Trip reports

RSPB Arne Field Trip

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Sitting proudly on the top of a gorse bush bright with yellow flowers, a Dartford warbler showed himself. Bold ruddy chestnut below and grey brown above with tail cocked proudly high, crest flicking and red eye glinting, he delighted the group... More...

Normandy Marsh & Blackwater Arboretum

Saturday, 8 February 2020

A beautifully lit hawfinch perched as usual high in one of the tall conifers... More...

Drake teal profile

Monday, 27 January 2020

Wildfowl are in their breeding attire now and hence at their most colourful, so it was a delight to watch the drake teal displaying to their females... More...

Blashford Lakes

Thursday, 16 January 2020

There were plenty of duck on Ibsley Water. Surprisingly large numbers of pintail and pochard were joined by at least 6 goldeneye... More...

Milkham, New Forest

Monday, 16 December 2019

The highlight of the day - not the fat, red-coated, bearded man on a sledge but a ring-tail hen harrier. A ghostly vision that drifted serenely across the plain to fade in the brightening air... More...

Needs Ore Point

Saturday, 7 December 2019

A voice softly murmured that there was a peregrine falcon in a tree on the island. It sat on a branch at almost eye level, vigorously fluffing up its dappled feathers and preening itself. At first it looked pretty scruffy from all this maintenance work but when it shook everything back in place and turned to face the watchers it looked magnificent... More...

Studland & Shell Bay - Minibus Trip

Thursday, 28 November 2019

25 members gathered at Shell Bay on a gloriously sunny late autumn morning in search of sea-going winter visitors... More...

RSPB Radipole and Lodmoor, and Ferrybridge - Minibus Field Trip

Thursday, 3 October 2019

It's not often that you see the legs of a grey phalarope!... More...

Lepe Country Park and Shatterford, New Forest

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Amongst a large number (at least 30) of stonechats, two whinchats, their long-distance migrating cousins. As with the robins at Lepe, it seems likely that at least some of the stonechats were also moving south, albeit a much shorter distance... More...

Adult black-tailed godwit in summer plummage, at the RSPB Snettisham nature reserve, Norfolk

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Whilst no rare waders were recorded there were 10 species on show including black-tailed godwits and dunlin - many of both species still in fine summer plumage... More...

Keyhaven Trip Report

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

A whimbrel was heard and seen in flight and a single curlew sandpiper settled to feed among a small group of dunlin. Luckily it stayed for some time... More...

Turtle dove

Saturday, 13 July 2019

So, did we encounter turtle dove? Well, yes, but only one. A male sang his cat-like purr, from a dead tree, where he spent much of the morning... More...

Pig Bush, New Forest

Sunday, 16 June 2019

The highlight of the day was a young cuckoo, probably slightly bigger than an adult, being fed by a 'parent' meadow pipit, standing on the cuckoo's back... More...

NEW WALK - Old Sarum and River Avon

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

The weather had warmed up and the landscape was alive with birdsong and flying insects... More...

Yarner Wood & Steps Bridge - Minibus Trip

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Here another male pied flycatcher was "in residence", with a female close-by. He sang and wing-flicked. She was actively flycatching. We must have seen or heard at least a dozen of this rather charismatic species... More...

Foxbury Plantation, New Forest

Saturday, 11 May 2019

We were able to catch snatches of woodlark song, and spotted it against the grey sky as it sang and displayed, giving good views over several minutes... More...

Durlston Country Park - Minibus Field Trip

Monday, 29 April 2019

It was easy to distinguish the seven or so razorbills from the more numerous guillemots... More...

Titchfield Haven

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

The stars of the lagoons were the avocets, the crisp black and white plumage and the pale smoky-blue legs the epitome of elegance... More...

Blashford Lakes

Friday, 29 March 2019

A pair of goldeneye dived incessantly and five female goosanders lazily cruised the margins before roosting on the sandbar. More...

Bolderwood and Millyford Bridge, New Forest

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Goshawks were a highlight. At least three rode the wind over a distant tree line, masters of the air. One then made a long glide much closer, passing low in front of nearby trees before disappearing into the wood... More...

West Hayling and Farlington Marshes

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Numbers of pintails, the most refined and elegant of ducks, slept or fidgeted in the lake, silver-grey bodies striped with fine filigree black details... More...

Somerset Levels

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Wigeon glowed polished pewter in the sun, golden crowns bright over soft pink breasts. Shoveler and teal, sporting splendid breeding finery, and shiny tufted ducks, filled remaining spaces. No finer sight can exist in nature than vast numbers of ducks in late winter. Unless it is half a million starlings, perhaps... More...

Slimbridge - Minibus Trip

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

There were 110 swans and 144 geese on site, supported by thousands of other wildfowl and waders, all to be watched in the beautiful winter light... More...

Poole Harbour Cruise

Sunday, 16 December 2018

One of the undoubted highlights of the trip was a large party of bearded reedlings that Dick picked up furkling about and feeding right at the front of the reeds!... More...

Cadman's Pool and Holly Hatch, New Forest

Friday, 7 December 2018

Bramblings are great wanderers and Britain is at the extreme western edge of their wintering area... More...

Lower Test Marshes & Testwood Lakes

Saturday, 24 November 2018

A loud "swee swee" call drew our attention to two green sandpipers flying over the marsh. They settled on a tern raft... More...

Hengistbury Head and Stanpit Marsh

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Without any doubt the star of the day was a firecrest, bathing... More...

Pertwood Organic Farm

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

We could see the "YMCA" (Young Mice Catering Area - a mound of earth which acts as a "hotel" for mice, with a perch nearby to help owls catch their prey)... More...

Keyhaven in Autumn

Monday, 8 October 2018

A little further on in the lagoons we came across the first highlight of the day - the little stint... More...

Millyford Bridge, New Forest

Sunday, 30 September 2018

The highlight was telescope views of perched and feeding crossbills, the males looking impressive in the lovely light... More...

Pagham Harbour - Minibus Trip

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Janette spotted another herd of cattle, which was accompanied by 8 cattle egrets. Although the birds were quite distant, the telescope views in the superb afternoon light were very good... More...

Arne - Minibus Trip

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Its huge size was only revealed when a marsh harrier half heartedly tried to compete for the fish it carried in its talons. The harrier looked tiny alongside the osprey... More...

Puffin with sandeels in beak

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Several puffins, smaller and rounder, made repeated sorties out from the shore before circling back to land on the water just under the ledges... More...

Tree sparrow on twig

Thursday, 14 June 2018

At a farm near Avebury, the owner, David White, some help and advice from Conservation Advisor Nick Adams, has achieved some startling and heart-warming results... More...

Somerset Levels - Minibus Trip

Friday, 1 June 2018

The marsh harrier slowly glided down over the reeds where the bitterns had been and began hunting. One bittern burst upwards, threw back its head, arched itself and held up its claws in angry defiance. An extraordinary sight. It was joined by the second bittern and then both harriers moved away, still followed by lapwings... More...

Spotted flycatcher on perch

Saturday, 26 May 2018

There were good views of a pair of garden warblers and the first spotted flycatcher of this year for many of the group... More...

Hobby chasing dragonflies

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Bird of the day was undoubtedly the Hobby. Up to 6 were in the air at any one time, mostly at altitude, but sometimes at very low level... More...

Otmoor RSPB Reserve - Spring Minibus Trip

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Several snipe rose, wings beating frantically, high into the sky, before spreading their tails and falling to produce their iconic drumming sounds. It was a really prolonged display, with one circling around and around, shouting "chipper, chipper, chipper" to any listening females!... More...

Lepe Country Park & Shatterford

Monday, 9 April 2018

A Marsh Harrier flew northwards overhead, at a height which indicated it had come from some land much further south... More...

Portland & Weymouth Minibus Field Trip

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Janette found one of the two purple sandpipers resident here throughout the winter. As usual, it was picking over the surface of a rock, mostly on the seaward side, which kept it hidden for minutes on end. Ultimately, everyone had a good view of this scarce visitor, a first for several of the group... More...

UPTON COUNTRY PARK

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

On a cold but crystal clear sunny winter morning there was much to see and enjoy, without even looking at the cakes in the cafe... More...

Pertwood Organic Farm

Thursday, 8 February 2018

The trip was a wonderful walk with an inspiring guide around a place of hope and optimism. There were corn buntings and linnets, kites and kestrels, marsh tits and meadow pipits, yellowhammers and long-tailed tits... More...

RSPB NORMANDY MARSH & BLACKWATER ARBORETUM

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Hawfinches arrived in good numbers, many calling their far-carrying "tic-tic" contact call as they perched up in full view before disappearing to roost. In all, we estimated that up to 15 were seen... More...

Male goldeneye

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Four goldeneye and 2 pairs of red-breasted mergansers were soon 'scoped amongst the many great crested grebes. Further scanning revealed a distant red-necked grebe and a group of 4 black-necked grebes... More...

Ashley Walk - New Forest

Sunday, 7 January 2018

A firecrest was foraging through the holly: with its gaudy combination of bronze, olive-green and orange the firecrest is certainly an enchanting addition to Britain's fauna... More...

TITCHFIELD HAVEN

Friday, 15 December 2017

As we neared the visitor centre, we came across a small herd of photographers. The target for their monster lenses? A large, grey warbler hopping around in berry-covered bushes adjacent to the path. Barred warblers breed in Eastern Europe... More...

Avalon Marshes - Minibus Trip

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

What is now known as the Avalon Marshes is the result one of the most successful conservation projects of recent times in Southern England. It is by far the most important site in Britain for breeding herons. Great white egrets have not only established a breeding colony here but also stay the winter and are very visible... More...

BLASHFORD LAKES

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Most of the afternoon was spent in Goosander Hide. On entering the hide a kingfisher was spotted perched close by and we enjoyed prolonged views. The hide lived up to its name and around twenty very elegant goosanders were present... More...

FARLINGTON MARSHES

Saturday, 11 November 2017

We were pleased to find 3 knots and surprised to find a whimbrel which was relatively close and allowed us to clearly see the key identification features... More...

Milkham, New Forest - Own Transport Field Trip

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Two Dartford warblers finally showed well, making their hesitant stumbling flight from perch to perch and then cocking their long tails briefly before moving on... More...

LABRADOR BAY AND BOWLING GREEN MARSH - Minibus Field Trip

Thursday, 5 October 2017

At Labrador Bay, along a narrow strip of farmland right at the edge of the cliffs, the RSPB has created perfect habitat for them and they regularly oblige visitors by giving excellent views... More...

BOLDERWOOD AND BROOMY, New Forest Trip

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Stars of the day were two hawfinches feeding furiously in the topmost twigs of a tall conifer. In clear sight and good light all the colours of their plumage and their monstrous bills showed well... More...

Wiltshire Stone Curlews

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Some of the group got their first look at a stone curlew... More...

Needs Ore Point NNR, Beaulieu Estate - an Educational Visit

Saturday, 2 September 2017

A Redstart flew out to catch insects, and returned to the same bush, while a Stonechat sat nearby. A Whitethroat appeared to be eating blackberries, while a smart grey Lesser Whitethroat gave excellent views while eating haws... More...

Keyhaven in Late Summer

Monday, 14 August 2017

At the next corner a characteristic "ping" emanating from the reed bed made us stop and search, until eventually we had a brief glimpse of a bearded reedling... More...

Turtle dove

Saturday, 15 July 2017

After a short distance our bird of the day was located. A beautifully positioned turtle dove, high up on open branches, was easy to locate in the 'scopes and its distinctive purring call was heard by all... More...

Hobby chasing dragonflies

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The icing on the cake was a pair of perched hobbies - giving brilliant telescope views of their facial moustaches, red trousers and intricate streaking and barring... More...

Pair of kittiwakes on rock

Thursday, 22 June 2017

The best excitement was a lone shearwater, probably a Manx, gliding by about halfway out... More...

Bentley Wood and Pitton Down

Monday, 12 June 2017

A Downy Emerald and a Four-spotted Chaser (dragonflies) were seen... More...

Millyford Bridge - New Forest

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Fortunately our search for the wood warbler was successful. Eventually we could all hear the spinning sixpence song. It was difficult viewing but we'd finally found our sherbet sweetie... More...

Nightingale singing

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

As we finished our lunch we heard our first nightingale. It was in full song... More...

STANPIT MARSH AND HENGISTBURY HEAD

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

On the bank were grey plovers, two in full black and white formal dress for the season - stunning birds, transformed from their dowdy winter appearance... More...

BY BROOK AND LANGFORD LAKES

Monday, 10 April 2017

Softly brown and black with a startling bright white chest, several of these charming birds entertained with dashing low flights over the stream or perched, with their constant hypnotic bobbing, on low rocks and logs... More...

Keyhaven in Early Spring

Sunday, 19 March 2017

A very handsome drake garganey was watched in superb light... More...

Cadman's Pool and Holly Hatch, New Forest

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Above us we had the first of our numerous goshawk sightings. The phantoms of the forest were active all day: displaying and soaring... More...

Steart Marshes and Shapwick Heath - Minibus Trip

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Long strings of golden plovers roosted amongst lapwings along banks of vegetation across the marsh. They were fidgety and meticulously preening, their eponymous golden hue catching the meagre light... More...

Bolderwood and Mark Ash, New Forest

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Marsh tit, robins, numerous thrushes and a splendid male bullfinch foraged in the shelter of the trees... More...

Lower Pertwood Farm, Longbridge Deverill - Minibus Trip

Monday, 6 February 2017

We saw several extremely large flocks of Linnets, larger than I have ever seen elsewhere, several groups of Corn Buntings and Yellowhammers... More...

SLIMBRIDGE - Minibus Trip

Friday, 20 January 2017

We started our day looking in to the Rushy Pen. Here wild birds can be seen at extremely close range and this is the best place to watch the beautifully elegant, wild, Bewick's swans - with some birds only feet away from us... More...

Water rail feeding at waters edge

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Star of the day was the elusive water rail which chose a muddy pond close to the Woodland hide to abandon its normal shy caution and give the group prolonged close up views as it wandered over and under the fallen trees, poking at the debris beneath... More...

Poole Harbour Cruise

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

The highlight was stonking, prolonged views of a male bearded tit feeding on seedheads right by the boat on the Wareham Channel... More...

Needs Ore Point National Nature Reserve

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Curlews were bubbling across the salt marsh, spirited goldcrests foraged besides the track, and snipe, whose flight pattern seems to lack roll control, made repeated sorties overhead... More...

UPTON COUNTRY PARK - Minibus Trip

Saturday, 12 November 2016

The bird of the day was seen within the first few minutes, as a loud trill within feet of the group alerted us to a very watchable firecrest. The bird's lime green wings and stunning head pattern positively shone in the dull light, and for once we were not craning our necks to enjoy the experience... More...

Ashley Walk, New Forest

Thursday, 13 October 2016

We were in luck: a male ring ouzel was foraging amongst autumn's bounty of fruit. The bird's scaly plumage and white bib were obvious as was the silvery flash from its wings as it flew... More...

Ferrybridge, Radipole and Lodmoor

Sunday, 9 October 2016

A juvenile rose-coloured starling, far from its East European home, perched on top of a branch and then on a wire, showing its pale belly and yellow bill. A first for most of the group... More...

Keyhaven - Own Transport Field Trip

Monday, 26 September 2016

Two special sights competed for bird of the day. Very close to the path, a single ruff, elegant and refined, fed quite unconcerned by the presence of the group. Moving steadily back and forth, it gave exceptional views of a splendid and uncommon bird. More unusually, a little stint, clearly marked and patterned, sat and preened its glowing white chest in the sunshine... More...

Pagham Harbour Minibus Field Trip

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Restless yellow wagtails foraged between the feet of the local cattle. Black-tailed godwits in various plumages inhabited the pool. A long and cranked-winged bird of prey had tantalisingly dived behind distant trees: we waited patiently... More...

Bentley Wood and Pitton Down

Friday, 19 August 2016

The atmosphere of Bentley Wood and the view from the Clarendon Way footpath were a fitting finale to our summer programme... More...

Titchfield Haven

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Terns, dainty but powerful, so small and fragile but capable of huge migrations, really are most splendid creatures... More...

Winspit - Minibus Field Trip

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Along the cliffs a couple of peregrines provided great views as they patrolled the area, with sand martins and gannets providing further interest... More...

Dartford warbler perching on heather

Thursday, 19 May 2016

The Dartford warbler sat atop a gorse bush holding a fat brown caterpillar in its bill... More...

Somerset Levels - Minibus Trip

Saturday, 7 May 2016

An energetic black tern swooped and dived dramatically over the water as if it were a swallow. When it perched on a post alongside a common tern it was apparent how small this passage migrant was, although both were dwarfed by the black-headed gull sitting a couple of feet away... More...

Farlington Marshes

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

A lonely Whimbrel gave us good views... More...

Portland and Weymouth (Radipole Lake)

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Over the reeds two marsh harriers, legs dangling, made prolonged display flights, showing wonderful colours and markings as they twisted in the sun... More...

BLASHFORD LAKES

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

The first exciting spot was a pair of Little Ringed Plovers, recently arrived... More...

Lepe Country Park and Shatterford

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Suddenly, behind us on the Solent, a Great Northern Diver gracefully passed us by. It stayed in full view very close to the shoreline giving great views... More...

Cadman's Pool, New Forest

Saturday, 20 February 2016

No sooner had we decanted from our cars than a woodlark was spotted on the ground nearby, giving superb views of its short tail and bold white eyestripe. Seemingly oblivious of the interest it was causing... More...

Pertwood Organic Farm Minibus Trip

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Amongst the expansive rolling hills of south-west Wiltshire lies a gem: Pertwood Organic Farm, with it's flourishing farmland birds... More...

Shell Bay and Studland Minibus Trip

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

The light and visibility were excellent and it wasn't long before everyone had good looks at the grebes. At least 8 were actively diving for food, along with a number of great crested grebes and several pairs of red breasted mergansers. Some also had brief views of a very busy Slavonian grebe... More...

Somerset Levels Minibus Trip

Thursday, 21 January 2016

It was a scene from past days according to some of our more venerable members who remember lakes and ponds with this number of wildfowl present in winter as the norm!... More...

Water rail feeding at waters edge

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

On the point a common gull mixed with herring and black-headed gulls. Overhead were lesser black backs and standing like giant sentries, were menacing great black backs. There was a little gull, distant and airborne but seen by a few. A single Mediterranean gull seen late in the day made it seven gulls for the day... More...

Ashley Walk, New Forest - What a Lovely Day

Monday, 14 December 2015

Just above the crest, the tour de force of our walk, a male hen harrier, resplendent in its striking plumage; and to boot, a ringtail besides... More...

Lower Test Marshes and Testwood Lakes

Sunday, 22 November 2015

A green sandpiper then made an unannounced arrival: seeking shelter in the UK from the harsh climate of the Scandinavian and Siberian forests that are its main breeding grounds in summer... More...

RSPB Arne - Minibus Field Trip

Monday, 2 November 2015

There in front of us was a line of 23 birds all doing what spoonbills do best - absolutely nothing... More...

Stonehenge Downland Field Trip

Saturday, 24 October 2015

After lunch a wheatear, the bird of the day, appeared... More...

LABRADOR BAY AND BOWLING GREEN MARSH

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

The first few cirl buntings hid behind the vegetation teasing with only glimpses but, just a hundred yards or so from the car park, there was a group of ten or fifteen moving repeatedly from field to hedge and back again... More...

Portland - Minibus Field Trip

Monday, 14 September 2015

Bird watching conditions deteriorated and it was a struggle to stand up at times in the strengthening wind. A couple of terns were literally blown past with no chance of lingering... More...

Needs Ore Point NSNR, Hampshire

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Suddenly the male peregrine zoomed towards us, pulling up to intercept an osprey!... More...

SALISBURY PLAIN Minibus Trip

Monday, 31 August 2015

Ancient birds in an ancient landscape... More...

KEYHAVEN - 10 August 2015

Monday, 10 August 2015

The star turn of the day (!) was an adult black tern that was spotted flying west along the Solent, rather distantly, before obligingly stopping for a rest and preen with a small group of common and Sandwich terns... More...