News archive

February 2018

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Bird list and short report on our coach trip to Minsmere on 24.02.18

Bird list and short report on our coach trip to Minsmere on 24.02.18

Minsmere is always a popular destination, and this trip was sold out more than two weeks in advance. The weather was bright and sunny, but windy and bitterly cold. Sea conditions were extremely rough. The reserve lived up to its reputation as a great place to visit.

Two female smew were reported to be on the scrape, described as 'very mobile'. This proved correct, but I think most people managed to catch up with them in the end. The light was perfect for admiring the iridescence on the lapwings and the colouring of male marsh harriers. Despite the cold, there were adders basking in the sunshine. Snow buntings were reported as being on the dunes, but the cold wind defeated all attempts to find them. At least one person caught up with a glossy ibis. We ended the day with a decent list of 70 species, which you can download as a PDF by clicking the link below.

Download file

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Coach trip to Minsmere RSPB reserve in Suffolk

Coach trip to Minsmere RSPB reserve in Suffolk

The RSPB's premier reserve, with reedbeds, fen, pools, woodland and seashore. Home of Springwatch and famous for its sticklebacks and egg-stealing badger, Minsmere is a delight at any time of year.

We will be looking out for Bewick's swan, red-throated divers, bittern, barn and short-eared owls, marsh and hen harriers, merlin, peregrine and winter thrushes as well as waders and wildfowl. We have usually had sightings of otters on recent visits. Minsmere's café is legendary and serves meals, soup, snacks, cakes and hot drinks. There is a well stocked shop selling optics, books, gifts, cards, bird food and feeders.

Entrance £9.00 for non-RSPB members.

Booking is essential: Contact James Aylward on 07974 351 548, or by email

Outings involve a gentle walk, usually no more than three or four miles. Bring binoculars, waterproof clothing, stout footwear, and a packed lunch. We have a few spare pairs of binoculars that can be booked in advanced.

Central London Local Group members - £20.00;
Non-members - £22.00.

Meeting Point:
Coach trip outings start and finish at coach stop 40B on Embankment, which is adjacent to Embankment Tube. Leave the tube by the riverside exit, turn left along the pavement. The coach stop is about 50 metres along, just past the public toilets. The coach leaves promptly at 8am.

For reserve information see

Thursday, 8 February 2018

The Conservation of the Sociable Lapwing by Dr Rob Sheldon

The Conservation of the Sociable Lapwing by Dr Rob Sheldon

This is a Critically Endangered species that migrates from its breeding grounds in central Asia to the wintering areas of the Middle East, north-east Africa, Pakistan and India. Since 2004 research and conservation efforts have led to a greater understanding of the problems facing this species and what is required to reverse population declines. Rob will outline the scope of this work across many countries to safeguard the future of this wonderful bird and the implications for other species.

Have a look at our at our Facebook or Meetup pages for more photos of the sociable lapwing - a very handsome bird.

Rob Sheldon has worked in nature conservation for almost 20 years, including 12 years with the RSPB. Since 2013, he has been the Chairman of the Ornithological Society of the Middle East, The Caucasus and Central Asia (OSME). Most recently he has worked for the Zoological Society of London as the Director of the King Khalid Wildlife Research Centre in Saudi Arabia. He now works freelance as a conservation consultant. Rob is also an active supporter of Birders against Wildlife Crime and was one of the speakers with Chris Packham at Hen Harrier Day at Rainham Marshes last September.

Venue: St Columba's Church Hall, Pont Street, SW1X 0BD.
Doors open 6:15pm, talk starts 6:45pm

Admission: Everyone welcome.
No need to book - simply pay on the door. Non-members £5; RSPB & RSPB Central London Local Group members £4; students (NUS) & under-18s free.

How to find us: Easy to get to (near Harrods).

Tube: Knightsbridge (Piccadilly Line) 4 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: free after 18:30h. (We are outside the congestion zone.)