South East Essex RSPB Calendar of Local Events

RSPB South East Essex Local Group – 20/21 Season

Next Zoom Talk

Wednesday 29th September 7:45pm for an 8pm start: Zoom talk by Ruary Mackenzie Dodds - Dragonflies; their life-cycle, their anatomy, their behaviours, their preferred habitats, how to attract them to your garden and some basic ID.

Ruary has worked on behalf of dragonflies since 1989. He is a Fellow of the Linnean Society. For twenty years he was Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Dragonfly Project (UK Registered Charity No 1046086). Its aim was to raise public awareness of the fascination, beauty and plight of dragonflies. This aim has now been taken on by The British Dragonfly Society. But Ruary’s work continues.

In June 2010, Ruary was named as the BBC's Dragonfly Geek by Chris Packham during a BBC 'Springwatch' programme. Over the last twenty years, he has broadcast frequently on television and radio. In March 2014 he presented ‘Bewitched by Dragonflies’ in the Nature series on BBC Radio 4. He broadcast on Radio 4’s Mid-Week with Libby Purves in July 2014, and contributed to David Attenborough’s Sky TV film “Conquest of the Skies, Episode 1”, released in 2015.

On the 4th of September 2016, BBC Radio 4 repeated a 'Living World' programme entitled ’The Dance of the Dragonfly' originally made at Ashton Water Dragonfly Sanctuary in 1994, now top-and-tailed by Chris Packham. And later that month, on Tuesday the 20th, BBC Radio 4 broadcast ‘Dragonfly’ in their 'Natural Histories' series. In both broadcasts, Ruary was the key figure. 'Dragonfly' was repeated again on the Sunday 21st June 2020. To listen to To l'Dragonfly', Google: BBC/Natural Histories/DragonflyRuary has just ventured into the world of self-publishing with his WWII novel Luc's War . It is available from Amazon and from Bookshops.

Ruary’s latest dragonfly book, written in conjunction with his wife Kari de Koenigswarter is The Dragonfly-Friendly Gardener . Published by Saraband, it’s a simple guide as to how to attract dragonflies to your garden.

Saraband have also published The Dragonfly Diaries. It’s the story of what happened to Ruary after a dragonfly landed on his shirt and how it entirely changed his life.

Ruary is also the author of the 180-page fully-illustrated Aberfeldy, The History of a Highland Community. He is a published poet and short story writer.

He also has a childrens’ story, Dorigen, under consideration by a publisher.

Visit Ruary's website at:

Joining details for 07:45pm on the 29th September:

Topic: Dragonflies
Time: Sep 29, 2021 07:30 PM London
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 847 9627 9619
Passcode: 855631

We are not charging for our Zoom presentations but would appreciate a minimum donation of £3 (our usual talks are £3 for members and £4 non members), so if you enjoy them please do consider making a donation of £3 per person to cover our overheads and allow us to book speakers who charge a fee without incurring a net financial loss as our fund-raising is very limited this year.

Please make a donation by bank transfer to: RSPB SEE LG, Bank Sort Code 309079, Account Number 33710768. Important! Please put 'ZOOMMEETING' in the reference box.

The RSPB is the country’s largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We play a leading role in BirdLife International, a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations.

Thank you for your support it is much appreciated.

SE Essex local group field trips 2021-2022

Tuesday 21st September 2021: Independent Lady Birders - Belfairs Woodland Centre
Meet at 10am for a walk in the woods or 10:30 for coffee and a chat outside the centre unless it is raining. Please wear suitable clothing. All single ladies welcome.

Sunday 26th September 2021: Guided Walk - Bradwell Bird Observatory
Meet at 10am in Eastlands car park. Follow the B1021 to Bradwell and then follow the signs to St Peters Chapel. Map reference TM035 081. Postcode CM0 7PN. All welcome.

Sunday 10th October 2021: Guided Walk - Dungeness Power Station and RSPB Reserve
Meet in the car park at the Power Station at 10am. Postcode TN29 9NB. All welcome.

Wednesday 20th October 2021: Guided Walk - EWT Two Tree Island
Meet at 10am in the car park. Follow the road behind Leigh railway station. Cross narrow bridge over the creek and park on the left. High tide 1219 hrs. All welcome.

Sunday 7th November 2021: Guided Walk - EWT Thurrock Thameside Nature Park*
Meet at 10am. Take the A1014 exit off the A13 towards Shell Haven/Coryton/Stanford Le Hope. At the roundabout take the 2nd exit onto Stanford Road (A1013). Turn left at the traffic lights. At mini roundabout turn right into Butts Lane. Turn left onto Mucking Wharf Road. Follow signs onto Thurrock Thameside Nature Reserve and follow road to Car Park. Postcode SS17 0RN. All welcome.

Monday 22nd November 2021: Guided Walk - Hanningfield Reservoir*
Meet at 10am. From the Rettendon Turnpike take the A1245 (the old A130) and turn left at The Bell public house. Follow the road past The Windmill PH until you arrive at a T-junction. Turn right and the EWT visitor centre is on your right just before you arrive at the Causeway. Post code CM11 1WT. Non EWT members may be asked for a donation. All welcome.

Sunday 5th December 2021: Guided Walk - EWT Chigborough Lakes/Heybridge Basin
Take the B1026 Heybridge to Goldhanger road and turn left into Chigborough Road. This junction is just over a mile from Heybridge. Meet in the Chigborough Lakes car park at 10am. Postcode CM9 4RE. The postcode should get you close to the reserve. All welcome.

Wednesday 15th December 2021: Guided Walk - Stambridge Mill to Stambridge Trout Fishery.
Meet at Stambridge Mill at 10 am. High tide 0946hrs. Postcode SS4 2AR. All welcome.

Wednesday 5th January 2022: Guided Walk - RSPB Wallasea Island
Meet at Midday. Follow the road past the entrance to the Marina straight through the farm for approx. half a mile. High tide 1421 hrs. All welcome.

Sunday 23rd January 2022: Guided Walk - Southend Pier
Meet at 1045am at the lower level entrance. High tide 1557 hrs. All welcome.

Wednesday 9th February 2022: Guided Walk - RSPB Old Hall Marshes
Meet in the car park at 10am. Old Hall Lane, Tolleshunt D'Arcy, Maldon CM9 8TP. High tide 1518 hrs. All welcome.

Sunday 20th February 2022: Guided Walk - Hadleigh Country Park
Meet at 10am in the new Chapel Lane car park. There is a charge for parking. All welcome.

Sunday 20th March 2022: Guided Walk - Wakering Stairs
Meet at 10am. Take the Foulness Road from Great Wakering church and the 2nd exit from the mini roundabout within the MOD fencing. Follow this road to the seawall. High tide 1359 hrs. All welcome.

Tuesday 29nd March 2022: Guided Walk - EWT Warley Place
Meet at 10am. Travelling on the A127 towards London turn off onto the B186 just before the M25 turn off. Turn right at the junction and follow the B186 until you see the Thatchers Arms PH on your left. The reserve is next door. NB The gate may be closed but not locked. Postcode CM13 3HT. All welcome.

Wednesday 13th April 2022: Guided Walk - EWT Bluehouse Farm, North Fambridge
Meet at 10am. Take the B1012 road towards Burnham. Make a right turn at the junction with B1010 to North Fambridge. Cross railway and follow road to Blue House Farm. All welcome.

Sunday 24th April 2022: Guided Walk - Abberton Reservoir*
Meet at Layer Breton Causeway at 10am. Non EWT members may be asked for a donation at the Visitor Centre. All welcome.

Sunday 1st May 2022: Guided Walk - EWT Fingringhoe Wick
Meet in the visitor centre at 10am.Take the B1026 from Heybridge towards Colchester. Turn off before Abberton Reservoir towards Mersea. Follow the road to Fingringhoe and the signs to the reserve. Postcode CO5 7DN. Non EWT members may be asked for a donation. All welcome.

Monday 9th May 2022: Guided Walk - RSPB West Canvey Marsh
Meet at 10am. Enter Canvey from Benfleet Railway Station. At the first roundabout take the 2nd exit (straight on). The entrance to the reserve is actually on the 2nd roundabout (3rd exit). All welcome.

Sunday 31st July 2022: Guided Walk - Rutland Water*
We hope to be on time to see freshly fledged young Osprey (as well as adults and many other species of birds). Travelling north on the A1 past Peterborough take the A606 exit towards Oakham/Melton Mowbray. Turn left onto Empingham Road (A606). After approx. 5 miles take the first exit into Burley Park Way (A6003). After less than a mile turn left onto Hambleton Way. Postcode LE15 8BT. Meet at Rutland Water NR Egleton at 11am. All welcome.

* = Ideal sites for sitting in the Visitor Centre/Café looking out over the reserve/feeders.

Notes on Meetings and Field Trips
Indoor meetings will be held at The EWT Belfairs Woodland Centre, Eastwood Road North, Leigh on Sea, SS9 4LR. Note: turn down small road directly on the bend by the three flagpoles. Map reference TQ 831 874. Doors open at 19.30 for a 20.00 start. Entrance fee £3.00 for members. Suggested donation of £4 for non members. See for directions.

Coach Trips:
All coach trips commence at The White Horse, Lifstan Way, Southend-on-Sea at the time stated on this page. Pick-up points are at The Bell Hotel, Prince Avenue, Kent Elms Corner, Westleigh School, Thames Drive, and Hadleigh Church and Halfords at Rayleigh Weir. Bookings should be made through Cath Williams at one of the indoor meetings.

The RSPB Southend Local Group organises coach trips to nature reserves and other sites that permit access to the public, sometimes for an entrance fee or donation Please read the following guidelines:

Ensure that you have suitable warm/waterproof clothing and footwear. If you have any medical condition which may put you at risk, please inform the organiser when booking and they will advise you on the suitability of the itinerary/excursion. Ensure that you have any medications required for the day. Please Note: Payments for trips to be paid in full when booking. Cheques should be made payable to "RSPB South East Essex Local Group". Packed lunches and suitable footwear are essential and waterproof clothing advisable, preferably dull.

Field Meetings:
Generally these are intended as short outings of 2-3 hours duration at sites in the local area or within short travelling distance. If the weather is fine and the "birding" good the walk may be extended; it is up to the individuals how long they stay. Occasionally, to provide variety, some locations a little further afield may be chosen.
In the winter months it is essential to wear clothing (preferably dull colours) and footwear to suit the prevailing weather conditions.
Transport is not provided.

Other Pages