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Nostoc commune, a colonial cyanobacterium

Nostoc commune, a colonial cyanobacterium

Nostoc commune, a colonial cyanobacterium also known as mare's eggs, star jelly and witch's butter, found by Wendy English in Arncliffe Woods near Glaisdale on 15 April.

About the Club

Welcome to the homepage of the Whitby Naturalists' Club, which celebrated its centenary in 2013. The purposes of the Club are to study, promote interest in and conserve natural history, local history and archaeology, particularly in relation to the Whitby area. Membership is open to anyone with a genuine interest in these topics, and new members are very welcome [how to join]. Existing members range in skill and experience from interested beginners to specialists in their chosen field. Club Special Interest Groups cover amphibia & reptiles, archaeology, birds, freshwater fish, fungi, geology, insects (Lepidoptera), insects (other), local history, mammals, microbes & protists, other invertebrates, plants, sea & shore life, and weather. The Club has a President, Executive Officers and an Executive Committee appointed in accordance with its Rules (downloadable PDF file). It produces an annual report, maintains a library of books, maps, films and tapes, and organizes the following activities:


Environmental conservation. The Club's Conservation Subcommittee provides its focal point for issues relating to environmental conservation.


Exhibition of specimens. From time to time, the Club organizes displays at local village shows and similar events. For the Club's centenary, there was a display of artefacts and publications relating to the Club itself over the one hundred years of its existence, and a full-scale exhibition devoted to the Fungi. At the start of a new centenary for the Club, there are plans for another exhibition.


Field meetings and visits to places of interest. Field meetings and visits to places of interest are organized, often in connexion with themes of the lecture programme. Most field meetings occur in spring, summer and autumn.


Lectures. Between October and late February with a break in December, there is a programme of illustrated lectures every Saturday afternoon in the Normanby Room at the Whitby Museum in Pannett Park. Meetings start at 2.0 pm and normally finish at about 3.30 pm. Each Special Interest Group is covered, and lectures are given by members and external specialists. Visitors to these meetings are welcome (a contribution of £2 is invited).


Recording. The Club has an active programme of recording natural history, local history and archaeology, particularly of the Whitby area. Observations relating to these topics can be submitted to the relevant Special Interest Group [how to submit records]. Selected records are published in the Club's Annual Report. Recorders responsible for biological records collectively form the Recorders' Subcommittee.


Workshops. One- and two-day workshops are organized from time to time on a range of naturalist themes. Details of each workshop are posted on the Programme page at least 4 weeks prior to it taking place.

The Club is also affiliated to a range of other associations and societies. Information about those affiliations is shown on the Library page of this website.


Club Positions Vacant. First, thanks to those who have come forward to fill several vacant positions within the Club. Volunteers are still sought from among the Club membership to fill the following positions: Geology Recorder; Press & Publicity Officer. Anyone willing to help should contact the Club's Secretary.

Photographic Competition 2016. Now in its fourth year. Click here for the competition rules. The closing date is 31 December 2016. E-mail your entries to photocompetition_2016 <at> whitbynaturalists.co.uk.

Young Darwin Scholarships. The Field Studies Council is inviting applications these scholarships for 2016 from 16 and 17 year olds who are passionate about the natural world. If you know of such a person, please encourage them to apply. The deadline is 24 June 2016. Full information is available from http://www.field-studies-council.org/yds.

Consultation. The Club's Officers and Executive Committee are interested to receive feedback from Members about Club activities, and suggestions of possible improvements and new directions. Please fill in the downloadable questionnaire, and return it to Wendy English, our Plant Recorder, who is co-ordinating this consultation. Her e-mail address can be found on the Contacts page of this website.

Outdoor Meetings & Workshops Programme for 2016. Click here for full downloadable programme.

Walk: historic Fylingthorpe. Leader Janet Green. Place. Fylingthorpe Village, pub/'bus stop (NZ943050). Date Saturday 23 April 2016. Time. 14.00. Notes. An easy 1 hour walk around the village, with optional extention to old St Stephen's Church. For further information please contact Christiane Kroebel (archaeology<at>whitbynaturalists.co.uk).

Field meeting: bird song and call identification. Leader. Graham Oliver. Place. Scaling Dam, car park (Yacht Club end, NZ741125). Date. Thursday 28 April 2016. Time. 09.00. Notes. Short walk through different habitats, and viewing from bird hides. Binoculars useful. For further information please contact Graham Oliver (g.h.oliver<at>btinternet.com).

Workshop: Sphagnum. Leader. Alan Ritson. Place. Whitby Museum, Normanby Room. Date. Saturday 30 April 2016. Time. 09.30. Notes. Morning in Whitby museum, using key to identify specimens. Afternoon field trip. Bring packed lunch. Places limited: booking essential. For more information and to book, please contact Wendy English (plants<at>whitbynaturalists.co.uk).

Scaling Dam Bird Reserve Leaders. Mike Yates and John McEachan. Place. Scaling Dam. Date. Tuesday 3 May 2016. Time. 14.00. Notes. For Less Mobile Group members. Followed by tea at Skinningrove. Arrange transport / pick-up through Mike. Bring binoculars. Booking essential. For more information and to book, please contact Mike Yates (localhistory<at>whitbynaturalists.co.uk).

Bird song and call identification at Hawsker. Leader. Graham Oliver. Place. Holiday Park car park (NZ938079). Date Wednesday 11 May 2016. Time. 09.00. Notes. Short circular walk. Refreshments available in café afterwards. Booking essential. For more information and to book, please contact Graham Oliver (g.h.oliver<at>btinternet.com).

Natural history walk from Staithes. Leader. Marian Brockway. Place. Junction of the A174 and Staithes Lane (NZ880182). Date Tuesday 24 May 2016. Time. 10.15. Notes. The route includes woodland and coastal habitats with woodland plants in full flower. About 3 hours, including some steep sections. The X4 bus leaving Whitby at 09.42 should arrive in time, or there is a pay car park off Staithes Lane, TS13 5AD. For more information, please contact Marian Brockway (m.d.brockway<at>yahoo.co.uk).

Coatham Marsh Nature Reserve. Leaders. Mike Yates and Laura Smith. Place. Near Redcar. Date Tuesday 7 June 2016. Time. 14.00. Notes. A Less Mobile Group outing to search for lesser broomrapes and bee orchids, followed by tea nearby. Arrange transport / pick-up through Mike. Booking essential. For more information and to book, please contact Mike Yates (localhistory<at>whitbynaturalists.co.uk).

Flowers and butterflies of Pexton / Ellerburn Bank. Leader. Wendy English and Graham Featherston. Place. Haygate car park (SE857859). Date Sunday 12 June 2016. Time. 11.00. Notes. The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve at Ellerburn Bank is well known for its flora, and the Forestry Commission has improved butterfly habitats on the adjoining Pexton Bank. Contact Wendy English to arrange free entry to Dalby Forest Drive. Bring picnic. For more information, please contact Wendy English (plants<at>whitbynaturalists.co.uk).

The Ravenscar seal colony. Leader. Graham Oliver. Place. Meet outside the National Trust Coast Centre (NZ980016). Date Tuesday 14 June 2016. Time. 12.30. Notes. Telescopes available on cliff top to view seals hauling themselves onto rocks as the tide retreats. The more adventurous can scramble down the steep path to the shore. This is also the site of the Peak fault, an important geological feature. Tea available afterwards. For more information, please contact Graham Oliver (g.h.oliver<at>btinternet.com).

Nightjars. Leader. John McEachen. Place. Meet Maybeck car park (NZ892024). Date Monday 20 June 2016. Time. 21.00. Notes. Bring binoculars, insect repellent and a head net. For more information, please contact John McEachen (birds<at>whitbynaturalists.co.uk).