Newsletters

The Newsletter is prepared each month by the Newsletter Editor with input from the committee and the membership. The majority of Bird Group members now receive it by email. A printed copy is available at each of our Indoor Meetings for people who do not have email access. The content is mainly of interest to BG members; extracts which may be of wider interest are published here.

NEWSLETTER MARCH 2018

Tonight’s Meeting (Friday 23rd March)

Tonight we welcome as our speaker occasional visitor Keith Offord with a talk entitled “Where Griffons Soar”.

Keith is one of the most highly acclaimed ornithologists in the UK and is particularly recognised for his extensive knowledge of raptors, wildfowl and wading birds. Originally a zoology graduate from Liverpool University, he now works as a professional leader of UK and foreign bird watching tours and regularly gives lectures all over the UK to a wide range of societies including RSPB and photographic clubs.

Please join me in welcoming Keith for what I am sure will be a very entertaining evening.

COACH TRIPS

Our next coach trip is this weekend on Sunday 25th of March to RSPB reserve Middleton Lakes, departing from the Guild at 7:30am.

Middleton Lakes, nestled in the beautiful Tame valley just south of Tamworth on the Staffordshire/Warwickshire border, provides and protects a variety of habitats on reclaimed gravel extraction land. These include open water, wet grassland, reedbed, meadow and woodland.
The area is regionally important for overwintering wildfowl such as pochards, tufted ducks and smews. The lakes, reed beds, meadows and woodlands make it one of the best birdwatching sites in the Midlands.

The winter cold brings more species to the feeders, including lesser spotted woodpeckers. Frozen lakes force shy water rails into the open and even wintering bitterns can be seen on the reedbed fringes. Wildfowl and waders reach peak numbers with goldeneyes often found in the quieter pools and on the river. There are also impressive starling roosts. We last visited in 2014. There is no admittance fee.

Now for the bad news! British Summer Time begins on Sunday 25th March when the clocks go forward. Therefore please make sure you set your alarm clock 1 hour forward when you go to bed on Saturday evening.

Our next coach trip after that is to Rutland Water on Sunday 29th April, departing from the Guild at 7:30am.

WEEKEND TRIP TO WASHINGTON AND EAST LOTHIAN 17th – 19th FEBRUARY 2018

See Trip Reports section click here

NEXT MONTH’S MEETING

Our next meeting is on Friday 27th April at 7:15pm (note the earlier start time) and will commence with the AGM. Folowing that our speaker will be Jeff Clark with a talk entitled “How to build a naturalist”

Hope to see you all then.

NEWSLETTER CONTRIBUTIONS

Still required – your articles for the newsletter. Tell us all about that birding holiday of a lifetime or that unusual visitor to your garden bird table.

Deadline is the Friday before the meeting.

THE WAXWING

Waxwings are colourful winter visitors from Scandinavia. They are usually seen in large flocks often in unusual places such as supermarket car parks where they are attracted to the berries on the bushes planted there. This winter has been rather a poor year for Waxwing sightings with very few reported. However, in mid-February, a single individual was reported nearby in Poynton so a friend and I went for a look.

After being directed by a local dog walker we soon found it was in a small tree beside the main road through a residential area. There were no berries in sight anywhere (although the local gardens were mostly hidden behind high hedges and fences) so it was difficult to see what attracted it. According to locals, it usually stayed within a range of 5 or 6 trees along the road.

It remained for at least 2 weeks and provided an excellent viewing opportunity.

Waxwing.jpg

Robert D

NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 2018

Tonight’s Meeting (Friday 9th February)

Tonight we welcome first time visitor Dave Brotton who will give a talk entitled “Wildlife – Close to Home”. This is a change to the programme on your membership card.

Dave is a wildlife photographer based in Altrincham. He has been seriously taking wildlife photographs since 2009 but never had the time he wanted to dedicate to it until recently. He finished full time employment at the end of 2015 so took the opportunity to be a full time photographer.

As well as spending many hours around his local patch, he has been lucky enough to have travelled extensively and has had the chance to build up a large image library.

Please join me in welcoming Dave for what I am sure will be a very entertaining evening.

COACH TRIPS

Our February coach trip is the Weekend Away to East Lothian. See below for final departure information if you are coming on the trip.

After that the next coach trip is on Sunday 25th of March to RSPB reserve Middleton Lakes, departing from the Guild at 7:30am.

The area is regionally important for overwintering wildfowl such as pochards, tufted ducks and smews. The lakes, reedbeds, meadows and woodlands make it one of the best birdwatching sites in the Midlands. We last visited in 2014.

Since this coach trip is on the same weekend as the March indoor meeting it would be useful if you could show your interest and book at tonight’s meeting so that we can get an idea of numbers.

EAST LOTHIAN 17–19 FEBRUARY Pre-trip IMPORTANT INFORMATION

The East Lothian trip is almost here and below is some important pre-trip information.

The coach will leave promptly at 7.30am on SATURDAY 17 February from the usual pick-up place on the corner of Bourne St and Altrincham Road. Please arrive by 7.15am so that all the luggage can be loaded before departure time.

Cars can be parked at the back of the Guild for the weekend. Please make sure that you don’t park on the yellow-hatched lines.

If you haven’t already done so, please will you complete an ICE form and hand it to Barbara at the February meeting. There are still 13 outstanding!

We will be birding during the day before arriving at the hotel, so remember to bring your binoculars/telescopes etc and packed lunch onto the coach – do not leave them in your suitcase! Our main stop on the way up to Scotland will be at Washington Wetland Centre run by the World Wildfowl Trust. Entry is free to members of the WWT, but there is a charge for non-members. As a group we are eligible for a reduced group rate which is £6.60 concession and £8.75 for adults. So don’t forget to bring your WWT and RSPB cards with you!

There will be 28 members on the coach and therefore not much spare room. If you have a spare seat next to you, please will you accept day sacks etc from members sharing double seats.

Dinner is booked for 7.30pm on both days and breakfast for 8.00 am.

The dinner menu for Saturday will be circulated on the coach in the morning for you to make your choices, and similarly any booked packed lunches.

Finally let’s hope for another enjoyable trip with good birding.

BARBARA P

FAR INGS AND NORTH CAVE – 28th JANUARY 2018

See Trip Reports section click here

CAWOS INDOOR MEETINGS 2017 - 2018

CAWOS (Cheshire and Wirral Ornithological Society) to which the Guild Birdwatching Group is affiliated holds monthly meetings that may be of interest to our members.

Further details are available at http://www.cawos.org/indoor.htm

BIRDING IN COSTA RICA - MARCH 2017 & APRIL 2013

Please visit Peter's Page on the Group website click here

FORTHCOMING EVENTS ON THE DEE & MERSEY

Wirral Countryside Rangers and RSPB organise various birdwatching events every month that may be of interest to our members.

Details can be found at http://www.deeestuary.co.uk/

NEXT MONTH’S MEETING

Our next meeting is on Friday 23rd March at 7:30pm when our speaker will be Keith Offord with a talk entitled “Where Griffons Soar”

Hope to see you all then.

NEWS FROM THE GARDEN

Here are some of my sightings in the garden over the last month.

Garden1%20%2804%29%20Goldfinch%20%26%20Siskin%202_s.JPG

During one of our many snow flurries last month I had Goldfinch and Siskin on the feeders. There is usually a flock of 6-10 Goldfinches present most days but these were the first Siskins for some time. Both species are particularly keen on the sunflower hearts.

Garden1%20%2822%29%20Brambling_s.JPG

This handsome Brambling was a visitor for several days. It was present with a flock of Chaffinches and they all foraged together for scraps under the feeders.

Garden1%20%2830%29%20Jay_s.JPG

I had this Jay visit. Jays are very occasional visitors to the garden. They are always very shy and wary, never staying for long. This one foraged for a few scraps for less than a minute then was gone.

Garden1%20%2802%29%20Squirrel%20drinking_s.JPG

I mentioned my bird bath a few newsletters ago. I said that it wasn’t used just by the birds. Here is the proof.

ROBERT D

NEWSLETTER CONTRIBUTIONS

Still required – your articles for the newsletter. Tell us all about that birding holiday of a lifetime or that unusual visitor to your garden bird table.

Deadline is the Friday before the meeting.

ROBERT D

NEWSLETTER JANUARY 2018

Tonight’s Meeting (Friday 12th January)

A Happy New Year to all and welcome to our first meeting of 2018.

Tonight we welcome Pauline Greenhalgh who will show us her photographs and give a talk entitled “a Shot at Wildlife”.

Pauline has been ‘doing’ photography for nigh on 45 years now. The photography seriously took off in 2005 when she began to afford better cameras and lenses and moved from slide film to digital – and so bird photography is only a recent addition in the last 10 or 11 years – but she has packed some work into that time! She retired in 2009 and at that point she decided to concentrate her efforts and really live for photography!

Pauline last visited us just over a year ago in November 2016.

Please join me in welcoming Pauline for what I am sure will be a very entertaining evening.

COACH TRIPS

Our next coach trip is on Sunday 28th January to Far Ings and North Cave reserves, departing from the Guild at 8am.

Both reserves are predominantly wetland. Far Ings has extensive reedbeds where bittern and bearded tit are possible, and a view over the Humber Estuary for waders. North Cave Wetlands reserve has several ponds and wader scrapes as well as winter berry-bearing bushes round the perimeter. Angela Brown’s Wild Bird Cafe is on-site.
Both sites have numerous hides and feeders that attract small birds. Visitor facilities are available at both.

Please book your seat at the desk tonight.

Our February coach trip is the Weekend Away to East Lothian.

CAR TRIP TO Marbury Country Park – 9th December 2017

See Trip Reports section click here

CYPRUS BIRDING ONCE AGAIN – NOVEMBER 2017

Please visit Peter's Page on the Group website click here

CAWOS INDOOR MEETINGS 2017 - 2018

CAWOS (Cheshire and Wirral Ornithological Society) to which the Guild Birdwatching Group is affiliated holds monthly meetings that may be of interest to our members.

Further details are available at http://www.cawos.org/indoor.htm

FORTHCOMING EVENTS ON THE DEE & MERSEY

Wirral Countryside Rangers and RSPB organise various birdwatching events every month that may be of interest to our members.

Details can be found at http://www.deeestuary.co.uk/

NEXT MONTH’S MEETING

Our next meeting is again rather earlier in the month than usual, on Friday 9th February at 7:30pm. In a change to the advertised programme our speaker will be Dave Brotton with a talk entitled “Wildlife – Close to Home”

Hope to see you all then.

NEWSLETTER CONTRIBUTIONS

Still required – your articles for the newsletter. Tell us all about that birding holiday of a lifetime or that unusual visitor to your garden bird table.

Deadline is the Friday before the meeting.

ROBERT D

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