Trip reports

RSPB Medway and Maidstone Group's Coach trip to RSPB Minsmere

RSPB Medway and Maidstone Group's Coach trip to RSPB Minsmere
Blue bell dell at RSPB Minsmere

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Sunday was a bit of a big day for the Medway and Maidstone RSPB local groups, for the first time we joined forces for a joint coach trip to RSPB Minsmere. This is something I have been trying to organise with another group for some time. With falling coach numbers and the rising cost of coach hire it made perfect sense when Simon Ginnaw of the Maidstone group rang me up and suggested, we pitch in together. It took a bit of organising as we only could have two pick-ups, Parkwood in Rainham and County Hall in Maidstone. But we got there in the end and filled a 53-seater Chalkwell coach with forty-eight bums on seats easily covering the cost, instead struggling to get enough to avoid a substantial loss.

So, once we all arrived safely on plot we dispersed in our various groups, constantly, of course, bumping into each other and exchanging stories.

The two outstanding birds of the day were undoubtedly bittern and stone curlew. Plenty of the former were seen all over the reserve, but mainly from Bittern Hide and Island Mere Hide with trade mark slow creep through the reed-bed or low-flying over it to suddenly drop down a few hundred yards away.

A pair of Hobbys kept us entertained hawking back and forth for largely absent dragonflies in front of Bittern Hide, accompanied by a charming pair of marsh harriers. Mute swans with both common grebes were on the water and mallards, shovelers, terns, common, little and sandwich were seen by members.

So, to the woodland birds - good views of great and blue tits, blackcap, garden warbler, willow warblers and a pair of tree creepers with young.

Butterfly wise it was a bit sparse, but there were green hairstreak and the ever-stunning small copper.

Some of us saw muntjac and water vole and several dragonflies including four spot chaser.

The stone curlew turned out to be an added bonus as Steve pretty well knew exactly where they were and our driver stopped in the tiny lane leaving the reserve next to a stony short cropped field, classic habitat for these rare breeding birds and an adult was quickly located and viewed by most on the coach party.

No complaints and everyone went home happy, if not a little later for some, I shall look forward to any feedback as to how members thought the joint venture went!

David Saunders