News archive

August 2017

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Coach trip to Minsmere, Saturday 19th August

Coach trip to Minsmere, Saturday 19th August

Minsmere RSPB reserve on the Suffolk coast is arguably the best nature reserve in the country. Recently showcased on the BBC's Springwatch programme, Minsmere has reedbeds, lagoons, scrapes, woodland, heath and sand dunes.

We hope to see marsh harrier, hobby, common, Sandwich and little terns (black tern possible), bittern, avocet, black and bar-tailed godwits, spotted redshank, greenshank, little stint, little gull, kittiwake, chats, redstart, warblers (Dartford at Dunwich Heath) and bearded tit. Otters are sometimes seen from the Island Mere hide. There are several hides. There is an extensive visitor centre with café, shop and toilets. Entry £8.00 for non-RSPB members.

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.

For reserve information see:

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Hen Harrier Day, Saturday 5th August

Hen Harrier Day, Saturday 5th August

On Saturday 5 August RSPB Rainham Marshes is hosting an event organized by Birders Against Wildlife Crime to mark Hen Harrier Day 2017 - to celebrate hen harriers and publicise their plight. The rally features speeches by Chris Packham, Mark Thomas (RSPB), Rob Sheldon (BAWC), and activities suitable for individuals or families. It will be a busy day and people are urged to use public transport.

Chris Packham should need no introduction. He has been heavily involved in the campaign to end the persecution of hen harriers for many years. Mark Thomas, from the RSPB Investigations team, will share an insight into its work. There will be music from Peregrina EnChantica, a raffle, Hen Harrier Day merchandise and other activities. Money raised will go towards the raptor satellite tagging project run by Birders Against Wildlife Crime, and there will be an update about the project from BAWC's Rob Sheldon on the day.

Hen harrier numbers continue to decline throughout the UK. They are effectively extinct as breeding birds in England. The illegal killing of this bird of prey is a significant factor behind the diminishing numbers and a large barrier stopping their recovery.

At this event, and others, there will be calls for driven grouse shooting to be banned. There has been a long and acrimonious debate between conservation organizations and representatives of the shooting industry on how to end the persecution of hen harriers on grouse moors. The arguments are laid out very clearly in Mark Avery's book, 'Inglorious'. Many, including Chris Packham and Mark Avery, feel that the industry has no intention seriously engaging with the issue and the only answer is for it to be shut down completely.

The RSPB view is that the industry should be licensed, with legally enforceable standards on how the moors should be managed, with serious sanctions for non-compliance. Martin Harper, the RSPB's Conservation Director restated the RSPB's position in his blog on the RSPB website on June 28th.

"Ultimately, on many moors it comes down to the need for smaller 'bags' - the number of grouse shot across a season. The high end of intensification has practices that try and maximise the 'bag size' such as repeated heather burning, medication of grouse, drainage, burning on deep peat and the culling of mountain hares not to mention illegal killing of raptors; all of which would need to be reduced or halted in order to progress towards some semblance of sustainability.

Grouse can still be shot but there needs to be acknowledgment that managing a moor purely to maximise 'bag size' is not a sustainable land management practice. If not, then public confidence in grouse shooting will deteriorate even further putting into question the future of driven grouse shooting."

If you wish to join the debate I would urge you to attend the event at Rainham Marshes on August 5th. It would be great to see a strong contingent of Central London Group members there. You are urged to arrive by public transport. Rainham Marshes is a pleasant, well signposted, 15 minute walk along the river from Purfleet Station. There are frequent trains from Liverpool Street.
For more information follow the link: