Bird Watching & Natural History Group
Meets on the fourth Thursday of the month. We usually self-drive to local sites for a 10:30 start or occasionally meet at Wickes to consolidate cars if the destination has limited parking, or for minibus trips further afield. For the latest information, see the 'Stop Press' below.
We visit excellent bird-watching areas (RSPB, Wiltshire and Hampshire Wildlife Trusts, County Nature Reserves etc) and thoroughly enjoy ourselves increasing our ornithological knowledge. None of us is expert and we welcome new members irrespective of previous experience. The best way to find out about us is to come and see. You can be assured of a warm welcome.
Co-Ordinator: Roger Bennett 01264 351137
Secretary: Robert Kemp 01264 711008
or email to: email@example.com
The Bird Watching and Natural History Interest Group have had an enforced hiatus for a few months due to ill health. However we have just run our first visit of 2019, a very enjoyable minibus outing to WWT Slimbridge, (see the report here) and have now arranged our programme of visits for 2019/20. If you would like to be added to our email distribution list, please contact Robert Kemp.
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THURSDAY 28TH NOVEMBER 2019 – LANGFORD LAKES
What better way to remember our past secretary Roger Beaumont than a November visit to Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s Langford Lakes Nature Reserve on the river Wylye. This will be a self-drive visit and will be led by Ernie Hughes. Donations to WWT.
Meet at the Reserve Carpark, Duck Street, Hanging Langford SP3 4NH at 10:15 for a 10:30 start. Journey time via the A303, Berwick St James and Steeple Langford is 40 minutes. There are picnic facilities for our hardier members, but we will also be booking a table for lunch at the Rainbow on the Lake Inn which overlooks the reserve.
THURSDAY 23RD JANUARY 2020 – FISHLAKE MEADOWS
Hampshire Wildlife Trust’s Fishlake Meadows Nature Reserve on the river Test near Romsey is an unusual floodplain habitat rarely seen in our chalk river valleys. Egrets, numerous wildfowl and occasionally ospreys are winter visitors. New paths and viewing facilities have recently been installed by the Trust. This will be a self-drive visit, meeting on site at 10:30, and will be led by Robert Kemp. Donations to HWT. The Water Garden Café at the adjacent World of Water aquatic centre serves light lunches.
TUESDAY 25TH FEBRUARY 2020 – SWINDON LAGOONS
This recently established Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Reserve, on the site of the old Thames Water sewage works on the River Ray, is managed by volunteers and is not open to the public. There are 15 lagoons on the 23 hectare site. This will be a car-share visit leaving from Wickes at about 09:15 and will be led by the WWT warden. Donations to WWT. Winter visitors include snipe, sandpipers and shovelers. There are no facilities on the site but there are a couple of nice cafes nearby
THURSDAY 26TH MARCH 2020 – TITCHFIELD HAVEN
Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve covers 369 acres of the Meon Valley. New paths and hides have been constructed on the eastern bank of the river since we were last there. This will be a self-drive visit, meeting on site at 10:30. The cost is £6 per person payable on entry. Our morning guided walk will be led by the Reserve Warden. The cosy café serves lunch, after which members will be free to explore the rest of the reserve and the neighbouring shoreline.
THURSDAY 23RD APRIL 2020 – GREYWELL MOORS
Hampshire Wildlife Trust’s Greywell Moors Nature Reserve on the river Whitewater near Hook is a nationally important fenland, renowned for its population of sedges, rushes, mosses and liverworts, as well as southern marsh orchids, hemp agrimony and purple and yellow loosestrife. It is a small reserve, only 11 hectares, the northern section of which is not open to the public; we should see reed warblers, reed buntings and sparrowhawks. This will be a self-drive visit, meeting on site at 10:30, and will be led by the HWT warden. Donations to HWT. The Fox & Goose Inn at the entrance to the reserve serves a good pub lunch.
THURSDAY 28TH MAY 2020 – WINTERBOURNE DOWNS
The new chalk mounds, scrapes and pond will now be maturing at RSPB Wiltshire’s main Winterbourne Downs Nature Reserve at Manor Farm in Newton Toney. The wildflower meadows will be full of butterflies and moths, and the downs will be hosting skylarks, lapwings and yellowhammers, as well as red kites and the ubiquitous stone curlews. This will be a self-drive visit, meeting on site at 10:30, and will be led by an RSPB warden. Donations to RSPB. There are limited picnic facilities on site but the nearby Cholderton Estate Farm Shop serves a range of light lunches while the Crown Inn is at hand for a more substantial repast.
THURSDAY 25TH JUNE 2020 – ANTON LAKES
A summer walk around our town lakes which are so well looked after by our friends at The Anton River Conservation Association. This will be a self-drive visit, meeting on site at 10:30, and will be led by a TARCA volunteer.
THURSDAY 24TH SEPTEMBER 2020 – HYTHE SPARTINA MARSH
We will need our wellington boots for our first visit to Hampshire Wildlife’s Trust’s Nature Reserve at Hythe Spartina Marsh on Southampton Water. This small coastal nature reserve is tidal and is made up of saltmarsh, mudflats and creeks. It is internationally recognised for its importance for birds, including oystercatchers, and also offers some spectacular views. Described by HWT as their ‘must-visit nature reserve for anyone with an interest in birding’ this will be a car-share visit leaving from Wickes before lunch. Actual timings will depend on the tidal forecast and will be published nearer the date.
THURSDAY 22ND OCTOBER 2020 – BLASHFORD LAKES
Hampshire Wildlife’s Trust’s flagship Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve in the disused gravel pits near Ringwood already has six bird hides and 8km of gravel paths. Major new investment funded by the Veolia Environmental Trust will add a new pond and boardwalk, a new Tern hide, a wildlife sculpture trail and several new visitor facilities by Summer 2020. This will be a self-drive visit, meeting on site at 10:30. Minimum £4 donations to HWT.
THURSDAY 26TH NOVEMBER 2020 – ARNE
Our last two visits to RSPB Dorset’s main Arne Nature Reserve on Poole Harbour have ‘fallen fowl’ of the weather and travel delays, so we will end our 2020 programme with another visit. If we are third time lucky, we should see avocets, dunlins and other waders including spoonbills. This will be a full day’s outing by minibus at a cost of £9 per person. There is an excellent café on site.