News archive

May 2015

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Saturday 30th May. Day trip to Spade Oak Nature Reserve, Little Marlow, Bucks, and Cookham, Berks.

Saturday 30th May. Day trip to Spade Oak Nature Reserve, Little Marlow, Bucks, and Cookham, Berks.

Meet at Paddington Rail Station at 9.15 a.m. outside main ticket office on main concourse. Please note that we have reversed the order of our walk. We shall now visit the Spade Oak Gravel Pit Nature Reserve first, and then walk along the Thames to Cookham for the afternoon.

We shall take the 09.42 train to Maidenhead (arriving Maidenhead at 10.22 hrs), then take the 10.38 train from Maidenhead to Bourne End, arriving at Bourne End at 10.49 hrs. If you wish, you may join the Paddington-to-Maidenhead train at Ealing Broadway at 09.50 hrs. We shall be returning from Cookham Station. Trains leave Cookham at 21 minutes past each hour.

If you wish to leave half way through the walk, you may also return from Bourne End station, with trains leaving there at 17 minutes past each hour.

At Paddington, we recommend buying either: - a day return ticket from London to Cookham, plus a single ticket for the one-stop local train ride from Cookham to Bourne End; - or a day return ticket from London to Bourne End.

We shall be looking for red kites, summer migrants, common tern, water fowl, possible waders and hobby. There are toilets at Maidenhead station where we change trains. There are food shops, pubs and cafes near all the stations and at various points along the walk. No need to book, just turn up. Leader: Catherine Day.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Saturday 20th June, Coach trip to RSPB Strumpshaw Fen

Saturday 20th June, Coach trip to RSPB Strumpshaw Fen

Strumpshaw Fen, in Norfolk, sits alongside the River Yare. This reserve has the full range of Broadland habitats and wildlife. There are reedbeds, woodlands and orchid-rich meadows where you could see marsh harriers, hobby, bearded tits, kingfishers and sedge and reed warblers. Great and lesser spotted woodpeckers, grasshopper warbler, and cuckoo are also possible. In spring and summer when the meadows bloom with flowers, there are up to 20 species of dragonflies, including the rare Norfolk hawker, and butterflies including the spectacular swallowtail. Otters are regularly seen here. There are three hides and a visitor centre with toilets. The visitor centre has a hot drinks machine and sells a few snacks. Entry for non-RSPB members £3.50.
Booking essential. Contact Derik Palmer on 07768 121 435, or email cllgcoachbookings@gmail.com
Paid up Central London Local Group members £18.00, non-members £20.00.
Meet outside Embankment Underground Station. Coach leaves at 8am.


For reserve information go to:

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Defend Nature

The European Union's Nature Directives are being reviewed by the European Commission as a result of intense lobbying from developers and other parties who would like to see them weakened. This means that our most important laws for wildlife are under unprecedented threat. That's why RSPB has launched one of its most important campaigns ever - Defend Nature - and we need as many of you as possible to take part.

The Directives provide essential protection to our rarest & most threatened species, and safeguard the best habitats for supporting a diversity of life in the UK & across much of Europe. Without them, we are simply fighting to stop loss and damage to our most precious wildlife sites. With them, we are able to work with others to restore nature - to create a world richer in nature.

The Directives aren't perfect, but opening them up in a political context that will almost certainly see them weakened would set us back years. This would be a disaster for wildlife, and for all the conscientious businesses that have learnt to follow the Directives and work in harmony with nature. Revised laws would mean a period of great uncertainty for businesses that would cost them time and money.

We need a massive demonstration of public support for the Directives during the European Commission's public consultation on the future of the Directives. The more people act, the easier it will be to convince EU leaders that the general public really care about nature and won't tolerate a weakening of its protection. If you have just two minutes, you can use our quick online action to respond. To make it as easy as possible, we've put together a set of answers to best defend these laws (you'll see them when you take the action) and you can submit your response with just a few simple clicks.

If you've got fifteen minutes, it would be great if you could submit a more detailed response directly to the European Commission. The more detailed responses they get the better. The survey is multiple choice with one free text question at the end, so taking part is still quite quick and easy.

And we'd also like as many of your friends & family to respond to the consultation! So please spread the word and share our social media campaign (‪#‎defendnature‬) - so as many of us as possible can defend nature by standing together & making our voices heard!

For more information on the campaign, please visit the Defend Nature page on the RSPB

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Saturday 16th May, Coach trip to the New Forest.

Saturday 16th May, Coach trip to the New Forest.

The rare blend of open heathlands and ancient woodlands makes the New Forest a very special place indeed, the underlying features of which have changed little over the centuries. We will first stop at Acres Down. We will hope to see raptors including buzzard, sparrowhawk and hobby. If we are really lucky we may see goshawk or honey buzzard. We will then move on to Bolderwood where we will take a forest walk to look for woodland birds including warblers, nuthatch, treecreeper and maybe redstart and firecrest. There is a deer viewing point at Bolderwood and a visitor centre with toilets.

Booking essential. Contact Derik Palmer on 07768 121 435, or email cllgcoachbookings@gmail.com
Paid up Central London Local Group members £18.00, non-members £20.00.
Meet outside Embankment Underground Station. Coach leaves at 8am.


Monday, 4 May 2015

Our next talk and summer party on May 14th, "Dinosaurs and Bird Evolution" by Dr Darren Naish

Our next talk and summer party on May 14th, "Dinosaurs and Bird Evolution" by Dr Darren Naish

There is no longer any serious doubt among scientists that birds descend from small predatory dinosaurs that lived about 160 million years ago, during the Jurassic. Recent discoveries have revealed a wealth of fossil feathered dinosaurs and early birds that completely blur any supposed distinction between birds and other kinds of dinosaurs. The take-home message from this is that birds really are just one lineage among the dinosaurs, albeit the only lineage that survived the mass extinction event 66 million years ago.

The fossil record shows how filamentous structure covering the body evolved in theropods as predecessors to true, complex feathers and that theropods of many sorts were more bird-like in appearance than conventionally thought.

In this talk, we will also look at the diversity, anatomy and biology of animals only distantly related to birds, including spinosaurs, allosaurs and tyrannosaurs, as well as the behaviour of the remarkable scythe-clawed therizinosaurs and sickle-clawed dromaeosaurs.

Finally, recent work has shown how birds emerged as the end-products of a sustained phase of miniaturisation within theropods. It is this miniaturisation that enabled this dinosaur group to survive and thrive beyond the end of the Cretaceous.

Dr Darren Naish is a palaeontologist and science writer associated with (but not employed by!) the University of Southampton. His published work has mostly been on theropod dinosaurs and birds, pterosaurs, and the sea-going ichthyosaurs. He blogs at Tetrapod Zoology, currently hosted at Scientific American http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/tetrapod-zoology/
and tweets as @TetZoo

Doors open 6.15 pm Tea, coffee & biscuits available on arrival

Our AGM will take place between 6.45-7.15 pm: The talk will take place between 7.15-8.45 pm and will be followed by our summer party with drinks & finger food.

RSPB members £4, non-members £5, under 16s free. + £1 extra to cover refreshments

St Columba's Church Hall is the big, white stone Scottish church on the corner of Pont St and Lennox Gardens SW1, 3-4 minutes' walk from the back of Harrods.

Tube: Knightsbridge (Piccadilly Line) 5-8 mins' walk; Sloane Square (District & Circle Lines) 15 mins.

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