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Gerald Salisbury Memorial Lecture

Updated: Dec 30, 2019

On the 27th November 2019, the Welwyn Natural History Society will join with the Hertfordshire Natural History Society for a meeting in memory of one of Hertfordshire’s amazing botanists, Gerald Salisbury. This year the speaker will be Graham White, Head of Reserve Ecology at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and he will be speaking about SCAT. “What’s that?” did you say... Well, you could call it ‘POO’ or ‘animal droppings’ or ‘faeces’ or whatever takes your fancy. In fact, it’s quite amazing what you can tell about an animal just by examining its scat: not only can you tell the species but also where it has been, what it has eaten and its state of health.

I was looking at a programme recently about seals in the north of Scotland where the scientists were concerned that, in a mixed population, the grey seals were surviving well but the harbour seals were decreasing in number; they couldn’t work out why until they analysed their scat. Interestingly, they sieved it all to find the ear bones of the fish that each species had eaten which they could then identify. The larger grey seals had swum further out to sea and managed to catch cod and whiting whereas the smaller harbour seals had had a much more restricted diet resulting in the decrease in their numbers.

I don’t yet know what aspect of Scat, Graham will be focusing on but I am totally hooked on this subject and I am sure you will be too. Since it’s a joint meeting, we will be in the large hall at the Civic Centre so we look forward to seeing you there: 8pm on 27th November. By the way, we now have a Facebook Group – please become a member – Welwyn Natural History Society.

Judith Watson

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