Bird-lovers make a flying visit to Wicken Fen

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RSPB members and non-members are very welcome to join the Hemel Hempstead group’s next shared car trip to the National Trust’s Wicken Fen reserve, near Ely in Cambridgeshire on Saturday.

Wicken Fen was the very first nature reserve to be owned by the National Trust and has been in their care since 1899. It remains one of the most important wetlands in Europe.

Please join us at our next meeting when there will be a RSPB film show including Born to Fly together with a short AGM. The meeting will be held in the main hall at Cavendish School, Warners End Road at 8pm on Monday.

For further information about the group, please contact leader Ian Wilson on 07929 997759 or for outing details Alan Corner on 01442 833585.

Otherwise, visit our website www.hemelrspb.org.uk

The group was enthralled at its Cavendish School venue by Chris Goodie who talked about his quest to see all 32 species of the extremely charismatic and colourful, but elusive Pitta bird.

This necessitated him travelling to several continents during the course of a year, often living in very basic conditions in the jungle.

He not only saw all of the currently known species, but also photographed some species never previously successfully captured on camera.

Eight members of the group had a very enjoyable spring day’s bird watching at the Wildlife Trust’s Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve near Coventry.

Set in 220 acres, this charming reserve is located around eight large pools created by gravel extraction. Together with reed beds and extensive woodlands, this provides a diverse habitat for numerous species, which can be viewed from the seven hides.

Given the recent weather it was a pleasure to see (and hear singing) so many migrant bird species, especially warblers.

These included close views of chiffchaff, common and lesser whitethroat, willow warbler, Cetti’s warbler, reed warbler, sedge warbler and blackcap.

Other migrants seen were sand martin, house martin, swallow and heard (but not seen) the cuckoo. Waders were represented by redshank, dunlin, common sandpiper, snipe, lapwing, oystercatcher, and both little ringed plover and ringed plover.

Outings leader Alan Corner said: “More than 57 bird species were seen by the group. The volunteers who worked on the reserve had created an exceptional area of diverse habitats next to the River Avon.

“The reserve is suitable for wheelchair access to view not only birds but also butterflies and banks of beautiful Primroses and Cowslips.”