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by Gill Smith

The Ryedale Natural History Society reached its fortieth birthday in December, but the main celebrations were held in January when Gordon Simpson (who had given the very first talk to the Society in January 1964) was the special guest speaker, and Don Smith was given honorary life membership in recognition of his many years’ service to the Society. We held our usual mix of interesting indoor meetings in the winter and field outings in the summer, some of which are reported in this Newsletter. We had a number of new members join us which was encouraging, and we hope they will continue to support the Society.

We have articles on brown bears and A Dotterel Dream as well as the Recorders’ reports, and some notes on the first forty years of the Society. The reports confirm that Ryedale is still a rich area for natural history, with 118 bird species occurring in our area, and 19 mammals. Botanical highlights were the re-discovery of green-winged orchids in Ryedale and a spread of hairy buttercup, as well as confirmation that the rare knapweed broomrape is alive and well to the south of our area around Broughton. My personal highlights were four new plant records (green-winged orchid, northern forget-me-not, knapweed broomrape and hoary cinquefoil).

I was delighted that Michael Thompson reported “This year I have received many more records from the membership.” I encourage you all to send in your observations and records over the next year, as well as photos and/or artwork that we could use in next year’s Newsletter or on the website.

Finally, don’t forget to visit our website:


February 2004

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© Ryedale Natural History Society 2004.