Welcome to the Amersham Birdwatching Club Website
                      Welcome to the Amersham Birdwatching Club Website

Meetings will be held in the Barn Hall , Community Centre, Chiltern Avenue, Amersham and commence at 7:45pm   Doors will be open at 7:15. Meetings are free for members and £3 for visitors.  Tea and coffee will be served during the interval.


Indoor Meetings speakers for the season 2019– 2020

September 2019

Friday 20th'Lee Valley' Speaker Paul Roper

Field Meeting

Sunday 22nd: Ivinghoe Beacon Leader Richard Tomlin

October 2019

Friday 18th ' Winter Birding in Yunnan ' Speaker Jeff Blincow

Field Meeting

Saturday 19th: Little Marlow Gravel Pit (am) Leader Richard Tomlin

November 2019

Sunday 10th Residential Trip to Norfolk

3 nights at the Briarfields Hotel, Titchwell

Leader Alistair McKenzie

Friday 15th Indoor Meeting   'Otmoor'   Speaker Barry Oxley


Sunday 17th Lee Valley (all day) Leader Jeremy Tanner

December 2019


Friday 13h Christmas Quiz

Field Meeting

Monday 30th Chess Valley (am) followed by Pub Lunch Leader Stuart Wilson

January 2020

Friday 17th Wader Quest ---Rick and Ellis Simpson

Field Meeting

Saturday 19th Lemsford Springs (am)

February 2020


Field Meeting

Saturday 8th Slimbridge Coach Trip all day

Friday 21st Ebro Delta to Southern France plus RSPB Reserves


March 2020

Friday 20th When Birds Sing Saffron Summerfield

Field Meeting

Saturday 22nd Stockers Lake (am) Leader David Witton

April 2020

Friday 17th Tropic Birds of the Indian Ocean Speaker Dr Annette Fayet

Field Meeting

Saturday 18th Ivinghoe Beacon Leader Alistair McKenzie

May 2020

Friday 15th AGM, then Owls Owls Owls Speaker Chris Ward

followed by Cheese and Wine

Field Meeting

Saturday 16th Otmoor all day Leader Richard Tomlin


June 2020

No Indoor Meeting

Sunday 14th Stockers Lake (am) Leader Jeremy Tanner


July 2020

No Indoor Meeting

Saturday 11th   Totternhoe Knolls (am)  Leader Richard Tomlin

September 2020

Friday 18th  First Indoor Meeting    Wildlife Gardening   Steve Cale






Meetings will be held in the Barn Hall , Community Centre, Chiltern Avenue, Amersham and commence at 7:45pm   Doors will be open at 7:15. Meetings are free for members and £3 for visitors.  Tea and coffee will be served during the interval.


Indoor Meetings speakers for the season 2018 – 2019

September 2018

Friday 21stAndy Tucker: Wildlife of Spa

Field Meeting

Sunday 23rd: Ivinghoe Beacon (am) Leader Richard Tomlin

October 2018

Friday 19th  Edward Mayer : The Swift-One bird we can all help

Field Meeting

Saturday 20th: Willstone Reservoir (am) Leader Richard Tomlin

November 2018


Monday 5th   3night Residential trip ,North Norfolk 

Briarfields Hotel , Titchwell      Leader Alistair McKenzie 


Friday 16th Keith Offord: Hen Harriers - Sky Dancers

Field Meeting

Sunday 18th: Otmoor (pm) Leader Jeremy Tanner

December 2018

Friday 14th Christmas Quiz

Field Meeting

Friday 28th Chess Valley (am) followed by Pub Lunch Leader Stuart Wilson

January 2019

Friday 18th Dan Field: The Birdwatcher's Time Machine

Field Meeting

Saturday 19th Stockers Lake (am) Leader David Witton

February 2019

Friday 15th - Graeme Wallace: Wildlife of Southern Amazonia and the Pantanal

Field Meeting

Sunday 17th Little Marlow (am) Leader Jeremy Tanner

March 2019

Friday 15th Bill Coster: The Shetland Isles


Field Meeting

Saturday 16th London Wetland Centre (all day) Leader Alistair McKenzie

April 2019

Friday 12th - Ann Scott

Field Meeting

Sunday 14th Steps Hill (am) Leader Richard Tomlin

May 2019

Friday 17th AGM, followed by Chris Ward: Undiscovered Norfolk


Field Meeting

Saturday 18th Coach Trip to Lakenheath RSPB Reserve Leader Stuart Wilson


June 2019

Saturday 15th Chobham Common (pm) Leader Richard Tomlin






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North Norfolk Residential Trip Autumn 2017



A three night residential trip to North Norfolk staying at the Titchwell Manor Hotel on a dinner B&B basis was arranged from 5th to 8th Nov 2017   Around 22 people came and enjoyed a terrific three and a half days of birds with a visit to Frampton Marsh in Lincolnshire as a bonus on the way there where a very obliging Merlin sat on an old tree for ten minutes to allow us to enjoy him or was it a her?

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The Birdwatchers Time Machine was the enigmatic title given by Dr Field for his talk on the paleontological evidence for the 'history' of birds. Drawing widely on his own work and research  we were treated to a wonderful romp through the last 100M years  ,give or take a few ,noting the presence or absence of ferns , dinosoaurs and the like prior to and post the cataclysmic collision with the asteroid 66M years ago in the Yucatan peninsula widely recognised as the most recent event dealing a severe blow to all life forms.This was the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction known to  those in the trade as the "K-Pg"  Birds emerged after this event but what was there before .. who were the ancestors?  


Here are some links sent by Dr Field to help you further in your search for the truth. Yes it's definitely out there!


Articles by Dan Field 


  "How birds survived the dinosaur killing asteroid" an article in The Conversation 



"Feathered fruit-eater frozen in fossil form"  by Dan Field and Allison Hsiang    https://blogs.biomedcentral.com/bmcseriesblog/2018/06/25/feathered-fruit-eater-frozen-in-fossil-form/


A couple of articles in National Geographic also touch on the subject with video supplied by Dan


"These are the Dinosaurs that didn't die"  An article in National Geographic  https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/05/dinosaurs-survivors-birds-fossils/


"The unprecedented Ichthyornis fossil from Kansas offers fresh perspective on bird evolution."  a short article in National Geographic which has rotating 3-D fossil bird skull photo



For information about Dan's work and papers published go to :


tocker’s Lake                Sunday 19th November 2017


Stocker’s Lake is an old flooded gravel pit next to the River Colne near Rickmansworth. The morning was sunny and not too cold when 10 of us met up in the car park. We were lucky enough to spot about 44 species in the two hours or so that we were here. 10 species spotted from the car park one of which was a song thrush singing in November!


Wintering chiffchaff were feeding with a mixed flock of tits. A Cetti’s warbler was heard and seen. A goldcrest flitted through the small trees on the edge of the lake. On the water in the far distance gadwall and red crested pochard fed and dozed. Our best spot was 2 goldeneyes diving for food quite close to us. Their colourings were easy to pick out and we even saw a kingfisher.


Next time, perhaps, we should start an hour earlier to catch a water rail!

Many thanks to David and Linda Witton for leading a very satisfying trip.


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Sussex Residential Trip  Chichester Area  26th Feb to 1st March 2017 


Although the weather was less than kind, we were out each day and saw a wide variety of birds  Here are some. The short eared owl was such a treat but was at a great distance and he was camera shy. The sanderlings liked to sleep and the Turnstones were friendly and ran everywhere    Photos were taken by Linda Witton


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OTMOOR UNDER THREAT       RSPB mounts a campaign 



· A unique habitat of rare wetland and grazing floodplain in landlocked Oxfordshire, home to 1,000 acres of nature reserves 

· RSPB reserve

· Sites of Special Scientific Interest, 

· Uncrossed by any road since Roman times

· Thousands of visitors enjoy its special feeling of remoteness, 

· Ancient fen with over sixty rare and protected species.


Otmoor RSPB Reserve

It is a haven for wildlife. Among the rare birds that nest/visit are:

· Turtle Dove (Red List species of conservation concern in the UK; and Biodiversity Action Plan species). These are in decline and numbers are halving every six years

· Bittern. Numbers dramatically declined and almost extinct in UK, but numbers slowly increasing but at very low levels. Present at Otmoor.

· Rare birds of prey - Hen Harrier and Marsh Harrier

There are many other rate and unusual birds that breed or visit here. Information about birds and animals seen (including harriers and bitterns) can be found here:   http://otmoorbirding.blogspot.co.uk 



Route S2 would run very close to a number of very important heritage sites including –

· Beckley Park, a triple moated Grade I listed hunting lodge with a number of other listed buildings and rare flora

· Shotover House and Park a Grade I listed building with listed buildings and monuments in the park

· A Roman Road crosses Otmoor





In the early 1800's villagers grazed   
their animals on Ot Moor. However, later  
on, certain landowners thought that if  
Ot Moor was enclosed and drained it     
would make valuable plough land.In     
1815 Ot Moor was enclosed and drained   
by altering the course of the River    
Ray.The villagers were so annoyed,they 
rioted onto Ot Moor pulling down hedges 
and throwing them into the ditches. The 
troops were called in and 44 rioters   
were arrested. They were taken to       
Oxford on St Giles Day, which was       
crowded  with country folk enjoying    
the annual fair. The prisoners raised   
the cry "Ot Moor for Ever!".The crowd   
followed their example and attacked the
troops with bricks and stones.The      
troops were overpowed and all 44       
prisoners escaped. The landowners won   
their battle in the end, but the River  
Ray flooded and Ot Moor didn't dry out.


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Konik Horses introduced to Kentish wetlands to graze tough areas.


A rare breed of horse once at the centre of Nazi experiments has been recognized as a key part of plans to restore delicate wetlands.

It is now acknowledged that the grazing habits of the rare Konik breed – the name meaning small horse in Polish – play a crucial part in helping to make wetlands more habitable for other species.

Read more at https://www.horsetalk.co.nz/2012/06/01/konik-horses/#vUvoaZU0W7zp8mJU.99

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Lemsford Spring, Sunday, February 21st, 2016



Lemsford Spring is a tiny reserve beside the river Lee and between Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City. It’s a disused watercress bed fed by natural springs and so it never freezes up in winter.

Richard collected the key from the warden, who lives next door, and we began. If you weren’t birdwatching it would only take 15 minutes to do the circular walk but we spent 2 wonderful hours spotting about 32 familiar and less familiar species.

In the horse field to our left a pair of Little Egrets and a pair of Mistle Thrushes were feeding. Lemsford Church bells rang out and, at 10.30, a football match played out in the far distance.

All 11 of us squashed into the main hide and slowly birds revealed themselves. A Green Sandpiper with its white rump, at least 10 Moorhens and a Grey Wagtail were feeding in the shallow pools. A Goldcrest flitted quickly in a large bush where Lesley spotted a Treecreeper. A pair of Buzzards, a Kestrel, a Red Kite and a male and female Sparrowhawk were all hunting whist several Stock Doves sped through.

Our star bird was the Water Rail sneaking in and out of the reeds between the Moorhens; first spotted by Beryl.

On leaving the hides Stuart had found us Jackdaws, Goldfinches and a large flock of about 4 dozen Redwings feeding at the far end of the horse field. Long-tailed Tits were with other small birds feeding in a large hawthorn bush seen from the bridge and there were at least 4 Siskins above the feeders in the warden’s garden.

How lucky the people of Lemsford are to have this reserve on their doorstep.

Thanks Richard


Jean Jones


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Residential Trip to Suffolk Monday 25th – Thursday 28th April 2016

Monday 25th – Fingringhoe Wick

We began our 3 day birdwatching break at Fingringhoe Wick which is in Essex south of Colchester and has views over marshland and the river Colne.

As each of us arrived in the car park that morning we were greeted by the sound of a singing nightingale and all afternoon we were never far from this beautiful bird song. Richard, Alistair and Andrew actually saw one! Full frontal!

A blackcap was singing well at the side of a pool opposite the visitor centre and wrens sang from just about every corner. Swallows and house martins darted madly overhead whilst chiffchaffs and willow warblers were seen and heard. David and Linda spotted a pair of linnets and Jeremy found a weasel.

From the hides overlooking the marshes little egret, curlew, buzzard, oystercatcher shelduck and a grey plover in his smart summer plumage were all spotted. Joan picked out a redshank in the scrape. It was excellently camouflaged in front of various shades of mud.

Back at the visitor centre we took a late lunch and enjoyed watching house sparrows on the feeders hung on a derelict plough. A moorhen emerged from the back of the field with just 1 chick. I’m sure she will have more later in the season.


The shop / café is excellent with lots of space to view the marshes and warm up in front of a wood burning stove. It is at this point that I must say that we were 20 people on this trip and some may have seen lots of other species and none of those recorded here!


Tuesday 26th – Landgard Nature Reserve, Hollesley Marshes and Boyton Marshes

Today we went to Felixstowe and our guide, John Grant (Granty) was joining us there. Another very important point was the wintry, cold weather so we got extra excited at just spotting a common bird. As we struggled down through the nature reserve to the Observatory we saw hundreds (slight exaggeration) of linnets, greenfinch, song thrush, ringed plover and wheatear.

The port was always nearby with huge ships stacked with Maersk containers being guided in by pilot boats. Cranes and gantries dominated our views and up near the top of a huge high floodlight was a peregrine falcon nesting platform.

Because the weather was so foul Granty had arranged a special visit to inside the Observatory and it was very special.

The Observatory is based at the old fort and it was here that we were shown round by Steve, the top ringer. He pointed out the Heligoland traps and the ringing techniques. Then he read from his special book which recorded all the rarities they had seen or trapped over the last 30 odd years. We all had tea and coffee.

Jeremy and Stuart spotted a peregrine overhead as we returned to the car park.

Lunch was taken at the Hollesley Prison Café. This is a new venture for the young offenders who were thrilled to have their café full and they managed to distribute toasties and baguettes to all 20 of us. A very rewarding experience!


Hollesley Marshes is very close to the prison. There’s a good track down to the “open hide” which overlooks a large pool. It’s quite small but there was a good mix of water and marshland birds to see; marsh harrier, common gull, avocet, turnstone and egret. A busy yellow wagtail was feeding under the far bank; swifts were flying in from the east to join the swallows and house martins and a sedge warbler sang very close to the left of the hide. We had lovely views of a greenshank enjoying his own quiet damp place.


Boyton Marshes is a little further north and we parked at a farm called Banter’s Barn. Hereford cattle were in a small enclosure by the road. A small flock of yellowhammers was flitting between the hedgerow and the metal fence of the enclosure. Granty and Andrew picked out stock doves overhead and a few paces down to the marshes several yellow wagtails were feeding with meadow pipits.

After a short walk to the estuary wall Alistair spotted a curlew which the rest of us had difficulty seeing. Eventually it turned out to be a whimbrel. In fact seven whimbrel flew upstream as we discussed the differences between curlew and whimbrel.

Tired but happy we returned to the hotel. Jeremy and Eileen were delayed as they helped at a car crash; no-one injured thankfully. Other car events included sightings of a cuckoo and a small herd of fallow deer. All from Andrew’s car.

Throughout our trip we had several sightings of Orford Ness. This is a National Trust reserve but it was a former secret military test site used by the MOD during both World Wars and the Cold War. Radar was first developed here.

Wednesday 27th April Minsmere

Our first stop on the road to Minsmere was at Westleton Heath. It was perfect heathland but with a cold wind blowing the Dartford warblers were hiding down in the warm thick shrubs and so not spotted today. The stonechats were of a hardier nature and gave us some excellent sightings.

We moved on to the outskirts of Minsmere and quietly made our way up a bridleway to a viewpoint overlooking a field of rabbits. There, at the top of the slope, was a female stone curlew nestled down in the stony sand. Behind her, on guard, standing under a large shrub in the hedge was her mate. If this wasn’t enough excitement a female ring ouzel popped down out of the hedge close by. The stone curlew is quite rare and so this nest site is in a secret location.

Granty moved us on to Minsmere as there was so much more to see. The morning walk to the coast took us past a man-made sand martin nesting bank with many sand martins excitedly milling around overhead. As soon as we began the walk to the beach stone curlew and wheatear were spotted in the scrubland field to our left. To our right a pair of greylag geese were showing off their clutch of 16 goslings. A great photo moment! Bearded tits rushed backwards and forwards across the raised path with absolutely no time for a photo call.

At the beach Di wished for a gannet and one magically appeared. It flew low over the waves against the wind in and out of view. Granty was very keen to show us the concrete blocks which had been placed along the coast at the beginning of the 2nd World War. One of them had been personally engraved with: Wimpy Defense Line 1940 This was the year Holland fell to Germany and Holland is only 90 miles away.

Red deer hid in the tall rushes and noisy sandwich terns flew in off the sea in ones and twos probably returning to their nest sites on the East Scrape. At least 70 came in during our visit. From the East hide, amid the commoner species, we could pick out 4 common terns, a pair of Mediterranean gulls, common gulls, 4 turnstones and kittiwakes collecting nesting material for their breeding colony at Sizewell nuclear power station nearby to the south.

As we turned the corner at the Sluice a sedge warbler sang out in full view quite close to us. As we rounded the scrape to return to the centre we found a bar-tailed godwit feeding close to a black-tailed godwit. Granty helped us distinguish between them and pointed out dunlins with summer plumage black bellies. He and Carly caught the brief sound of a booming bittern.

After lunch we took the Woodland Walk. This took us past the adder corner where volunteers were helping us to spot a black and grey one. At the next bend a redstart was hiding in a large shrub. Most of us saw him but Linda and David went back the next morning to get excellent photos of him.

We settled down in the Island Mere hide and were rewarded with several views of marsh harriers, little grebes and a wonderful long flight of a bittern. From the Bittern hide another bittern flew up and moved westwards. A water rail showed well in the scrape below us and a party of 9 red deer made their way westwards through the reed beds.

That evening we thanked Andrew for organising the trip. We all agreed it had been brilliant and Jeremy kindly added up all our bird numbers. We were just short of 100 but we still had Thursday morning to get the count over 100!




Thursday 28th - Lackford Lakes


This last reserve is situated just north east of Bury St Edmunds and is run by Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

We benefitted hugely from the temporary signs put up along the pathways, ie WREN and lo and behold a wren sang and perched close by for us to see him. Di and I took the Kingfisher Trail which skirted the sailing lake, the Slough scrape and on to the kingfisher corner through to a hide over Long Reach pool.

The weather was warming up and the short walks were magical. We heard nightingale song at the first corner, looked at the scrape where Jeremy saw a little ringed plover and then settled down with others from our group to wait in front of the kingfisher nest hole. Unfortunately this was a “no show” for all the usual reasons – eaten earlier, female on eggs, too cold to warm up in the sun, etc.

On the contrary we had great views of a common sandpiper on Long Reach.

Taking a slightly different route back to the visitor centre Andrew and Joan found a blackcap singing and showing well with a sign – BLACKCAP underneath.

Lunch was taken at the top of the centre with great views over feeders by a pond surrounded by reeds. Marsh tits fed in front of us and a sedge warbler flitted through the reeds, singing well from time to time.

Lesley and Stuart had one last attempt to see the turtle dove which had been seen the day before. They were lucky enough to hear one of the first garden warblers to return to Lackford Lakes in 2016!

So our bird count ended at about 104 and every one returned home safely.

Once again many thanks to Andrew for organising the trip.


Jean Jones.



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Snipe and Chiffchaffs at the Jubilee River             Wednesday 28th December 2016

We were really lucky with the weather for this end of year outing. It was a frosty, sunny morning in a week of fog and cold.

Richard had organised coffee and hot chocolate at the Palmer’s Arms in Dorney at 10 am after which we took a public footpath behind the pub towards the Jubilee River. Winter Thrushes were feeding in the trees as we neared the bridge. The first views over the river were of gulls, ducks, swans and geese and we crossed south to have a long-distance look at the sewage works of Slough. Unfortunately the water down there was frozen over so we lingered on the bridge. A Water Rail was heard then seen and we had great sightings of Snipe flying around and feeding at the water’s edge. A Muntjac deer was threading its way through the reeds and a Cetti’s warbler was heard. 

We continued along the path on the south bank, collecting species at regular moments. Eileen’s Goldcrest was one of these! Just before the weir, we turned right to inspect a small stream running between a meadow and the common. There is a sheltered bend at the beginning and this is where we found several Chiffchaffs which were feeding in the overgrown hedge along with Reed Buntings. Pied and grey wagtails were dashing backwards and forwards along the stream whilst Meadow Pipits fed in the common itself. We trudged back over the common into Dorney village for lunch at the pub with Deirdre and Pat.

The number of species seen was 47 and each sighting of a common bird was as exciting as the snipe and chiffchaffs had been.
Many thanks to Richard for organising this excellent trip and lunch.



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September 2016

Friday 16th      'Working at Waddesdon Aviaries- The Bali Starling Project'       

                         Speaker: Ian Edmans


Sunday 18th     Field trip to Wilstone Reservoir (am)                          Leader: Richard Tomlin



October  2016

Friday 21st    **'The Fantastic Farnes'     Note  This talk has been moved from its original date of May 2017

                         Speaker:  Chris Ward



Saturday 22nd   Field trip to Ivinghoe Beacon (am)                          Leader: Richard Tomlin


Sunday 30th    Residential Trip to Norfolk


                          3  nights at the Titchwell Manor Hotel                   Leader:  Stuart Wilson


November  2016


Friday 18th     'Mongolia, Mountains, Steppe and Desert'             

                           Speaker Ann Farrer


Sunday 20th      Field Trip to Otmoor (pm)  Starling show               Leader David Witton




December  2016


Friday 16th       Christmas Quiz           Bring food or a Raffle prize


Tuesday 29th     Field Trip  to Jubilee River                                   Leader:  Richard Tomlin




JANUARY   2017


Friday 20th        'Wildlife of Madagascar,a genetic melting pot'

                            Speaker: Dr Graham Lenton

Saturday 21st   Roosting Rooks and Jackdaws  (pm)   Venue to be arranged         Leader: Richard Tomlin


February 2017

Friday 17th       'The Shearwater's World'

                            Speaker Prof. Tim Guildford, Oxford University 








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Titchwell Hide

Contact Us Today

Enquiries to
Alistair McKenzie


Phone: 01494 71 74 26  

Mob 07958 792 488 

E-mail: secretary@





Diana Smith - Chairman

Eileen Tanner  -Secretary

Stuart Wilson-Treasurer

Andrew Clark

Janet Hyatt

Jean Jones

Alistair Mckenzie   Webmaster

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