AGM FULL AGENDA click HERE
Interest group page click HERE.
Summer school  update click HERE

 

logo-group-contact.png 

This is a NEW Group.  Dave Denman is the contact

In response to some enquiries I am forming a new group for our Meopham U3a  . 
It will be known as “ Local Nature Appreciation Group “ and its  interests will include  Bird Watching  ,
Flora and fauna ,  Butterflies  etc  , incorporating  an element of photography .There will be local , monthly visits  , to  Reserves ( RSPB , Kent Wildlife etc )   , most of which are easily accessible to us .

Should you be interested in joining then I will act as  Group Contact,  

Dave
Local Nature Appreciation Group .Gordons Promenade 15th Nov, for pictures click HERE.
The weather on Tuesday meant that we had to rearrange the meeting place , as fields were too muddy and slippery for walking.Eleven of us met on a sunny ,
breezy morning as the high tide was coming in .Various species of gull were on show, along with feral and Wood pigeons, Crows , Starlings.
A beach search showed distant Dunlins, Lapwings, Black tailed Godwit, viewed through our telescopes .

Dunlins , initially active , moved from view with the tide.A stroll through gardens have us Moorhens , Chiffchaff, Blue tits and a singing Goldfinch plus two late butterflies,
Small White and Red Admiral .
The lake held more Mallards , and a surprise of two Egyptian Geese ..being dive bombed by gulls !
A quick for a Kingfisher at the canal ended our first get together ...
Thanks to all who attended and hopefully enjoyed the day .
Steve, Hazel

Local Nature Appreciation Group trip to Sevenoaks 24.01.2024,  for pictures click HERE
Six of us met at this Kent Wildlife Trust owned reserve, on a  bright ,clear morning. From the car park, our first stop was at the look-out point,
where Teal, various gulls, Canada and Greylag geese and Lapwing were spotted.
A Robin sang close by as we had a leisurely walk along the track towards the Jeffrey Harrison hide.
Blue and Great Tits were scuttling around the trees in search of a snack and a Wren made a brief appearance.
From the hide, at least five Common Snipe were seen on one of the islands, with Cormorant, skittish Lapwing, Coot, Moorhen, Gadwall,
Pochard and three sightings of a Kingfisher! An amazing colourful little bird and always nice to see.
The Tower hide gave us good views of Mute Swans, Tufted ducks and a Great-crested Grebe.
A walk in the wooded section produced excellent sightings of male and female Siskins for us all, with a Great-spotted Woodpecker
drumming close by. Long-tailed Tits were seen and a Goldcrest flitted about at its normal fast pace.
A ‘squealing pig’ sound indicated that a Water Rail was close by and sure enough, on a low lying pond, it ran from one section of reeds to another.
Not always the easiest bird to see. On our way back to the car park, a Chaffinch called from a nearby tree and showed itself for a few seconds.

In all, 32 species were seen / heard, which is a good total for the few hours that we were there.

After lunch, we had a  walk to the Willow hide. Along the way, we heard a Nuthatch calling, but had good views of a Treecreeper, Goldcrest and Redwing.

 Local Nature Appreciation Group trip to Riverside Country Park. 23/2/2024 click HERE
The weather was in our favour, as 14 of us met at this lovely country park on Friday. A stroll up to the river, where binoculars and telescopes scanned the mudflats. Grey Plovers were seen way offshore, with Redshanks, Black-headed and Herring gulls, Shelduck and Shoveler were spotted. An easterly walk towards Bloors Wharf as the tide was coming in, gave us a good sightings of Curlew, Teal, Wigeon, Dunlin and Oystercatchers. Great and Blue Tits, along with a Dunnock, Robin, Greenfinch and a Jay were seen scampering around in the nearby trees. A bit further along the track, Pintails, Moorhen and a calling Mediterranean gull overhead were added to our list. We decided to retrace our steps and head towards the woodland section, in the west of the reserve. Turnstones were abundant aboard an abandoned boat and at least 3 Common Snipe were resting on a small grassy island. A Wren was heard calling nearby with a Chaffinch calling too. Numerous Magpies, Carrion Crows, Blackbirds and Wood Pigeons gave us more for the list, whilst Brent Geese glided by in the small inlet. Some of us had lunch in the cafe and chatted about the day. It was good to see so many there and always nice to meet new members.
Our total bird count was 30 species.

Local Nature Appreciation Group – Wednesday 10.04.24  click HERE
Five of us met at the Kent Wildlife Trust run Sevenoaks reserve on a bright morning and made our way along the track to the look-out point. The usual array of Coot, Moorhen and Mallards were spotted, but not much else. We decided to make our way towards the Willow hide and were greeted with the sounds of Blue and Great Tit, and a vociferous Wren along the way. Male Blackcaps could be heard, but unfortunately, they remained elusive. Grey Herons have built their nests again before the hide and a couple of juveniles were barely visible. Green Alkanet was abundant, but had a few insects upon their leaves, including various flies and a ladybird. The hide was quiet inside, however, the Greylag and Canada geese made up for it outside on the Snape Bog Lake, where they just assumed that they were all deaf. A Mute Swan decided to object to the noise and flew across the lake to disturb them. The other side of the lake, two Great-crested Grebes were bonding, by mimicking each others movements and weed passing – a really nice spectacle to witness. Little Egret also showed across the lake.Following the track across the bridge over the River Darenth, a Chiffchaff called, then flew, then called and flew back again. Eventually, it settled for a few moments, giving us the opportunity to see it through our binoculars. Such a lovely looking bird.
Our next track took us alongside the East Lake, where on the far bank, Hazel spotted a male Kingfisher, that was actively diving for fish, then returning to the same branch. The views through the telescope of this colourful bird were excellent and we all enjoyed the experience. Another Blackcap called and a Chiffchaff came out in the open, just long enough for us to see and for me to take a photograph. At least for Barn Swallows dashed across the lake, skimming down to the surface to collect various flying insects for their lunch. A leisurely stroll along the track took us back where we started, so we decided to turn left through a mainly wooded area. Again, Wrens and Blackcaps sang to us along the way, with more Great and Blue Tits scurrying through the trees. A visit to the Jeffrey Harrison hide, saw the water levels quite high, with the islands almost submerged. Little life was about, apart from a few Cormorants and the occasional gull. Of course, any trip to a reserve wouldn’t be the same without a lovely Robin, which came very close.
A walk through more woodland, where more Wrens scuttled about, took us to the Tower hide, where, unfortunately, all was quiet, apart from a family of Mallards and their fluffy chicks.
Retracing our steps towards the visitor centre, a Cetti’s warbler serenaded us, a Common Buzzard flew overhead and a Brimstone butterfly dashed past. Magpies, Jackdaws and Common Crows were noted and a lovely Merlin engine Spitfire flew overhead! Back at the car park, a Dunnock and Great-spotted Woodpecker were seen, making it a lovely end to the trip. Thank you to everyone that came and enjoyed their time with us.
Steve and Hazel

Local Nature Appreciation Group – Saturday 18.05.24  click HERE
RSPB Northward Hill U3a group trip
Nine of us met at this lovely reserve on a bright Wednesday morning and were greeted by our target bird, a Nightingale. This spring migrant bird had flown from Sub – Sahara Africa to claim its territory and find a mate in the dense undergrowth, close to the car park. Having searched for a while, we spotted it briefly in a nearby tree, just before it decided to hide once again. Two Cuckoos were calling from different parts of the reserve and seemed elusive. The walk up towards the Ernie Helmsley view point gave us Blackcap, Wood Pigeon, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Robin, Wren and a Song Thrush. From the impressive views at the view point, we managed to see a distant Marsh Harrier, Carrion Crow, Greylag and Canada Geese. Rosemary then called a Common Whitethroat, which gave us a few chords of its scratchy song. One of the Cuckoos flew high overhead, whilst another Nightingale belted out its ‘machine gun’ call, so we went searching again, to no avail unfortunately. A Blackbird serenaded us back down the hill and the car park for a well earned cuppa! A Cettis Warbler sang noisily on our way to the Sweenie viewpoint, where a Red Admiral butterfly bathed in the sunshine, wings wide open and the Cuckoo could be heard again in the distance. A Common Buzzard quartered above, whilst Goldfinches were spotted and heard in the nearby bushes. Jackdaws and a lone Grey Heron were noted as we walked to the newly rebuilt hide. Black-Headed Gulls, Coots and a Lapwing were seen at close quarters, whilst further back, two Mute Swans and Little Egrets put on good displays. Even better when one of the Egrets flew in closer for some good binocular views. Mallards and Moorhens put in an appearance, whilst a few Redshanks and a lone Oystercatcher could be seen flying around the pool. Another Nightingale was singing and a Greenfinch ‘wheezed’ as we headed back to the cars. Swallows flew overhead to bid us farewell and with a tally of 34 species seen and heard, a lovely time was had by all.

Many thanks to everyone that attended.
Steve and Hazel

Local Nature Appreciation Group – Wednesday 19.06.24  click HERE

A beautiful , very local, Meopham walk , organised and researched by Rosemary and Stuart ,
concentrating on the flora and fauna in this meadow as well as dozens of wild pyramid orchids and the rare rockrose,
we also identified over 20 bird varieties and 5 different butterfly species amongst this wild meadow -- and it's on our doorstep !


Additional information from Steve, also posted on the Meopham u3a Facebook Page

My name is Steve Cullum and as a nature enthusiast, I have been involved in setting up a new group which will encompass our lovely, local wildlife.
There are various opportunities to seek out the richness of our wonderful countryside, including birds (identifying and listening to their calls) butterflies,
insects, mammals and trees. I don't claim to be an expert, however, together we can enjoy the great outdoors, learn a few things and importantly, have fun along the way. My wife Hazel and hopefully, some of our knowledgeable friends, will endeavour to show you some lovely places nearby. The pace will be very leisurely and if, like me, you have a camera, then what better way to record your day out.
The trips would normally last approximately 2 to 4 hours, with plenty of time to have a natter along the way.
My photos show some of the wildlife that we could possibly see during the year.
We hope to see you soon.
Pictures, click HERE
From left to right : Great-spotted Woodpecker - Dunnock - Meadow Pipit - Marbled White.

Please use the bluebird above to contact DAVE.