Tuesday, 8 May 2012

A grand opening

Sunday saw the official opening of the new bird hide at Hempholme and its dedication to Flight Sergeant Angus McBean as per the postings below
My huge thanks goes out to Margaret Hall and her family for travelling down from the North East to officially open the hide; Margaret is the step daughter of George Best; Angus McBean’s cousin as per the tree she kindly provided below:
Her step-brother Peter hopes to visit from Perth (Australia) later in the year.  She also brought this picture of the man (or boy) himself – the oldest picture of the pilot we have:
The assembled crowd – spot the Tophill regular - all pics thanks to HVWG:
Catering tent:
The displays:
And finally the ribbon cutting:
Beyond the personal side there was also that of the aircraft itself.  In the last post we mentioned we had some new information – which came courtesy of Jean whose father Reg Butler of Standingholme Farm is believed to be the first person to find the aircraft on the 6th of May 1942.  She was able to tell us to within a few feet as to where the aircraft came to rest – and as such the team from East Yorkshire Metal Detecting Society were able to rapidly start making finds in a thorough search:
Rather than jump the gun, we have since cleaned all the material we found and revealed various part numbers which we have logged and passed to the Blenheim Society for identification. 
When we have this back I will be writing up all the data we have found which should hopefully give the most complete investigation into Flight Sergeant Angus McBean and Blenheim K7091 to date.  I’ll be posting that here shortly with pictures of the finds and sending it to all other organisations so that the information can be retained forever.
The remnants we have will be displayed in a display case in the new hide for all to see in future.  PLEASE NOTE - all land in this area is private property and freelance metal detecting is strictly prohibited.
So with that completed there remains one other task – the thanks, which are due to:
Yorkshire Water who funded the whole project.
Contract partners RG Blakey Forestry (who found the original material), Scurrah Associates Ltd, ATM, Dobson’s Civil Engineering and Construction, and Sam Atkinson Carpentry.
We also need to thank Hull Valley Wildlife Group, the YorkshireWildlife Trust, Environment Agency, East Riding Council, East Yorkshire BatGroup, Natural England and the Forestry Commission who all supported the original idea for the wetland restoration at Hempholme Meadows.
Big thanks to the volunteers from Tophill, who helped survey the original woodland and continue to do so on the meadow.  The practical team who have seemingly spent every Thursday and Sunday for the last four months ‘fettling’ the habitat and preparing for the opening day and then cleaning up.
Big thanks on the opening day to Margaret, Mary, Mandy and Caroline who all helped prepare the excellent nibbles on offer, and to the rest of the team for pond dipping, plant talking and bird guiding.
For the investigation into the Blenheim itself we need to credit the Yorkshire Aircraft website which held the original data which alerted us, Peter Dimand for his photo of K7091, Lesley and all at WW2talk forum for their investigations, Rodney Robinson at Catfoss and Beverley Airfield with David Jarvis who undertook a memorial circuit from Standingholme to Catfoss, Tony and Smudge at the Blenheim Society, East Yorkshire Metal Detecting Society, Beverley Archives, the RAF Museum and the MOD Air Historical Branch, Jean, Tony and Julie from Standingholme and Philip Huxtable at JSRFarms.
And thanks too to everyone else who has helped out if I have neglected to mention anyone!
But most of all thanks to the family and friends of the McBean’s, - John Oliver, Margaret Hall, Lynne Best and Peter Best for sharing their personal knowledge that has let us know the whole story about Flight Sergeant Angus McBean.
There’ll be another post on the whole story, but otherwise it’s back to the birds now!
So the legacy:
Hopefully that was there for all to see on the day, in the form of this excellent bird list (Erich Hediger):
The wheatear was a particular highlight:
Elsewhere on the reserve we were joined by another pair of Avocets thanks to HVWG for these:
Check out Tony McLean’s blog for some excellent pictures along with some magical dawn images, and also Alan’s great shots on Flickr.  The terns too are arriving gradually:
A highlight was two arctic terns that Martin had heading east on Saturday.  The first summer mediterranean gull was still hanging around yesterday HVWG:
Thanks to Chris Bell for this one of the osprey that had been present for the weekend around much if the site:
And Dave Ruffles for the Watton foxes that are giving some good photo ops at the moment:
Pochard in flight DR:
And some of the first youngsters of the year – moorhens on the centre pond DR:
This reed warbler was on South Marsh West:

The CES ringing team undertook its first session of the summer too – getting a couple of welcome re-catches including a migrant warbler – all details here courtesy of James.
And mute swan 339 shows promise again – building nest number two on South Marsh West.

And a late whooper is tagging on with the juvenille delinquent gang on D res HVWG:
The best if the rest includes common sandpiper on D res wall today, two dunlin on South Marsh East, Marsh Harrier and cuckoo around the site, and whimbrel over.  However as ever folk need to be on their guard at Tophill - yet another funny coloured bird to add to the list...