It has been nearly twenty years since Iden Natural History Society and the Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve last held a joint meeting but that situation was remedied last Saturday when Iden Nature Day was held at Iden village hall.
Both groups combined to put on a wonderful display, where tables full of fascinating objects and information were manned by knowledgeable naturalists happy to answer any questions and the hall was busy with interested visitors.
We were there to celebrate Ted Catt (1869 – 1951), lifelong resident of Iden and founder member of Iden Natural History Society, which celebrated its centenary in 2019. Ted Catt’s Book of Iden was published in 2020; the book included work from Ted’s Scrapbook of Iden in which he recorded local wildlife in sketches, notes and watercolours.
It was a delight to be able to view his original watercolours in the books that are now in the safekeeping of Frances Catt, who arranged publication. The book was edited by Dr Pat Morris, biologist and author, and Melvin Smith, chairman of Iden Natural History Society, and is a fascinating study of wildlife around Iden, particularly birds. He also included historical facts about the Domesday village as well as such things as rainfall records and dates of cuckoo arrivals. Sadly, it is now rare to hear a cuckoo in Iden.
Frances Catt presented Barry Yates, of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, and Melvin Smith with a £500 cheque for each organisation, the proceeds from sales of the book which has now sold out.
Image Credits: Yvonne Metcalf .