Cheltenham Bird Club

    Field trips 2019/2020

    Saturday September 28th – Gwent Levels. 

    The extensive wetlands around Newport can always be
    relied upon for good birdwatching so an Autumn visit should not
    disappoint. At this time of year migration will be in full flow so we
    should find lots of waders (often 10+ species present), waterfowl,
    hopefully raptors such as March Harrier or Hobby and small passerines
    in the hedges and along the seawall. Meet at the EuroGarage Monmouth
    Services on the A40 south of Monmouth at 9am. Please share cars if

    Sunday October 20th – London WWT. 

    The London Wetland Centre is one of the Wildfowl Trusts flagship reserves
    and previous visits by the Club have not disappointed. Although not a
    huge reserve and it being close to the City it still has many waders
    and wildfowl, regular raptors such as Peregrine and often, by this
    time of year, wintering Bittern. WWT members are reminded to take
    their membership cards and we will book in for group rates for
    non-members. A coach will be booked to leave Belmont School at 7am

    Saturday November 16th – Chew Valley Lake. 

    It is some years since we had a trip to Chew (and possibly Blagdon). This is a
    massive reservoir just south of Bristol with a very impressive list
    of species to its name. We will probably start at Herriotts Bridge
    and then go on from there and we will need to purchase permits for
    the day (to be arranged nearer the time). Suggest meet at Michaelwood
    Service on the M5 at 8.30am – please share cars if possible.

    Sunday December 15th – Forest of Dean.

    Our usual Christmas walk and meal at the Belfry Inn in Littledean.
    Meet at the Belfry at 9am and we will travel on to an appropriate
    venue in the woodland where hopefully we may find Hawfinch,
    Goosander, Goshawk or even possibly Great Grey Shrike! Or we’ll
    just have a nice walk and build an appetite for the fare to come.

    Saturday January 18th – Marshfield. 

    A return visit to this rather ordinary looking area of farmland, stone
    walls, small streams and woodland between Bristol and Bath but an
    area that regularly has some great birdwatching. Previous visits have
    found lots of Yellowhammer and Corn Bunting, Merlin, Grey Partridge
    and Golden Plover amongst lots of other species. Meet at Michaelwood
    Services at 8.30am (or in layby just north of M4 Junction 18 on the M46 at 9am) 

    Please share cars if possible.

    Sunday February 23rd - Ashleworth Ham

    A long overdue return morning visit to the Wetland reserve at Ashleworth Ham. Hopefully access will be straightforward and there should be lots of duck and waders on site plus passerines in the surrounding hedgerows and farmland. Meet at Stonebow Farm at 9am - we may also go elsewhere depending on time and weather.

    Wednesday March 11 – Parkgate Marshes on the Dee Estuary (to be confirmed) 

    On a really big tide this is described as a real
    wildlife experience as the tide pushes unseen mammals and birds out
    of the saltmarsh. These tides only occur on a few days a year so we
    need to get the date right. A minibus will probably be the mode of
    transport unless interest is really high. NOTE – there was a
    thought that we might try for Hillbre Island but that would require a
    ridiculously early start. However we may still be able to get to see
    the wader flocks disperse post high tide so this could be a great
    day. More details later.

    Saturday March 21st – Keyhaven / Pennington Marshes in Hampshire. 

    We visited this area a few years ago and were overwhelmed by the numbers of
    species and individual birds. Lots of waders and wildfowl, Stonechat,
    raptors (Osprey could be possible in late March) and the last
    visit even had a Serin singing. Coach will be booked with the usual 7am start from Belmont School.

    Saturday April 18th– Knepp Estates in West Sussex. 

    This unique estate is home to a major rewilding programme and hit the headlines this year with the
    first breeding of White Stork in the UK for hundreds of years. Much
    of the area has reverted to scrub and emerging woodland where farm
    animals and deer live in ‘natural’ surroundings. The estate
    boasts Turtle Dove, Cuckoo, Nightingale and many other farmland /
    woodland species in abundance. Travel probably be minibus (7am start) and Club
    members can either book on to one of the organised safaris (quite
    expensive!) or follow the trails and footpaths around the estate. 

    Sunday May 17th – Olchon Valley / The Darrens. 

    The last time we went to this site on the
    Welsh border we lost count of the number of Redstart we saw so let’s
    hope for a repeat. The woodlands, including lots of old age trees,
    are full of warblers and woodpeckers and the steep moorland hillsides
    have both Whinchat and Stonechat plus possible Ring Ouzel. On the top
    by Offas Dyke the heather moorland has produced Red Grouse and
    there’s always the chance of various raptors. Given good weather
    this day can be a real delight with the added bonus of excellent
    birdwatching. Meet at Monmouth Services on the A40 south of Monmouth at 9am.

    Share cars if possible.

    Note: this site has some hard uphill walking although one can
    stay in the valley if preferred.

    Saturday June 20th– Hampton Ridge in the New Forest. 

    This is an open heathland site with scattered trees, lots of gorse and birds to match. Hobby,
    Curlew, Dartford Warbler and even more Redstart can make it a great
    day. Travel by minibus with a 7am start from Cheltenham and this will give us flexibility to go to other sites
    if required and of course with lots of daylight no need to rush back.

    The charge for the coach trips will be £20 per person for Club members for this year
    (£25 for non-members part refundable on taking out CBC membership).
    Coach trips leave at 7am from Belmont School returning at 6-7pm. Due
    to the Club moving its ‘base’ to Belmont School we will be asked
    to pay a car park charge when we use the school for trips – how
    this will be levied is to be agreed but probably by an extra £1 per
    person for full coach trips – minibus days yet to be worked
    out!Bring all you need for a day. Car trips are sometimes all day as
    well so bring food and everything else you may need for the day. Some
    local trips are often morning only but many people stay for longer.
    For coach trips early booking advised with full payment – see Tim
    Fretter at evening meetings or contact on 01594 544042 for full
    details of all trips.

    - it is the responsibility of those participating in these trips to
    ensure they have sufficient food and drink and appropriate clothing.
    Some of the venues are open and exposed - very cold in winter or very
    hot in the summer whilst some are steep, muddy or rocky (or even all
    three!). Contact Tim Fretter for more details if required. For
    emergency use only on or around the day of the trip contact on