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Binfield Badger Group

Protecting Badgers in Berkshire
Charity number: 1075886

Meetings

The next meeting will be on
12th April 2018. Put a note in your diary now before you forget!

Click here for a detailed map of where the meetings are held.

We will be welcoming Nigel Palmer of the wildlife charity Save Me, to talk about their work, including the funding of leading vet Dick Sibley’s trials being carried out on a Devon cattle farm.  He believes his new testing methods for bTB will detect and eradicate the disease much earlier in cattle – without slaughtering any badgers.

As always for Binfield Badger Group meetings, there is no admission charge and the meeting is open to non-members.  Doors open at 7pm and the meeting will start at 7:30pm. This will be at the Farley Wood Centre, Turnpike Road, Binfield, RG42 1FW and everyone is welcome to attend.

 

Please remember to put the date in your diary now and tell all your friends. 

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Thank you to everyone that came to previous meetings, we have had fantastic talks, see below for details.  The meetings were all well attended and the raffle and sales stand takings will help the Group pay something towards the care of injured badgers.

2017 Meetings:

Photo by Kiran Garside

In October Julia Lofthouse, BBOWT’s Mammal Project Officer, told us about the Trust’s Water Vole Recovery Project.  This little mammal has lost a staggering 95% of its range since 1900.  She also gave a brief update on BBOWT’s badger vaccination programme in West Berkshire.

 

At our April meeting, we welcomed Jayne Morgan from the Happy Hedgehog Rescue, a small, self- funded, local animal rescue in Yateley on the borders of North Hampshire, West Surrey and Berkshire.  Jayne told us about their work, which is funded entirely from the kind donations of web-site visitors and friends of the Rescue. The aim of the rescue is to rehabilitate the hedgehogs with a full release back to the wild and hopefully back to the area they were found.  Read more at -www.happyhedgehog.org.uk 

 

2016 Meetings:

One of our members is a photographer and you will have regularly seen his badger photos in the newsletters and also on the Photographs page of this site. Hence the name Dave Hammant will be familiar to you.  What you probably don't know is his work takes him all over the world taking pictures of wildlife.  Dave kindly offered to give an illustrated talk in October about some of the iconic African wildlife and some of the animals that are frequently ignored based on twenty years of working as a wildlife photographer and cameraman in southern Africa. From the giants of the veld, the elephant and the rhino, the big cats, to mongeese and lizards, each has a story to tell. www.djhimages.co.uk

 Copyright Dave Hammant

In April we were really pleased to host the guest speaker Richard Mansfield, with Sassy his Border Collie, of Berkshire Search and Rescue Dogs. It is a charity founded in 2002 and is a volunteer dog organisation on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to assist Search & Rescue Teams, the Police and other Emergency Services. Its primary role is to assist in locating lost or missing vulnerable people within Berkshire and its surrounding areas. www.k9-sar.com

2015 Meetings:

Following his appearance on BBC Countryfile, we had a talk by Nick Shelley from Berkshire College of Agriculture on Scottish Wildcats and their conservation and work undertaken by the college with other animal species such as polecats, pine martens and red squirrels.  Nick explained how Scottish Wildcats behaviour and appearance was different from domesticated cats and the challenge that they have with inbreeding with feral domestic cats, leading to hybrids. Sadly without urgent intervention it is likely that the pure Scottish Wildcat will become extinct in the near future as their numbers are so low.

These are a couple of Nick's excellent photographs:

    

At our October meeting we were very lucky to have a talk by PC Ian Whitlock from Thames Valley Police about his work as a Wildlife Crime Officer.  His talk covered a wide range of topics from deer poaching, badger baiting, snares, hare coursing to illegal wildlife trade.    We even found out about barbequed swans from the Thames and some of the terrible conditions that live animals are subjected to when being smuggled via Heathrow.  A great talk that really opened our eyes to the challenges that the police force has trying to get successful prosecutions.

 

2014 meetings:

In October we welcomed back the Wolf Conservation Trust to give us another talk (www.ukwolf.org.uk/).  They visited back in 2006 - see photo further down this page. The Trust is based in Beenham, Berkshire and is home to a number of wolves from different parts of the world.  The talk covered the misconceptions many have of the wolf and mentioned the many conservation projects that the Wolf Conservation Trust helps to fund around the world.

At the April meeting we hosted a talk by Andy Parr, the Release Manager from the Secret World Wildlife Rescue centre in Somerset.  Each year the charity is able to help over 5000 sick, injured or orphaned creatures and this year they have been at the forefront of receiving badgers sadly injured in the floods and West Country culls.  Andy faces the challenge of finding suitable areas of countryside that is suitable for badgers, but not already existing group's territory. His talk was engrossing as he showed pictures and videos of rescues and carefully planned soft releases of groups of young badgers into massive artificial setts.  He also showed the use of RFID tags (as used by vets to tag dogs and cats) to monitor feeding patterns of released badgers and other mammals and birds.  The meeting was well attended and everyone enjoyed the great talk by Andy. Please visit the website and support the work carried out at Secret World - www.secretworld.org/

 

2013 meetings:

In October 2013, we booked a talk by a representatives from the Crowthorne-based bird rescue centre and sanctuary, Raven Haven.   It all began in August 1989 when a badly injured raven was rescued from a Dorset beach.  This sanctuary for corvids has grown over the years and its main aim has been to show the British public that Ravens are not to be feared but rather respected and loved as extremely intelligent and playful birds.  It was an interactive and entertaining evening with three volunteers each with their sometimes noisy corvid.  You can visit their interesting website www.ravenhaven.co.uk

In May 2013 we welcomed Anne Brummer of Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue,  Camberley to give a talk to us.  It is a small organisation that treats, and rehabilitates wildlife from our area.  Last year it responded to over 1600 incidents.  Anne also talked about her work with Dr Brian May and the Save Me organisation.  Please do have a look at the Save Me web site to learn more about the inspirational work it does (www.save-me.org.uk).  Do you have clean towels, tins of dog or cat food?  If you do, Harper Asprey's residents would really appreciate the donation.

2012 meetings:

On the 18th October 2012 we had a really engaging talk entitled "The Incredible World of the Honeybee" by Steve Moll, of Brightwell Bees, Wallingford, who explored many of the honey bee’s attributes which has earned it the ‘superorganism’ accolade.

Looking through the eyes of a beekeeper, we heard about the honey bee’s sophisticated communication mechanisms, how the bee colony survives winter, and why they swarm.

Many fascinating facts about this incredible insect were uncovered - did you know that bees gather nectar from two million flowers to produce a jar of honey! On a more sombre note we found out about some of the pest and disease challenges facing honey bee colonies throughout the world.

On the 17 May we had an engaging talk on bats by James Shipman of the Berkshire and South Bucks Bat Group www.berksbats.org.uk.  James has only been studying bats for a couple of years, however he has built up a huge amount of knowledge in that time.  He used many photographs to talk us through mainly UK bats, but did also cover bats from around the world.

2011 meetings:

At the October meeting we had a talk by Chris Ward entitled "Our Changing Wildlife".  Chris showed us some amazing photos that he had taken over many years showing how many species had declined, but also how many that are historically more common in warmer areas of the continent are now growing in numbers in the UK.  An observation that supports the view that our climate in the UK is changing.

The April meeting starred our very own John Fennell who gave his popular slide presentation on badgers.  His talk was engaging, amusing and very informative for anyone from complete beginners to those that have been involved in badger protection for years.  We were also able to show live CCTV footage from one of the setts in Binfield, so John's co-stars were two adult badgers - the others must have been camera shy!  If you want to see some of the CCTV clips, just click on the "video" button on the left.

2010 meetings:

 In April the guest speaker was Brian Clews giving a talk entitled "Birds of Berkshire". Brian has been studying birds in our region for over 35 years and his illustrated talks claimed to "keep the listeners enthralled from start to finish".  This was no false claim with everyone at the meeting eagerly suggesting names for some of the rarer visitors to our local gardens.  Brian has written many books, some of which he made available for purchase after the meeting. He also contributes to local bird watching newsletters and is active member of the RSPB.

On the 2 October 2010 we held a Field Craft Training Day which was held in the rolling countryside near Henley.  Dave Lee and John Fennell showed members and friends leant how to identify badger field signs such as paw prints, hair identification and sett entrances.

On 21 October 2010 the guest speaker was Roger Kemp on the subject of butterflies.  Roger clearly has a huge amount of experience of butterflies. His illustrated talk described the habitats of UK butterflies, at what time of year each appears, and their sort of food.

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2009 meetings:

In October we had a special guest speaker - Hugh Warwick talking about hedgehogs.  Hugh has been studying hedgehogs for over 20 years and as a journalist and photographer, has worked for the BBC Natural History Unit.  More recently he published a book called "A Prickly Affair: My Life with Hedgehogs".  Hugh was a very engaging speaker and everyone enjoyed his photos and talk about the research work he has done around the world and the people he met on his travels.

In May we had Graham Cornick of Hydestile Resident Animals. Graham has visited the Group a couple of times before and his talks on rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife were both informative and engaging.  This talk was about his work at Hydestile Resident Animals, which provides for long-term needs of animals unable to go back to the wild or be re-homed.  Graham was able to bring with him some of the long term residents and we had the pleasure of getting close to hedgehogs and other small mammals, plus owls flying around the hall. 

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2008 meetings:

In October 2008 we had a slide presentation by Nigel Snell, who is the RSPB Project Coordinator for the Reintroduction of Red Kites. 

Courtesy of Helen Olive - www.redkites.net

Photo courtesy of Helen Olive - www.redkites.net

It seems such a short time ago that these beautiful masters of the air were completely absent from England and on the edge of extinction in Wales and Scotland, and yet today (certainly in our part of the world) we have a healthy and it seems steadily increasing population. In days gone by these birds served a useful purpose helping keep our towns and cities clean of carrion and discarded food.  The talk was interesting and illuminating with Nigel frequently having us all laughing at the antics of these amazing birds.

In April we had a talk on wildlife photography by Helen Taylor, ARPS.  Helen is a freelance photographer and designer with a special interest in wildlife, landscapes and travel. A Masters in Biological Photography has given her a solid background to her career and she now provides photos for all kinds of publications and organisations and teaches outdoor photography at the University of Nottingham. She gave an illustrated talk on wildlife photography, providing insider's tips on how to get those top shots and how to enjoy watching wildlife. 

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2007 meetings:

The last public meeting was on 18 October 2007. The talk was on our favourite subject - badgers!  Dr. Pam Mynott travelled all the way from the Leicestershire Group and we certainly appreciated all her time to come and talk with us about a local sett that she has been watching for many years.  All the proceeds from the donations and sales stand will be donated to the Badger Trust.

On 19th April 2007 we had a talk on badgers and the tremendous work done at Secret World in Somerset (www.secretworld.org), by Pauline Kidner.  Secret World is specialist centre focused on the rescue, rehabilitation and release of orphaned and injured wild creatures.

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2006 meetings:

In October 2006 we had an excellent talk on otters, by Philippa  Burrell.  Did you know that otters are related to badgers and gradually they are repopulating the Berkshire?

In April 2006 we had a special talk on Wolves by the UK Wolf Conservation Trust www.ukwolf.org.uk/. The Wolf Trust was formed in 1995 and now has over 2,500 supporters.  The Trust has both North American and European wolves and they regularly visit schools, clubs and in April 2006 live wolves visited Binfield

Copyright: McKinnon - Binfield Badger Group

Picture taken at Binfield Badger Group meeting in April 2006.

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2005 meetings:

At the April 2005 meeting the guest speaker was Barry Kaufmann-Wright, Wildlife Crime Officer in Essex Police, who gave a talk entitled “The Role of a Police Wildlife Crime Officer”, with particular reference to badgers and their protection. We heard that a major element of Barry's work is education and he gives about 200 talks each year, not just in Essex but over much of Southern England and the Midlands using his collection of 36,000 slides.    In 2003 he was named 'WWF Wildlife Law Enforcer of the Year'. He has published a book 'The Wildlife Man' and is working on a second book 'Running Wild' due to be published during late 2005.  It was a very engaging talk with excellent slides.

The October 2005 meeting was a talk by Chrissie Harper on the History, Life And Conservation of Owls. The meeting was the best attended for a number of years, with over 90 members and non-members of all ages.  Chrissie brought a few owls to the meeting, including Pearl the beautiful barn owl that you can see in this photo. 

Pearl the Barn Owl - Copyright C Harper

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