Local Outings Local Outings Programme 2016-17

We visit several locations in and around the London area every year by public transport.

The September 2017 - June 2018 programme will be published July/August

Hampstead Heath walks

Most Tuesday mornings throughout the year, weather permitting.
Several of our members meet for an informal and friendly stroll on Hampstead Heath to see what birds are around.
Members, non-members and visitors are welcome.
Walks last around two hours, usually finishing at Kenwood House for coffee/lunch at the Cafe.
Bring binoculars if you have them.
Meet - 10am, Parliament Hill Staff Yard, NW5 1QR. If you enter the Heath from Highgate Road, follow the path past the tennis courts. We meet at the junction of paths near the toilets, noticeboards, café and drinking fountain.
(If it's raining and there's no one at the meeting place/time, it may be worth trying the cafe.)
Also possible to come on to the Heath from Gospel Oak Overground Station.

Earlier this season

Saturday 17 September 2016
Rye Meads RSPB, Hertfordshire
Habitats: Wetland reserve beside the River Lee with reedbeds, wet meadows, open water and artificial sandbanks.
Species: Green and Common Sandpiper, Kingfisher, Snipe, Hobby.
Facilities: WC, Visitor Centre with hot drinks/snacks. £3 car park chage for non-members of the RSPB.
Reserve information
9 people gathered for a very cold visit to this reserve. Highlights Green Sandpiper and Snipe.

SUNDAY 9 October 2016
Hampstead Heath Walk jointly with London Natural History Society
20 of us met at Hampstead Heath Overground Station for a 10am start though only 2 of us went into Kenwood cafe for lunch, others preferring to find a less crowded place or having had to "peel off" earlier. Our party included the Chair of the London Bird Club as well as new MBS members, someone who'd Googled "London Birdwatching" and 12 year old Ben who was doing a school project on the Heath Ponds Project. The highlight of our enjoyable walk was undoubtedly the Kingfisher which posed for us a good 10 minutes!

Saturday 15 October 2016
Oare Marshes, Kent
Habitats: Grazing marsh, reedbed, saltmarsh and seawall.
Species: Autumn migratory birds as well as Godwit, Avocet, Golden Plover, Raptors, Owls.
6 people enjoyed a good day identifying 40 bird species including Spoonbill (a first for one of the party), Little Egret, Avocet. One highlight mentioned on the Heath walk the following Tuesday was the flock of Black-tailed Godwits which kept flying up every time a nearby Sparrowhawk moved.
Reserve information

Saturday 19 November 2016
Cheshunt, Lee Valley, Hertfordshire
Habitats: Wetlands and reservoirs with areas of reedbed.
Species: Bitterns overwinter, Peregrine, Water Rail, Goosander, wintering ducks.
Facilities: WC, Cafe in YHA near station, hot drinks at Bittern Information Point.
Despite delays caused by signalling problems on both tube and train, 17 of us gathered at Cheshunt for a wonderful walk through autumnal colours. Highlights included Stonechat and Snipe.
Reserve information

Saturday 17 December 2016
Regent's Park Pre-Christmas Bird Walk
Habitats: woodland, grassland, lakes.
22 of us, including several new or "not seen recently" folk, gathered for this annual walk which ended with lunch at the cafe. Sadly the Water Rail, which had been reported a couple of days earlier, failed to show itself but we were entertained by Shovelers going round in circles and a Dabchick tackling a rather large fish. It was, as ever, interesting to see the wildfowl collection offering good views of species seen in wild.
Reserve information

Saturday 21 January 2017
Rainham Marshes, Essex
Habitats: Medieval marshes next to the River Thames acquired by RSPB in 2000. Low-lying grazing marsh, reedbeds, wet grassland, ditches, scrub.
Species: Bullfinches, Ringed Plovers, Golden Plovers, Water And Rock Pipits, Little Egrets, Snipe, Chiffchaffs, Curlews, Lapwings, Dunlins, Redshanks, Shelducks, Peregrines, Kingfishers, Short-Eared Owls.
Facilities: WC. Hides and open viewing areas, Visitor Centre with cafe and shop.
A total 25 people took part in this outing on a very cold but beautiful day. The star bird was the single Waxwing perched near the centre all day. Other highlights included Water Rail, Stonechat and thrushes.
Reserve information

MONDAY 6 February 2017
Informal (about 2 hours) outing to explore Walthamstow Wetlands currently under development as a London Wildlife Trust reserve. A dozen MBS members gathered for the weekday extra Monday 6th February exploring the Walthamstow Reservoirs. The site is to open in September, with a visitor centre, as Walthamstow Wetlands. The highlights were good views of a Kingfisher and Peregrine. Also Grey Wagtail, Greater Black-Backed Gull and Shelduck. At the end of the walk 3 members of the group explored the reservoirs on the north side of Ferry Lane and were rewarded by a sighting of Goldeneye.

Saturday 18 February 2017
Stockers Lake, Rickmansworth, Herts
Habitats: Lakes, reedbeds, scrub, woodland.
Species: Goldeneye, goosander, smew, red-crested pochard, little owl, siskin, water rail.
Facilities: Hides. WC. Café at nearby Bury Lake.
Reserve information
This was a change to the published programme due to a disrupted train service for Blue House Farm. 14 of us gathered at Rickmansworth Station for the short walk to the lakes. We enjoyed the woodland walk and checked out the canal before going into the Stocker's Lake Nature Reserve. Lunch in the hides and, for most of the group, a warming cuppa and cake in the Cafe before returning to the station. We eventually saw the hoped for Goldeneye and Red Crested Pochard but also enjoyed the multiple sightings of Goldcrest.

Saturday 18 March 2017
London Wetland Centre
Habitats: Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust centre covering more than 100 acres of land formerly occupied by several small reservoirs. SSI in 2002.
Species: Sand Martin "bank", Lapwing, Dunlin, Common and Green Sandpipers, Snipe, Common Tern, early hirundines, Wagtails, Wheatear, Warblers e.g. Whitethroat, Blackcap.
Facilities: WC, Hides, Visitor centre with cafe and shop including birdwatching equipment.
14 people gathered to follow the South Route. We returned to the centre for lunch and a slightly smaller number took the West Route in the afternoon. We were sorry to miss a number of "target birds" which had been reported in recent days but were pleased to see our first Sand Martins of the year and a Wheatear. Other highlights included Sparrowhawk, Little Egrets, hearing several Cetti's Warbler. Best of all, following the sight of distant dots flying round Charing Cross Hospital, was a Peregrine sitting in the water below us.
Reserve information

Saturday 15 April 2017
Two Tree Island, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex
Habitats: grassland, scrub, reedbed and lagoons.
Species: Wide variety of birds particularly migrants. Also Curlew, Dunlin, Redshank, Grey Plover, Short-Eared Owls, Turnstone and Knot.
Facilities: Hides. WC and Refreshments at station.
Despite a cancelled train resulting in a delayed start, the group that gathered at Leigh on Sea enjoyed a fine day's birding. The highlight for many was a Cuckoo.
Reserve information

FRIDAY 19 May 2017
Hampstead Heath Stroll
Habitats: lakes, grassland, scrub, woodland.
Species: Kingfisher, Kestrel, Great Crested Grebe.
Stormy weather no doubt put people off but as 8 "usual suspects" joined David Allen at Hampstead Heath Overground Station the rain stopped and the wind dropped and it was really quite a nice evening. Highlights included Treecreeper, Green Woodpecker and Kingfisher.

Saturday 20 May 2017
Paxton Pits, Cambridgeshire
Habitats: 78 hectares in the Great Ouse Valley. Large water-filled gravel pits with islands; riverside, meadow, grassland, scrub, woodland, reedbed.
Species: up to 70 species of breeding birds, migrants passing through and Nightingale numbers at their peak.
Facilities: WC, Hides, Visitor Centre. Entry £2.50 including tea/coffee and biscuit.
Reserve information

Saturday 17 June 2017
Tring Reservoirs, Hertfordshire
Habitat: Four reservoirs next to Grand Union Canal – fen community, marshy grassland and open water.
Species: Wildfowl, Grebes, Waders, Warblers, Grey Wagtail, Bullfinch, Water Rail, Hobby.
Facilities: Hides. WC in Bluebell Tearooms with charity donation required for use. Plus Anglers Retreat pub.
Reserve information

Coach Outings

Our programme for 2016-17:

Local Outings


Reports on past outings and events:


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