Events

We are always happy to see new faces (young and not so young) on our friendly, easy-paced walks. Advice is always on hand with identifying birds, flowers, butterflies and other wildlife. Many of the walks are suitable for the whole family and the less-abled. Walks typically last 3-4 hours and are conducted at a leisurely pace. We recommend bringing a packed lunch with you so that you can enjoy light refreshments during or after the walk. Please remember to bring your RSPB membership card with you to gain free entry to RSPB reserves (otherwise a nominal fee will be charged by the reserve). Occasionally a walk may have to be cancelled at short notice because of adverse weather conditions. If you have any questions regarding the walks then please contact the walk leader or Sue Carter (medwayrspb.walk@btinternet.com or 01795 427 854) in advance.

May 2019

Thu
23

Nightingale Walk at RSPB Northward Hill

Location: RSPB Northward Hill
Postcode: ME3 3DS (Google map)

Meet in Bromhey Farm car park TQ767764 (ME3 3DS). Walk starts at 7.00 pm and lasts about two hours, but we will only be walking about a mile in total. Our apologies - because of the terrain, the walk is not suitable for wheelchair users. No booking required.

Time: 7.00 pm

Price: Free

Telephone: 07788 202 445

E-mail: saunders303@hotmail.com

Thu
23

Holiday - North Norfolk (23 - 27 May 2019)

Location: North Norfolk

Join us on a Bargain Birding Club holiday to North Norfolk.

Bittern and Crane at Wicken Fen and Lakenheath
Warblers and waders at Holme, Titchwell and Cley
Boat trip to see tern and seal colonies at Blakeney
Woodland birds at Sculthorpe and Red Squirrels at Pensthorpe
4 nights half board at the Wensum Lodge Hotel, Fakenham
Price includes minibus pick up/drop off from Sittingbourne

Full details are available on the Bargain Birding Club websiite:

http://www.bargainbirdingclub.com/budget-birding-tours.php

Time: 5 days

Price: £649 per person

Booking essential

Telephone: 07785 707 797

Sun
26

Coach Trip - Rutland Water

Location: Contact David Saunders on 07788 202 445 or saunders303@hotmail.com to book

A combined Medway/Maidstone group coach outing to this superb reserve, home of the breeding ospreys and the Birdfair. We've arranged for the coach to drop half of us at the Egleton reserve where the Anglian birdwatching centre is and to take the other half to the Lyndon Centre at Manton Bay where the ospreys nest. Then we will swap over!

Multi-hides for your delectation and full facilities. Please join us - you will be made very welcome and will have an enjoyable and relaxing day.

The Chalkwell coach will leave the Sittingbourne depot at 7.00 am and call briefly into the Railway Station before setting off to its first pick-up at Parkwood, Rainham at approx. 7.20 am.

Then onto County Hall Maidstone arriving at about 7.50 am, finally leaving there at 08.00 am to go to The Birdwatching Centre at Rutland Water, Egleton, arriving at about 10.45 am.

Half the group will alight there and the other half will go to The Lyndon Visitor Centre on the reserve's south shore.

It is anticipated each group will have approximately two and a half hours at each site, before swapping over.

The anticipated leave time is 4.00 pm for return to Maidstone and Medway.

Contact David Saunders on 07788 202 445 or saunders303@hotmail.com to book or for more info.

Cost : £22.00 per person including £4.00 entrance fee and is open to all.

Time: Full day

Price: £22.00 per person including £4.00 entrance fee

Booking essential

Telephone: 07788 202 445

E-mail: saunders303@hotmail.com

June 2019

Wed
5

Gillingham Riverside CP - David Hale

Location: Riverside Country Park
Postcode: ME7 2XH (Google map)

Hopefully we will hear and maybe see turtle dove, blackcap and garden warbler as well as a variety of wildfowl and waders.

Meet in the car park off the B2007 where there are toilets and a cafeteria.

Time: 9.30am

Price: Free

Telephone: 07808 772 783

Sun
9

Broadwater Warren - Sue Carter & Steve Goodrich

Location: Broadwater Warrren RSPB Reserve
Postcode: TN3 9JP (Google map)

Earlier in the year than usual in the hope of seeing more of the birdlife at this lovely reserve. Woodlark, tree pipit, yellowhammer and spotted flycatcher have all bred here and we can look out for buzzards and ravens too.

From Tunbridge Wells take the A26 south towards Crowborough. After 2.1 miles turn right into Broadwater Forest Lane. Continue on for 0.8 mile and the reserve car park is on the left. Please don't leave valuables in your car. There are no facilities here so please bring a packed lunch.

Time: 9.30am

Price: Free

Telephone: 07745 343 072

Tue
18

Operation Turtle Dove - Nicole Khan

Location: Parkwood Community Centre, Gillingham
Postcode: ME8 9PN (Google map)

Nicole works for the RSPB and is Turtle Dove Conservation Adviser for Kent. She regularly gives talks on turtle doves and is based near Canterbury. Nicole comments "Turtle doves are declining at an alarming rate; this iconic bird has suffered a 93% UK population decline since 1995. The actions of our RSPB members have shown that, with a little passion and commitment, anyone can help the wildlife on their doorstep, even an incredibly threatened species, and it is so encouraging that their (Staple in Kent) efforts are already showing success". This is Nicole's first visit to Medway Group.

Time: 7.30 - 9.45pm. (Doors open at 7pm)

Price: £3.50 for members, £4.00 for non-members.

Sat
22

Evening Nightjar Watch - Trevor Hatton

Location: Location and time to be announced the week before to find the venue this year.

Location and time to be announced the week before to find the venue this year.

Time: TBC

Price: Free

Booking essential

Telephone: 07709 925 613

Wed
26

Holiday - Northern Ireland & Southern Scotland (26 June - 3 July 2019)

Location: Northern Ireland & Southern Scotland

Join us on a Bargain Birding Club holiday to Northern Ireland and Southern Scotland.

Historic coasts, islands, sea lochs, freshwater lakes, forests and glens
Seals and seabirds on Rathlin Island and around the Causeway Coast
Eider, Black Guillemot, Guillemot, Puffin, Razorbill, Gannet & Skua
Orchids and geology at Giants Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede
Dippers, kingfishers and flycatchers in the gorgeous Glens of Antrim
Tern colony at the urban 'Window on Wildlife' reserve in Belfast
Red Squirrels and Golden Eagles at Glenariff Forest Park
Osprey, Wild Goat and Red Deer in the Galloway Forest Park
5 nights half board at the Holiday Inn, Antrim, Northern Ireland
2 nights half board at the Bruce Hotel, Newton Stewart, Scotland
Includes return flights Stanstead/Belfast and ferry Larne/Cairnryan

Full details can be found on the Bargain Birding Club website:

http://www.bargainbirdingclub.com/budget-birding-tours.php

Time: 8 days

Price: £1299 per person

Booking essential

Telephone: 07785 707 797

Wed
26

Great Chattenden Wood - David Saunders

Location: Lodge Hill Guard House
Postcode: ME3 8NZ (Google map)

One for the butterfly and wild flower enthusiasts. Chattenden means Forest Settlement and the name was recorded as long ago as 1100 AD.

Park outside the Lodge Hill Guard House and your leader will be there to meet you.

In 2017 sixteen species of butterfly were see at this site including purple emperor, white admiral and silverwashed fritillary.
Thursday

Time: 9.30am

Price: Free

Telephone: 07788 202 445

July 2019

Sun
7

Samphire Hoe - Karen Snow

Location: Samphire Hoe
Postcode: CT17 9EL (Google map)

This man-made site never disappoints with the backdrop of the white cliffs and birds such as peregrine, raven, fulmar, black redstart, rock pipit and cliff-nesting house martins.

Meet in the car park, where there is a small parking charge, plus a cafeteria and toilets.

Time: 10.00am

Price: Free

Telephone: 07879 637 686

Wed
10

Hothfield Heathland - Robin Smith

Location: Hothfield Heathland
Postcode: TN26 1AP (Google map)

A pleasant stroll around the wood, bog and heathland looking for hobby, treecreeper, yellowhammer and spotted flycatcher.

Meet in the car park just off the A20. Unfortunately, the toilets have now been closed and there are no other facilities.

Time: 9.30am

Price: Free

Telephone: 07528 917 350

Tue
16

Kerala: Fabulous birding in SW India - John Buckingham

Location: Parkwood Community Centre, Gillingham
Postcode: ME8 9PN (Google map)

Well, John is absolutely no stranger to Medway Group and I doubt there is anyone (except the newest of members) who has not listened to him and been enthralled. John can speak on almost anything but the talk this time is on Kerala and I have no doubt will be full of interesting facts and wonderful photos.
John's career over the past 40 years has included life as a freelance bird and wildlife photographer, tutor and lecturer. For much of that time John and his wife Sue have also run a highly successful wildlife travel business which has taken them around the world, opening the eyes of others in search of exciting birds, animals and flowers. They looked after a woodland reserve near Tonbridge for Kent Wildlife Trust and John is now, in retirement, a "bird ringer" and a Trustee and member of Council running the Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory and Field Centre with its 600 members. This will be John's 14th talk to the Medway Group which may well be a record for us.

Time: 7.30 - 9.45pm. (Doors open at 7pm)

Price: £3.50 for members, £4.00 for non-members.

Sun
28

Oare Marshes - Sue Carter & Steve Goodrich

Location: Oare Marsh KWT Reserve
Postcode: ME13 0QA (Google map)

Wader passage should be in full swing and with any luck and the high tide they should all be on the east flood! Will Bony be back for his 7th year?

Meet in the reserve car park. There are no toilets here but the walking is easy and there are several hides should the weather prove inclement.

Time: 8.00am

Price: Free

Telephone: 07745 343 072

August 2019

Sun
11

Cliffe Pools - David Saunders

Location: RSPB Clifffe Pools Reserve
Postcode: ME3 7SU (Google map)

A few years ago Cliffe was the centre of attention for the birding fraternity with the confirmed breeding by blackwinged stilts and a surprise visit by a rare marsh sandpiper. What will we find this time?

Meet in the reserve car park off Salt Lane . There are no facilities here.

Time: 9.00am

Price: Free

Telephone: 07788 202 445

Wed
21

Haysden Lake CP - Sue Carter & Steve Goodrich

Location: Haysden Lake CP
Postcode: TN11 9BB (Google map)

Later in the year for our second visit to this country park at Tonbridge. The habitat comprises freshwater lakes, marshland, woodland, river and fields so should attract a wide range of birds.

Follow the Haysden CP signs from Tonbridge town centre, along Brook Street to Lower Haysden Lane where you will find the main entrance and the pay and display car park.

Time: 10.00am

Price: Free

Telephone: 07745 343 072

Sun
25

Rye Harbour - Karen Snow

Location: Rye Harbour
Postcode: TN31 7TU (Google map)

A Sunday visit for a change. There should still be terns around, plus waders near the harbour and passerines in the scrub.

Take the A259 southbound from Rye. The minor road to Rye Harbour is signposted on the left.

The large car park is beyond the village and has both toilets and a snack bar.

Time: 10.00am

Price: Free

Telephone: 07879 637 686

September 2019

Sun
1

Medway Local Group Holiday - Bulgaria

Location: Bulgaria

Join us on a holiday to explore the bird life of the Black Sea coast and Eastern Rodopi Mountains of Bulgaria.
Thousands of pelicans, storks, raptors & passerines on migration
Black kite plus booted, spotted, short-toed and white-tailed eagle
Vulture feeding station, plus assorted buzzards, harriers & falcons
Pied wheatear, semi-collared and red-breasted flycatcher
Marsh sandpiper, red-necked phalarope and collared pratincole
4 nights half board Black Sea coast (Via Pontica migration route)
Atanasovsko, Poda, Pomorie, Gorista, Bolata, Durankulak & Shabla
3 nights half board E. Rodopi Mountains (raptors & woodpeckers)
Madzharovo, Studen Kladenets Dam, Sakar & Sliven (Sousliks)
Includes return flights Gatwick/Bourgas, local transport and guide

Full details are available on the Bargain Birding Cub website:

http://www.bargainbirdingclub.com/budget-birding-tours.php

Time: 8 days

Price: £1299 per person

Booking essential

Telephone: 07785 707 797

Sat
7

Coach Trip - Lakenheath Fen

Location: Contact David Saunders for details of pick up / drop off points.

Another combined trip for Medway/Maidstone groups to visit everyone's favourite reserve.

With a variety of habitat and home to some iconic species such as bittern, marsh harrier, stone curlew and Dartford warbler. Otters and deer are also regularly seen.

With superb visitor centre, shop, tearoom, toilets and plenty of hides this premier reserve has it all.

Time: TBC

Price: TBC

Booking essential

Telephone: 07788 202 445

Wed
11

Riverside Country Park - David Hale

Location: Riverside Country Park
Postcode: ME7 2XH (Google map)

With a rising tide we will hope to see waders including godwits and greenshank as well as teal and other wildfowl. We may also be lucky to see passerine migrants in the bushes.

Meet in the car park off the B2007. There are toilets and refreshments here.

Time: 9.30am

Price: Free

Telephone: 07808 772 783

Tue
17

Wild Canadian Rockies - Martin Davies

Location: Parkwood Community Centre, Gillingham
Postcode: ME8 9PN (Google map)

Martin is another man who is hard to pin down. As I emailed him he was in Sulawesi in Indonesia delivering a training course. Good job we have the world wide web!! Martin first visited us in September 2016 and talked on Wild Cuba and we have another wild place this time.
An RSPB staff member for over 40 years, Martin worked in various regional offices before moving to the RSPB's International Division in 1992. As Head of International Programme Development for 20 years, he led a team which handled all RSPB's approaches to international funding agencies, raising many large grants for conservation projects overseas and in the UK. Together with Tim Appleton, he was co-founder and co-organiser of the Birdfair at Rutland Water for 27 years.

Time: 7.30 - 9.45pm. (Doors open at 7pm)

Price: £3.50 for members, £4.00 for non-members.

Sun
29

Hampton Pier & Reculver - Sue Carter & Steve Goodrich

Location: Hampton Pier & Reculver
Postcode: CT6 8DL (Google map)

We will meet at 9.00 am at Hampton Pier car park and look for purple sandpipers and other waders on the shore line. We will then drive the few miles to the free car park at Bishopstone Glen overlooking Grenham Bay. We can do a sea watch before walking through the Glen looking for migrant passerines.

If time permits, we could also go on to Reculver depending on what is around.

There are toilets at Hampton Pier car park and at Reculver, where there is also a cafeteria.

Time: 9.00am

Price: Free

Telephone: 07745 343 072

October 2019

Sun
6

Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory - Richard Hanman

Location: Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory
Postcode: CT13 9PF (Google map)

An excellent place to be with migration in full swing.

Hopefully the weather will be suitable for ringing and we may find something exciting in the mist nets as we watch the ringers at work. We always get a warm welcome from the staff at the observatory where there are full facilities.

We will also visit the Elms Copse and Restharrow Scrape as well as doing a sea watch.

On arrival at Sandwich Bay Estate road toll please advise the attendant that you are visiting the Observatory and you should only be charged a nominal £1.

There will be a suggested donation of £2 per head for SBBO.

Time: 8.00am

Price: Free

Telephone: 07785 707 797

Sun
13

Dungeness Sea & Shore - Sue Carter & Steve Goodrich

Location: Dungeness Lighthouse
Postcode: TN29 9NE (Google map)

We will meet by the old lighthouse and do a sea watch in front of the power station before heading to the Bird Observatory to see what is around in the trapping area.

Then later we will head to the RSPB Reserve to see what we can find from the hides and have lunch.

Park between the old lighthouse and the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch railway station.

Refreshments are available here and there is a WC at the Bird Observatory.

Full facilities are also available at the RSPB Reserve.

Time: 8.30am

Price: Free

Telephone: 07745 343 072

Tue
15

A Year in the life of a BTO Regional Rep - Penny Williams

Location: Parkwood Community Centre, Gillingham
Postcode: ME8 9PN (Google map)

This is Penny's first visit to the Medway Group and we welcome her along. Penny's summary of her job is how to combine an interest in bird, butterfly and reptile surveys, conservation work and holidays. Although Penny's region is called Surrey she also covers small amounts of West Sussex, Berkshire and some of the London Boroughs.
As well as the regional representative for Surrey, Penny is Membership Secretary for Surrey Bird Club and the Local Organiser for the WeBS count in Surrey and London south of the Thames. So once again, that saying of 'if you want something done, ask a busy person' comes to mind. I am sure this will be a rather different talk and we will learn from it.

Time: 7.30 - 9.45pm. (Doors open at 7pm)

Price: £3.50 for members, £4.00 for non-members.

Wed
16

Conningbrook Lakes - Robin Smith

Location: Conningbrook Lakes, Ashford
Postcode: TN24 9QX (Google map)

A new venue for us, managed by Kent Wildlife Trust, comprising three lakes in former gravel pits, wet woodland, river and grassland. The lakes once hosted a pied-billed grebe.

Accessed off the A2070 via the Julie Rose Stadium,

There are toilets and picnic areas here.

Time: 9.30am

Price: Free

Telephone: 07528 917 350

Sun
27

Shellness & Capel Fleet - Richard Hanman

Location: Meet at Leysdown Bay (aka The Apron).
Postcode: ME12 4RJ (Google map)

Ducks and divers on the sea, raptors over the fields and the wader roost at the Blockhouse. Then we will drive round to the viewpoint at Capel Fleet and hope to add corn buntings, green sandpiper and more raptors!

Meet on the apron overlooking the estuary, just past the caravan park in Leysdown. There are toilets on the left just before the caravan park but there are no other facilities.

Please wear suitable footwear and be aware that there is no cover at either site.

Time: 8.30am

Price: Free

Telephone: 07785 707 797

November 2019

Sun
10

Conyer Creek - Richard Hanman

Location: Conyer Creek
Postcode: ME9 9HR (Google map)

A winter visit for a change looking at birds on the Swale and in the bushes.
Park on the left-hand side immediately before the Ship Inn. There are no facilities at this site.

Time: 8.30am

Price: Free

Telephone: 07785 707 797

Wed
13

Mote Park - Robin Smith

Location: Mote Park, Maidstone
Postcode: ME15 7SU (Google map)

It's three years since we last visited this gem in Maidstone's crown, but Simon Ginnaw's talk back in 2018 inspired me to revisit it.

An easy place to catch up with gulls and ducks on the lake or tits, woodpeckers and thrushes in the trees. If we are lucky we might see a kingfisher or grey wagtail on the River Len.

Meet in the main car park accessed from the main entrance. Toilets are here.

Time: 9.30am

Price: Free

Tue
19

Eastern Indonesian Birds & Other Wildlife - Graham Ekins

Location: Parkwood Community Centre, Gillingham
Postcode: ME8 9PN (Google map)

We welcome Graham for his second talk to us, the first was on Birds and Wildlife of New Zealand. Graham is an Ecological Consultant and World Wildlife Photographer and has been a keen birder since his early years. He trained as a ringer with the BTO and still holds his permit gained at age 18. Along with his wife Evie, they have visited many countries to carry out birding and wildlife photography. Graham currently has about 3200 images of 1700 bird species linked to AVIBASE. He also has a Flickr site with many, many more photos.

Time: 7.30 - 9.45pm. (Doors open at 7pm)

Price: £3.50 for members, £4.00 for non-members.

Sun
24

Dungeness RSPB Reserve - Richard Hanman

Location: Dungeness RSPB Reserve
Postcode: TN29 9PN (Google map)

No apologies for the fourth visit of the year to this superb place, the RSPB's oldest reserve. There is always something to see at any of the pits at any time of year.

With easy walking and plenty of hides to visit there is also still time to buy your last minute Christmas cards and gifts in the shop!

Time: 10.00am

Price: Free

Telephone: 07785 707 797

December 2019

Sun
1

Stodmarsh & Grove Ferry - Peter Saville

Location: Stodmarsh & Grove Ferry NR
Postcode: CT3 4BE (Google map)

A winter visit for a change in the hope of seeing a hen harrier or water rail.

Meet in the Stodmarsh car park for the circular walk to Grove Ferry and back. There are toilets at both ends and several hides to take a break in.

Time: 9.00am

Price: Free

Telephone: 07443 657 521

Wed
11

Lower Halstow - Sue Carter & Steve Goodrich

Location: Lower Halstow (Lapwing Drive)
Postcode: ME9 7DZ (Google map)

A new venue for us with the possibility of red-breasted merganser and other sea ducks. A short walk along the creek and then we'll retrace our steps and go back through the scrub area.

Take the A2 and turn north signposted Lower Halstow. Park at the end of Lapwing Drive.

There are no facilities or shelter on this walk so please dress warmly.

Time: 9.30am

Price: Free

Telephone: 07745 343 072

Tue
17

Kent's Wild Year - Simon Ginnaw

Location: Parkwood Community Centre, Gillingham.
Postcode: ME8 9PN (Google map)

Having rescued me last March when Brian Gallop was ill, I now have Simon booked, in his own right, to do our last talk of 2019. Simon is so completely passionate about what he does, and the way that he does it, that his talks just keep getting better and better. This will be his 5th talk to the group in seven years but I, for one, never tire of his great talks combining Simon's endless knowledge, beautiful photos and wonderful sound, all at the same time. Simon will take us on a personal journey through the seasons around the Kent countryside, stopping off at the coast, deep in the woods, on our heathlands and across our farmland. We will explore the county's stunning landscapes, rich history and beautiful wildlife. It should be a great end to 2019.

Time: 7.30 - 9.45pm. (Doors open at 7pm)

Price: £3.50 for members, £4.00 for non-members.