The new season began with a very informative talk by Commander Glenn Duggan entitled “Scientific Voyages of Exploration of the 18th and 19th Centuries”.
He talked particularly of the efforts to find the north-west passage to the Pacific and by coincidence the news the next day revealed that the remains of one of those very ships had been found beneath the icy oceans. His talk was illustrated with plates by the eminent bird artist William Gould, the ilustrations being coloured by a team working from stuffed specimens under Gould’s direction. A few days later the group ventured by minibus to Portland Bill, a September migrant hot spot.
Several gannets were visible offshore along with a variety of terns, already adorned in winter plumage. A large flock of swallows heading south across the sea was a sure indication that summer was nearing its end, while among the shrubbery wheatear and whitethroat were stocking up on insectivorous supplies before journeying to Africa.
The sunshine throughout the day enhanced the trip and the band returned to Reading happy.