News archive

March 2020

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE - MEETINGS CANCELLED

Most regrettably, but in line with government and RSPB recommendations, we have decided to cancel our remaining meetings for the 2019-20 season. This includes both indoor meetings and the three remaining coach trips. Additionally we will not be running a programme of spring walks this year. We hope to be able to get back to business with an indoor meeting at 'The Settlement' on 4 September: however, this will obviously depend on how the coronavirus situation develops. We will hold a short AGM at our next indoor meeting, hopefully in September 2020. We will not be running an 'own transport' trip in late August, as we normally do.

We are currently putting together a programme of events for 2020-21. Once all the details have been collated they will be uploaded to the 'events' section of this web site and a PDF file containing the programme of events, prices etc. will also be made available. This will probably not happen until late spring or early summer. Hard copy programmes will be distributed at a later date to Local Group members. We will also keep Local Group members who are normally contacted by e-mail in touch with developments as they occur.

At present all RSPB reserves remain open and I would encourage our members to enjoy wildlife and keep fit in the open air, where you are probably as safe as anywhere! This is a fast moving situation and the future is uncertain, but we very much hope that the Local Group will be back in action as soon as possible. Most importantly, we hope that you keep fit, safe and well during this unprecedented (in my lifetime) crisis.

Martin

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

January to March News 2020

January to March News 2020

The new year started with an excellent talk on wildlife photography by RSPB staff member and amateur photographer Ben Andrew. The dedication and skill needed, particularly by an amateur, in order to produce multi-award winning images was there for all to see. Our field trip to RSPB Lakenheath Fen reserve produced an excellent selection of 64 bird species, including great white egrets and water pipits. There were two sightings of a bittern in flight and a tame water rail provided great views at a feeding station. In February Greg Conway entertained us with a talk about nightjars. The talk contained many fascinating facts about the behaviour and feeding habits of a bird that we regularly see on one of our June spring walks. Unfortunately our coach trip to RSPB Titchwell Marsh was somewhat disrupted by 'Storm Derek', but those of us who braved the wind and (occasional) rain were rewarded with a feast of birds including Slavonian grebe, Mediterranean gull, merlin, common eider, red-breasted merganser and a wintering greenshank. An impressive 86 bird species were seen. Other sightings included a common toad that was wandering about inside the Island Hide! In March we welcomed Helen Muir-Howie to 'The Settlement'. Helen is the Bedfordshire County Recorder for reptiles and amphibians and she gave us a very interesting presentation about all the local species that we would be likely to see in our area. Who knew that midwife toads were quite common in North Bedfordshire and that their calls keep people awake on summer evenings?! By the time that our coach trip to Attenborough Gravel Pits on the outskirts of Nottingham took place, coronavirus was starting to take over peoples' lives. Nevertheless 30 members of our Local Group and the Stevenage Local Group were on the coach and we were rewarded with some interesting sightings of birds that included a very tame whooper swan as well as barnacle goose, Cetti's warblers and some early-returning chiffchaffs. Less welcome was a sighting of mink. A trip list of 67 bird species was a decent count. As it turned out, coronavirus restrictions imposed on the following day and an RSPB memo sent to all Local Groups two days later meant that this was destined to be our last event of the season. We hope to be back in action as soon as possible!