Thursday 22 November 2018

Agenda for Change Reception

19th November 2018
Earlier this year, my dad and I had been invited to attend a Parliamentary reception at the House of Lords, hosted by Baroness Young of Old Scone, with the British Trust for Ornithology, an organisation which I have been part of for just under a year, and have participated in a few of their events. This was so exciting!

It was a forty minute train ride to Westminster, where at Black Rod's Garden Entrance, had to pass through Border Force-style security, and made our way to the Cholmondeley Room (I think saying 'Chumley' is easier). There, I met many familiar faces, and at 8pm, Baroness Young welcomed us all to the event, all about change in the BTO's work, and how this impacts our society. This was elaborated on by speakers such as Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party, who spoke about how the Party are helping the BTO, and Andy Clements, the CEO of the BTO, who delivered ten key points that will help put the Agenda into action. Hopefully these points will be made known widely, so everyone can deliver them in some way.

I met many new faces too, some of whom I'd recognised from throughout the world of conservation, such as Sir John Randall and Natalie Bennett, and Kevin and Corinne Bespolka, who I got to thank in person for the amazing opportunity they had given me in may, Birdcamp. I also met many BTO Council members, who were all very kind and friendly. In my opinion, the BTO are a brilliant organisation, and will eventually overcome the task of improving as a whole. I'd like to thank them and Baroness Young for giving me this amazing opportunity, and I'm sure the BTO will inspire for years to come!

Meeting Corinne Bespolka

Baroness Young of Old Scone, Zach Haynes and I

Young birders, Corinne Bespolka and Andy Clements

Wednesday 14 November 2018

Rutland Water with Calum

3rd November 2018
My mum and I woke up at 5am, and gathered our equipment to go to Rutland Water, where Birdfair is held annually. I met Calum at 6am, and we took the tube to Embankment, where a coach was waiting for us. We were going with the Central London Local RSPB Group, led by James Aylward, who were all very friendly.

Two hours later, we got to the Anglian Water Birdwatching Centre, from where we headed to the Dunlin Hide, where Calum was finding everything for the group! I saw my first ever Scaup, a small diving duck with a brilliant dark green head, a Curlew, hundreds of Tufted Ducks, two Marsh Harriers and Dunlin. We then had lunch in the Shoveler Hide, where there were lots of Goldeneye, and hundreds more Tufted Ducks. Then, a huge bird walked majestically along the banks of an island, looking for prey- my first Great White Egret (in Britain)! 

Common Darter

Mute Swans

View from the Dunlin Hide

The Reservoir

Great White Egret!

After a brief visit to the Anglian Water Centre, we returned to the Dunlin Hide, not seeing much. We headed to the Snipe Hide (funnily enough finding Snipe feathers along the way) which faced a wet grazing meadow. There were Canada Geese grazing, and a few raptors. At another hide (which I've forgotten the name of) Calum spotted a Carrion Crow with an eggshell in its mouth. 

Mute Swans flying

Canada Geese grazing. The third from the left may be a hybrid or smaller race


At the 360 Hide, there were a few Stock Dove in the nearby fields, flocks of Wigeon and Teal on a small peninsula on the island, and lots more wildfowl. I had a wonderful time, and would like to thank all the RSPB Central London Group and James Aylward for organising this fabulous trip!