Trip reports

Rutland Water Nature Reserve

Sunday, 19 November 2017

An unusual problem for a November trip - the sun is too bright to see the birds! More...

RSPB Pulborough Brooks Reserve, East Sussex.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

As we continued along the trail, a warden gave us news that a great grey shrike was visible from the West Mead hide but when we arrived it hadn't been seen for about 15 minutes...... More...

RSPB Middleton Lakes, Staffordshire.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

The only waders to be found were lapwings, and for some people, a green sandpiper. There were a few great crested grebes still with stripy-headed young, a little grebe and a little egret but the star bird was a great white egret. More...

male stonechat perched on bramble

Sunday, 11 June 2017

A daytime, rather than our usual evening walk, found 30+ species though not the elusive woodlark... More...

Paxton Pits Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

In the many areas of scrub we got views of lesser and common whitethroat, blackcap and long tailed tits. Chiffchaffs and willow warblers were heard but, sadly, only one nightingale. More...

Group Holiday to Suffolk.

Monday, 15 May 2017

For our four-day group holiday for 13 members, we were based just north of Woodbridge at the Ufford Park Hotel. To break our journey to Suffolk on the Monday, we stopped off at Lackford Lakes Wildlife Trust reserve just outside Bury St Edmunds. More...

Beaulieu Road Station

Sunday, 30 April 2017

On leaving the car park, we first checked the conifers across the road for breeding crossbills but none were present. Nonetheless we did have our only sighting of a woodlark, along with a stonechat, in among the gorse. More...

Keyhaven and Pennington Marshes, Hants.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

On arrival, just a few yards from the coach, our first bird was a distant marsh harrier, skimming over reeds inland. We set off along the sea wall in glorious sunshine with a cool easterly breeze. More...

Spade Oak Nature Reserve, Little Marlow, Bucks.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Great crested grebes were giving occasional courtship displays and, on the island, cormorants and grey herons were busy nest building. There must have been about a dozen grey herons on the reserve. More...

Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve and Draycote Water, Warwickshire.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Just beyond the visitor centre was a stand of alders where we spent some time watching a small mixed flock of siskins, redpolls and blue tits - a nice start to the day. More...

Bury Down, Berkshire.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

To our great delight a short-eared owl flew up over some rough grass and scrub and landed in a small bush about 70m away. We all had good views through a telescope. More...

Blashford Lakes and Stanpit Marsh Nature Reserves.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Most of us saw one of the reserve's regulars, a great white egret, and some also saw one of the two black-necked grebes reported on the reserve's sightings board. One of our group also spotted the ring-billed gull that had been seen during the preceding week. More...

male stonechat perched on bramble

Sunday, 16 October 2016

The weather forecast was for a dry day with some sunshine, so heavy rain on the coach journey south was a little worrying... More...

RSPB Pagham Harbour and Medmerry.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

The muddy creeks overlooking the harbour held a few redshanks, little egrets, greenshanks, ruff, oystercatchers and good numbers of curlew. Rather special were a couple of curlew sandpipers. More...

Group Holiday to Spanish Pyrennees and Picos de Europa.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Our hotel in the Pyrenees was high up in the Hecho Valley, with stunning views over high craggy peaks. Griffin and Egyptian vultures regularly appeared overhead before breakfast and a lovely variety of alpine flowers and bee orchids flourished nearby. More...

Wyre Forest Nature Reserve.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

In the woodland, close to the farm, with a little patience, we got to see at least three pied flycatchers that were making use of nest boxes attached to oak trees. More...

Durlston Country Park and Studland Heath NNR, Dorset.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Within a few yards of the visitor centre we found a firecrest feeding in the holm oaks. Constantly moving but fairly close-by it occasionally gave some good views. More...

Summer Leys Nature Reserve.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Moving on around the reserve we found the female scaup that had been reported on site the day before. More...

Curlew standing on weed, County Cork, Ireland

Sunday, 21 February 2016

In the meadows, skylarks were singing briefly, meadow pipits were up and down and good views were had of a peregrine sat on a grass hummock with some sheep close by. More...

Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetland Trust Reserve.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Looking out from the Rushy hide across scrapes and grassland revealed an amazing mass of birds. There must have been about 100 pintails ........... More...

Wilstone Reservoir and College Lake Wildlife Trust Reserve.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Several great crested grebes were present, along with a single little grebe. Wildfowl species included teal, shoveler, tufted duck, mallard and gadwall along with just a single goldeneye. More...

Pulborough RSPB Reserve, Sussex.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Almost our first bird of the day was a Dartford warbler flitting between scrubby vegetation and a wire fence just outside the visitor centre. This lasted for about 10 minutes and then it disappeared but thankfully most of the group did get a view - what a start! More...

Titchfield Haven, NNR, Hampshire.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

In the reserve up to eight bearded tits were seen in the reed beds together with a wood sandpiper and a green sandpiper. More...

Arne RSPB Reserve, Dorset.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Looking down onto the edge of Middlebere Lake, a lone yellow-legged gull was on a post and approximately 900 black-tailed godwits were quietly resting on the water's edge. More...

Greenham Common.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Then, much earlier than usual, we heard the first nightjar's rattling, reeling song from trees to our left. After a prolonged pause, it flew to trees immediately opposite us, where it sang again. More...

Highnam Woods and Nagshead RSPB Reserves.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

A few of us also saw redstarts, tree pipits and a treecreeper, but the day's star species was undoubtedly a very obliging, singing wood warbler with a territory near the visitor centre. More...

Holiday to North Wales

Monday, 18 May 2015

Travelling north on the Monday we had lunch and a birding stop at the RSPB's Lake Vyrnwy reserve. Amazingly, our first views from the car park hide were pied flycatcher, great spotted woodpecker, marsh and coal tit, nuthatch and siskin. More...

Attenborough Nature Reserve.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

On arrival, we were greeted by the news of a vagrant night heron discovered on site only a few hours earlier .... More...

London Wetland Centre (Barnes).

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Without doubt, the day's star species were the bitterns; were there two of them, or just the one moving around? More...

Brownsea Island and Poole Harbour

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Great northern divers proved elusive but a long-tailed duck turned up trumps More...

Cotswold Water Park.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

We were pleased to see several red-crested pochards on the lake adjacent to the car park, but these paled into insignificance when we reached the lake near Lower Mill, because here there were almost 40 in the bright sunshine and close to the shore, all in full breeding plumage. More...

RSPB Rainham Marshes.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

It was a very wet day when 24 of us visited this relatively new RSPB reserve on the Thames estuary, just east of London. More...

Farlington Marshes.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

The tide was low when we arrived; Langstone Harbour, which borders the east, south and west sides of the reserve, was an expanse of mud with shallow, water-filled channels, ideal for waterfowl and wading birds. More...

Keyhaven and Pennington Marshes.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

After walking just a couple of hundred metres along the path, there were oystercatchers, curlews, turnstones, dunlins and redshanks feeding on the edge of a shingle-bank at harbour entrance and a couple of stonechats on the gorse bushes on the landward side. More...

Greenham Common.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

We started out by walking a short way along the northern taxiway of this former military airfield. More...

The New Forest.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

On leaving the coach we heard a cuckoo calling in the distance and immediately spotted a kestrel and, sitting as expected on the top of a clump of gorse, a male stonechat. More...

Cliffe Pools RSPB Reserve.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

A small flock of swifts overhead greeted our arrival and we heard the first of several male cuckoos calling. More...

Wilstone Reservoir and College Lake.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

On scanning the water from the top of the surrounding bund, many coots and tufted ducks, and a few great-crested grebes, were evident, but the species that caught and held our attention for some time were the large flocks of sand martins that were passing through intermittently, spending 10 minutes or so to feed over the water. More...

Rutland Water.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Hundreds of coots had congregated in Heron Bay; plus a few small flocks of goldeneyes, the males trying to impress the females with their courtship displays, which involved tossing the head back onto the back and then stretching the neck up with the bill pointing upwards. More...

Slimbridge WWT.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

We heard the distinct deep trilling calls of common cranes in the distance and several flew into view; three landing, the others flying on. More...

Bury Down, Berkshire.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

As expected these days, our first bird was a red kite, almost stationary at times during its glide along the escarpment. More...

Elmley Marshes.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Wildfowl species, mainly wigeon and teal, were on the pools near to the Kingshill Farm car park, and a couple of peregrine falcons and a buzzard were perched on nearby fence posts. More...

Pagham Harbour, RSPB.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Low tide was an hour after our arrival and once we'd left the extensive area of reeds, with its small hidden saline creeks, we were able to view some of the many birds feeding and loafing on the vast expanse of exposed mud in this former harbour. More...

Portland Bill and Lodmoor Reserve.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

From the cliff-top, a low-flying flock of around 30 common scoters caught our attention and we had good views of them as they rounded Pulpit Rock and headed off into the distance. More...

Greenham Common.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

One of our members with exceptional hearing picked up a woodlark's song. And there it was! More...

Nightingale singing

Sunday, 19 May 2013

On our arrival, one of the wardens told us that, so far, they had counted 23 singing male nightingales. More...

Group Holiday to Northumberland.

Monday, 13 May 2013

On a cool overcast Monday, 15 group members set off on the 330 mile journey to Beadnell in Northumberland. More...

Durlston Country Park and Studland Heath

Sunday, 28 April 2013

We were pleased to include black redstarts in a bird list of over 50 species on this trip to the Jurassic coast. More...

Chew Valley Lake.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Among the dabbling duck species here was a lone male ruddy duck, maybe one of the few left in the country! More...

Rainham Marshes RSPB Reserve.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

We arrived about an hour after low tide and most of us wanted to look over the exposed mud and scrub along the estuary before the water rose again. More...

Water rail feeding at waters edge

Sunday, 9 December 2012

We firstly went to the nearby Bittern Hide which overlooks the small reed-bed on the edge of Seventy Acre Lake where a bittern had been occasionally seen, but not for a couple of days. More...

Rushy Common.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Over the previous week there had been a lot of rain and by the morning of our walk virtually all the county's rivers were on red flood alert. More...

Pulborough Brooks RSPB Reserve.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Just after our arrival at the reserve's visitor centre a water rail emerged from some low scrub adjacent to the building and began to feed in the short grass. More...

Rectory Farm, Water Stratford, Buckingham.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Over 70 species of wild birds have been recorded on the farm, including the grey partridge which has been re-introduced. More...

Arne RSPB Reserve.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

After collecting leaflets describing the reserve from the Warden at the Visitor Centre, most of us walked the northern area of the site during the morning, the highlight being a flock of 17 spoonbills, loafing and preening among curlews, redshanks and little egrets, on a sandy bank just off-shore. More...

Rutland Water.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

The less common species on the day: pintails, shovelers, pochards, little-ringed plovers, dunlins, ruffs, green sandpipers, common snipe and common redshanks, seemed to favour a particular lagoon ....... More...

Greenham Common, Berkshire.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

It had become quite dark by the time we'd moved on to a recently clear-felled area with a few birch trees and a dense field layer where we soon saw a roding woodcock and, after some churring song, a nightjar which on several occasions flew over to where we were standing. More...

Wytham Woods

Monday, 21 May 2012

As the sun went down we got our first glimpse of a badger... More...

Wyre Forest

Sunday, 20 May 2012

We were dropped off on the edge of the town of Bewdley, close to the start of our walk up the small Dowles Brook valley. More...

Rutland Water.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

From the visitor centre's first-floor viewing area, we soon saw around a dozen of both little egrets and black-tailed godwits, several of the latter in full breeding plumage ....... More...

Male goldeneye

Sunday, 18 March 2012

A green woodpecker feeding in the short grass between the hide and the water was suddenly joined by a wheatear which had flown in low over the adjacent scrape. More...

Group Holiday to Southern Morocco.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

In the Atlas Mountains, with the peaks covered in snow, the temperature was rather low. Near the snow line we eventually found target species for the area: crimson-winged finch, Atlas horned lark and rock sparrow. More...

Marsh Harrier (female), close up of head

Saturday, 18 February 2012

In the eastern part of the reserve, two marsh harriers were hunting, with one eventually coming very close to us. More...

Slimbridge WWT Reserve

Sunday, 22 January 2012

The bittern appeared by lunch time and spent half-an-hour outside the reed-bed, providing good views both for photographers and those just watching. More...

Blashford Lakes and Stanpit Marsh Reserve

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Then, on to Stanpit Marsh Reserve, an SSSI managed by Christchurch Borough Council and a short drive away, where the day's top bird for most of us, a glossy ibis, was watched close-to. More...

Farlington Marshes, Hampshire

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Large flocks of waders and wildfowl and a few 'gems' made for an enjoyable and rewarding trip. More...

Group Holiday to Norfolk

Monday, 19 September 2011

Calling in en route at Grafham Water, Cambridgeshire got us off to a very good start with close up views of a grey phalarope and a Sabine's gull still mainly in its breeding plumage. More...

Keyhaven and Pennington Marshes, Hampshire.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Further along the path on one of the inland lagoons good views were had of a curlew sandpiper, spotted redshank and three little stints. More...

Snelsmore Common, Berkshire.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

The sky was cloudless and dusk was a long time approaching before the first woodcock began roding in a large, circuitous route around us, calling occasionally. More...

Highnam Woods & Nagshead RSPB Reserves

Sunday, 22 May 2011

The highlight of the day for the lucky few was the sighting of a goshawk, flying fast and low from one side of the track to the other. More...

Portland Bill and Lodmoor RSPB Reserve, Dorset

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Then, on to Lodmoor, where four whimbrels were loafing with the wildfowl and the day's star bird, a long-billed dowitcher, provided good views for everyone in our party. More...

London Wetland Centre WWT, Barnes

Sunday, 20 March 2011

We arrived just as the entrance door opened and, on our way to the hides, a flock of siskins in an alder tree gave really good views. Some people also saw lesser redpolls in the same tree later. More...

Elmley Marsh RSPB Reserve

Sunday, 20 February 2011

The airborne flocks of wading birds were truly spectacular, swirling in the distance under the grey overcast sky like drifting smoke. More...

Poole Harbour, Brownsea Island and Blashford Lakes

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Despite a high tide, there were plenty of water birds giving good views; a couple of spoonbills were among the many avocets. More...

Bury Down, Berkshire

Sunday, 12 December 2010

On arrival, we were immediately greeted by calling and singing corn buntings, perched on fence wires; a common buzzard perched on the top of a nearby hedge and a gliding red kite. More...

Group Holiday to The Gambia

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

The range of birds seen was tremendous - over 30 different Raptors, some very close by; 9 different Kingfishers including the Giant Kingfisher, the size of a crow; 8 different Bee-eaters all multi-coloured; 7 different Sunbirds with a range of iridescent colouring; plus such beauties as the Black Crowned Crane, Egyptian Plover, Greater Painted-Snipe, Abyssinian Roller, Green Turaco, Bearded Barbet, White Helmet-Shrike - the list goes on. More...

Rutland Water

Sunday, 21 November 2010

On arrival, we learned that a lesser yellowlegs, a grey phalarope, several ruffs, an avocet and a smew had been spotted on various parts of the reserve. More...

Water rail feeding at waters edge

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Almost straightaway, we had good views of a water rail, one of several present on the Reserve, foraging, walking and swimming along the reedbed edge. More...

Dartford warbler perching on heather

Sunday, 19 September 2010

On arrival the warden showed us a fine roosting male tawny owl near the information centre, a highlight for one young visitor. More...

Sunset over Cliffe, Kent

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Roding woodcocks eventually appeared. Later, in the dusk, a nightjar started to churr, then appeared in silhouette on overhead wires before flying towards us and disappearing into the darkening shrubs. More...

Beaulieu Road Station, New Forest, Hants

Sunday, 16 May 2010

When the coach with 26 of us aboard travelled south the weather was overcast with occasional spots of light rain and a light breeze, and this was how it remained all day. We had a good start at Beaulieu Road where a flock of about 30 common crossbills were flitting about in the top of the grove of Scots pine trees, a stonechat was perched in the top of a gorse bush and a skylark was singing on the heath. More...

Otmoor RSPB Reserve, Oxon

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

When David Wilding, the Reserve Manager, met the 10 Oxford Local Group members who'd turned up at ten o'clock for a guided walk around the reserve the morning was fine and sunny but with the threat of a heavy shower. Around the car park willow warblers, chiffchaffs, common whitethroats, a turtle dove and a yellowhammer were some of the birds singing. More...

Little Paxton Pits, Cambridgeshire

Sunday, 18 April 2010

With glorious weather: sunshine, little wind and a temperature of 17C, we arrived at the reserve. Two species which, due to their abundance, we were to hear and see throughout the day were willow warbler and blackcap. More...

Wilstone Reservoir and College Lake BBOWT Reserve

Sunday, 14 March 2010

On a cool, bright and windy morning eight of us travelled by car to Wilstone Reservoir. The sun was a problem for us here, reflecting off the water as well as shining directly into our eyes. More...

Pulborough Brooks RSPB Reserve

Sunday, 21 February 2010

On a day of prolonged heavy showers 47 of us travelled to West Sussex. More...

Slimbridge WWT Reserve

Sunday, 17 January 2010

In a change of plan we abandoned a trip to Welney and the Ouse Washes because of flooding and visited Slimbridge instead. More...