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dougal urquhart

PAWS October – African Medley


African Medley

Our October meeting saw the return of Dougal Urquhart, ranger at Cudmore Grove, with a talk on “African Medley”.

Dougal and his wife have made four trips to Africa over the last 7 years visiting Gambia, Namibia, Ethiopia and Morocco. He has a passion for bird watching and nature in general preferring to stay at eco-lodges along the way. He showed us a collection of slides of birds including the Red Billed Fire Finch, Grey Heron, Osprey, Red Billed Hornbill and Flamingo, to name but a few. He was also able to show us the rare Ethiopian Wolf which very much resembled a Fox.

Dougal is an excellent speaker and all enjoyed the evening tremendously.

Next meeting – a change

Our next get together is on the 24th November and there is a change to our programme Jackie Marshall-Ward will give us a talk on “Upstairs, Downstairs”.

Visitors are welcome at a cost of £5.00.  Details of all our meetings and speakers can be found on the diary of the home page of the Winstred 100 website. If you would like further information about P.A.W.S please ring either of the following committee members: Alice Holmes 01206 735510 or Jane Anderson 01206 735505.


PAWS November – a year of wildlife at Mersea

Dougal Urquhart with hedgehog

Dougal Urquhart with hedgehog

Our meeting at the end of November attracted 9 visitors and most of the members. The speaker was Dougal Urquhart, who has been the Ranger at Cudmore Grove Country Park in East Mersea since 1983.  He showed us some wonderful slides of the photographs that he has taken over the years, to illustrate the changes in the wildlife of Mersea Island throughout the year.

He started with the winter visitors like the Woodcock, Snow Bunting, spoonbills and waxwings.  There are occasional sightings of harbour porpoises and grey seals as well as the common seals that we see around our coast at this time of year.

In the spring the amphibians start to emerge from hibernation and basking adders can often be seen in sunny spots around the park. There are many butterflies and moths emerging too who can be seen all through the summer months.

Dougal explained about the plan to introduce the red squirrel onto Mersea island, as it is one of the few places that do not have grey squirrel who carry the parapox virus that can be fatal to the red squirrel.  He also talked about the many prehistoric animal bones that have been found along the coast line and in the mud of Mersea Island.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and I think that we could have happily let him speak for much longer, but our wine and nibbles were waiting!

The January meeting is earlier in the month than usual on 8th January, so that we don’t clash with the Peldon Pantomime. The speaker is Simon Gallup, who will talk about ‘The Different Histories of Lavenham and Dedham’, which sounds really interesting. In fact we have a really diverse line-up of speakers for all the meetings in 2013.  Our membership list is currently full, but visitors are very welcome at a cost of £3.50.

Details of all our meetings and speakers can be found in the diary on the home page of the Winstred 100 website. If you would like any further information about PAWS, please contact any of the following: Alice Holmes 01206 735510, Jane Banks 01206 735004 or Jane Anderson 01206 735505.