Local Outings Local Outings Programme 2021-22

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We normally, each September to June season, visit several locations in and around the London area by public transport.
Our new programme will be posted here late 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.
Although these walks are primarily for MBS members, newcomers and occasional visitors are welcome.
For further information contact Marion birdsmbs@yahoo.com or 07495760694
Please note these are not guided walks. There is no official leader. People attend at their own risk. That said, there will always be Heath regulars who may suggest variations on our route and we all pool our knowledge and expertise in terms of birds and other wildlife.
Walks last around two hours, usually finishing at Kenwood House for coffee/lunch at the Cafe though some people may follow a circular route back to Parliament Hill and some may choose to end up at South End Green.
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 - or nearest bench
and we have more recently been gathering off the path by the cricket pitch opposite the Cafe.
(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. Turn left along Gordon House Road, then left again at the Lido.
Then turn right on the main path to walk past cafe and meet at the junction of paths.


Earlier this season

Our first Local Outing of the current season was:
Saturday 16 October 2021
Rainham Marshes, Essex
Habitats: low-lying grazing marsh, reedbeds, wet grassland, ditches, scrub.
Species: Marsh Harrier, Bearded Tit, Grey and Golden Plover, Ruff, Curlew and many wildfowl.
Facilities: Hides and open viewing areas, "visitor centre" apparently closed but cafe, toilets and shop open.
Nearly 30 people gathered though the group were never all together at one time. Between us we saw and/or heard 51 species.
Highlights included Marsh Harrier, Avocet, Pintail, Bearded Tits... For ticklist as submitted to BirdTrack see Reports
Reserve information

Oare Marsh 20 November
Habitat: Grazing marsh, reedbed, saltmarsh and seawall.
Species: Wildfowl including Brent Geese, Teal, Wigeon, Pintail; Black-tailed Godwit, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Curlew; Peregrine, Marsh Harrier, (Hen Harrier & Merlin possible); Bearded Tit, Kingfisher; seals.
Facilities: Toilets at Faversham station. 2 Hides.
Reserve information


Regents Park pre-Christmas walk 18 December
17 people overcame tube strikes and ever-increasing Covid19 threats to gather in Regents Park for our traditional pre-Christmas walk round. The highlight was seeing the elusive Water Rail.


Cheshunt, Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Herts 15 January 2022
Habitat: Wetland, rivers and streams, open water, floodplain grassland, fen, wet woodland, some arable land.
Species: Bittern present Nov to Feb – all year round water birds plus Goosander, Goldeneye, Water Rail. Raptors, Buzzard, Kite.
Facilities: WC, refreshments, Hides.


Two Tree Island, Essex - Sat 12th February
Habitat: 640 acre Island of grassland, scrub, reedbed and lagoons.
Species: Many waders including Knot, Dunlin, Lapwing, Curlew, Grey Plover. Brent Geese, winter thrushes and a variety of ducks.
Facilities: Toilets and cafe at the station.
Reserve information


SUNDAY 20 February a joint walk with London Bird Club on Hampstead Heath
Wintering waterfowl and resident woodland birds including Nuthatch, Song and Mistle Thrush. Green Woodpecker on grassland.
10.30AM to 2.30PM. Meet outside Burgh House, at junction of New End Square and Well Walk, NW3 1LT.
Tube Hampstead on Northern Line (Not Hampstead Heath on London Overground).
Toilets on the Heath and at Kenwood House.


College Lake, Tring, Herts - Sat 19th March
Habitat: 65 hectare nature reserve in a former chalk quarry. Marshland and chalk grassland, woodland scrub and hedgerows.
Species: Waterbirds, Lapwing, Redshank, thrushes, finches, tits, Skylark, Kestrel
Facilities: Hides, visitor centre, toilets, shop, café
Reserve information


Saturday 23 April
Totteridge Valley and Darlands Lake

Habitat: The valley has a two brooks running through, contains Darlands Lake, with willow and sallow carr, also small patches of mixed woodland and a number of ancient hedgerows. Some arable farming with sheep pasture. Highwood Hill is one of the highest points in Middlesex – similar height to Hampstead Heath.
Species: Number of raptors, Buzzard, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Red Kite. Spring is good time for passage migrants, e.g. Spotted Flycatcher, Yellow Wagtail, Stonechat. Also warblers will have arrived, Black Cap, Willow & Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff, Whitethroat plus hirundines
Facilities: Toilets at the station. Cafe in Finchley Nurseries Garden Centre
Travel: Northern Line to Totteridge and Whetstone. Go to Orange Tree Pub, westerly direction.
20 min walk (0.8mile) or 6 minutes on bus 251 (Stop B opposite station) Meet at the Pub 10.30.
27 of us met at the Orange Tree pub though individuals and small groups left around the time of our lunch stop near the Garden Centre to make their various ways home - and seeing different birds on route. 36 bird species some more heard than seen. Highlights Whitethroat, Buzzard and Red Kite - and some people glimpsed a Swallow round the farm buildings.


Saturday 14 May
Paxton Pits, Cambridgeshire

Habitat: 78 hectares of lakes, riverside, meadow, reedbed, scrub and woodland situated in the valley of the Great Ouse.
Species: Sandmartin, Swallow, warblers including possible Garden Warblers, Common and Artic Tern, Hobby, Avocet and Nightingales - although numbers have fallen we may be lucky enough to hear them.
Facilities: Visitor Centre with toilets. Hot drinks and snacks.
12 of us made the train + taxi journey and were ready to set off from the Visitor Centre about 11am - returning just before the official closing time of 4pm - though they delayed closure long enough for us to by icecream and use the facilities. No Nightingales but 46 species seen and/or heard including Cuckoo - constant call + 2 sightings, Swallows skimming over the water and an amazing prolonged and varied song from a hidden Sedge Warbler.


Our last Local Outing of the season was
Saturday 18 June
Stockers Lake, Herts Wildlife Trust

Habitat: A large former gravel pit, with scrub marshland - the Grand Union canal, two other lakes, river and reed bed.
Species: Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, Common Terns, Little Egret, Swallow, Kingfisher, Waterfowl.
Facilities: Cafe with toilets at Bury Lake.
Travel: Metropolitan line or Chiltern Railways from Marylebone Station to Rickmansworth.



Coach Outings

Our programme for 2021-22:

Local Outings

Reports

Reports on past outings and events:

Reports

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