WBC Programme of Events for 2018

 

A BirdTrack start to your BirdTrack year?

A BirdTrack start to your BirdTrack year?

Monday 1 – Wednesday 3 January 2018

As a variation to the standard January 1 st bird race, this event will be a three-day contest
enabling members to go birding at their leisure. The race will begin at 6am on January 1st
and finish at 6pm at The Dragon, Bungay on January 3rd. Competitors will play in teams (no
more than six in a team) with details of team members up front by December 25 th to
kpiotrowski@btinternet.com ). The rules are as follows:

 Bird anywhere in the Suffolk or Norfolk on any or all of the three days
 Records should be eventually submitted onto the BTO’s BirdTrack system
 Teams will need to note and list all species seen or heard
 You can also nominate gardens and post somebody to record what they see on any
or all of the three days
 The Trophy will go to the team with the highest number of different species recorded

Talk by David Lindo – “Tales from Concrete Jungles”

Talk by David Lindo – “Tales from Concrete Jungles”

Tuesday 16 January

David Lindo, also known as The Urban Birder, has visited over 270 cities worldwide in search of
urban birds. During his travels he has found a surprising number of committed conservationists,
interesting birding locations and importantly, many birds. Join him on his journey in and around some
of the world's urban areas.

The Cut in Halesworth
Doors Open at: 6.30pm
£10 per ticket – available from The Cut’s box office

Heveningham Hall Conservation Day and Treasure Hunt

Heveningham Hall Conservation Day and Treasure Hunt

Sunday 28 January

This is a day when WBC Members get together with various local Scout groups, Brownies or
Sea Scouts to collectively complete conservation works on the HH Estate. To make the
morning more fun we split into groups and whilst cleaning out the estates bird boxes we also
search for the various treasures which has been hidden inside some of them. Once the
groups’ areas have checked all their boxes, they return back to the start point for drinks,
hotdogs and the winner to be announced.
Meeting point: Huntingfield Hall Farm (WBC will be put out to assist with finding location)

Start time: 9am
Leader: Steve Piotrowski and Tony Howe

North Warren (am) & Hazelwood Marshes (pm)

North Warren (am) & Hazelwood Marshes (pm)

Sunday 18 February

Wetland sites around Aldeburgh are becoming an amazing attraction for birds and
birdwatchers. The RSPB has erected four new observation platforms at their North Warren
nature reserve and we will spend the morning looking at wildfowl and waders that should be feeding on the marshes. In the afternoon, we shall move to Hazelwood Marshes, which was decimated by the December 2013 tidal surge resulting in a change from a freshwater to estuarine habitat. We will be present on the gathering high tide and hopefully view waders at close quarters.

8.30am start – Halfway House
Leaders: Steve Howell and Paddy Shaw

Talk by Chris McIntyre and Mark Crame – “Above and Below the Waves”

Talk by Chris McIntyre and Mark Crame – “Above and Below the Waves”

Tuesday 27 February

The gigantic Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet off South Africa’s Cape Coast and the cold, nutrient rich waters that upwell from around 200–300m depth in turn fuel high rates of phytoplankton growth and sustain the productive Benguela ecosystem. The mountainous seas, over a food-rich Continental shelf, attract an amazing diversity of seabirds such as majestic albatrosses, shearwaters and petrels that gather in their thousands. However, few of us would have much knowledge about what goes on below the waves, so we have two speakers that will give us an insight into both. Vice Chairman Chris McIntyre has been on several specialised pelagic trips and collected many wonderful images so the first half of the talk will be devoted to seabirds. Mark Crame along with WBC Member Alison Joseph explored South Africa’s underwater world. Together they swam with sharks without armouring and outside any sort of cage and, most obviously, have lived to tell the tale! Mark will be able to demonstrate the wonders of underwater life off South Africa that few of us will ever see with our own eyes.

The Maltings Sports Ground – Pirnhow Street, Ditchingham
7.30pm start

A Tour of the Brecks

A Tour of the Brecks

Sunday 18 March

There are few better localities for spring birdwatching in East Anglia than the Norfolk and Suffolk brecks. Following on from the success of previous years, we’ll start with an early-morning walk along the riverbank at Santon Downham, where Marsh Tits, Nuthatches, Crossbills and Woodlarks are more than a possibility. This area is also one of East Anglia’s few remaining sites for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker that have showed well in recent years, so we’ll need to keep our eyes peeled. This is the best time of year for displaying Goshawks, so weather permitting, we shall go to a nearby secret watch-point to see if they’re around. We’ll take a picnic lunch at Lackford Lakes Reserve Centre followed by a tour of this wonderful site. In late afternoon, we’ll visit Cavenham Heath to scan for early returning spring migrants such as Stone Curlews and Wheatears.

8.30am start – Forestry Commission Car Park, Santon Downham
Leaders: Steve Howell and Andrew Green

AGM followed with a talk (tba)

AGM followed with a talk (tba)

Tuesday 27 March

Steve Piotrowski will preside over the AGM and, once formal business has been completed,
Andrew Green will provide a review of the year with particular emphasis on the Waveney
Valley and Chris McIntyre an update on the work by the Ringing Team in 2017.

Dawn Chorus Walk

Dawn Chorus Walk

Good Friday – 30 March

Photo: Craig Shaw

The National Trust’s Dunwich Heath nature reserve has been described as a rare and precious habitat that is quiet and serene, wild and dramatic. In early spring, special species such as the Dartford Warbler and Woodlark will be defending their nesting territories and should be very much in evidence. The first adders of the year may be taking an opportunity to bask in early-spring sunshine and there will be lots of wildlife to see. This will be a dawn chorus walk with a difference as we will walk the big loop from Dunwich Heath Coastguards carpark, across the heath, through RSPB Minsmere’s woodlands and return by the beach to our starting point where we will take refreshments.

7am start – meet at Dunwich Heath Coastguard’s Carpark
Cost: £3 per person (parking free to attendees courtesy of Dunwich Heath National Trust)
Leaders: Keith & Jane Watkins with Steve Piotrowski as junior assistant!

Local walk around Outney Common and Bath Hills – followed by a bite to eat and a pint!

Local walk around Outney Common and Bath Hills – followed by a bite to eat and a pint!

Sunday 8 April

If you can’t wait to sample an early taste of spring birdsong then this in the event for you. The Bath Hills walk is a popular birdwatching route taking in a diversity of habitats around Outney Common and the River Waveney. Buds should be bursting and the first of our breeding songbirds will be defending their territories. We will look out for Cetti’s Warblers, Kingfishers, Grey Partridges and Barn Owls that have been regularly seen on recent trips.

8am start – meet town carpark on right just before Bungay Golf Club main car park
Leader: Paddy Shaw

Hen Reed Beds and Reydon Woods

Hen Reed Beds and Reydon Woods

Sunday 22 April

The Hen Reed Beds is a relatively new SWT Nature Reserve. It has a viewing platform and hides and attracts Bitterns, Marsh Harriers and Bearded Tits. It lies alongside the Blyth estuary, which is one of the region’s best venues to observe waders on spring passage that can be viewed from the river wall. We plan to also visit the ancient woodland at Reydon to look for songbirds. Other wildlife may include the first Orange Tip butterfly of the spring and rare plants such as Yellow Archangel and Early Purple Orchid.

8am start – meet Hen Reed Beds carpark alongside A1095
Leaders: Steve Howell and Paddy Shaw

Minsmere Grand Prix 2

Minsmere Grand Prix 2

Sunday 6 May

Photo: Kevin Allenby

This event will be more about public awareness than racing. WBC/RSPB should have finished phase 2 of our ambitious project to provide easy access to the less mobile to arguably Minsmere’s best birdwatching hide known as East Hide. The project is known as “Access for All” and, hopefully, we’ll be at phase 3, ready to submit our grant application that will see construction through to completion.

Leaders: Steve Howell and Steve Piotrowski
Date: Further details TBA
Meeting Point: Discovery Centre

Strangford Lough, Park Road, Northern Ireland

Strangford Lough, Park Road, Northern Ireland

Thursday 17 to Monday 21 May – Short break

At more than 30 km long, up to 8 km wide and covering over 150km2, Strangford Lough is a huge body of water connected to the sea by a narrow channel between the villages of Strangford and Portaferry. There are numerous islands in the lough and rocky shores at the entrance but the most important habitat here for birds is the vast areas of mudflats exposed at low tide. In addition there are Zostera beds and saltmarshes at the northern end of the lough. Farmland surrounds Strangford Lough with some areas of marshland, scrub and
woodland.

Flights from London to Belfast start at around £50 return
Leader: Steve Piotrowski and Ken Perry (TBC)
Hotel: 4 night’s accommodation in hotel (cost TBC)
Transport: A mini bus will be hired in Ireland to enable the group to travel collectively

London Wetlands Centre – Day Trip

London Wetlands Centre – Day Trip

Sunday 24 June

Photo: Matt Brown / CC-BY-2

The London Wetlands Centre is only 10 minutes from Hammersmith but has been described
as an urban oasis for wildlife and people.

Start time – TBA
Leaders: TBA
Transport: A mini bus will be hired to enable the group to travel collectively
Admission costs for online bookings: £11.08/adult, £8.25/senior citizen (65+)

“A Swift Pint in Bungay”

“A Swift Pint in Bungay”

Monday 2 July

An evening has again been arranged for members to follow set paths and record the number of Swifts & House Martins they see. We hope to coordinate our study with other local swift groups so that we can swap information by phone. Our team will analyse the data collected over swift pint and then compare with other groups taking part.

Start time: 5.30pm – Green Dragon Pub in Bungay
Leaders: Paddy Shaw and Roger Walsh

North and East Norfolk – Day Trip to look for Butterflies

North and East Norfolk – Day Trip to look for Butterflies

Sunday 29 July 2018

Holt Country Park is owned and managed by North Norfolk District Council and was awarded the Green Flag which is a scheme that recognised and rewards the very best green spaces. The Iron-age Hillfort at Warham lies on a slope above the River Stiffkey, and is a
circular Iron Age earthwork with double banks and ditches. Both Holt CP and Warham are hot spots for butterflies and we would hope to see Silver Washed Fritillaries (see photo), Painted Lady, Chalk Hill Blue etc. We could then move to East Norfolk to look for Dark Green Fritillary at
Horsey Gap.

Meet at Holt CP at 9.00am (we may hire a minibus if there is sufficient interest)
Leader: David Hovell
Meeting Point – TBA

Minsmere – Waders and Gull Walk

Minsmere – Waders and Gull Walk

Wednesday 25 July 2018

Photo: Craig Shaw

The birding potential of Minsmere Scrape is known to us all but in late summer it often really comes to life as the evening gulls and waders arrive to roost. Gull watching can be unpredictable as roosts often depend on weather conditions, water levels and the amount of disturbance during the preceding week. However, scanning the gull roost can be very rewarding with scarce birds such as Yellow-legged and Caspian Gulls being seen. Join local gull expert John Grant who will take you through the identification features of each species. If the gulls fail to appear, then we are in the peak passage period for autumn waders, so we can’t lose! The evening will be concluded at the Eelsfoot PH, in Eastbridge, when the highlights of the evening can be discussed.

Meet in East Hide Minsmere at 5.30 pm where we will wait for late arrivals
Leader John Grant

“Benjamin Britten’s Aldeburgh Walk”

“Benjamin Britten’s Aldeburgh Walk”

Sunday 12 August

Full walk: 5.75 miles
Aldeburgh Town Marshes has rapidly become a popular birdwatching venue. There are a number of wader pools in grassy meadows and the river bank acts as a good vantage point for the Alde Estuary. We will walk the footpath from at Slaughden Quay taking in the main
pools. We should reach the A1094 around lunchtime where we shall stop for teas and coffees at Aldeburgh Café. The options available for the afternoon session include following the old railway line to Halfway House and then returning to our vehicles along the beach or taking a more direct route and then driving to Hazelwood Marshes. We can decide the afternoon venue at lunchtime.

Start time: 9.00am
Meeting Point: Slaughden Quay
Leaders: Chris McIntyre and Roger Walsh

Portland Bird Observatory

Portland Bird Observatory

Wednesday 5 to Monday 10 September – Short Break

Accommodation has again been booked at Portland Bird Observatory for those interested in bird ringing and visible bird migration. We will travel by minibus and stay for five nights in the old lighthouse at Portland Bird Observatory. We’ll leave Suffolk at 5.00 a.m. on Wednesday morning in time to reach PBO by late-morning. The mornings will be spent at the Observatory or around the Bill when non-ringers will be encouraged to seawatch and/or explore the nearby cliffs, coves and quarries. Staying here will offer distinct advantages as we should witness peak autumn migration and are most likely to encounter a rarity or two. Afternoon excursions to local sites will be programmed depending on the whereabouts of birds but we hope to visit prime wader sites such as: Lodmoor, Lytchett Field and Chesil Beach. We plan to leave Dorset sometime late Monday afternoon to arrive back in Suffolk that evening. A minibus will be hired to transport group from North Suffolk to Portland.

(further details TBA).
Leader: Steve Piotrowski
Cost: TBA

“Felixstowe Fish & Ships Walk”

“Felixstowe Fish & Ships Walk”

Sunday 16 September

Photo: tomline43 / CC-BY-2

Full walk: approx. 6.5 miles
On this trip we will meet at Landguard Bird Observatory (LBO) at 8.00am, observe the ringing activities and spend a little time sea watching, before moving on to our local walk around the Felixstowe Ferry/Falkenham area. Depending on the bird action, we will leave
LBO mid-morning and transfer to the carpark at Felixstowe Ferry. From here, we will take in a circular walk along the river wall to Kingsfleet to Deben Lodge and then across the fields, past a new reservoir and back through Old Felixstowe to the Ferry.

Meeting Point: Landguard Bird Observatory
Start time: 8.00am
Leaders: Nigel Odin and Steve Piotrowski

Three-day trip to Frampton Marsh/Gibraltar Point, Lincolnshire and other sites

Three-day trip to Frampton Marsh/Gibraltar Point, Lincolnshire and other sites

Thursday 20 to Sunday 23 September 2018 – Short Break

Photo: Tom / CC BY-NC 2.0

The RSPB’s Frampton Marsh lies close to the southwest corner of The Wash and acts as a magnet for waders. We will travel by minibus and birdwatch on the reserve before moving northwards to a coastal, migration watch-point at Gibraltar Point National Nature Reserve. This reserve impresses by its sheer scale and diversity of wildlife. In autumn, huge whirling flocks of waders can be seen on the high tides and migrants are a feature. We will pre-book hotel accommodation (possibly in Skegness) for our three-night stay.

Start time: tbc, a mini bus will be hired to enable the group to travel collectively
Costs: TBA
Leader: Steve Howell

Pagham Harbour in West Sussex

Pagham Harbour in West Sussex

Thursday 4 to Sunday 7 October 2018 – Short Break

This can be an exciting season, with new birds turning up every day. Regular species at Church Norton are wheatears, spotted and pied flycatchers and redstarts. The wader migration is peppered with unusual birds such as little stints, curlew sandpiper and ruffs, especially on Ferry Pool. It can be easy to see 60 bird species in a day. Anything can turn up – maybe an osprey or honey buzzard, or a wryneck down the west side or by “The Severals”.

It is one of the best spots for rarities in Sussex. October sees the arrival of Wigeon, Teals, Pintail and an influx of Brent Geese. Painted lady and clouded yellow butterflies often grace the pathways around the Harbour, soaking up the last of the sun, and hummingbird hawkmoths are regular.

Start time and meeting point – TBA
Leader: TBA
Transport: A mini bus will be hired to enable the group to travel collectively

Indoor meeting (Talk)

Indoor meeting (Talk)

Tuesday 30 October

Speaker to be confirmed
The Maltings Sports Ground – Pirnhow Street, Ditchingham
7.30pm start

“The Saints of South Elmham Walk”

“The Saints of South Elmham Walk”

Sunday 4 November

Full walk: 8.75 miles
The Saints is away from well-beaten birdwatching trails, but it is stacked with wildlife. The tour will start with an early-morning circular walk around the beautiful 450-acre South Elmham Hall Estate. South Elmham Hall is a 13th century former bishop's palace standing within a four-acre moated site. We will venture through the deer park and on to South Elmham Minster, which was once described as one of the most romantic and enigmatic ruins in England. The traditional mixed farm that surrounds has won awards for conservation and wildlife management. We’ll take in the parishes of St Nicholas, St Michael, St Peter and Flixton and we’ll stop for a picnic at the famous St Peter’s brewery, which is roughly the halfway point. The full walk is 8.75 miles long, over uneven terrain and there are a one or two obstacles to negotiate.

Start at 9.00am
Meeting Point – South Elmham Hall Free Car Park
Leader: Roger Walsh

Honey Buzzards by Steve Roberts

Honey Buzzards by Steve Roberts

Tuesday 27 November 2018

Steve has been studying Honey-buzzards for 30 years and have published several landmark papers on the species for British Birds. He retired from teaching and now works as the nest-finder and tree climber for BBC Springwatch. His work has resulted in him having to travel widely bird nesting and includes climbing up to the nests of such iconic species as Harpy Eagle and Crowned Eagle. Excitingly, this year he will be attempting to reach the nest of the Philippine Eagle.

The Maltings Sports Ground – Pirnhow Street, Ditchingham
7.30pm start

WBC’s infamous Bird Brain of Waveney Challenge and Christmas Party

WBC’s infamous Bird Brain of Waveney Challenge and Christmas Party

Tuesday 18 December

qwerty1204/Depositphotos.com

This will also be a good opportunity to get together with other local groups to celebrate the forthcoming Christmas festivities. In 2017, BINS wrestled the Waveney Bird Brain Challenge Trophy from WBC in a hard-fort contest but can they retain this prestigious award. As previously, there will be four teams: RSPB Minsmere, BTO, BINS and of course WBC’s home stars. There will be two semi-finals and a final and the teams will be strictly controlled by Quizmaster, Chris McIntyre. Audience banter and participation will be actively encouraged and there will also be a special prize for the most knowledgeable spectator!

Please come along to barrack/support your team! Christmas supper will be included.

Time: 7 p.m. (please note early start)
The Maltings Sports Ground – Pirnhow Street, Ditchingham

WBC Event Notes

WBC Event Notes:

  • Members are asked to consider car sharing. When emails are sent out by Kathy regarding events, please confirm your place but also advise her if you are happy to car share and you are happy to offer other members a lift.
  • When car sharing members are respectful to car owners and offer to perhaps share travel expenses.
  • Fees/deposits received by Kathy within the advised timescale will ensure your place on WBC trips is secured.  Please make cheques made out to Waveney Bird Club unless otherwise advised. Please note that all deposits are non-refundable.
  • The club reserves the right to alter or cancel any event. Only those that have registered an interest for that particular event will be informed of any changes. The leader may choose to alter the itinerary on the day.
  • As several trips include the usage of other organisations facilities we would therefore recommend you bring appropriate membership cards on you to prove your entitlement to free or reduced admission costs.
  • Please always ensure meeting places on car parks that you bring sufficient change to cover any parking costs.
  • Most outdoor events are all-day, so it is advisable to bring sufficient food and drink.
  • Young people (15 or under) are very welcome providing they attend with a responsible adult.
  • Members are asked to please not bring dogs.
  • Appropriate footwear and warm clothing is advisable on all field events – no “loud” colours such as reds and yellows please. We would also recommend that where the forecast is poor you bring perhaps additional clothing that you can use if required.
  • Please inform the leader on the day if you leave the event earlier than the prescribed finishing time.
  • Please inform the leader if short-notice circumstances mean you will not be attending or running late.