Sunday 31 January 2016

Our Next Meeting

Next Thursday, February 11th, we will be meeting at the Cabin for a Work Party at 09:30. Hot drinks in the Cabin. Bring lunch if you wish to stay.

Saturday 30 January 2016

Photography Day

Many thanks to all who turned up today and I hope you enjoyed it and got some useful information to help you take better pictures .Also my thanks to the members for their input and help to making it a great day . Yours GWH

Sunday 24 January 2016

Friday 22 January 2016


Just a quick note to say that this post will remain on top until Friday. Your own post will appear one slot down. - Bruce

This event has had a few different descriptions bantered about recently, but here's what it's all about :

We would like to invite all owners of cameras to come along on Sat 30th & have a snapping session on the reserve.

It's going to be our First Official Photography Day - & is for the benefit of all.

We may split whoever turns up on the day into different groups. On the one hand, people may want to Photograph Landscapes, i.e. weirs, water, winter scenery. On the other, people may want to get shots of wildlife i.e. birds around the Feeding areas. Or you may want to go Macro, close ups of Frosty spider webs, branches etc.

Who is it for:
Everybody, whatever level of skills you have, whatever type of camera, whatever equipment you own.

What will You need:
Obviously Warm Clothing, boots/wellies, hat, scarf, gloves etc & your camera, lenses, tripod, bean bag & any other item you think you might use. Please remember to bring your spare cards & batteries, just in case.
If you want to stay for the entire the day, bring a packed lunch to enjoy in the cabin with a nice Cuppa whilst we chat & answer any other questions you may have, maybe plan what you want to photograph next, or look at your pictures taken earlier.

What will it be about:
This event is all about getting you the shots you would like, with advice & help with all aspects on the day. People will be on hand to:
- Direct you to your subjects.
- Give pointers on best angles, positions etc, to snap from.
- Offer advice on how to improve your shots even further.
- Offer help with Camera settings, menu's & equipment advice for nature photography.

We will try to answer whatever Question you may have regarding Photography - But the Day is for helping you get the most out of snapping the Nature & Habitat of Cromwell Bottom.

Assuming it is not Lashing it Down - which is not very good for electronic equipment we should be assembling in the Car Park & the Visitor Cabin approx. 9.30am.

Suggested Donation for the Day of £2.50 PP would be gratefully received!
If you have any questions you can email me, or if you would like to let us know your coming (idea of numbers) please post a comment below.

Just a few while out and about yesterday:

 This place just oozes friendliness always offered a nice cup of tea when members are at the cabin, wish I didn't have to work on the 30th for photography day.

Thursday 21 January 2016

Another Appeal

Jon Dempsey is urgently needing photos or videos of local flooding to ascertain main areas likely to be affected. For future reference.

Thank You. Please send any info via his email below.

Jon Dempsey    Jon.Dempsey@CH2M.Com

An Appeal

To all Volunteers

The Canal and Rivers Trust is holding and event to help clean up the Canal area this Saturday the 23rd of January. Please check the full request on our Website

Monday 18 January 2016

Just for David

Not brilliant but here's one of the tree creepers

Saturday's Meet the Birds

Fifteen of us met at the Cabin for a really excellent morning visiting some of the Reserve. The weather was superb after the recent deluges.
We walked down past the weir and through past the old Tag Canal and the new Dipping Pond.  A large flock of Siskin were feeding in the Alder. On to the bird feeding area and then along over the Calder to inspect the Ski Lake where most of the water birds were recorded.
Back to the warm Cabin for a hot drink and lunch.

Bird list for 16/01/2016

Blackbird, Black-headed Gull, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Canada goose, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Collard Dove, Common Gull, Coot, Cormorant + (sinensis), Dunnock, Goldeneye, Goldfinch, Goosander, Great Tit, Grey Heron, Jay, Kestrel, Little Grebe, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Mistle Thrush, Moorhen, Nuthatch, Robin, Siskin, Song Thrush, Tree Creeper, Tufted Duck, Wren. 

Thirty-three species were recorded plus one of the cormorants showed the characters of sinensis. Also a rare species for the site, Scarlet elf cup was seen on a dead trunk.

Sunday 17 January 2016

Looking Good in the Snow

The birds in the feeding area were out in force this morning after the snow. Two female reed buntings were looking particularly photogenic. Lots of Robins around posing for next years Christmas cards and one liked Grahams hat so much he perched on it!

Tuesday 12 January 2016

Meet The Birds Day! Saturday the 16th


As Bruce has mentioned on this Sat (16th) we are having a walk round looking for the Birds Of Cromwell Bottom & anything else we may spot, Otter, Mink, Deer, Voles, Mice, Newts etc.
Meet at 9:30 by the Cabin or car park.

If you are new to Birds - This is a prime opportunity to get help with I.D. of the species on the reserve. A lot of newcomers do pick up new species when they visit the feeding area, Jays for instance, a bird a lot of people just don't get in their gardens.

Don't be shy! this is aimed at people new to "Bird watching" to help them see a good selection of species & help them with Identification & any other questions they may have!
All experts welcome too!

What will you see:
When you arrive at the Cabins, you will get one set of birds around the feeders there - What we call the regulars. Nuthatch, Goldfinch, Great, Blue, Long Tailed & Coal Tits, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Robin. Carrion crows & Magpies will be lurking around & Jays may be in the area.
At the other Feeding Station. Again, Great, Blue, Long Tailed & Coal Tits, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, almost a guarantee of Jays close up, after peanuts are put out! Bullfinches will come down at some point & Reed Bunting are a possibility. Siskin may arrive, Nuthatch may come down, & G.S. Woodpecker may be nearby.
Out & about: As we walk around we may come across the large siskin flock on site which may have a few Redpoll in with them, we should find G.S. Woodpeckers around with a possibility of spotting a Green Woodpecker or at least hearing one. Buzzard, Kestrel & Sparrow Hawk are around & if really lucky a Red Kite may cruise over. Tree Creepers could be seen, as well as a Kingfisher, Goosander, Cormorant, Teal, Mallard, Black Headed Gulls, Heron, Redwing, Fieldfare & on better years a Waxwing or two has been through the reserve.
These are just an idea of what can be seen on a walk round - So come along & see what is about on the day & what else may be visiting the site in that I haven't mentioned above.

Good boots or a pair of Wellingtons for the muddy sections & a pair of Binoculars would come in handy! Warm waterproof clothing, gloves hats etc. Telescope if you got one!
If you fancy staying after (weather permitting) bring a packed lunch which you can have whilst you warm up with a nice cuppa after the walk. Then you can have another walk round by yourselves or sit at the feeding station & watch/snap the birds there. Maybe get some practice in ready for the Photography Day.

All welcome.

Monday 11 January 2016

Bullfinches are Back

Nice to see four pairs of bullfinches in the feeding area this weekend, and they're still as messy!

Short Notice Work Party

Dear all

We have a work party this Thursday the 14th and also on the 21st of January.
We need to check and clean the nest boxes before early spring.

There will be hot drinks available in the Cabin. Also the area cut by the power
company will need tidying. Please wear boots and gloves. Park in the public car park at 9:30

Meet the Birds

 Saturday 16th January

Meet the birds. Come along at 09:30 for a walk around the reserve for a bird spotting hour or two, ending up  at the bird viewing area, then back to the cabin for a warm drink. All welcome.

Friday 8 January 2016

Work Party tomorrow! Sat 9th

Hello all, I am posting this as It doesn't appear to have been mentioned here yet!

We should be collecting more litter again tomorrow & hopefully putting All the previously collected litter into a truck.
I believe we may also be putting up a bit of Chestnut Paling fencing & a couple of signs to help keep people out of a high risk area - Some Trees are unstable due to the flooding.

Please come with Wellies or Boots as the walk down to above area will be muddy.

Should be usual time of 9.30ish at the Cabin!

See you Tomorrow!

Tuesday 5 January 2016

The Chunky Monkey

As I have mentioned on Allan's Post - We have a Monster Nuthatch coming down to the Cabin feeders. It is clearly bigger than the others & just sits there munching Green sunflower seeds.
"Chunky Monkey" is his name & he can't be bothered to fly off when food is there to be eaten, he would rather sit still & eat, & eat, & eat.....

Here's 3 shots of "Chunky Monkey" I think if he tried hanging upside down he'd fall off! You can tell it's this one, it always sits on top munching away.

Here is a STD one for comparison.

He's not completely on his own - there is also a big Great Tit around too.

They maybe eating far more than required to stay trim, it might be the warm weather we have been having? The birds are possibly eating for Winter Temperatures - But don't need too!
Hopefully not too many will get XXXL.

See if you can spot them next time your passing - It's pretty easy .... they don't move much!

Monday 4 January 2016

YWT? Why not have a go?

I have just come across a Photo competition that should be good for everybody.

They even have a smartphone category!

All entries are by end of this month, but you don't have to have taken a ridiculously high quality, perfectly done photograph to Win in this Competition. Yes it helps, but you would be surprised what gets selected as the winners. The Public get to vote after finalists are selected & they can have quirky personal tastes in pictures.
I believe prizes are Workshops, Wildlife Safaris in U.K. etc with Steve Race!

Whatever your level of picture taking & whatever your standard of equipment, You still have a good chance in this competition!

So all snappers - please do consider having a go at this one!


BUT ....  If you happen to think your the Bee's Knee's of Camerapersons & you are far too good for that type of competition then you could have a go at either of these, see how good you really are?
These are Professional Level competitions & can cost quite a bit to enter & You will Really, need to be taking very high quality Professional standard images, trying to win BIG prizes like £5,000 or £10,000. Image Quality, composition, subject etc is extremely high.
Yes you have to pay big money to enter! that's how they raise the big Prize funds!

Sunday 3 January 2016

Birds of a feather: Some of what makes Cromwell Bottom Nature Reserve special

                 Goldfinches are showing well and presenting us with some good photo oportunities

 Some people think of Dunnock as just a LBJ (Little brown job) but in the right light they are stunning little birds

 We are getting Jays close up now on a regular basis, These were taken from the window of the cabin.                                (Thanks Barry for giving me the idea)

 The Nuthatches continue to thrill us. I think they are great to photograph( Though sometimes you have to be quick as they don't always hang around before they fly off to stash their seeds or peanuts)

 We have a pair of Robins at the Cabin feeders. Great to see them looking their best in the afternoon sun

What a load of old rubbish.....

.... As Bruce reports, 18 of us tackled the debris along the river and canal paths yesterday. At first sight it was a miserable prospect, but armed with good gloves and plenty of sacks we set to work and, amazingly, made a really big difference to the look of the area. I'm sure we all reflected on the amount of plastic in the stuff we collected - 3 cheers for the new carrier bag charges!
If you're thinking of joining in on a work day please don't be put off by the nature of the tasks we go for - anyone is welcome and there's always something for everyone to do as well as plenty of good conversation and company and a cup of tea back at the cabin mid-morning. If you're not an outdoor type we can still put other talents to good use, just get in touch and come along - its not a bad choice for a New Year's resolution!
So, hoping to see you soon............Happy New Year!

Saturday 2 January 2016

New Years Day Treat

             Had a lovely New Years Day on the reserve and plenty of
             birdlife about which was good to see-:

             6 Jay, 8 Long Tailed Tits, 2 Treecreepers, 4 Nuthatch,
             4 Goosander, 1 Siskin, 1 Cormorant, 1 GSW and plenty
             of the regulars.