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.

April 2018

Sun
22

Birdwatching Trip to Rutland Water 2018

Location: Rutland Water, near Oakham, Rutland.
Postcode: LE15 8BT (Google map)

This is a coach visit organised by the North Staffs Group and open to any bird watchers or nature watchers.
This extensive reserve has a variety of habitats, including three large lagoons, providing suitable haunts for a wide variety of waders and wildfowl throughout the year. On our last visit, the warden's introductory talk was interrupted by the appearance of tree sparrows right in front of the visitor centre window. There are more than ten hides to make use of on the reserve.
Areas of willow scrub and young plantations attract warblers, nightingales and other passerines. There are ancient hay meadows, small areas of ancient woodland and hedges which help to encourage species of wild flowers, butterflies and moths that are rare elsewhere. The highlight of our last visit was the breeding ospreys and we hope to see them again on this visit as they start nesting.
Facilities include toilets and shop. Refreshments and hot drinks are available.

Time: All Day

Price: Price to be announced

Booking essential

Telephone: 01782 614535

E-mail: ik.worden@ntlworld.com

Thu
26

Bins and Boots Walk - Consall Nature Park 2018

Location: Consall Country Park, (off A522 near Cellarhead). Meet at the Visitor Centre car park
Landranger: SJ993485
Postcode: ST9 0AF (Google map)

This is a guided walk organised by the North Staffs Group and open to any bird watchers or nature watchers.
Consall Country Park is situated within the beautiful valley of the River Churnet. Part of the park is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and here the emphasis is on nature conservation, whilst at the same time welcoming the public to enjoy the paths and wildlife. The Visitor Centre provides displays and exhibitions on the varied and dramatic past of the valley and its present natural history interests. Toilet facilities are provided. Some parts of the walk may be steep.
Leader: Geoff Sales

Time: 10.00 am

Price: Free

Telephone: 01782 618152

E-mail: sgeoff31@gmail.com

May 2018

Thu
3

Car Share Birding Trip to RSPB Middleton Lakes

Location: RSPB Middleton Lakes, near Tamworth - Landranger: SP192967
Meet at the reserve car park, post code B78 2AE. No admission charge.
Go via A34 and A51 to Lichfield; take A38 south, then on to A446. Go left onto A4091, then right onto Bodymoor Heath Road. Alternatively, go M6-A5-A38 then as above.

Postcode: B78 2AE (Google map)

Nestled in the beautiful Tame valley, just south of Tamworth on the Staffordshire/Warwickshire border, Middleton Lakes is the RSPB's new nature reserve in Staffordshire. The reserve will become the most important site for breeding waders in the Midlands. The lakes, reedbeds, meadows and woodlands make it one of the best birdwatching sites in the area. Well worth a visit. For further information on the reserve visit www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/m/middletonlakes/index.aspx
These car-share trips usually continue into the afternoon so remember to bring a packed lunch if you do not wish to use the café near the reserve in the grounds of Middleton Hall.
Leader - Roger Birch

Time: 10.30 am

Price: Share cost of petrol for the journey.

Booking essential

Telephone: 01782 519801

E-mail: sgeoff31@gmail.com

Wed
16

May Indoor Meeting 2018

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

ASHLEY GROVE
WONDERFUL WINTER WILDLIFE
Brought up in the Warwickshire countryside, it was hard for Ashley not to develop an interest in wildlife, and in particular birds. Those early years of birding gave him invaluable experience when he turned wildlife photographer in 2005. Now a full time photographer covering a wide range of subjects, Ashley says, 'now at least I have an excuse to get out and about more and further enhance my portfolio of wildlife and landscape images.'
Ashley has recently spent time in the Cairngorms in search of ptarmigan and snow bunting as part of the research for his latest talk 'Wonderful Winter Wildlife'. Come along this evening and hear about his latest exploits in search of wildlife and experience an array superb photographic imagery.
SPONSORED BY: TONIGHT'S SPEAKER
www.ashleygrovewildimages.co.uk

Time: 7.30 pm

Price: Group Member £2.50, Non-members £4.00 and Children under 16 (accompanied by an adult) Free

Telephone: 01782 618152

E-mail: sgeoff31@gmail.com

Sun
20

Birdwatching Trip to RSPB Newport Wetlands 2018

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

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

Tue
22

Bins and Boots Walk - Church Lawton Woodlands 2018

Location: Church Lawton Woodlands. OS Ref SJ821557
Take the A34 to Red Bull traffic lights. Turn left towards Alsager on to the A50. Turn right after about a mile into Church Lane. Look out for the parish notice board sited on the main road. Park near to All Saints Church, Church Lane, Liverpool Road West, Church Lawton.
No toilets
Latitude/longitude: 53.098198,-2.268777 (Google map)

This is a guided walk organised by the North Staffs Group and open to any bird watchers or nature watchers.
Formerly part of the Lawton Hall Estate, these mature woodlands hold most of our woodland bird species. There is also a 7 acre lake which, although private, can be viewed from the public footpath.
Leader: Peter Durnall

Time: 10.00 am

Price: Free

Telephone: 01782 618152

E-mail: sgeoff31@gmail.com

June 2018

Thu
7

Bins and Boots Walk - Dimmingsdale - 2018

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

Price: Free

Telephone: 01782 618152

E-mail: sgeoff31@gmail.com

Sun
10

Birdwatching Trip to RSPB Lakenheath Fen 2018

Location: RSPB Lakenheath, Suffolk.
Postcode: IP27 9AD (Google map)

This is a coach visit organised by the North Staffs Group and open to any bird watchers or nature watchers. Until 1995, when Lakenheath Fen was purchased by the RSPB , the land now forming the reserve was heavily farmed arable land. Since then the 740-acre site has been turned back into reed beds and grazing marshes that would once have been common in the area. A number of sluices were installed to enable water levels to be controlled. In addition to the existing ditches, over 4 km of water channels were dug to re-circulate water around the site. Despite being created recently Lakenheath Fen is a haven for wildlife and the number of birds seen at the reserve has increased significantly. The reserve is notable for its breeding golden orioles and also common cranes have been found to be breeding at the Fen for what is believed to be the first time in 400 years. Other highlights include cuckoo, hobby, bearded tit, marsh harrier, water rail and reed warblers, all of which breed on the reserve in increasing numbers. We might even get lucky and see a turtle dove, one of the summer star birds on this reserve.
Facilities include a visitor centre, toilets, four viewing points and one hide.

Time: All Day

Price: Price to be announced

Booking essential

Telephone: 01782 614535

E-mail: ik.worden@ntlworld.com

July 2018

Fri
20

Butterfly & Botany Walk - Silverdale Country Park 2018

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 local butterfly expert Dave Emley. 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!
Geoff Sales' Mobile 07397 169452

Time: Picnic 12.45 pm onwards; Guided Walk 1.00 pm.

Price: Free

Telephone: 01782 618152

E-mail: sgeoff31@gmail.com

September 2018

Wed
19

September Indoor Meeting 2018

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

SECRET WILDLIFE OF THE FOREST OF DEAN
NICK MARTIN
Nick has worked in conservation for over 20 years, now working full time as Site Manager for RSPB at Middleton Lakes. He is a lifelong naturalist and passionate wildlife enthusiast and photographer.
Join us tonight for an illustrated talk on the beautiful Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, home to a wide range of woodland wildlife including many secretive animals and birds. We'll look for the elusive goshawk, the shy dipper and the exotic mandarin duck. Find out where adders hide, dormice feed and about the exciting return of the wild boar to the woodland scene.

Time: 7.30 pm

Price: Group Member £2.50, Non-members £4.00 and Children under 16 (accompanied by an adult) Free

Telephone: 01782 618152

E-mail: sgeoff31@gmail.com

Sun
23

Birdwatching Trip to RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands 2018

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 fourth 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 autumn with the chance of passage migrants. The reserve is well-watched as many scarce migrant birds have been seen in previous years, including little stints, green, curlew and wood sandpipers. Little egret numbers are at their highest now as the chicks have fledged and large roosts make it worthwhile being here just before dusk. Also, small numbers of wild geese begin to arrive.
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

October 2018

Wed
17

October Indoor Meeting 2018

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

THE CHILDREN'S ETERNAL FOREST
MICHAEL LEACH
Long term members of the Group will need no introduction to Michael Leach. For those of you who have missed his earlier talks here are just a few reasons why you should not miss this one. Michael Leach has been a full-time wildlife author and photographer since 1977. He has travelled extensively to track down some of the world's most charismatic wildlife; working with polar bears in the Arctic, lemurs in Madagascar, mountain gorillas in Rwanda, orang-utans in Borneo, sperm whales around the Azores, monkeys in the Amazon rainforest and countless other species in their natural habitats. During this time he has seen birds and animals demonstrating some truly surprising behaviour.
Bosque Eterno de los Ninos is vast, one of the largest wildlife reserves in Central America. This cloud forest is home to howler monkeys, sloths, sabre-winged hummingbirds and species still undiscovered by science. It was saved by children - from around the world. They raised funds and contributed pocket money until there was enough to buy the forest. The children rescued a hugely important habitat and gave it, for ever, to the wildlife it supports. This talk tells the story of the forest and its salvation.
www.michael-leach.co.uk

Time: 7.30 pm

Price: Group Member £2.50, Non-members £4.00 and Children under 16 (accompanied by an adult) Free

Telephone: 01782 618152

E-mail: sgeoff31@gmail.com

Sun
21

Birdwatching Trip to Spurn Point 2018

Location: Spurn Point, Humberside, East Yorkshire.
Postcode: HU12 0UB (Google map)

This is a coach visit organised by the North Staffs Group and open to any bird watchers or nature watchers.
Spurn is one of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust's most iconic nature reserves. It is a wildlife-rich mosaic of beach, mudflats, saltmarsh, dunes, grassland, open water, saline lagoons and native sea buckthorn scrub.
Curlew, grey plover and knot use the saltmarsh to roost at high tide. Look out for merlin and peregrine which cause panic among the flocks of roosting waders when they start to hunt. Shelduck and brent geese are conspicuous on the mudflats at this time of year. Due to its prominent position, huge numbers of birds pass through Spurn during the autumn migration. The number and type of bird present varies literally from week to week and is influenced by the weather conditions.
At the crossroads, before you turn towards Spurn, there is the Spurn Heritage Coast Visitors Centre which has a small café. At the entrance to Spurn Point Nature Reserve is an information centre and bird observatory and the last toilet on Spurn.

Time: All Day

Price: Price to be announced

Booking essential

Telephone: 01782 614535

E-mail: ik.worden@ntlworld.com

November 2018

Wed
14

November Indoor Meeting 2018

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

MISTLETOE: FACT, MYTH & LEGEND
MIKE JONES
Dr Michael Jones is a retired Science Lecturer from Newman University, Birmingham. His interest in mistletoes derives from his post-doctoral research into parasitic plants (his PhD was on the parasitic genus of flowering plants, the Orobanche). More recently, his research has focused on the biology and cultural associations of mistletoes. Mike has worked in education, both here in the UK and in Africa and has always enjoyed sharing his enthusiasm for all aspects of natural history.
In this evening's talk Mike uncovers the mysteries of mistletoe, including an exploration of the role of birds in mistletoe seed dispersal.

Time: 7.30 pm

Price: Group Member £2.50, Non-members £4.00 and Children under 16 (accompanied by an adult) Free

Telephone: 01782 618152

E-mail: sgeoff31@gmail.com

Sun
18

Birdwatching Trip to WWT Martin Mere 2018

Location: WWT Martin Mere, near Burscough, Lancashire
Postcode: L40 0TA (Google map)

This is a coach visit organised by the North Staffs Group and open to any bird watchers or nature watchers. Those of you who are regular trip members need no introduction to Martin Mere. This WWT reserve, featuring nine hides, is best known for the thousands of pink-footed geese it attracts each winter and for its internationally important numbers of migrant whooper swans. You may also like to take a leisurely stroll through the extensive series of enclosures featuring wildfowl collected from all around the world.
The feeding station (i.e. the restaurant) is extremely comfortable and sells a wide range of delicious goodies.

Time: All Day

Price: Price to be announced

Booking essential

Telephone: 01782 614535

E-mail: ik.worden@ntlworld.com

December 2018

Wed
12

December Indoor Meeting 2018

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

SCILLY PELAGIC MAGIC
JIM ALMOND
Jim, a retired Biomedical Scientist, is no stranger to the Group, having spoken to us as recently as February 2013, when he gave a superb talk with spectacular photographs about a birding 'long weekend' in Vancouver.
He usually talks about land based birding, especially in his home county of Shropshire, but this time he has ventured off shore. After 18 pelagic trips from St Mary's on Scilly, Jim has plenty of photos and stories to tell! From the ubiquitous gulls, fulmars and gannets, there are rarer sightings of skuas, petrels and shearwaters, together with dolphins and sunfish, plus some of the blue sharks landed for tagging studies. Jim will share some of his most exhilarating birding moments ever, including an epic encounter with a Fea's Petrel.

Time: 7.30 pm

Price: Group Member £2.50, Non-members £4.00 and Children under 16 (accompanied by an adult) Free

Telephone: 01782 618152

E-mail: sgeoff31@gmail.com

January 2019

Sun
20

Birdwatching Trip to RSPB Old Moor 2019

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 2019

Sun
24

Birdwatching Trip to Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve 2019

Location: Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve, near Coventry
Postcode: CV3 3GW (Google map)

This is a coach visit organised by the North Staffs Group and open to any bird watchers or nature watchers.
Brandon Marsh is a superb mosaic of open water, wetland and grassland which attracts a wonderful variety of wildlife. It is especially important for birds throughout the year. At the end of the nineteenth century the area was enclosed farmland with two small woodlands and small wetland areas in the flood plain of the River Avon. Today the landscape is totally different due to coal mining causing subsidence which led to the formation of "Brandon Floods", a large lake linked directly to the river, which first attracted wetland birds and birdwatchers to the site. Then from the 1950's to the 1980's quarrying creating further areas of open water and opportunities for wetland plants to colonise. Birdwatchers worked alongside the gravel company to enhance the area's wildlife value. In 1973 the importance of the site was recognised through its designation as Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Then in 1981 Warwickshire Wildlife Trust entered into a formal agreement with the gravel company and has worked in partnership with the volunteer group and the company to create the marsh of today. Quarrying ceased in 1989 and today all that remains is a superb wetland nature reserve.
Facilities include visitor centre, tea room, eight hides, toilets and a shop.

Time: All Day

Price: Price to be announced

Booking essential

Telephone: 01782 614535

E-mail: ik.worden@ntlworld.com

March 2019

Sun
24

Birdwatching Trip to Far Ings 2019

Location: RSPB Far Ings Nature Reserve, Lincolshire
Postcode: DN18 5RG (Google map)

This is a coach trip organised by the North Staffs Group and open to any bird watchers or nature watchers. Ings is an old English word for wet pastures. Far Ings lies to the west of Barton and, before the embankment was built , was part of the Humber flood plain. Since Roman times the underlying clay has been used to make bricks and tiles. Supplies of clay began to run out during the early 20th century when many yards were abandoned. The clay workings soon filled with water and were colonised by reed and willow, forming a haven for many wildflowers, insects and birds. In 1983 the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust acquired the 100 acres of old pits which now form the Far Ings Nature Reserve. The varied habitats support more than 230 species of wild flowers, 50 nesting bird species, and a wealth of invertebrates including more than 250 species of moths. The reserve is well known for its wildfowl, bittern, bearded tits and marsh harrier. There are three way-marked trails with seven hides.
The Visitor Centre provides commanding views of the reserve and there are displays which help visitors to understand and appreciate the wildlife of the nature reserve. There is also a shop which sells wildlife gifts and souvenirs.

Time: All Day

Price: Price to be announced

Booking essential

Telephone: 01782 614535

E-mail: ik.worden@ntlworld.com