News archive

June 2016

Monday, 20 June 2016

Saturday 9th July, Coach trip to Wicken Fen.

Saturday 9th July, Coach trip to Wicken Fen.

The once massive Cambridgeshire Fens, flat low-lying land that geologically forms part of the same plain that covers the Netherlands, part of Germany and most of Denmark have been diminished by the onward march of intensive farming over the past 100 years, and just four extant "wild" fens - 0.1 per cent of the original 3,000 square kilometres - survive. The rest of the Great Fen Basin was drained from the 16th century onwards to expose its rich peat for high intensity crop growing. Today, Wicken is one of the last remaining fragments of sedge fen in Europe.

Wicken, over the years, drew nature students. A young Charles Darwin collected beetles here in the 1820s, while the fathers of modern ecology and conservation, Cambridge botanists Sir Harry Godwin and Dr. Arthur Tansley, would later carry out their pioneering work here. Charles Rothschild, of the banking dynasty, was a passionate entomologist who purchased parts of the fen and handed it over to the Trust.

Since 1999, the National Trust has doubled the land it holds to 756 hectares with a number of routes to take, all easy going due to the flat nature of the land and including a boardwalk through part of the reedbed. Encouragingly, wildlife is already moving to the acquired "vision land". Beetles and insects are crawling along the ditches to new homes, the nationally rare water vole is spreading out. All of the dragonfly and damselfly species found on the old fen have now been seen in the newly created habitat, including the emperor, the biggest dragonfly in the UK, the migrant hawker, brown hawker and the rarer hairy dragonfly (pictured above). Birds we'll be looking for include marsh and hen harrier, barn owl, a wide variety of wetland birds possibly including the elusive bittern, and a host of finches, buntings and warblers living within the sedge. reed, sedge and grasshopper warblers are common here, and some of their nests have been parasitised by cuckoos so we'll hope to see them too.

We are a RSPB members group who run coach trips to good birding sites most months. All are welcome to join us, from expert birders to complete beginners - if you are new to birding one of our more experienced members will show you whatever is around and provide explanations where necessary. Don't worry if you don't own a pair of binoculars - we can lend you a pair for the day if you let us know in advance. Dress for the weather with stout footwear, remembering that it may well be cooler at the coast or in the country than in central London, and bring a packed lunch. There are toilets, an excellent café, a National Trust gift shop and hides.

Entry to reserve for non National Trust members £5.95
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 more information click the link below.


Sunday, 19 June 2016

Saturday 2nd July, day trip to Spade Oak Nature Reserve, Little Marlow, Bucks and Cookham, Berks.

Saturday 2nd July, day trip to Spade Oak Nature Reserve, Little Marlow, Bucks and Cookham, Berks.

Meet at Paddington Railway Station 9.30am for 9.57am train to Maidenhead and connection to Bourne End (arrive B End 10.49 am). No service disruptions are currently advertised, but please check the day before travelling. Anyone coming from west London can join the train at 10.05 from Ealing Broadway and we shall all meet when we change trains at Maidenhead.

We shall walk along the Thames through meadows to visit the Spade Oak (Little Marlow) nature reserve first (free entry), a lake in a restored gravel pit with fringing trees, then walk back along the Thames Path through meadows and return from Cookham. We are 99.9% certain to see red kites and it would be unusual not to get really excellent views of them. Also hirundines, common tern, water fowl, possible waders and hobby, plus dragonflies.

Toilets at stations and in pubs (one pub near the reserve). Bring lunch-time sandwiches. Cafés and shops in Cookham at the end of the walk. For a half-day trip option, you can return from Bourne End station by leaving the group as we pass by Bourne End again mid-way through the walk. Cafés and shops in Bourne End are a 6 minute walk from Bourne End station.
Leader: Catherine Day. No need to book.

For reserve information click the link.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Swifts and their Extraordinary Aerial World at City Lit on June 23rd and 30th.

Swifts and their Extraordinary Aerial World at City Lit on June 23rd and 30th.

Catherine Day and Graeme Hutchinson will be teaching a course about swifts and their conservation at City Lit in Keeley Street, Covent Garden. The course assumes no prior knowledge and aims to teach participants to identify swifts, to understand their lifecycle, the threats facing them and what can be done to mitigate these, particularly in the preservation of existing and the provision of new nest sites. You will learn where, when and how to fit swift boxes, understand the importance of data collection and know how to make your swift sightings count. There will be two sessions, one classroom based and the other a field trip. 18.00 to 20.00 on the 23rd and 30th June. The cost is £38.00 (£17.00 concessions).

For more information and for booking, click the link:

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Saturday 11th June, Coach trip to Ashdown Forest

Saturday 11th June, Coach trip to Ashdown Forest

Part of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and famously home to Winnie the Pooh. Despite the name, two thirds of the area is heathland, but there is also grassland, bog and woodland. We will start by visiting Old Lodge where we expect to see summer visitors including hobby, woodlark and redstart. We would also hope to see stonechat, reed bunting, tree pipit, warblers including willow, chiffchaff, blackcap, whitethroat and maybe Dartford, raptors including red kite, buzzard and sparrowhawk, all three woodpeckers are possible plus woodland species such as nuthatch, treecreeper and goldcrest. This is also a good site for dragonflies. We will also visit the Forest Centre and Information Barn where there are toilets.

For more information Click Here
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.