There are currently four Birdwatching Groups with about ten to fifteen members in each group
The Aims and Objects of Bird Watching Groups are to provide opportunities to visit bird reserves and habitats, locally and elsewhere as a group, sometimes with local guides; to learn informally from each other (as well as from guides) how to identify different species.
Across the four groups, approximately ten outings are arranged yearly, travelling in own cars, with other group members, or by bus; with days planned to include time and facilities for lunch or refreshments. Dates and travel arrangements are agreed, after discussion, by phone or e-mail.
Birdwatching Group I
In Bird Watching Group 1, we try to have an ‘away’ trip each year and we have travelled to places such as Norfolk, Northumberland and Teeside where we stay in a hotel for a couple of nights to explore the area at leisure. We enjoy all wildlife, not just birds, but butterflies, moths and of course wild flowers. We share our knowledge with each other so we all learn new things wherever we go. We arrange our outings of different days of the week to enable everyone to work around their busy lives. All members of the group have an input on the choice of venues and dates. We car share and try to organise as few cars as possible.
At the beginning of February 2023, ten members of bird watching group 1, plus two spouses, met up in Wells to spend two splendid days on the Somerset Levels on a trip organised by Naturetrek. Our two leaders, Matt and Nick, were very knowledgeable and knew exactly where to take us to see a wide variety of birds, some of which were new to us. Of course the main reason for going to the Levels at this time of year is to see the starling murmuration, which we did on both evenings, and it was quite staggering to see thousands of birds gathering before roosting for the night. The noise of their wings while wheeling overhead was remarkable while birds of prey flew into the swarm to catch what they could. We also saw what many of us decided was an otter on the opposite river bank, but others (who hadn’t seen it) thought it would have been a mink. Definitely an otter!
Members of Group 1 enjoy going on outings roughly once a month, excluding August, to a variety of reserves both local and a little further afield. Places such as Attenborough, Langford Lowfields, Rufford, Besthorpe and Clumber. A little further are Potteric Carr, Whisby, Rutland Water and Brandon Marsh. We prefer not to travel too far in one day.
Reminiscing back to the prehistoric times of "Pre-Covid", in March 19, 11 members of Bird Watching Group 1 spent three days away at Parkgate, on the Wirral. Wonderful experiences watching the high tide bringing in thousands of birds, and especially the raptors who were waiting to pounce on the many small mammals trying to escape the water. Also a visit to the nearby Ness Botanic Gardens, run by the University of Liverpool. See us all in the photo above. Also in that year we visited Potteric Carr, Langford Lowfields, Rutland Water, Old Moor and many other places. During Covid, Jean Powley, one of the members of Bird Watching Group 1 sent us all a weekly Blog, much enjoyed by us all. She reported on her own sightings, and both national and international Birdlife news. We sent her news from our walks and gardens which she added to her Blog, and it was remarkable what we all encountered during that difficult time. Going back still further, see photographs of our birdwatching highlights from earlier years here.
Birdwatching Group III We meet monthly, visitIng a different Reserve each time. We have an annual 2 or 3 night away visit enabling us to stray further afield. We have a Social each winter at which we review the past year, plan the year ahead and… socialise.
An intrepid four members of Bird Group 3, Sue , Jan , Corinne and Group Leader James paid a two night visit to Somerset in January 2023 and were fortunate to watch starlings murmurate twice. One photo on the slide show below is of a murmuration very close to us as the half a million birds settled to render the pale brown reedbed very black, and very, very noisy! The two peregrines that were pestering these clouds of starlings seemed to leave empty-handed. Add to that 5 cranes and Wells Cathedral, on a rather wet morning, and we enjoyed a thoroughly rewarding outing.
Our group currently has around a dozen active members, so a pretty full bird hide number, but we could fit in a small number of new members so contact us if interested. Updated 2 Feb 2023-RL
Birdwatching Group IV (16 members at October 2021)
Leader Michael Ackroyd (since November 2021) Secretary Mike West Photo Editor Brenda McLeish Other members Elayne Bull; Kath West: Don McLeish; Jane Lidster; Joan Ware; Sue Whibley; Ann Mercer; Chris Mercer; Peter Bull; Jo Knight; Peter Knight; Paul White; Alison Mowbray
Page updated 2 November 2021
Group IV Birdwatchers - on location in Farne Island and elsewhere
Think you might be interested in joining this group?
1. If you are not already a member of Southwell U3A but are interested in finding out more about these groups and/or would like to attend one of their group meetings please click on the Contact Us link and let us know which group you are interested in. We will arrange for the Group Leader to get in touch with you as soon as possible.
2. If you are already a member of Southwell U3A and are interested in joining either group you can contact the Group Leader directly. Their details are in the Group Leaderspage in our Membership Area of the website. As a Southwell U3A member you will have received the password for the Members Area pages in Newsline. If you have forgotten the password please use the Contact Usfacility on this website to request the password.