Bird-lovers plan a busy programme of events

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The Hemel Hempstead group of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds was entertained at its Cavendish School venue by the RSPB’s Date With Nature leader Stephanie Morren. She gave an illustrated talk about herons and the heronry on an island in Verulamium Park lake, St Albans.

During spring the RSPB, staffed by volunteers including members from the Hemel Hempstead group, is on hand to watch over the herons and answer questions from the general public.

Nine members enjoyed a wintry day’s bird watching at the RSPB Rye Meads reserve near Hoddesdon.

This is a wetland reserve adjacent to the River Lee, featuring areas of open water surrounded by reed beds, with artificial sandbanks for nesting kingfishers, although we saw none. There are eight observation hides, a very welcome visitor centre and bird feeding area providing close-up views of garden birds.

Outings leader Alan Corner said: “We were able to compare the wildlife in the winter with our visit last summer when we saw a swarm of bees”.

“However, the snow did not spoil the views of numerous types of gull and duck, but also little egret, kestrel, dabchick, curlew and snipe, with large numbers of very busy blue/great tits, chaffinch, greenfinch, dunnock, and pheasant in the feeding area. It was a good day out, with over 35 bird species seen”.

RSPB members and non-members are very welcome at our next meeting when Chris Goodie will talk about his quest to see all species of the Pitta bird.

This will be held in the main hall at Cavendish School, Warners End Road at 8pm on Monday, April 15.

Please join us on our next shared car trip to the Wildlife Trust’s Brandon Marsh reserve in Warwickshire on Saturday, April 27. The reserve contains large areas of pools created by gravel extraction, with reedbeds, grassland and woodland making it an outstanding location for birds. There are seven bird hides throughout the reserve, together with a tearoom and gift shop.

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

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