Events

All events are open to any bird watcher or nature watcher. Generally our outdoor events are not suitable for children under 12, but exceptions may be made. Up to the age of 16, children should be accompanied by an adult.
The coach trips last all day and usually travel to distant reserves outside the range of a normal day's birding.
The Bins and Boots walks are leisurely walks of up to two and a half hours in the Stoke area led by an experienced local bird watcher.
The car sharing trips are to reserves outside the local area but probably within 60 miles of Stoke-on-Trent. We want to be flexible about these and suggestions about these trips are welcomed. If you can offer a lift or would like a lift please contact Geoff Sales by telephone at least a week before the trip you wish to attend so that he can put interested parties in contact with each other. These trips usually continue into the afternoon so remember to bring a packed lunch.
If you are interested in taking part in our outside activities but do not have binoculars, we have three pairs to lend on a first come first served basis for the duration of the activity.
Appropriate clothing and footwear to guard against the elements are recommended for outdoor activities.

January 2021

Wed
20

January Indoor Meeting 2021 - CANCELLED

Location: North Staffordshire Conference Centre/Medical Institute, Hartshill Road, STOKE-ON-TRENT
Postcode: ST4 7NY (Google map)

PEAK DISTRICT RAPTOR MONITORING GROUP
MIKE PRICE
Mike is an Independent Raptor Worker and Bird Ringer based in Derbyshire. He is a member of the Peak District Raptor Monitoring Group, a small but dedicated group of volunteer field workers who, under licence from the BTO and Natural England, monitor and ring birds of prey and owls in the Peak District and surrounding areas. Their aims are to monitor the birds, participate in national surveys and identify real and potential threats as they arise. Most of the work done by Peak District Raptor Monitoring Group, is done during the breeding season between March and September each year and tries to cover as much of the area as possible in the time available, but inevitably they don't manage to locate all the birds breeding in the area.
Find out more about the work undertaken by this group in tonight's in-depth presentation.
https://pdrmg.wordpress.com/

Time: 7.30 pm

Price: Group Member £2.50, Non-members £5.00 and Children under 16 (accompanied by an adult) Free

Telephone: 01782 618152

E-mail: sgeoff31@gmail.com

Sun
24

Birdwatching Trip to RSPB Old Moor 2021 - CANCELLED

Location: RSPB Old Moor, Barnsley, Yorkshire
Postcode: S73 0YF (Google map)

This is a coach visit organised by the North Staffs Group and open to any bird watchers or nature watchers.
Situated right at the heart of the Dearne Valley near Barnsley, Old Moor is a wonderful place to come and watch wildlife from the two nature trails. The skies, fields and open water are teeming with birds throughout the year. There are seven hides and two viewing screens out on the reserve and one overlooking the bird-feeding garden. There are two viewing platforms in the pond and picnic area. The bird feeding garden is at its busiest at this time of year, with tree sparrows, greenfinches, goldfinches and tits on the feeders. Spectacular flocks of golden plovers and lapwings take to the air, attracting peregrines on the lookout for a meal. The winter highlights include hundreds of colourful ducks such as teal and wigeon in full breeding plumage, yellowhammers and tree sparrows in the hedges, barn owls hunting during the day as food gets harder to find and watch the berry-covered trees for winter thrushes.
Facilities include toilets, a cafe (open 9.30 - 16.00 providing hot and cold drinks and lunches, cakes and biscuits) and a shop.

Time: All Day

Price: Price to be announced

Booking essential

Telephone: 01782 614535

E-mail: ik.worden@ntlworld.com

February 2021

Tue
2

Bins and Boots Walk - Whitfield Valley Nature Reserve 2021

Location: Whitfield Valley Nature Reserve, Ford Green
Meet on car park by Ford Green Hall, B5051 Ford Green Road between Smallthorne and Norton.
O.S.Ref. SJ888508
Postcode: ST6 1NG (Google map)

This is a guided walk organised by the North Staffs Group and open to any bird watchers or nature watchers. Whitfield Valley Nature Reserve is one of the largest reserves in the city and boasts a wide range of habitats. The Ford Green Brook flows through the site and there are patches of grassland, hay meadow, heathland, hedgerow, ponds and scattered trees. Ford Green Reedbed, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, is located at the southern end of the nature reserve and many ducks and other water birds breed and overwinter here. At the northern end of the reserve the spoil heap from the Chatterley Whitfield Colliery affords great views of the area. Skylark and grey partridge may be seen in the grassland and barn owls and kestrels hunt across the valley. Other notable species include water vole and snipe.
Leader - Geoff Sales

Time: 10.00 am

Price: Free

Telephone: 01782 519801

E-mail: roger_birch@btinternet.com

Wed
17

February Indoor Meeting 2021 - ZOOM PRESENTATION

Location: On line ZOOM Presentation

RSPB MINSMERE
IAN BARTHORPE
A lifelong naturalist, Ian grew up in north Shropshire and has spent the last 22 years working for the RSPB in East Anglia. His current position is Visitor Experience Officer, RSPB Minsmere. Interests include birdwatching, general wildlife watching, photography, walking, travel, and supporting West Bromwich Albion Football Club.

His talk will bring us up to date with this fantastic coastal nature reserve which was also home to BBC Springwatch from 2013 to 2016.

Contact Joan Hudson to receive your invitation to the Group's first Zoom Presentation.

Time: 7.30 pm

Price: Free

Booking essential

Telephone: 01538 751460

E-mail: joan.hudson1@gmail.com

Sun
21

Birdwatching Trip to RSPB Leighton Moss 2021 - CANCELLED

Location: RSPB Leighton Moss, Silverdale, nr. Carnforth, Lancashire
Postcode: LA5 0SW (Google map)

This is a coach visit organised by the North Staffs Group and open to any bird watchers or nature watchers.
Leighton Moss is the largest reedbed in north-west England and home to some really special birds such as breeding bitterns, bearded tits and marsh harriers - you might see deer too. Choose from a selection of trails and hides and get right to the heart of the reedbed. Alternatively take the nature trail alongside two coastal lagoons to see lots of wading and water birds. Rarely have we been to Leighton Moss and not seen marsh harriers. Bearded tits are often seen on the grit trays along the causeway. Even the feeding station at the visitor centre can be exciting and from the Eric Morecambe hide there is a good chance of seeing migrant black-tailed godwits, avocets or even a merlin sitting in its favourite spot. The seven hides at Leighton Moss offer the opportunity to observe plenty of wildlife action - this is a good reserve to visit if you are new to birding.
We will stop before reaching the reserve to allow visits to the Eric Morecambe hide from where it is a very pleasant walk to the visitor centre. Facilities include toilets, RSPB shop and a very fine cafe.

Time: All Day

Price: Price to be announced

Booking essential

Telephone: 01782 614535

E-mail: ik.worden@ntlworld.com

March 2021

Thu
4

Bins and Boots Walk - Sandbach Flashes 2021

Location: Sandbach Flashes Known as Elton Hall Nature Reserve O.S Ref: SJ727596
Take M6 north to Junction 17. Turn left on to A534. Continue straight on at Sandbach traffic lights bearing left opposite Waitrose, staying on the A534 towards Crewe. After passing through next roundabout in a ź mile turn right in to Elton Lane. In ž of a mile turn right at the junction, pass under the railway bridge and after 1 mile the Flashes are located on either side of the road. Parking is on the verges. No toilets.
Latitude/longitude: 53.132663,-2.412883 (Google map)

This is a guided walk organised by the North Staffs Group and open to any bird watchers or nature watchers. These flashes (pools) caused by subsidence due to salt mining are one of the best locations for wintering migrants in the area and are all designated SSSI's. There is a dedicated viewing area on the main Elton Hall Flash, the others being from the roadside. Many rare species have been seen here including glossy ibis and Iceland gull. Common species in the winter are wigeon, teal, pochard, gadwall, curlew, lapwing, shelduck, black-tailed godwit, ruff, redshank and snipe. The flash also hosts one of the largest gull roosts in the area.
Leaders: Geoff Sales and Roger Birch

Time: 10.00 am

Price: Free

Telephone: 01782 519801

E-mail: roger_birch@btinternet.com

Wed
17

March Indoor Meeting 2021 - ZOOM PRESENTATION

Location: On line ZOOM presentation

LIVING ON SKOMER ISLAND NATIONAL NATURE RESERVE
PETER DURNALL
Peter, who worked for many years as a professional photographer, has been a member of our Group for many years and since retirement has developed a keen interest in the moving image. He specialises in wildlife as well as local history and has produced several films of the wildlife to be seen in our own backyard, principally in the wonderful Staffordshire Moorlands. In recent years Peter has travelled to South Wales and Scotland documenting his wildlife encounters on film.

Join us tonight to see Peter's photographic presentation of life on Skomer Island as a volunteer Assistant Warden in both Spring and Summer. He will be taking a close look at living and working on the Island, its history and its wildlife. Over 750,000 seabirds nest on Skomer each year including Manx shearwater and the iconic puffin.

Contact Joan Hudson to receive your invitation to this ZOOM presentation.

SPONSORED BY: GARNERS GARDEN CENTRE
www.garnersgardencentre.co.uk

Time: 7.30 pm

Price: Free

Booking essential

Telephone: 01538 751460

E-mail: joan.hudson1@gmail.com

Sun
21

Birdwatching Trip to RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands 2021 - CANCELLED

Location: RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands, Wirral
Latitude/longitude: 53.257862,-3.021908 (Google map)

This is a coach trip organised by the North Staffs Group and open to any bird watchers or nature watchers.
This is our fifth visit to RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands, a newly developed reserve on the Dee estuary. We are going at a good time of the year - early spring with the chance of passage migrants. The reserve is well-watched as many scarce migrant birds have been seen in previous years. Little egret numbers are burgeoning and large roosts make it worthwhile being here just before dusk.
As well as our visit to Burton Mere we may be calling briefly at a nearby coastal birding site at high tide hoping to see raptors.
Facilities on the reserve include a visitor centre with toilets and a refreshments area where you can get a hot or cold drink and a snack. There are also two hides with 360-degree views, several view points and over 3 km of new footpaths to explore.

Time: All Day

Price: Price to be announced

Booking essential

Telephone: 01782 614535

E-mail: ik.worden@ntlworld.com

Sat
27

Bins and Boots Walk - Doxey Marshes 2021

Location: Doxey Marshes (Staffordshire Wildlife Trust) Nr. Stafford OS Ref: SJ903250
On the A5013 Eccleshall Road, very close to M6 Junction 14, look for a brown sign for the reserve and turn into Creswell Farm Drive then on to Wootton Drive. Meet and park at the car park. No toilets.
Postcode: ST16 1PU (Google map)

This is a guided walk organised by the North Staffs Group and open to any bird watchers or nature watchers. Doxey Marshes is a fantastic place to discover birds, over 200 species have been recorded, with more than 80 breeding species. Lying within the floodplain of the River Sow, which periodically breaches its banks, the marshes are subject to regular flooding. Wading birds love the shallow pools with muddy edges that this flooding leaves behind to forage for food. The reserve is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its nationally important populations of lapwing, snipe and redshank, attracting many rare birds every year, including the first ever cattle egret and river warbler to be recorded in the Midlands Region. Recently the Trust has replaced the old metal hide and refurbished others and has also carried out other major improvements to the site.
Leader - Geoff Sales

Time: 10.00 am

Price: Free

Telephone: 01782519801

E-mail: roger_birch@btinternet.com

April 2021

Wed
21

April Indoor Meeting 2021 - ZOOM PRESENTATION

Location: On line ZOOM Presentation

RSPB BEMPTON CLIFFS
WILL SCOTT
Will is currently in his final year studying Ecology and Conservation at the University of Lincoln and has had a passion for birds as long as he can remember. He is very interested in bird migration and has had ample opportunity to witness this, living as he does on east coast of North Yorkshire. He has also been involved in activities such as bird ringing, migration watches and nocturnal acoustic recording for migrants from his own garden. Will has visited Bempton his whole life and has volunteered there since 2016. Over the last few years he has been lucky enough see eastern-crowned warbler, find a sooty tern and see the black-browed albatross earlier this year, as well as some amazing migration spectacles.

This presentation about Bempton Cliffs will cover a year's wildlife activity on the reserve, talking about the different species that are typically on site as well as rarities that appear from time to time.

Contact Joan Hudson to receive your invitation to this ZOOM presentation.

Time: 7.30 pm

Price: Free

Booking essential

Telephone: 01538 751460

E-mail: joan.hudson1@gmail.com

Sun
25

Birdwatching Trip to RSPB Ynys Hir 2021

Location: RSPB Ynys Hir. Nearest town: Machynlleth, Powys
Postcode: SY20 8TA (Google map)

This is a coach visit organised by the North Staffs Group and open to any bird watchers or nature watchers.
We see this beautiful reserve in late spring after most of the migrants have arrived. Ynys Hir mixes Welsh oak woodland with wet grassland and salt marshes. In the spring the ground is carpeted in flowers and birdsong fills the air. You might see pied flycatchers and redstarts emerging from the nestboxes. Previous visits have given excellent views of wood warbler and cuckoos. We might also expect to see birds such as lapwings and redshanks and also some very special butterflies. Likely birds of prey include peregrines and red kites, together with distant views of nesting osprey. There are two main circular trails one 1.5 miles and the other 3 miles, giving access to five hides.
Facilities include toilets and a small visitor centre offering hot drinks and snacks.

Time: All Day

Price: Price to be announced

Booking essential

Telephone: 01782 614535

E-mail: ik.worden@ntlworld.com

Tue
27

Bins and Boots Walk - Deep Hayes Country Park 2021

Location: Park Lane, Nr. Cheddleton OS Ref: SJ960533
Meet at the Visitor Centre Car Park.
Take the A53 from Stoke on Trent Towards Leek. After passing through Endon in 2 miles turn right at the old New Inn pub in Longsdon. Fork left after ¼ mile and continue to a T-junction. Turn right crossing the canal and railway bridges. The entrance to the park is up a steep slope on the right just over a second canal bridge. Toilets available on site.
Postcode: ST13 7JS (Google map)

This is a guided walk organised by the North Staffs Group and open to any bird watchers or nature watchers.
The Country Park is on the site of a former reservoir which provided compensation water to the River Churnet. It was drained some years ago and a series of small lakes was created, linked by streams and a couple of waterfalls. Many species of waterfowl are present together with Spring migrants. The mature woodlands hold most of the common species typical of this habitat and there is always a chance of seeing kingfishers, dippers and wagtails along the streams.
Leader - Peter Durnall

Time: 10.00 am

Price: Free

Telephone: 01782519801

E-mail: roger_birch@btinternet.com

May 2021

Thu
6

Bins and Boots Walk - Dimmingsdale - 2021

Location: Dimmingsdale, Alton - O.S.Ref. SK062432
Meet and park on visitors' car park of the Rambler's Retreat, Red Road, between Oakamoor and Alton.

Postcode: ST10 4BU (Google map)

This is a guided walk organised by the North Staffs Group and open to any bird watchers or nature watchers. Dimmingsdale is a wooded valley with a series of dammed lakes along the course of a small stream, with the usual ducks, Canada geese, coots etc. Much of the lower part of the valley is covered by coniferous forestry plantation with rhododendron undergrowth (gradually being removed). However, the walk will take to the valley sides, which have more natural vegetation and deciduous trees with a good chance of seeing buzzard, kestrel and sparrow hawk. The start and finish will be the Ramblers Retreat Tea Rooms which has several bird feeders attracting the typical woodlanders including all the usual tit species plus the rarer marsh/willow tit and perhaps pied flycatcher.
Leader: Roger Birch

Time: 10.00 am

Price: Free

Telephone: 01782519801

E-mail: roger_birch@btinternet.com

Wed
19

May Indoor Meeting 2021

Location: North Staffordshire Conference Centre/Medical Institute, Hartshill Road, STOKE-ON-TRENT
Postcode: ST4 7NY (Google map)

FLORIDA BIRDING HIGHLIGHTS
PAUL HOBSON
Originally from Manchester, Paul went to Sheffield to study for a degree in Environmental Science in the late 1970's where he specialised in wildlife conservation. He trained as a teacher and worked as a lecturer in Environmental Science in Sheffield for 20 years before becoming a full-time wildlife photographer.
When Paul was at university he was out on the Peak's moors recording bird nests for the BTO when he met a bird photographer. A chance conversation led to a session in a hide focussing on a redshank's nest - he was hooked! He spent the next few years working from hides where he learnt much of the field craft that is vital to become a successful wildlife photographer.
Paul has written four books so far: 'Wild Derbyshire', 'Wildlife Photography Field Skills and Techniques', 'The Art of Fungi Photography' and 'The Life and Times of Henry Seebohm' (a Victorian ornithologist, traveller and steel maker).
If you are missing the sunshine in Britain, why not come with us this evening to the warmth of Florida. Although well-known for its tourist attractions, it can offer superb birdwatching opportunities too. The birds can be amazingly tame, which makes it one of the best places in the world to practise your bird photography.
http://www.paulhobson.co.uk/

Time: 7.30 pm

Price: Group Member £2.50, Non-members £5.00 and Children under 16 (accompanied by an adult) Free

Telephone: 01782 618152

E-mail: sgeoff31@gmail.com

Sun
23

Birdwatching Trip to RSPB Newport Wetlands 2021

Location: Newport Wetlands, Newport , Wales
Postcode: NP18 2BZ (Google map)

This is a coach visit organised by the North Staffs Group and open to any bird watchers or nature watchers.
This nature reserve offers a haven for wildlife on the edge of the city, Cetti's warblers and bearded tits can be seen and heard in the reedbeds, and ducks, geese and swans visit the reserve in large numbers during the winter. There are a number of nature trails around the reserve of various lengths with viewing screens at intervals. You will enjoy spectacular views of the Severn estuary all year round. Newport Wetlands is a partnership between Natural Resources Wales, Newport City Council and the RSPB.
During Summer grass snakes can sometimes be seen soaking up the sun or skimming expertly through the water among the reeds. Around sixteen species of dragonfly, twenty-three species of butterfly and two hundred species of moth are found on the site. The reserve is also home to badgers, moles and wood mice. Otters live here too, but are notoriously shy of humans and can be difficult to spot. Look out for bearded tits, cuckoos, warblers, hirundines and waders.
Facilities include a new RSPB visitor centre with a café serving drinks and snacks and a shop.

Time: All Day

Price: Price to be announced

Booking essential

Telephone: 01782 614535

E-mail: ik.worden@ntlworld.com

June 2021

Thu
3

Bins and Boots Walk - Greenway Bank Country Park 2021

Location: Greenway Bank Road, Knypersley OS Ref: SJ889551
Meet at the Visitor Centre car park (NOT the Lakeside).
Take the A527 towards Biddulph. After passing through Brindley Ford village turn right by the old Matador Pub and follow the brown signs. Turn into the visitor centre, the first car park on the left, off Greenway Bank Road. Toilets available on site.
Latitude/longitude: 53.093263,-2.166839 (Google map)

Situated less than two miles from Biddulph and only five miles from the centre of the Potteries, the Country Park offers a wide range of attractive scenery and wildlife. This park is the remains of two 18th century estates now managed by Staffordshire County Council. There are 150 acres of mature woodland with two connected dammed lakes, streams and a small waterfall.
We will be looking for wildfowl on the two lakes as well as the many woodland birds that abound. At this time of the year we should see spring migrants such as chiffchaff, willow warbler, blackcap and hirundines as well as water birds and there may be a chance of spotting dipper, kingfisher and willow tit.
Leader - Roger Birch

Time: 10.00 am

Price: Free

Telephone: 01782519801

E-mail: roger_birch@btinternet.com

Sun
6

Birdwatching Trip to RSPB Bempton Cliffs 2021

Location: RSPB Bempton Cliffs, near Bridlington, North Yorkshire
Postcode: YO15 1JF (Google map)

This is a coach visit organised by the North Staffs Group and open to any bird watchers or nature watchers
Bempton Cliffs is easily the best place in England to see, hear and smell seabirds! More than 200,000 birds at any one time (from April to August) make the cliffs seem alive, with adults bringing food to their nests, or young chicks making their first faltering flights. With huge numbers to watch, beginners can easily learn the difference between gannets, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and fulmars. And the easily recognisable puffins (here between April and July) are always a delight to visitors. The birds are easy to see during breeding season - creating a fantastic seascape and bird spectacle. Only eight target seabird species breed here, so learning to identify birds is simple. There are five cliff-top viewpoints and a bird feeding station. Breeding tree sparrows, whitethroats, grasshopper warblers, sedge warblers, skylarks, linnets, reed buntings, rock and meadow pipits can be seen within 200m of the visitor centre and car park.
This trip will call at Flamborough Head on the way to Bempton and, if you are feeling energetic, you can take the walk along the cliffs between Flamborough and the reserve.
Facilities at Bempton include toilets, a tearoom offering hot drinks and snacks and a shop.

Time: All Day

Price: Price to be announced

Booking essential

Telephone: 01782 614535

E-mail: ik.worden@ntlworld.com

July 2021

Fri
23

Butterfly Walk - Silverdale Country Park 2021

Location: Cannel Row near Silverdale Enterprise Centre OS Ref: SJ812469
Directions: Take Scot Hay Road out of Silverdale, passing over two mini-roundabouts. You shortly come to a set of traffic lights, turn right (signposted Silverdale Enterprise Centre) onto Kents Lane, then right again onto Cannel Row. Park towards the end (it's a dead end).
Postcode: ST5 6SR (Google map)

Weather permitting, an al fresco lunch (bring your own picnic), will be followed by a two hour walk around Silverdale Country Park led by Geoff Sales. The area provides suitable habitat for a range of blues, browns, coppers, skippers and vanessids together with day-flying moths such as the 5-spot and 6-spot burnet moths. Then there are the dragonflies... so come along and enjoy an afternoon out of doors with plenty to see!
Leader - Geoff Sales (Mobile 07397 169452)

Time: Picnic 12.45 pm onwards; Guided Walk 1.30 pm.

Price: Free

Telephone: 01782519801

E-mail: roger_birch@btinternet.com