We visit sites of birdwatching interest in Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire. We observe and identify birds in their natural habitat. This usually involves a walk of less than 3 miles along the coast, over the downs, near lakes and in the New Forest. Participants need binoculars, suitable footwear and all weather clothing.
Meetings are monthly on the 3rd Thursday morning of each month at various venues.
Proposed Schedule for 2015
In general meet 09:30 am on the 3rd Thursday of the month but check times on specific dates.
January 15th 09:30 a.m. – Longham Lakes
February 19th 09:30 a.m. – Pennington Marsh
March 19th 10:00 a.m. – Farlington Marsh (Langstone Harbour) (High tide will be at 10:00)
April 16th 10:00 a.m. – Portland Bill
May 21st 09:30 a.m. – Calshot Spit or Needs Ore Point or Beaulieu Road Station
June 18th 5:00 p.m. - Martin Down (afternoon/evening)
July 16th 9:00 p.m. – New Forest, Bramshaw Telegraph (Nightjars, Sunset 21:13, Dark 21:56)
August 20th – No Meeting
September 17th 09:30 a.m. – Arne heath
October 15th 09:30 a.m. – Christchurch Harbour/Hengistbury Head
November 19th 09:30 a.m. – Keyhaven
December 17th 09:30 a.m. – Blashford Lakes
Bird Watching Group Meeting –21st May 2015
Needs Ore Point - Notes
Present: Sue & John, Georgie, John S., Richard, Joyce & Terry, Jan & Len, Eve, Jenny, Alan.
Morning walk 09:30. Bright and sunny, dry, good visibility.
Salt marsh, shingle, scrub, meadow, hedgerow, pond, tidal river, reed bed.
Needs Ore Point is part of the Beaulieu Estate and we were met by the Estate Gamekeeper, Matt, who acted as our guide and told us what we might expect to see. This is also an internationally important SSSI and Matt told us about the land management work aimed at encouraging wintering wildfowl and springtime breeding populations, while operating a commercial farming estate.
One interesting item from Matt was about the breeding population of Black-headed Gulls, once the largest in Europe. The Estate for many years harvested the eggs of the gulls on a commercial basis, supplying the restaurant trade in London. When legislation was brought in offering greater protection to wildlife the collection of eggs was stopped. Curiously in the years after this the population of breeding gulls went into rapid decline. The reason behind this was that the nest site on the shingle spit chosen by the gulls was always inundated by the spring tides which destroyed many of the nests. However under the scheme by which the gulls’ nests were “robbed” before the spring tides the gulls set about pairing up again and re-establishing a new nest site and raising young. The original nest would have been destroyed by the high tides anyway. Under the “protected” scheme the parent birds were committed to brooding the eggs for longer and after the inundation of the nests it was then too late in the season to re-establish a new nest site. Fortunately with greater understanding of the ecology this decline has now been halted.
It’s never that simple though. With the decline in the population of Black-headed gulls there has been an increase in the breeding population of many waders such as Avocets, and Redshanks whose eggs and chicks were previously predated upon by the gulls.
It’s a delicate balancing act managing the ecology of a conservation area!
Avocets (chicks and nests)
Redshank with chicks
Great White Egret
Canada Geese and goslings
Greylag Geese and goslings
Reed warbler (call)
Next Meeting: June – Late afternoon meeting on 18th 17:00am at Martin Down.