Covid-19 Walks and Outings Update
With the latest government guidelines, allowing groups of up to 6 to meet outdoors from 29 March, the SDBWS is planning to resume field outings from this date where feasible, the first being on 7 April. Our priority remains to protect the health and safety of our members as well as the public.
All field outings considered suitable to go ahead will have been risk assessed including social distancing, health & safety and travel arrangements, to ensure they can be conducted safely and in accordance with the latest guidelines. We will update arrangements if the government guidelines change. If field outings have to be suspended again, members will be notified via the newsletter, email, the website or where appropriate, by phone as necessary.
Attendance on field outings will be by pre-booking in advance only until further notice. If you wish to attend an outing, please contact the leader to book at least one week before the date of the outing.
Groups will be limited to 6 (5 members plus leader). We will appoint co-leaders wherever possible to enable two (or more) separate groups of up to 6 to participate in an outing.
Those attending are requested to travel by car individually unless they are from the same household (or those travelling together are members of a ‘support bubble’). We are sorry to advise that lifts cannot be provided just yet, as within a car, social distancing requirements cannot be met but hopefully as time goes on, lifts can be offered again.
Wednesday 7 April, Ockham Common (Midweek Walk). Leader John Barkham 07803 295555
Morning walk on Ockham Common, Cobham, Surrey. Attendance only by pre-booking with the Leader.
Ockham Common comprises 800 acres of heathland and woodland. Target species are general woodland birds and Dartford Warbler. We shall take a leisurely circular walk on sandy paths, before continuing to Bolder Mere lake for ducks and grebes. If time permits, we shall then walk onto the disused Wisley Airfield for Red Kites and the possibility of Wheatear on passage.
Meet at 9.30am in the Ockham Forest Old Lane Car Park (KT11 1NR), which is the 2nd of the 2 car parks, 350 yards to the south of the A3.
Directions: from the A3 South, take the M25 exit and re-join the A3 South, signed Effingham. On the A3 slip road, take the left turn onto Old Lane, signed Effingham/Hatchford.
Sunday 11 April, Bookham Common & Effingham. Leader: Stephen Waters 07949646987 firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet up at Bookham railway station at 9.30 for walk across to a hide overlooking one of the lakes. We will then move on to Effingham finishing by 13.00. We return from Effingham station to Bookham station. Please contact Stephen to book your place on this outing.
Wednesday 14 April, (Midweek Walk) West End Common. Leader: Rebecca Dunne 07879 645971 email@example.com
Meet 9.30am West End Lane Car Park, West End Lane, Esher, KT10 8LZ
A morning walk around this pleasant, wooded section of Esher Common, including West End Green and its pond. We should see and hear a good variety of typical woodland birds although it does have the occasional Raven, Red Kite and Buzzard flying over. Clearance work led to an abundance of bird song and a good season for breeding Blackcaps and Song Thrushes last year.
Nearest toilets at Garson’s Garden Centre on West End Green.
Sunday 25 April, Otmoor RSPB & Farmoor. Leader: Thelma Caine 07527448308 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact the leader in advance for the latest information on this trip. At present the trails are open at Otmoor but the hide and watchpoints remain closed. It is hoped that they will have re-opened by the date this trip is due to take place. See details at: https://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/reserves-a-z/otmoor-reserve/
If the trip goes ahead, we will meet at the RSPB car park in Otmoor Lane at 9.30am. Sat Nav OX3 9TD; Grid ref SP570126. Otmoor is a lovely nature reserve of wet meadows and reed beds. The visitor trail leads you alongside an expansive flood plain and grazing marsh, home to wading birds and wildfowl (often Garganey). Warblers are plentiful in spring including Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and with luck Grasshopper Warbler.
There are no toilet facilities at Otmoor so it is best to stop at services off M40 on the way down. We may be able to visit Farmoor reservoir after Otmoor, to look for Yellow Wagtails, ducks, gulls, terns, grebes, and passage waders. Bring lunch and drinks.
Wednesday 5 May, (Midweek Walk) Staines Moor. Leader: Thelma Caine 07527 448308 Email: email@example.com
Please contact Thelma to pre-book beforehand. This is a morning outing, and the meeting time is 9.00am. Directions: Take the A308 to Staines. Turn left at the Crooked Billet roundabout along the A308 towards Staines town centre. After passing under the railway bridge, turn left following the one-way system via South Street into Thames Street. On entering Clarence Street, turn right at TQ 034715 along the B376 signed to Wraysbury. After passing Hale Street, turn right into Moor Lane. Park on the roadside on the left beyond the houses at TQ 032722 (Sat Nav TW18 4YT). This is an interesting habitat of grassland, bisected by the River Colne and also includes marshy areas, scrub, woodland and several small gravel pits.
Skylarks, Reed Buntings and Meadow Pipits all breed here, and Little Egrets are now regular in the marshy areas. A variety of Warblers are present in spring, including possibly Cetti’s and Grasshopper Warbler. Wheatears frequently occur on passage and other summer migrants are expected. If it is wet, wellingtons are essential.
Sunday 9 May, Newhaven & Seaford. Leader: Rebecca Dunne 07879645971 firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet 9.30am at Splash Point which is at the southernmost end of Esplanade, Seaford. Nearest postcode BN25 1JJ.
All day car outing to the south coast of East Sussex. We will start by visiting Splash Point in Seaford. The cliffs at Splash Point host a large colony of breeding Kittiwakes as well as a number of Fulmars.
Peregrines regularly patrol the cliffs and Ravens are increasingly seen. We will also look out for late seabird passage. A coffee break at a seafront café will follow, where in a previous year we were visited by a Rock Pipit. We will then drive up to Seaford Head to look for migrant passerines and have our picnic lunch. The afternoon might be spent at nearby Newhaven Tide Mills, where breeding birds should include Skylark, Reed and Sedge Warblers and Reed Bunting. However, we will decide where to go depending on what is around. Although Seaford has a station you will need a car for this trip because we will be going to different places and cannot offer lifts.
Public toilets near Splash Point, Seaford (no pun intended). Toilets also at McDonald’s in Newhaven
Sunday 16 May, Tice’s Meadow & Crooksbury Common. Leader: Thelma Caine 07527 448308 Email: email@example.com
Please contact Thelma to pre-book beforehand. The walk starts at Tice’s Meadow Nature Reserve at 9.30am. This is located between Badshot Lea and Tongham, on the southern outskirts of Aldershot. The best area to park is on the Lower Farnham Road (B3208) near the Pea Bridge (at SU 867490) Sat Nav: GU11 3RD. Tice’s Meadow is a nature reserve on the site of the former Farnham Quarry.
The habitat consists of open water, gravel islands, scrapes, reedbeds, scrub, woodland, ponds, and wet and dry grassland. The site has an impressive bird list including numerous ducks, waders, gulls, terns, warblers, finches, thrushes, woodpeckers , birds of prey and migrants.
In the afternoon we plan to visit the nearby Crooksbury Common SSSI. Park at the Seale Road car park, Grid ref: SU 896452 Sat Nav enter: ‘Seale Road, Farnham, GU10 1JL. This site has heathland and coniferous woodland is noted for breeding Dartford Warbler, Stonechat, Woodlark, Redstart, and Hobby.
See: https://www.arc-trust.org/crooksbury-common. Bring lunch and drinks.
Sunday 23 May Epsom Common & Rushett Farm. Leader: Paul Spencer
I am looking forward to seeing you all on this lovely local walk. We should see Moorhen, Mallard, Canada Goose and maybe Mandarin Duck on the ponds before walking up to the high meadows, where there was up to 6 Garden Warbler territories last year. We should hear many Blackcaps, Chiffchaff, and Whitethroat, possibly Lesser Whitethroat and maybe even the Ashtead Common Cuckoo. We then walk to Rushett Farm to look for Skylark, Yellowhammer, Red Legged Partridge, and birds of prey before returning to the car park.
If you are coming by car please meet me at 8.30 am at Epsom Common Stew Pond car park. For those without a car, the nearest bus stops are Chessington World of Adventure for the 71 bus route and the Chessington Garden Centre for the 465 bus route, followed by about a mile walk for each. I am happy to meet at 8am at Chessington World of Adventures and guide people cross country (via Park Farm) to the starting point if required.