Friday, 24 May 2019

Reading RSPB Group

CONOR JAMESON made the long journey from Wisbech to talk to us about the eminent Victorian naturalist William Hudson.

Although born in Argentina, Hudson had travelled to Britain and settled in Worthing where he became an influential early supporter of the RSPB.

He was a prolific writer and delivered a conveyor belt of books during the early 20th century, many of which are still in print today.

Conor himself is a successful author and, being a fan of westerns, used an interesting analogy to compare Hudson with the stars of the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

On Sunday, March 17, 14 members visited Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve on the south coast between Southampton and Portsmouth.

This fine reserve, which is run by Hampshire County Council, contains meadows, pools and reedbeds at the mouth of the River Meon.

It was a fresh but sunny day and the group were soon enjoying good views of many ducks, waders and gulls.

Notably, there were five Mediterranean gulls, a recent addition to the breeding British gulls.

There was a tremendous view of 20 or so avocets, which which were feeding by sweeping their upturned bills through the water to catch small prey.

The meadows beheld a number of birds of prey — marsh harriers, buzzards and kestrels.

A single singing chiffchaff showed that spring was on the way.

Along the sea wall there were many turnstones, which are so tame here that they came to food that people were feeding the ducks.

Nearby on the sea there were some Brent geese; they will soon be heading back to northern Russia to breed.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable day out and more than 52 species of bird were recorded.

The next meeting will take place at Pangbourne village hall on Tuesday, April 9 at 8pm, when we will have a return visit by the excellent speaker Michael Leach, who will tell the story of the famous world heritage Galapagos Islands.

Visitors are always very welcome. For more information about the group, visit www.reading-rspb.org

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