News archive

October 2015

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Saturday 21st November, Day trip to Two Tree Island.

Saturday 21st November, Day trip to Two Tree Island.

The island itself consists of grassland, scrub, reedbed and lagoons and supports a wide variety of birds, particularly migrants. We will look out for winter waders, owls and Brent geese. This trip is timed to coincide with the high tide wader roost, which can offer close views of waders, such as ringed and grey plover, greenshank, redshank, knot, avocet, snipe, curlew, dunlin and turnstone.

Meet at 10.00am at Leigh-on-Sea Station (the 09.10 from Fenchurch Street arrives at Leigh-on-Sea at 09.57. This train also calls at West Ham at 09.19 and Barking at 09.24). This 640 acre island is situated south of Leigh-on-Sea train station. Hides, toilets near start. Bring lunch. Leader: Andrew Peel. No need to book.

For reserve information go to:

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Thursday 12th November, 'African Migrants' by Ieuan Evans

Thursday 12th November, 'African Migrants' by Ieuan Evans

Ieuan Evans is Associate Director (Engagement) in the senior management team at the British Trust for Ornithology. Ieuan will unravel more mysteries of bird migration and tell us about new work on our local swifts and nightjars to bring us up to date with the BTO's exciting tracking work involving satellite tags, GPS and geolocators. He will also describe completely new work on lesser black-backed gulls - all of which is pushing forward our knowledge at an amazing pace.

Venue: St Columba's Church Hall, Pont Street, Knightsbridge SW1X 0BD

Talk starts at 6.45pm. RSPB members £4 Non-members £5 Under 16s free

Everyone welcome No need to book

Tea, coffee & biscuits available before the talk Doors open 6.15 pm

How to find us: Easy to get to (near Harrods)
Tube: Knightsbridge (Piccadilly Line) 5-8 mins' walk; Sloane Sq (District & Circle Lines) 15 mins.

Bus: 9, 10, 52 (Knightsbridge); 14, 74, 414, C1 (Brompton Rd, passing western end of Beauchamp Place); 19, 22, 137, 452, C1 (Sloane St, passing eastern end of Pont St).

Parking: some around the church (free after 18.30h); we are outside the congestion charge zone.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Abberton Reservoir Coach Trip, 7th November

Abberton Reservoir Coach Trip, 7th November

Abberton Reservoir is a new destination for the Group. In preparation for our coach trip on 7th November, Andrew and I visited the reserve to see what was about. First stop, of course, was the visitor centre (pictured). This is spacious, warm and comfortable and sells hot drinks, bacon sandwiches, a selection of vegetarian soups and some other snacks and cakes. There is an extensive shop selling optics, books and bird food and feeders.

The view from the visitor centre is extensive, but we felt duty bound to explore outside, rather than simply sample the soup. The reservoir has been recently expanded, so the area around the main section is pretty raw, although extensive planting has taken place. You can find a map of the site by following the link at the end of this post. From the Gwen Hide close to the centre we found Slavonian grebe and snipe, plus a range of ducks, which got us off to an excellent start.

We will concentrate for our trip on a circular route around the Central Section, taking in both causeways. The paths down each side of this section retain mature tree cover and hedgerows with areas of farmland to either side. On our recce of this route we found yellowhammer and clouded yellow butterfly in the hedgerow, great white egret and green sandpiper on the Western Section, buzzard and marsh harriers overhead and, thanks to Andrew's persistence, a flock of corn buntings on the farmland. Ducks and geese were around in numbers, as were herons and little egrets. Waders included lapwing, golden plover and black-tailed godwit. We saw a few fieldfare, and given the quantities of berries in the hedgerows, I would imagine there will be many more winter thrushes by November. Recent sightings include spoonbill, peregrine, ruff, water rail and more.

I suspect this reserve will become a regular destination for the Group. I think it will be interesting to visit at other times of year. A migrating osprey spent some time at the reserve in August, and there are nightingales in the woodland earlier in the year. It is designated as a SSSI, a Special Protection Area, and a RAMSAR site. It is a stopover for thousands of birds on migration.

If you are tempted to come along contact Derik Palmer on 07768 121 435 or email . Members £18.00, non-members £20.00.
Posted by Graeme Hutchinson.

For information about the reserve go to: