News archive

April 2018

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Coach trip to Pulborough Brooks RSPB reserve, W Sussex.

Coach trip to Pulborough Brooks RSPB reserve, W Sussex.

Pulborough Brooks has a great variety of habitats including wetlands, woodland, and heathland making this a haven for a wide range of wildlife. In the scrub and hedgerows we should find spring migrant birds including nightingales, blackcaps, garden warblers, whitethroats and lesser whitethroats. We need to keep an eye out for cuckoo and peregrine as well as all three woodpeckers, displaying lapwings and redshanks, passage waders and the last of the wintering ducks. The visitors centre boasts a café offering home cooked lunches as well as tea, coffee and cake. There are toilets available and don't forget to browse in the well stocked shop.

There is an entrance fee of £6.00 for non RSPB members.

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

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

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 click the link.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Dawn Chorus walk in Brockwell Park, Lambeth

Dawn Chorus walk in Brockwell Park, Lambeth

Join us for an early start in this delightful South London Park for a guided walk, in association with the Friends of Brockwell Park. We will walk round part of the park to see what birds are about and listen to their songs and calls. We expect to hear Song and Mistle thrushes, Blackbirds, Robins, Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Chaffinches, Great tits and Blue tits - to name a few. Other possibilities include Great spotted woodpecker, Nuthatch and Blackcap. We'll also see several species of water birds at the ponds.

We have been given special permission to enter the park before it opens to the public, so there should be a special peaceful atmosphere. We will start the walk at 6am and we expect it to last for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (A nearby bakery/coffee shop opens at 8am if anyone fancies a well-earned coffee afterwards!)

We'll meet at Brockwell Park's main gate in Herne Hill, on the corner of Dulwich and Norwood Roads, SE24 0PA

Buses: 3, 196, 68, 468 and 37 all stop nearby. If coming by car you'll probably have to park in a side street nearby.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Guided walk in the Selborne Society's Perivale Wood nature reserve

Guided walk in the Selborne Society's Perivale Wood nature reserve

Unfortunately, THIS TRIP HAS BEEN CANCELLED owing to this year's cold weather and the bluebells not yet being in flower - they are now way behind their usual flowering time.
We hope to run this event next year - fingers crossed for a kinder spring in 2019!

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Re-imagining the Fens - The Hanson-RSPB Wetland Project: A Talk by Matt York, RSPB Ouse Fen Project Manager.

Re-imagining the Fens - The Hanson-RSPB Wetland Project: A Talk by Matt York, RSPB Ouse Fen Project Manager.

The black peat Fens used to cover 1,300 square miles across most of East Anglia. The RSPB is now half-way through a huge project to restore a small part of these to its former glory. When complete in 2030, the new Ouse Fen nature reserve, north of Cambridge in the Wash drainage basin, will become an expansive mosaic of wildlife-rich wetland habitat that will be over 980 football pitches in size.

The reedbed alone will cover 4.6 square kilometres, three times bigger than RSPB Minsmere's, and the new reserve will be accessible via a network of 20 miles (32 km) of paths.

This joint project between Hanson and the RSPB involves the phased excavation of over 28 million tonnes of sand and gravel at Needingworth Quarry and is the largest planned nature conservation restoration scheme following sand and gravel extraction in Europe.

Matt will describe the context and historic conception the project, how you create a reedbed after gravel extraction and the successes so far: 24 pairs of bearded tits in 2014, and six marsh harrier nests and ten 'booming' male bitterns in 2015.

He will also talk about some of the upcoming challenges, one being how to get European eels breeding on site. The target for nesting pairs of bearded tits on the reserve by 2030 is 100 pairs. If this is achieved, it would represent 25% of the UK's entire population in 2000.

A particularly interesting part of Matt's talk will describe what wildlife you would have seen and heard at various stages in the Fen's history and how birds present only in the site's archaeological record are being brought back.

Come and hear about what will surely become one of our favourite places to visit on our group's coach trips in the future.

The photo above, by the RSPB, gives an indication of the impressive scale of the site.

Doors open 6:15pm. Tea/coffee and biscuits available before the talk. Talk starts at 6.45pm.

Admission charges for the evening:
RSPB members including Central London Local Group members: £4;
Non RSPB members: £5
NUS Students & under 18s: free.

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.)
Click the link to have a look at the RSPB project page to give you a tantalising glimpse of what Matt will be talking about:

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Day trip to Oare Marshes Nature Reserve, North Kent.

Day trip to Oare Marshes Nature Reserve, North Kent.

Oare Marshes is a special place with wide skies and views across the Swale to the Isle of Sheppey and down the coast to Whitstable. Of international importance for migratory, overwintering and breeding wetland birds, the reserve consists of grazing marsh (one of a few left in Kent) with freshwater dykes, open water scrapes, reedbed, saltmarsh and seawall. Possible garganey, ruff, yellow wagtail, warblers, avocet, sand martin, bearded tit, kingfisher and marsh harrier. Good for passage migrants. Oare is good for close views of birds (esp. waders) & we usually see seals.

We will take the 09.07 am train from Victoria to Faversham (arrives Faversham 10.23am, but check again nearer the day as this line is notorious for engineering works!) from where we will take a local bus or shared taxis to Oare. No need to book. Bring lunch. Toilets at Faversham Station. Leader Andrew Peel. For reserve information click the link