News archive

January 2017

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Barn owl looking over its shoulder

Join us on a coach trip to Holkham for a great day's birding!

A migration hotspot on the North Norfolk coast, Holkham is famous for hosting spectacular numbers of pink-footed geese. We can also hope to see divers, scoter and the scarcer grebes; bean, white-fronted and brent geese; ducks including shelduck, wigeon, teal, goldeneye & sea ducks; hen and marsh harriers, peregrine, merlin, short-eared & barn owls; golden & grey plovers; bar tailed godwit; snow bunting, shorelark and possibly twite. A mobile snack bar serving excellent coffee is scheduled to be parked at the end of Lady Anne's Drive - see Hushwing Café . There are toilets in the hotel near the coach parking.

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.

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

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Come to a special New Year talks evening: WINTER THRUSHES & HOUSE MARTINS

Come to a special New Year talks evening: WINTER THRUSHES & HOUSE MARTINS

They will cover Winter Thrushes (Blackbird, Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush, Redwing and Song Thrush) in the first half, and House Martins after the interval: a great mix of birds that can be seen now in mid-winter, and a taste of sunshine and warmth with a favourite summer species to look forward to.

Dr Kathryn Ross is a Research Ecologist on the Monitoring Team at the BTO. She analyses and interprets data from national recording schemes including the Winter Thrushes Survey, the Wetland Bird Survey, and House Martin Survey.

As winter approaches, flocks of foraging thrushes become a common sight in the British countryside. Amazingly, before the research programme was launched, little was known about how many thrushes migrate to the UK, how they are distributed and what they feed during the winter here. These knowledge gaps were the impetus for the Winter Thrushes Survey, which ran over the winters of 2012/13 and 2013/14. Volunteer surveyors collected data on the abundance and foraging behaviour of thrushes in over 4,000 unique 1-km squares, the key species being Blackbird, Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush, Redwing and Song Thrush. Kathryn will discuss some of the interesting findings from the study. For more information about Kathryn see the attachment.

Ian Woodward is a Research Officer at the BTO and one of his main roles has been organising the House Martin Survey. House Martins have declined by 70% in England since 1967, and the decline has been particularly severe in the south-east and in London.

Ian will be talking about the BTO's House Martin Survey which consists of two complementary surveys: in 2015, volunteers counted active nests in 1-km squares across the UK; and in 2016, volunteers observed and recorded activity at individual nests over the course of the breeding season. The second part of the survey will be repeated in 2017. Ian's talk will also be a great first-hand opportunity to find out what you can do to help in the survey.

Price: There is an entrance fee of £4 (RSPB members & RSBP Central London Local Group members) or £5 (non-members). Free for under-18s & students (NUS).

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

Everyone welcome No need to book You are most welcome to bring friends

How to find us: Easy to get to St Columba's Church Hall, Pont Street, SW1X 0BD (near Harrods).
Tube: Knightsbridge (Piccadilly Line) 6 mins' walk; Sloane Sq (District & Circle Lines) 15 mins.
Bus: 9, 10, 52 (Knightsbridge); 14, 74, 414, C1 (Brompton Rd); 19, 22, 137, 452, C1 (Sloane St).
Parking: some around the church, (outside the congestion zone; free after 18.30h).

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