News archive

August 2018

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

June and July News 2018

June and July News 2018

Our final coach trip of the season saw us visit Sodmarsh NNR, near Canterbury. The extensive reed bed at Stodmarsh hosts reed, sedge, grasshopper and cettis warblers, bearded tits, hobbies and marsh harriers, all of which were recorded on the visit. Many of us were also lucky enough to see a cattle egret, a UK 'lifer' for some! The sound of marsh frogs croaking accompanied us around the reserve and many dragonflies (including the rapidly spreading Norfolk hawker) were seen. We left Stodmarsh slightly early in order to pay a 40 minute visit to RSPB Blean Woods reserve, where we were lucky enough to see up to 40 individuals of the rare and beautiful heath fritillary butterfly. Our spring evening walks continued with a visit to RSPB Fowlmere reserve, where a turtle dove was heard but not seen and we had good views of fallow and muntjac deer, as well as brown trout! In late June we made our annual visit to the Thetford Forest area, firstly visiting Weeting Heath NWT, where we saw stone curlews, then moving on to RSPB Lakenheath Fen, where we added marsh harrier, cuckoo and bittern to our list, and finally to Mayday Farm, where we were yet again lucky to see nightjar. A total of 64 bird species was recorded on this half day visit.

July is normally the month when the Local Group takes a rest, but there was one event of note - a butterfly walk on Therfield Heath on the 30th, led by Martin for Herts. and Middlesex Butterfly Conservation. Of the nine members who attended, eight were from Hitchin and Letchworth and Stevenage Local Groups! We saw 11 butterfly species, including lots of the local 'speciality', the chalkhill blue.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

April and May News 2018

April and May News 2018

With the bad weather finally behind us there was much to enjoy, both indoors and outdoors. In April Mark Thomas of the RSPB maintained the very high standard set by our indoor meetings speakers this season as he gave an entertaining talk about a serious matter: wildlife crime and how the RSPB is tackling this issue. Following the AGM in May our own John Dingemans provided an enjoyable talk about the birds that he had seen on a recent visit to Texas. Fortunately he had just finished his talk when a power cut brought a premature end to proceedings! We enjoyed coach trips to Titchfield Haven on the Hampshire coast in April and the New Forest in May. The former venue produced, amongst other things, Mediterranean gulls and a great white egret, whilst at the latter venue tree pipit, woodlark, redstart and spotted flycatcher were all recorded, along with many commoner species and a host of insects and mammals - not to mention the New Forest ponies! Our evening spring walks programme started on 2 May with a visit to Tyttenhanger Gravel Pits, followed later in the month by walks in Panshanger Park and at Amwell gravel pits. Highlights included garden warbler and little ringed plover at Tyttenhanger, cetti's warbler at Panshanger and hobby, cuckoo and common sandpiper at Amwell, where a probable Caspian gull was also seen.