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.

November 2018

Tue
20

Dormice in Kent - Alison Ruyter

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

Alison has been working for Kent Wildlife Trust since 1999 and last spoke to us in April 2015 where her enthusiasm was infectious for the Medway Living Landscape. Tonight Alison tells us about dormice. She has held a Dormouse License for several years and is well placed to give us this fascinating talk about the incredibly shy and relatively unknown mammal that is the dormouse. Alison is currently the Medway and Mid-Kent Downs Area Warden and has the honour of being our only lady speaker for 2018.

Time: 7.30 to 9.45 pm. Doors Open 7.00 pm

Price: £3.50 RSPB members, £4 non-members

Wed
21

Robin's Nest & Loose Valley (Leader Robin Smith)

Location: Meet at Robin's house which is at the end of the cul-de-sac
Postcode: ME15 9TL (Google map)

Meet at Robin's house, 37 Valley Drive, Loose, where he will show you the redpolls in his garden before heading out for a walk along the Loose Valley. Here we will hope to see wintering thrushes and maybe grey wagtail and kingfisher.

Time: 9.30am

Price: Free

Telephone: 07528 917 350

Sun
25

Elmley Nature Reserve (Leader Richard Hanman)

Location: Meet in the reserve car park
Postcode: ME12 3RW (Google map)

A winter visit to see the reserve at its best with large numbers of wildfowl, swans, geese, birds of prey and maybe owls too.
Meet in the reserve car park where there are toilets and an honesty box for a suggested donation of £5 per car, with all proceeds going to conservation.
Bring a packed lunch and hot drink as we will spend some time in the hides which are a considerable walk from the car park.

Time: 9am

Price: Free

Telephone: 07785 707 797

December 2018

Sun
9

RSPB Dungeness Reserve (Leader Peter Saville)

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

Our third and final visit this year to the RSPB's oldest reserve and your chance to purchase some last minute Christmas presents in the shop!
We hope to see wintering wildfowl including scaup, grebes, goldeneye and smew, plus great egrets and bittern.
Meet in the reserve car park where there are toilets.

Time: 10am

Price: Free

Telephone: 07443 657 521

Tue
18

Rolf Goes Wild - Rolf Williams

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

Rolf was responsible for RSPB publicity in Kent for some time and has spoken to us twice before, on Crossing Boundaries and all about snakes in Rolf Gets Rattled. I am unsure exactly what Rolf Goes Wild will hold for us, but there is mention of a real life didgeridoo!!! Rolf graduated in 1990 from Middlesex University with an honours degree in Graphic Design. His love of natural history includes marine studies, travelling in Florida and photography, and he has worked for radio and television. Rolf has spent the last few years moving about quite a bit, but I am hoping that he will still be in Chatham to make his journey easy in December.

Time: 7.30 to 9.45 pm. Doors Open 7.00 pm

Price: £3.50 RSPB members, £4 non-members

E-mail: medwayRSPB_descar@btinternet.com

Wed
19

Riverside Country Park (Leader Warren Mann)

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

Our final visit for 2018 to this local reserve with hopes of seeing wintering thrushes, ducks and red-breasted mergansers.
Meet in the car park. Toilets and a cafeteria are situated in the visitor centre.

Time: 9.30am

Price: Free

Telephone: 07845 454 754

January 2019

Tue
15

Kenyan Safari: Birds and Animals - Brian Gallop

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

This talk was originally scheduled for March 2018, but Brian was distinctly unwell and had almost lost his voice so he, reluctantly, called off at the last minute. This will be Brian's 5th visit to our group, going back as far as 1992, only 26 years ago, when he gave us the Flora and Fauna of SE England - I wonder if anyone remembers that one??

Brian is a Natural History Photographer, Tour Leader (UK and abroad) and is a past Group Leader of the RSPB
Tonbridge Local Group so he is very well qualified to speak to us. He has a large variety of talks though this one is slightly further afield than his last talk - SW Ireland - With No Rain!! We look forward to welcoming Brian back again to Medway.

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

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

Wed
16

RSPB Northward Hill - Warren Mann

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

A winter visit for a change with birds of prey over the marshland and assorted wildfowl on the pools. The herons
and egrets could already be refurbishing their nests in the UK's largest heronry.

Meet in the marshland car park where there are toilets.

Time: 9.30am - 12.30am

Price: Free

Telephone: 07845 484 754

Sun
27

Capel Fleet Raptor Viewing Mound & Swale NNR - Richard Hanman

Location: RSPB Capel Fleet Raptor Viewpoint.
Postcode: ME12 4BQ (Google map)

We'll hope for an array of raptors and owls, plus geese and wildfowl on the Swale.

Meet at the car park for the RSPB raptor viewpoint which is situated on the Harty Ferry Road. There are no facilities and please dress warmly with stout footwear.

We'll then drive to Shellness to explore the marsh and shoreline of the Swale NNR.

Time: 8.30am - 1.30pm

Price: Free

Telephone: 07785 707

February 2019

Tue
19

The Long Spring - Laurence Rose

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

A new speaker for the Medway Group. I was given Laurence's details by Carole and John Nixon as he is a friend of theirs. Carole will be expecting Back from the Brink, but Laurence has not finished that talk yet, so he is giving us The Long Spring - about his journeys tracking the arrival of Spring from North Africa to the Arctic. He has also written a book with the same title. Laurence is Change Manager for Back from the Brink and works for the RSPB in Denby Dale, Huddersfield. A long way to come you are thinking but luckily, he has family in Kent! A big welcome to Laurence.

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

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

March 2019

Tue
19

Lammergeiers of the Spanish Pyrenees - Ashley Grove

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

We last saw Ashley in October 2017 when he talked about Trinidad and Tobago. Since then, inspired by the talk, I have been to T & T and it was magical. When Ashley visited us last time, he stayed with John and Carole Nixon and by way of a bit of a thank you I suggested they might like to choose Ashley's next talk and they chose Lammergeiers of the Spanish Pyrenees. The talk explains about their life history, where they can be found and shows the other species that share its world, including golden eagle, griffon, Egyptian and monk vulture along with various smaller birds. A lammergeier's wingspan is 9 feet!!

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

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

April 2019

Tue
16

Eh? What? Pardon? Identifying Birds by Sound - David Darrell-Lambert

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

This will be David's 5th visit to Medway and he always tackles difficult subjects like gulls - 2014 and waders -
2015. I am hoping that identifying birds by sound will be slightly easier, especially with our new sound system. David also remarked that this will be a good time of the year for his talk as it will be the middle of spring when the birds should be singing. David has about 30 years ornithological experience, is a former chair of the Ornithological section of the London Natural History Society and has over 10 years' experience as a bird recorder so I think that makes him very well qualified to speak to us.

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

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

May 2019

Tue
21

The Life of a Hare - Russell Miles + the AGM

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

The first few minutes of the evening will be taken up by the AGM which hopefully will not take very long. This talk was first recommended to me by Trevor Hatton who saw Russell at the Gravesend Group. Then, as I entered his name into my 2019 file, I received an e-mail from Russell himself promoting his talk - how spooky is that!! So it had to be. Russell loves watching and photographing his local wildlife - he lives in Ramsgate. He has given this talk to over a dozen organisations, so I am sure it will be excellent. It is Russell's first visit to Medway and he will kindly donate his small charge to the Kent Wildlife Trust.

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

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

June 2019

Tue
18

Operation Turtle Dove - Nicole Khan

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

Nicole works for the RSPB and is their 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.

July 2019

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.

September 2019

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.

October 2019

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 RR 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.

November 2019

Tue
19

Eastern Indonesian Birds and 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.