With great sadness we report that Trevor James, Hertfordshire's long-time recorder for flora and beetles and an outstanding all-round naturalist, died peacefully in the Garden House Hospice, Letchworth on Friday 5 June.
Trevor made a remarkable contribution to the study, understanding and recording of wildlife in the county where he lived for most of his life. He actively promoted 'citizen science' through his own volunteering and the generous practical help and encouragement he offered so that less experienced enthusiasts could develop their skills.
We are sorry to report that the 2020 Festival of Wildlife, due to take place on 25 and 26 July at Panshanger Park, has been cancelled as a consequence of the continuing Covid-19 emergency.
Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and Tarmac plc, who organise the annual festival in association with HNHS, have decided that a mass-participation event would not be appropriate at the end of July even if the current lockdown has been partially or wholly lifted by then.
Pioneering ways to monitor bird movements, including their frustrations as well as achievements, featured at the 2020 Hertfordshire Bird Conference on Saturday 29 February.
A capacity audience at the Affinity Water offices in Hatfield, heard how a sound dish electronically capturing the calls of overflying night-time birds in a garden near the M25 has yielded records of unexpected species such as Black-necked Grebe, Common Scoter and Lapland Bunting as well as mass seasonal movements of Redwings and other thrushes.
Fans of BBC TV's Winterwatch will have enjoyed this year's film on an intriguing study of butterfly hibernation that Malcolm Hull, Chair of Herts and Middlesex Butterfly Conservation, has been conducting at his home in St Albans.
After four years of monitoring scores of Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock butterflies that seek 'winter' shelter in a brick shed extension, Malcolm has discovered that the former in some years start hibernation as early as late June, with a major influx at the start of July. This is far earlier than 'the end of summer' suggested by field guides.
Be sure to join us at the offices of Affinity Water, Tamblin Way, Hatfield, AL10 9EZ on Saturday 29 February (2pm to 5.30pm) for the ever-popular Herts Bird Club / British Trust for Ornithology conference.