The decade came to an end with another poor year as far as the weather was concerned. At least that's how it seemed to be to me with only the weekends available for venturing into the countryside. The unsettled weather at least meant that the winters were mild, continuing a succession of virtually frost free winters.
Spring arrived early, but as is often the case suffered a setback in April, which meant there was a gap between the arrival of the early bird migrants, and the main influx. I seem to recall that the best summer weather was also early and that the second half was virtually a write-off. Certainly, I had difficulty in completing the Breeding Bird Survey in reasonable conditions.
It was also a fairly uninspiring year from the natural history point of view. No doubt the weather played its part in that. The dearth of natural food meant it was generally a poor year, at both ends, for over-wintering species such as Redwing, Fieldfare and Brambling. On a more positive note, it was probably the year when the Speckled Wood butterfly finally established itself in the Chorley area.
Members of the Committee started work on the Millennium booklet, for which Lottery funding was obtained. Out in the field, members continued with the Ringing of birds at selected sites. Other members took part in various BTO surveys such as the Breeding Bird Survey, the Winter Farmland Bird Survey and the monthly Wildfowl counts. Other survey work included the final year of the Lancashire Breeding Bird Survey, the results of which should be published early in 2001, and are eagerly awaited. The Society's own Garden Bird Survey continued with increased participation by members which is always pleasing. Many thanks to all those who took part.
Society members also continued with their involvement in an advisory capacity with West Pennine Moors, Yarrow Valley Country Park and Chorley Environmental Forum. Others continued with actual conservation work and with the management of the various nature reserves in the area.
It was also the year when Duxbury Woods came under renewed threat from the proposed southerly by-pass, and Gale Moss at Hartwood, almost imperceptibly, became the latest stretch of Chorley Green Belt to be erased from the Local Plan. What point in public consultation? The Tewittfields of my childhood have all but gone!
Thanks to all those who have submitted records, without which the publication of this report would be impossible. Thanks also to those who have kept me supplied with material for the newsletter. Keep up the good work!
Many thanks to my fellow recorders who have prepared the various reports - Carol Kellett for Flora, Joyce Riley for Fungi, Phil Kirk for Invertebrates and Tony Stott for Mammals plus Andy Leach for his Ringing Report. Finally, thanks to Jean Southworth and Tony Stott whose drawings have been used both in this report and in the newsletters throughout the year.
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