Monday, 21 June 2021

Reading RSPB Group

AT the February meeting the group enjoyed an excellent illustrated talk by David Darrell-Lambert

AT the February meeting the group enjoyed an excellent illustrated talk by David Darrell-Lambert entitled “What’s that wader?”

This was David’s third visit to our group and his delivery and sense of humour provided a welcome contrast to his excellent identification pointers.

Not only were we treated to some excellent photography of the various species but each species was enhanced with a sound recording. Overall a great evening was enjoyed by all.

A few days later the group ventured to Somerset on a very cold but sunny Sunday bound for Steart Marshes, near Bridgwater Bay, a new area of recently flooded salt marsh run by the Wetland and Wildlife Trust.

The site achieved some notoriety in the 2014 winter floods when there was some contention that the Environment Agency was spending more on protecting birds than people. In practice it seems the agency has done a splendid job by allowing the tide to enter through a breach in the former flood defences along the River Parratt estuary.

The salt marsh absorbs wave energy, providing long-term natural protection from erosion, and the massive wetland also provides a vital refuge for wildlife and an important nursery for fish.

The reserve has been handsomely laid out with new paths, educational signage and three amazing new hides.

The party enjoyed the facilities very much and were able to observe a variety of waders, including avocet, oystercatcher, grey plover, golden plover, lapwing, dunlin, redshank, curlew and snipe. There were several wintering duck species and there were also good views of stonechat and an obliging kestrel hovering overhead.

The flat coastal plain, extensive wetlands and local villages made an interesting contrast with the neighbouring Hinckley Point power station.

The next indoor meeting will take place at Pangbourne village hall on Tuesday, March 8 at 8pm. It will feature a return visit from Chris Ward with an illustrated talk entitled “Romania”, which will encompass both the birds and wildlife over an area ranging from Transylvania to the Danube delta. Visitors are welcome.

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