The Birds in Your Garden

Not only was winter 2015–16 the warmest ever for England and Wales, mostly due to exceptionally high temperatures in December 2015, it was also the wettest on record in Yorkshire.

Spring temperatures were more normal, being slightly below average in April and slightly above average in May. Rainfall during the breeding season varied dramatically between counties and months, with the heaviest rainfall in northern England and Scotland being limited to April. In July and August the trend reversed, with above average rainfall in the north but exceptionally dry conditions in the south, where summer temperatures were also above average.

All of this meant that it was a mixed year for our resident birds. A lot depended upon the time of year they chose to try to breed. Blue Tits in particular produced below average clutch sizes which led to a reduced number of chicks being fledged, and Great Tits did little better. With total numbers down by a tenth and the number of young they produced last year down by over a third, Blue Tits in particular, are having a hard time. This has been apparent in our gardens since with lower numbers around than usual.

The mild winter of 2015–16 with little or no snow cover, meant that ground feeders such as Song Thrushes, Robins and Dunnocks, as well as Wrens, which are all particularly sensitive to harsh winter weather, survived in larger than usual numbers. Again this is apparent in most of our gardens, although Song Thrushes are still far from common.

Blackbird data suggest that the number of fledglings in 2016 was around 20% lower than average too, though at the moment with migrants from central Europe still here, the effect is difficult to assess.

Yet again there was a late start to the breeding season. Laying dates for six resident passerines, including both Blue and Great Tit, were delayed by between five and ten days in 2016, with low temperatures in early spring being the most likely cause. House Sparrows, which unlike most tits make several breeding attempts, may well have taken advantage of the fine late summer weather to produce a greater than average number of fledglings.

BTO results reveal that 17 out of the 24 bird species followed by their Nest Recording Scheme exhibited significant decreases in productivity in 2016
relative to the average of the previous five years. For some of these species (Blue Tit, Blackbird) a reduction in the number of young successfully fledged may be responsible for this decline; for the Blue Tit the mechanism appears to have been a reduction in clutch size, this being the lowest recorded since in 1939. Other surveys suggested that the wet conditions mid-summer also reduced post-fledging survival rates, mainly due to less food being around for these largely insectivorous species.

With a cold snap on its way, keep a sharp eye on your garden; you never know what might turn up!

If you find the lives of our garden birds to be of interest, and would like to join in and count the feathered occupants of your garden, please contact me or visit the BTO Garden BirdWatch website ( If you know of a local organisation who would like a talk on garden birds call: Mike Gray 07596 366342 or

Local Banking

Since HSBC Bank left Boroughbridge, cash and cheques can be paid in at the Post Office – BUT to pay in cheques you need a Paying-In Book and to pay cash in you need a card for the account – either a debit card or a free deposit card – for customers who do not have a bank card associated with the account.  A form to apply for a Deposit Card can be obtained from an HSBC Bank or downloaded from their website.

Brighter Boroughbridge and District

Brighter Boroughbridge is looking forward to the new planting year but is uncertain whether it can emulate the successes of 2016.
Last year the group achieved silver gilt award in Yorkshire in Bloom and, with Boroughbridge Live, held the first, highly acclaimed, Secret Garden day.

The reservations are all to do with insufficient able bodied gardeners.
Every time an article is written there is a plea for help which, forgive the pun, falls on stony ground. We reiterate that a commitment needn’t be onerous. Helpers are not expected to attend every gardening session. Just an hour a week could make all the difference.
Boroughbridge is a delightful place to live and everyone should be proud to make visitors welcome to a beautiful, tidy, welcoming town.
So, where is the community spirit? Does it really only exist in the four or five active members? They are all retired and growing less able. An injection of younger, enthusiastic people could build on this great beginning.

You do not have to have gardening expertise, just a willingness to wield a trowel or spade.

If this plea is of interest to you please contact John Goss, or ring 01423 323123.

Recycle More, Waste Less!

How are you getting on with your recycling? Reduce landfill now!
Help us to put together a list of ways ‘stuff’ can be recycled.  We will publish the list in LUN and on

We all know about paper, plastic, glass collected by the Council but what about all those other perfectly good things we no longer want or need??

Morrisons’ recycling skips are still there – further up the car park!
The recycling wagon will be at Back Lane car park on 11 March 2017.

The Expected and the Unexpected

If you have travelled north on the A1 in recent years you will have spent some of the time in road works and will have seen at first hand one of the biggest road improvement schemes in recent years. For the past three years, as part of a Highways England scheme to install an extra lane in each direction and upgrade the route to motorway standards.

An archaeological team of around 60 people have been working between Leeming Bar and Barton. This 24km section follows the route which is closely aligned to the Dere Street Roman road.
During that time, archaeologists from Northern Archaeological Associates working on behalf of the Carillion Morgan-Sindall Joint Venture have uncovered more than 200,000 prehistoric and Roman artefacts and sieved more than 86 tons of sediment samples.
Recent finds caused great excitement on site. These included coins, a rare carved gemstone depicting Hercules and the Lion and some apparently gold plated Roman objects. A selection of these artefacts from the Roman town at Catterick (Cataractonium), are now on display at The Bowes Museum until March 5th 2017.

Northern Archaeological Associates will be giving a talk to Friends of Roman Aldborough on Saturday 25th february at 2.30pm in Aldborough Village Hall. The talk will give an overview to the project but will also highlight their unexpected finds, some of which will be on view to those who attend. Cost: Visitors £5.00 (FORA members free).
For more details go to or ring 01423 325808.

Boroughbridge Walkers are Welcome Winter Walk

Leading a walk round The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Staveley Nature Reserve in the New Year were members of the Boroughbridge Walkers are Welcome Group.

With John Gandy, one of the volunteer wardens, on hand to answer questions, the group was lucky enough to see the otters and many of the birds over wintering at the ponds.

The Boroughbridge group are now working hard on finalising the programme for the Easter Walking Festival, details available shortly.

The Pink Christmas Tree

Every year Boroughbridge Community Care holds a Christmas Tree Festival in St James Church, Boroughbridge.  The Festival is on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 of December – followed by Carols in Hall Square at 4pm on Sunday.

This year the Yore Vision tree will be decorated in PINK.  All the decorations will be sponsored in aid of Breast Cancer Care.

To sponsor a decoration, pop a donation in the collecting box or go to

For more information contact Jane on 01423 325 808
or e-mail

Award for Local Junior Football Team

A local junior football team has been awarded £500 to support its aim of providing football for disabled children.

Boroughbridge Junior Football Club was successful in gaining the public votes it needed to receive the money from Skipton Building Society through its Grassroots Giving programme that supports community groups across the country. The building society asked people to cast their votes for the projects they supported at the Grassroots Giving website and in branches. Some 377 projects received 38,000 votes.

The funding will help the club buy equipment and hire facilities needed to coach children of all ages with a range of physical and learning disabilities.

Chris Fahy, club chairman, said: “We believe children of all abilities can enjoy football and benefit socially – by playing in a team, physically, by staying fit and healthy and by experiencing interactive and stimulating sessions that build confidence and enhance well-being.”

The club serves the local community and surrounding villages, as well as families based at Dishforth Camp. More than 20 volunteer coaches and helpers provide training
for both boys and girls with different abilities from ages five to seventeen years.

Boroughbridge JFC has the Football Association Charter Standard, which is a kitemark awarded to clubs that provide a safe, high-quality football experience for children.

The club wants to hear from local people interested in becoming a FA qualified coach or anyone who holds the qualification. The club currently has volunteer coaching
positions available across age groups and will support coaches financially through the FA course and pay for qualifications.

Please email bjfc2014 @, or contact Chris on 07764 775130 for full details
about training and coaching opportunities.

Boroughbridge Lions

Boroughbridge Lions are preparing for the Christmas 2016 Season with their sleigh – it is our principle fundraiser and the source of much of the money we put back into the local community.  As we do so comes the realization, that this may be the last year for this and the many other things we do throughout the year.  Our band of dedicated members are all getting older and it could well be that, without new members, we will be unable to continue our activities.  Although Boroughbridge based, our area of action ranges from Green Hammerton to Dishforth and Marton cum Grafton to Roecliffe.

Although some 80% of our funds are re-invested in the local community we also support national and international events (mainly disaster relief).  Space precludes me detailing all we do locally and, for the more adventurous, the many Lions overseas projects, but our brand new web site ( contains all the details, including video links.

All Lions Clubs have their respective communities at the heart of what they do, but are backed by national and international organisations who provide such things as comprehensive insurance cover, performing rights licenses, and advice on such vital matters as health and safety, risk assessments and food hygiene –  all very necessary if you are organizing any sort of event.  Indeed, Lions International is the world largest service organisation with some 46,000 clubs in over 200 countries.  There is plenty of scope for participation in a numerous overseas projects for those who wish to extend their contribution beyond the local community.

Boroughbridge Lions meet monthly, but attendance requirements are flexible to accommodate the time pressures on today’s young families; we also welcome couples, with discounted membership rates, so that, if necessary attendance can be shared.  We really appreciate all the help we get from volunteers for our events, but without new members to keep the club going the end is inevitable.  If you would like to find out more, why not come to one of our meetings on the second Tuesday of the month at 8pm the Crown Hotel – they are informal and very friendly.  Alternatively call Ann or Graham on 01423 323 867 for a chat about what it means to be a Lion and to make a difference.