About Moffat & District Wildlife Club

 

In 1961 seven local people with an interest in birdwatching decided to get together and form a club. They opted to hold their inaugural meeting on 19th October 1961 in a large room in Emilio Dicerbo's home. Instead of just the original seven, no less than 22 attended. The 'Moffat Birdwatchers Club' was born and it then went from strength to strength, aiming to show films and to have talks by naturalists over each winter 'season', also providing birdwatching trips to various locations. Emilio Dicerbo was elected as President and he continued to hold the post as President until 2014, the only surviving member of the original seven founders. After 53 years at the helm, in 2014 Jock decided to stand down as president. However, he remains as an Honorary President by popular demand. 'Jock' (as he is perhaps better known) has published books on birdwatching ('Birds of Scotland' and 'The Birdwatchers Almanac') and is well known for the many photographs he has taken over the years and for the many public presentations he has done.

The Green Woodpecker was adopted as the club 'badge' as it was about this time that it was first recorded as nesting in the Moffat area. Fourteen years later, in 1975, to reflect the widening interest in wildlife in general, the club decided that a change of name was called for and so it became the Moffat & District Wildlife Club. Under Jock's expert guidance, the club has thrived, currently having some 140 members.

In 2001, through the generosity of George and Marion Paterson of Dyke Farm, the club acquired the use of a piece of boggy land, covered in scrub willow and alder, measuring some 7 acres in total, to create a nature reserve. With the help of donations and grants, a digger was brought in to clear areas and create ponds. A hide was constructed to overlook the main wetland area. This was all done under the guidance of the 'man with a vision', Jock Dicerbo. Officially opened in 2004, our Dyke Farm Nature Reserve has become a quiet haven of interest, not only for birds but for animals, amphibians, insects and plants - including a few that are quite rare.

In recent years, the club has actively participated in the development of the former Dyke Quarry. At the end of quarrying operations the site was required to be redeveloped as a nature reserve. It has now become the property of a local trust and is open to the public as the Moffat & District Community Nature Reserve. Part of the site immediately adjoins our own reserve but is of totally different habitat. The two reserves thus hold remarkable potential as a good area for a wide range of wildlife. The club will continue to play a major role in the future of both reserves.

In 2011, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its original incarnation, a new logo was adopted (as shown at the top of the page) which now also includes a Nuthatch in the image - a bird that was virtually unknown in the area a dozen years ago but has established itself beyond all expectations and is now commonplace.

Also in celebrating our 50th year, the club committee asked our President if he could put together a book outlining the whole history of the club since its innovation. This was duly done and we have publishined a hardbacked book, based on Jock's experiences of the club over the years and full of photographs, not only of wildlife but also of the various people who have played a part in making the club what it is today. Many of these will stir fond memories for the reader. The book is available from A.M.Grieves, Newsagents, on Moffat High Street, and also available is souvenir badges and car window stickers bearing the club logo. All can also be obtained by mail order - contact Iain for information.

Our club is entirely self-funded - we do not rely on grants, etc, like so many organisations. We are dependent on membership fees, profit from sales of bird food and from fund-raising events such as a Coffee Morning to keep us going and, importantly, to maintain and improve our nature reserve at Dyke Farm. We are, of course, also very grateful for any donations that come our way!

A very good selection of nestboxes, feeders and bird food is always available for purchase, at very competitive prices, at Grieves Newsagents. Bird food prices are generally lower than you will find at Garden Centres or even on-line and the club gains from the profits!

Club Membership for the year is £10 per individual (£18 for two adults at the same address), free for those under 16 years of age, and is open to all, not just "locals". Members get free admission to our seven monthly meetings in Moffat Town Hall during the winter season (September to March inclusive), normally on the second Friday of the month at 7.30pm, to enjoy guest speakers presenting wildlife slide or film shows. Non-members are always welcome at the meetings, entrance fee £2.50 payable at the door (under 16's free). We try to be completely informal, catering for beginners and experts alike. During the interval tea/coffee is available and there is plenty of opportunity to talk with friends and guests.

In early May, a 'Coffee Morning' is held in Moffat Town Hall. There are all the usual stalls (baking, bric-a-brac, books, etc) and a very extensive raffle - all for a modest entry fee.

All dates for the meetings, and the topics for them, plus date for the Coffee Morning can be found on our 'Events' page.