News archive

August 2015

Friday, 21 August 2015

Migration is underway

Migration is underway

According to the BTO migration blogspot, autumn migration is already underway. Hirundines are already on the wing with several swifts being seen flying high south past coastal bird observatories, with over 4000 past Landguard, Suffolk in one morning. As for swallows, house martins and sand martins, they are feeding up ready for the big journey south to Africa.

Osprey have already bred in Scotland, Wales and some parts of England, but are now on their way south to their wintering grounds in Africa. In the past week or so, there have been 64 sightings of osprey across the UK, so there are definitely signs of migration happening right now.

Passerines are coming through, with 138 sightings of redstart, 177 of pied flycatcher, 21 of wood warbler and 258 of whinchat. A few scarcities have been seen too, with a small number icterine and barred warblers, red-backed shrikes, wrynecks, and even a bluethroat has been sighted.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Spotted flycatcher on perch

News from the RSPB's Weald reserves, Broadwater Warren and Tudeley Woods.

The main work on this reserve this winter will be the start of a project to restore Brakeybank Meadow. Contractors will begin in September with the task of removing over a hectare of encroaching scrub from the existing meadow boundary. With a further bit of ground clearance and some seed spreading, this should more than double the size of this incredibly diverse and rare habitat. Lowland meadows like this one nestled in the middle of Tudeley Woods have declined by a terrifying 97% over the last 30 years! A huge range of invertebrates, flowers and fungi all have a home in Brakeybank and with the planned improvements to the visitor infrastructure there, more people will be able to experience this idyllic spot in the future. Watch this space!

Highlights are the families of grey wagtails and spotted flycatchers that are hanging around together at the zigzag boardwalk at Broadwater. Out on the heath, woodlarks are feeding on the ground, sometimes with a few linnets or yellowhammers, and nightjars are still rearing their young on the nest before their mega migrations back to sub-Saharan Africa. Common and ruddy darter dragonflies have joined the aerial displays over the ponds, along with migrant and southern hawkers.

The heather at Broadwater will be at its best later this month. For a few weeks, the ground will be an amethyst carpet as the ling is in full bloom. Bright pink cross leaved heath and fuchsia bell heather add splashes of vibrant colour in clumps on mounds and along ride edges.

The final stage of major restoration work will begin next month, with large forestry machinery on site from September to March next year. This work will complete the significant habitat transformations from dense and unnatural conifer plantation into open heathland and diverse woodland. We will be leading a guided 'Walk with a Warden' to identify the upcoming changes and take a look at the areas already benefitting the restoration work.

This winter will see around 4 hectares of mature pines being cleared to return to heath and around a further 20 hectares of plantation selectively thinned from the woodland areas. For the safety of all persons on the reserve and for the security of the site, please adhere to any closures and stay clear of the loading bays. If you see any unauthorised persons or any suspicious behaviour in these areas, please contact us in the first instance: the RSPB Wealden Team 01892 752 430

Chloe Ryder will be leaving this week to take up a new role as Senior Warden at RSPB Budby South Forest, up in her motherland of Nottingham. We wish her all the very best.

Friday, 7 August 2015

RSPB Tonbridge Group Programme

The programme for this year is now available. You can download it here, fold it and keep it as a reminder of all the interesting talks coming up.

You may also be interested in coming on one of our Field Trips. They are a great opportunity to learn more about birds and you will be given lots of help to ensure you have a good time... though we can't guarantee the weather!

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Friday, 7 August 2015

RSPB Tonbridge Group Newsletter

The latest edition of our Group Newsletter is now available. If you are a local RSPB member you will be sent a copy by email, unless you have chosen not to receive your copy that way.

If you would like an early preview, or if you are not a member, you can download it here.

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