Local Outings Local Outings Programme 2023-24

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In addition to weekly walks on Hampstead Heath which continue throught the year, we normally, each September to June season, visit several locations in and around the London area by public transport.
MBS Membership covers the September - June programme each year. Our 2023-24 season is now complete. Details of outings below. The new programme will be posted here in 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.
The Google directions to that postcode are a bit misleading. Aim for the Parliament Hill Cafe on the map. Or follow directions below. If you enter the Heath from Highgate Road, follow the path past the tennis courts. Or there's a diagonal path just beyond the William Ellis School bus stop which by-passes the tennis courts and bowling green.
We meet at the junction of paths near the toilets, noticeboards, caf and drinking fountain - or nearest bench
and we usually take a look at the cricket pitch opposite the Cafe so may be hidden from the path.
(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 onto the Heath by the Lido. Continue uphill (past the Lido on your left) and turn right on the main path to walk past band stand and cafe on your left and meet at the junction of paths.

Saturday Local Outings

Earlier this season

Saturday 16 September 2023
Loddon Nature Reserve Twyford,
Reading, Berkshire, RG10 9RR
Habitat: This is a 14-hectare reserve on the edge of the village of Twyford. It contains a flooded gravel pit with several islands and a ragged, scrubby fringe that skirts around the shallows. Wetland and woodland.
Species: Wetland birds, songbirds in the scrub areas plus woodland birds.
Facilities: Toilets at the station. A Costa Coffee halfway to the reserve where there are also toilets.
Travel: Take the Elizabeth line or GWR from Paddington to Twyford Station. Freedom pass holders can travel all the way for free if using the Elizabeth Line.
Reserve information
About 25 people joined this 1st Local Outing of the season. Highlights included Kingfisher flyby, lots of Red Kites, Treecreeper, Shoveler and Gadwall and maybe a dozen Great Crested Grebes. See Reports

Saturday 21 October 2023
Rainham Marshes RSPB, Essex
- Habitat: RSPB nature reserve adjacent to the Thames estuary. Large area of wetland, a woodland walk, ditches and scrub.
Species: Marsh Harrier, Bearded Tit, Avocet, Peregrine, variety of waders, autumn migrants passing through.
Facilities: Hides and open viewing areas, Visitor Centre with cafe, shop and toilets.
Travel: Fenchurch Street to Purfleet Station. 15-20 minute walk to the reserve. Meet at reserve 10.30.
17 MBS Members gathered for this outing when we saw/heard 55 species. Highlights included Barn Owl, Ruff, Black Tailed Godwits, good views of Kestrel and Marsh Harriers, Seals... and spectacular skies as the weather veered between sunshine and showers.
Reserve information

Saturday 18 November 2023
Rye Meads RSPB, Herts

Habitat: Rye Meads is a 58.5 hectare wetland reserve and biological Site of Special Scientific Interest in Rye House, Hertfordshire, beside the River Lee.
Species: Green and Common Sandpiper, Kingfisher, Snipe, Redshank, Water Rail. Winter visitors such as Fieldfare and Redwing likely to have arrived.
Facilities: Visitor centre, hot drinks/snacks and toilets.
Travel: Liverpool Street Station to Rye House Station. Meet 10.30. 400yds/366m to Visitor Centre
17 members went on this outing despite a dreadful weather forecast which proved wrong as it barely rained and the temperature was quite mild. Highlights among the 40 species seen/heard were Green Sandpiper, Common Snipe, Grey Wagtail and Water Rail.
Reserve information

Saturday 16 December 2023
Regents Park pre-Christmas walk

Woodland and water birds. 32 members and friends gathered for our traditional informal bird walk which ended as usual in the cafe. Highlight of our 35 species was undoubtedly the Water Rail. Reserve information

Saturday 20 January 2024
Two Tree Island, Essex

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.
Travel: London Fenchurch Street to Leigh on Sea. Meet 10.30. 5 minute walk to the reserve.
Reserve information
20 people met up at Leigh-on-Sea for our Local Outing to Two Tree Island on a particularly cold day with ice on the channels, ponds and lagoon throughout the day. Concensus was nevertheless that we'd had a good day with over 50 species. Highlights included good views of Avocet close to as well as seeing huge flocks of Brent Geese, Wigeon and Teal.

Saturday 17 February 2024
Stockers Lake, Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust

Habitat: A large former gravel pit in the Colne valley, with scrub marshland - the Grand Union canal, two other lakes, river and reed bed.
Species: Wintering ducks, possible Smew, Goosander and Goldeneye. Resident birds include Kingfisher, Water Rail and gulls.
Facilities: Toilets at station. Cafe with toilets at Bury Lake.
Travel: Metropolitan line or Chiltern Railways from Marylebone Station to Rickmansworth.
Reserve information 19 MBS Members and friends gathered at Rickmansworth for this Local Outing. Given that our leader had sent out a Wellies Alert and the weather forecast was for more rain, we were very lucky with the weather. It was too wet and muddy underfoot to go all the way round Stocker's Lake but the woodland walk was open - unlike the previous Tuesday - and had about 55 species (tbc) including, thanks to George and Graeme with their telescopes, Fieldfare and a perched Sparrowhawk. Goldeneye being another highlight.

Saturday 16 March 2024
Having discovered difficulties travelling to the new site we'd proposed, we returned to a tried and tested site.
Amwell Nature Reserve, Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust
Habitat: An SSSI with 4 accessible lakes, reedbeds, grassland, scrub and woodland.
Species: In the spring and autumn, depending on the water levels, the site can attract a good selection of waders particularly Redshank, Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Green Sandpiper and Common Sandpiper but also occasional Dunlin, Greenshank and Wood Sandpiper. Possible bittern which has not left its wintering site yet.
Facilities: No facilities on site but the Jolly Fisherman is en route, opens at 11.00, where toilets are available for the price of a coffee.
Travel: Liverpool St station to St Margarets (Herts). Meet at the station 10.30. 15 minute walk to the reserve.
Reserve information
16 birders joined this local outing to Amwell cheered by a lovely sunny and bright March morning which clouded over after lunch. Highlight was an initially tricky view - enhanced by Maria's telescope - of a Jack Snipe. Good views too of Grey Wagtail, Red Kite, Buzzard and 15+ Common Gull.

Saturday 20 April 2024
NEW Wat Tyler Country Park, Pitsea, Essex

Habitat: 50 hectare park which is also an SSSI. Contains a large reedbed, meadows and hedgerows as well as muddy creeks.
Species: Bearded Tit, Reed and Sedge Warblers. Waders, ducks, hedgerow birds, Skylark.
Facilities: Toilets at station. Visitor Centre with cafe and toilets.
Travel: Train Fenchurch Street to Pitsea. Meet 10.30am Pitsea station. 17 min walk to Park entrance
17 birders turned up for this first MBS outing to Wat Tyler Country Park - indeed, at lunchtime, we met another 2 who had come by car and not found the group gathered at Pitsea station. 48 bird species, more heard than seen, included singing Blackcaps, nesting Little Grebes, Grasshopper Warbler, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat and Willow Warbler.
Reserve information

Saturday 11 May 2024
Cheshunt, Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Herts

Habitat: Wetland, rivers and streams, open water, floodplain grassland, fen, wet woodland, some arable land.
Species: Cuckoo, Common Tern, spring warblers inc Garden Warbler and possible Nightingale and Hobby.
Facilities: Cafe in YHA, Toilets at the station and at Fishers Green. Hides. Hot drinks at the Wildlife Discovery Centre.
Travel: Liverpool St to Cheshunt via Tottenham Hale or longer London Overground jny via Seven Sisters which is covered by Freedom Pass.
Meet 10.30 at Cheshunt Station and short walk across railway line to reserve.
There was a bit more coming and going than usual on this Local Outing with 16-20 birders on site and in contact. Nightingales didn't perform as well as we'd hoped but we did hear some singing and one was seen. One person saw the Cuckoo we all heard. Lots of warblers heard (and some seen) and we all enjoyed the sunshine!
Reserve information

Saturday 15 June 2024
Fairlop Waters Nature Reserve, Ilford, Essex

Habitat: Five lakes, ponds, a stream, farmland, quarry, woodland and heathland.
Species: Little Owl, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Woodpeckers, Skylark. Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat. House and Sand Martins, Swallows and Swifts.
Facilities: Cafe and toilets
Travel: Fairlop underground is on the Central Line. (About 36 mins on tube from Tottenham Court Rd station). 6-minute walk to Fairlop Waters - left along Forest Road with entrance to the Country Park opposite Forest Farm Shop. Or cross the road by the station, for an earlier entrance following an off road path.
Meet outside the bar/restaurant at 10.30.
7 of us made it Fairlop Waters on a day of sun, wind and rain. We managed to time our lunch stop in the centre to coincide with the worst of the downpours. 48 species seen/heard including warblers, masses of geese and lots of low-flying Swifts, Swallows and House Martins.
Reserve information

Coach Outings

Our programme for 2023-24:

Local Outings


Reports on past outings and events:


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