Please remember to put the date in your diary now and tell all your
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.
At the April meeting the committee gave an update on the bTB cull, the
vaccination programme, the many housing development applications across
Berkshire, surveys, rescues and the main Binfield sett. The committee
also recognised the huge loss of Adrian who had unexpectedly died in
February. He was a lovely man, universally respected and liked by all,
and a good friend to badgers. In addition to his survey work, Adrian also
co-ordinated our rescue network, saving injured and lost badgers, and was
devoted to looking after the Binfield sett.
Duncan Fisher, the Ecology Officer at Wokingham Borough Council.
In view of his Council’s recent publication of
their Local Plan Update, he explained his challenging role in
dealing with the main issues for wildlife in potential development areas. He’s called his talk:
"Borough-ing Badgers: An Insight from a Council’s Ecologist".
It was an excellent opportunity to ask questions and for us
all to explore how best we can work with councils for the benefit of
At the October meeting
had the pleasure of an illustrated talk by Brian Clews. His
engaging talk was on Britain's Mammals and the effects of increased development on species
and their habitats - a subject close to the hearts of many Berkshire
residents, with so much countryside fast disappearing under bricks and
At the April meeting Nigel Palmer
of Dr Brian
May's wildlife charity Save Me, talked about their wide ranging 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.
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
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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 -
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
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
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’
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.
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.
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.
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
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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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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In October 2008 we had a slide presentation by Nigel Snell, who is the RSPB Project
Coordinator for the Reintroduction of Red Kites.
Photo courtesy of Helen Olive -
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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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
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
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
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
Picture taken at Binfield Badger Group meeting in April 2006.
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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