The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville

Favourite Wildlife

On 22nd September John Goodspeer was due to give us a talk entitled ‘A visit to South Georgia’. Unfortunately John was unable to give us that talk, but instead we had a very interesting talk and slides on “Favourite Wildlife”.

We started off looking at garden birds. There was a Long Tailed Tit, Robin, Blue Tit, Blackbirds, Jay which has blue and black feathers and loves the fat balls.

There was the Golden Eagle. This bird can be seen in places like Isle of Mull and the Isle of Skye. There were Crows which like to attack Buzzards.

The Kestrel is a familiar sight, hovering beside a motorway or main road. They can often be seen perched on a high tree branch, or on a telephone post or wire looking out for prey.

Red Kites are distinctive because of their forked tail and striking colour, predominantly chestnut red with white patches under the wings and a pale grey head.

John was travelling on the A34 and counted 5 going on his journey, on the way back he counted as many as 13. They have been seen in Winchester and in the north of Hampshire.

The female Hen Harrier is brownish but shares the male’s white rump. It flies quite low to the ground and originates from the Isle of Man.

Magpies have a black and white plumage and long tail. They can be seen all year round from lowland farmland to upland moors. John was on holiday in Portugal and saw a Magpie there.

Cattle Egrets are white Heron, about 50 centimetres in length, with stout yellow bills and in the breeding season with buff yellow-orange plumes on their heads, necks and backs. John saw them in Spain, even though they are originally from Africa but have migrated to new areas in the last century.

The Rock Sparrow is a small bird sort of a brown and grey in colour, it has stripes on its head, light coloured beak and yellow patch below its throat, white tips show on the tail whilst in flight.

Barn Owls are most people’s favourite bird. John says they are not so rare now. He has seen them on North Hayling. They live in open areas, such as grassy fields, wet meadows around farms and rural towns. John also has known of injured Barn Owls taken to Brent Lodge which is a wildlife hospital near Chichester and released when they are fully recovered.

Little Tern is silvery-grey and white. It has a black cap and a white forehead. It has tiny yellow-orange legs and yellow bill with a black tip. This is a seabird and feeds offshore, hovering above the water before diving in to catch their prey- mainly small fish.

The Kingfishers are small bright blue and orange birds. They fly rapidly, low over water, and hunt fish from riverside perches, occasionally hovering above the water’s surface. You can see them all year round. They are widespread, especially in central and southern England, becoming less common further north.

The Adonis Blue Butterfly is a species from chalk downland, where it may be found in warm, sheltered spots. The male Adonis Blue has brilliantly-coloured blue wings that gives this butterfly its name. Females are a rich chocolate brown in colour.

The ‘small blue’ butterfly has a wing span that can be as little as 16mm. The sexes are similar in appearance, although the male upperside is almost black with a dusting of blue scales, whereas the female is more dark brown in colour. This butterfly can be found in northern Scotland to the south of England, in Wales and Ireland.

John has seen the Silver-Washed Woodland Butterfly in brambles and at the Staunton Country Park and also Stansted. They are a bright orange in colour. Grassland butterflies can be seen on old Winchester Hill. Swallowtail butterflies are large and very colourful. They mainly prefer marshy areas and open grasslands.

Now on to spiders: - the ‘Spiders Wasp’ is yellow and black which makes it look like a wasp and nests in long grass; it can be seen on Portsdown Hill. The Crab Spider doesn’t build webs to catch their prey. They change colour to match the flower they are on. If they are on a white yellow or green flower, then they match the same colour. They are usually so well camouflaged they generally go unnoticed, until they are off their preferred colour of flower and then they are starkly obvious and look out of place in a UK garden.

The Inca Trail

On 13th October our talk was programmed to be by Jim Bettley titled ‘Between Two Seas’. Unfortunately Jim was unable to do the talk, and we had Paul and Sue Bowers do their talk on the Inca Trail. We have previously heard this talk before in May 2009, but many Ladies had not heard it, so it was very nice to hear it again.

Paul Bowers is a retired policeman. He was a police photographer for 10 years. He went on a course, and it was suggested to him that he should have a hobby. Paul and his wife Sue enjoy going to places where Paul likes to photograph the scenery. They both wrote out a list of the various places they would like to visit, and on the top of both lists was Peru - Machu Picchu. They decided to go on this trip in April 1997.

The trip was for four weeks. As we could see on the slides, they soon found out whilst trekking that the pathways were very narrow and very steep.

The closest large town to the Inca Trail is Cuzco, the old imperial Inca Capital, which was both the administrative and the religious centre of the Empire.

The Cathedral of Santo Domingo also known as Cuzco Cathedral is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cuzco. One of the Cathedral artifacts is a wooden crucifix which is black from centuries of smoke and dust. This is known as the ‘Black Christ’.

Tambo is a stone setting for people to stop at and rest, surrounded by mountains. In a rock high above was kept a ‘store room’ for food. Potatoes were kept there for 15 years.

To prevent mountain sickness they were given some ash stone and leaves in a bag. They had to grind the leaves which they found out to be Cocaine.

The “Dead Woman’s Pass” is the highest point on the Inca Trail, some 4,200 metres (or 13,650 feet) above sea level. It takes its name from the arrangement of the terrain which is said to represent a woman lying on her back.

Wherever they walked, they could always see Mount Veronica, and the trail follows the water along the side of the path. Most of the Inca Trail is in the National Park and they were checked who was entering in and out.

One of the team, George from Australia, jumped into water without any shoes on and sliced his foot open. He found some Aloe Vera leaves to pack into it, and just by chance a surgeon came by and stitched it up for him. He was able to continue on the trip.

The Porters carry three bags each onto the places where the travellers are going to stop and sleep for the night. They also put up the tents for them and cook the meals. They are paid just 5. A slide showed us the Porters wearing red ponchos. Two young lads in the picture would get the fire wood, they were aged about nine.

Wild orchids and lots of butterflies are to be seen. Paul says you must remember to bang your boots before you put them on as you don’t know what could crawl into them.

The weather was very changeable, very humid and then very cold, with ice on their tents and snow on the hills. The limestone paths became very slippery. No-one had walking sticks.

Paul showed us what he wore to bed as it was very cold at night. There was a hat which covered his ears, bedsocks and gloves all made from Alpaca. His wife Sue was wearing a very colourful cardigan also made from Alpaca which she bought out there.

They arrived at Machu Picchu, and it was a very quiet and spiritual place. It is in a rain forest and it rained for two days while they were there. Some 40,000 people live there.

A very interesting talk with slides.

Priscilla Barlow


Christmas Edition 2011

St George’s Ladies Group