News archive

February 2017

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Broadwater Warren

Broadwater Warren

Although we only had a short time at Broadwater Warren yesterday, two wood larks treated us to their melodious call and a third one was heard. We also saw four crossbills at the top of a pine tree and enjoyed a flock of redpoll and siskin feeding near the pond. Other birds seen included coal tit and goldcrest who were scouted out after their calls were heard.

Monday, 13 February 2017

RSPB Tonbridge Group Newsletter

RSPB Tonbridge Group Newsletter

Our latest newsletter is now available. Full of interesting news and articles, plus a tricky crossword for you to enjoy. If you are a local RSPB member you will be sent a copy by email, if that was your choice. Hand deliveries will be made by volunteers over the next few weeks.

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

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Tuesday, 7 February 2017

News from the RSPB's Weald reserves

News from the RSPB's Weald reserves

It's been a frosty month but that hasn't stopped us from blitzing the habitat management across the reserves before the spring time when the birds start nesting!

With the spring fast approaching, this month has been all about heathland management at Broadwater. Some of you may have noticed various compartments have been scraped of their top layer of humic soil by our contractors. This is because we are bringing back patches of heath to its pioneer phase to encourage the silver-studded blue butterfly. This rare butterfly has a restricted range but can occur in large numbers in suitable heathland or coastal habitats.

The work parties have been focusing on birch and pine clearing on the heathland and creating habitat piles. This tiring but rewarding work is very important for our bird species. Pine and Birch clearing stops succession from occurring and reduces nutrient enrichment. The heathland will develop into a more mature structure of heather which attracts our lowland heathland birds such as nightjar, woodlark and tree pipit, as well as the rare Dartford warbler. The habitat piles created from clearing also provide excellent nesting opportunities for various species such as whitethroats and stonechats.

Recent sightings on the reserve have included crossbills, stonechat, woodcock, snipe, reed bunting (which is an uncommon bird at Broadwater!), raven and Dartford warbler which were heard calling near the nightjar viewpoint! Strangely enough a ring-necked parakeet, a species never before seen on the reserve, has been spotted this month which brings our total to 92 bird species seen since the RSPB took over in 2007!

From 1st February dogs are required to be kept on leads and seasonal paths will close to reduce disturbance to ground nesting birds. Dogs let loose on the heathland will cause disturbance and flush out ground nesting birds and they may fail to return to their nests, so please help us protect our birds! Fly tipping has been witnessed in the car park at Broadwater and so if anyone sees anything suspicious please let us know and call 101 (police non-emergency number) to discourage further tipping.

At Tudeley we have been continuing with the ride work in the woodland, opening up the canopy to allow more light on the ground layer and to encourage scrub to develop. In the Valley Mire, our Tudeley team have been partaking in scrub clearance that has overgrown and outcompeted favoured Valley Mire vegetation. They have been working on a remnant patch of Valley Mire, full of lovely sphagnum moss and cross-leaved heather, and have been clearing outwards, removing birch, willow, alder and non-native rhododendrons. This restoration will take a few years but eventually it will allow the habitat to expand into freshly cleared patches, which will encourage dragonflies and wet-loving plants.

Recent sightings at Tudeley: siskins, bullfinch, woodcock, buzzard and kestrel.

Saturday 6th May - Dawn Chorus Wildlife Walk - 05:00am to 07:30am
Price: £6 (£4 for RSPB members) Booking essential. Meet in the reserve car park in Broadwater Forest Lane, near Tunbridge Wells:

Get up very early and be rewarded by the amazing experience of listening to the birds as they wake up one by one and are soon into full voice. Our experts will be on hand to help you distinguish between a melodious blackbird, a rather intense wren, a newly-arrived warbler and, perhaps, the beautiful song of the woodlark.

Saturday 20th May - Dormouse walk and talk - 09:00am to 12:00
Price: £15 (£10 for RSPB members), £5 for children. Booking essential. Meet in the reserve car park in Broadwater Forest Lane, near Tunbridge Wells:

Join our experts on a rare opportunity to see one of Britain's most elusive and adorable mammals. Dormice are a highly-protected species that very few people ever see. At this time of year they are coming out of hibernation and are often very sleepy so it's a great time to get a close-up view. Learn why our dormice population at Broadwater Warren is doing well as we explain our woodland management and our licence holders check the nestboxes that we use to monitor them.

To keep disturbance to a minimum there is a strict limit to the number of bookings for this event. Children are welcome but each child must be accompanied by an adult. Sorry, no dogs.

Thursday 25th May - Learning bird song - 07:00am to 10:00am
Price: £6 (£4 for RSPB members). Booking essential:

Bird song on the Broadwater Warren reserve is at its peak now so join Martin Allison, Freelance Ecologist and birding expert, for a leisurely stroll to see and hear our summer residents. He'll help you identify the songs you hear and the birds you see. Get to grips with those "little brown jobs" and listen out for the especially beautiful songs of the woodlark and tree pipit.

For more information or if you are interested in any of the work parties, please contact or the Wealden office on 01892 752431.