetlands. It covers 380 hectares of farmland, woodland, agro-forestry and a diverse connecting mosaic of habitat for farm and woodland species.