Crossness Wildlife Records for 2018

Crossness sightings for last year.

Download the PDF file .


Download the PDF file .

Download the PDF file .



Download the PDF file .

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Volunteers for surveying in arable land in Kent

I hope this email finds you well. My name is Zoe Morrall and I am the Outreach Officer for a HLF funded national project called Back from the Brink, working on one of the umbrella projects called Colour in the Margins, led by Plantlife

The project aims to raise awareness of arable habitats and how modern farming practices such as use of herbicides and pesticides and changes in farming are threatening this habitat.  This project is focusing on 13 species; 10 plants and 3 ground beetles. The project aims to develop ways to introduce and manage for these species and will bring them back to suitable sites

 The project is looking for volunteers to help us survey for arable plants on farmland within our six project areas: Cornwall & Devon, Somerset, Wessex, Breckland, Kent and Yorkshire. These surveys will help to build on our records by mapping species distribution, highlighting patterns of decline and identifying sites in need of focused conservation management.

 We will be supporting volunteers at every botanical skill level with training workshops and going out with Project Staff to learn hands on.

 If this is something that you believe will be of interest to anyone who is involved with your project, especially in the Kent area, we are looking to run some more training days in late June, early July. If you would like more information, or want to find out more about a potential training day near you, please drop me an email and get in touch.

 If you would like to circulate the following link to your volunteers, they can register their interest in the project by receiving our monthly newsletter so they can find out more about the project and events that are running in their area;   – I would be grateful if you wanted to circulate this around to your subscribers to your blog to see if it was something they were interested in.

 We also have a Facebook Group anyone can join to find out more about the project too:

To find out more about the Back from the Brink project which is being led by Plantlife, please head to our website –


Zoe Morrall

Colour in the Margins Outreach Officer

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Opposing the new incinerator on the marshes at Belvedere

For those of you that are opposed to Cory Energy’s plans to build another waste incinerator in Belvedere (on the north-east boundary of Crossness Nature Reserve), you might like to sign this electronic petition created by Jon Cruddas MP.

Jon represents Dagenham, Rainham, South Hornchurch and Elm Park on the north of the River Thames. He has grave concerns about the effect of Cory’s proposed ‘Riverside Energy Park’ on air quality in the area. As such, he has set up this very easy petition. If you feel strongly about the idea of a second waste incinerator in Belvedere, I would urge you to sign it. You only need to provide your details and say whether or not you want to be kept in the loop about the way the campaign progresses (you can select not to receive any further communication); you don’t have to write an actual objection, so it is really very simple. If you feel inclined to, please sign the petition here:

You might also feel inspired to do so by watching Jon’s short video here ( . Clearly his concern is on air quality in Essex with the prevailing westerlies, but we should also be concerned since the facility will be right here in Belvedere, as close to Crossness Nature Reserve as it is possible to get.

Many thanks for your support.

Karen Sutton

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Bexley RSPB 7th February Lamorbey bird walk report

Ralph and Brenda Todd report on the 26 species of bird seen during Bexley’s RSPB’s Lamorbey meeting this week, which was attended by 19 people, and reflect on some of the changes in local bird life that have taken place since the Bexley group was founded 40 years ago ……

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Woodlands Farm Trust Winter 18 Newsletter

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Now is a good time to join the RSPB, one of the UK’s foremost conservation organisations, and to get involved with the Bexley local group (the Borough’s largest wildlife conservation organisation) the first field meeting of which was in the now far-off 1st of April 1979, so that you can join in with its 40th anniversary celebrations.

The 2019 calendar of events is set out below, and will be incorporated into ‘Bexley Wildlife’s’ online calendar of local wildlife events, with reminders on its Facebook page. Besides the usual array of field trips to both local sites and further afield (make your own way or coach trips), indoor talks in Bexley village and spring and autumn fundraising fairs, there will be special events to mark the 40 year mark including concerts, dinners and quiz nights.

The guided visits to local sites are free (unless otherwise stated) and novices and non-members are welcome.  Indoor talks take place at the John Fisher church hall, 48 Thanet Road, Bexley, DA5 1AP. Price: £3.50 to RSPB members, £4.50 non members, and children under 16 50p. Full details of coach trips, booking details and costs are given on the group’s website, which should also be consulted for information about RSPB Northward Hills management sessions :

To contact the group telephone: 0208 854 7251 / E-mail: or

Little Egret and Great White Egret at Crossness (Donna Zimmer) Learn more about birds and other wildlife this coming year with Bexley RSPB.

Schedule of events:

Friday 11th January. Talk – Saving Special Places – Andre Farrar

Andre works at the RSPB HQ The Lodge in Bedfordshire and is the Public Relations Manager. He will be talking about the birds and biodiversity of special places.

Indoor Meeting. Time: 19.15 – 21.45

Sunday 13th January 2019.  Field Trip – Abberton Reservoir, Essex Wildlife Trust, Colchester.

Abberton’s variety of winter visitors usually includes goldeneye, goosander and smew, along with a plethora of more common wildfowl, waders and grebes. The fairly new visitors centre offers hot and cold food, while shelter is also offered by two large hides. There is a donation of £2 for non-members of Essex Wildlife Trust.
The coach leaves from Bexleyheath Library, Townley Road, Bexleyheath at 07.30am. Please contact Diane Lelliott to book your place on the coach.

Time: 07.30am – 19.00pm. Price: £18 coach plus £2 donation to Essex Wildlife Booking essential

Saturday 19th January 2019. Bexley Local Group Work Party – RSPB Northward Hill Reserve.

Our group has been providing practical assistance to the North Kent RSPB reserves for many years, tackling a variety of practical tasks designed to improve habitats for wildlife including birds and water voles. Work at your own pace, no previous experience necessary; tools and instruction provided.
Contact Bob Parker for more information on 01322 665849.

Time: 09.30 – 12.00. Price: Free. Telephone: 01322 665849

Thursday 7 February 2019 – Lamorbey Park                                                  

10:00 – 12.30

Meet at Sidcup Leisure Centre Car Park (pay and display – alternative street parking may be available). Water birds will be in fine plumage, possible kingfisher, peregrine falcon and winter thrushes, tits, crests and finches.

Leaders Ralph and Brenda Todd

Friday 8 February 2019 – Birds of the Falklands Islands – John Buckingham (INDOOR MEETING)

John will be speaking of his trip to this remote archipelago in the South Atlantic, which offers a superb opportunity to discover at close hand, some exciting Antarctic birds species, including Albatrosses and Penguins. John will be giving the talk he was unable to give in October 2017.

Sunday 10 February 2019 – Pulborough Brooks RSPB, Sussex

08:30 – 18:30 (COACH TRIP)

Past visits to Pulborough Brooks have given our Group excellent views of the smaller birds like bullfinches, crossbills and goldcrest as well as the wildfowl and raptors that are attracted to the grazing marshes in the river valley.  Hot food and drinks available at the Centre. Leader Tony Banks

Saturday 23 February 2019 – RSPB Nature Walk at Hall Place

08:00 – 09:30

Join the Bexley RSPB group on a 90 minute nature and bird walk around the estate led by Martin Burke. The walk will be followed by tea and pastries.

£8.00 per person

Advance Booking required – please contact Hall Place directly to book your place

Friday 8 March 2019 –  RSPB Northward Hill Cliffe Shorne –  Julian Nash (INDOOR MEETING)      

40 years ago Bob Scott (warden) gave a talk “Herons and a Hill”. Northward Hill then one of only three RSPB Kent reserves, was just woodland but boasting Europe’s largest heronry. Julian will bring us up to date how the reserve has expanded beyond imagination to encompass the wader rich marshes beyond Bromhey Farm, also the Shorne and Higham Marshes and of course – Cliffe pools – always a brilliant birdwatching site but only recently within the control of the RSPB. The decline of grey heron numbers parallels the increase of little egret (not seen in 1979). The entrance cost to the 1979 indoor meetings was just 30p. 

Sunday 10 March 2019 – Tichfield Haven, NNR, Hampshire 

07:30 – 19:00 (COACH TRIP)

With only two coach trips in our first year, we have also included some of the group’s favourites. This will be the 10th visit, the first being in October 1982. This reserve’s position on the Solent gives us the chance of adding sea ducks like eider and scoter to our list along with a variety of waders and gulls, while the extensive freshwater habitats are favoured by many different birds including water rail and kingfisher.

All facilities including café at the visitor centre. Group admission – £3.75 for adults.

Leader George Kalli

Thursday 21 March 2019 – Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve KWT TN13 3DH


Meet main car park – wintering wildfowl and early spring migrants.

Leaders Ralph and Brenda Todd

Saturday 23 March 2019 – 40th Anniversary Dinner – Danson Park Boathouse

18:30 – late

See full advert in upcoming BRSPB newsletter / contact the group as above. 

Saturday 30 March 2019 – Northward Hill RSPB, High Halstow. ME3 8DS

09.30 – 13:00

Programmed to coincide with the earlier talk, the group’s first ever field trip was on April fool’s day 1979 – where 25 members sloshed along a muddy path to view the herons. Today the reserve encompasses much more. We will be looking for hares active on the pastures, waders in the pools, and in the woods we would hope for good views of the heronry, busy with nesting grey herons and little egrets.  Meet in the car park at Bromhey Farm, which is signposted from the High Halstow to Cooling Road. Toilets are available at the car park. Leader George Kalli

Friday 5 April 2019 – Crayford Marshes

09:30 – 13:00

Meet at the corner of Moat Lane/Slade Green Station for 9.30am, with the walk expected to finish at approximately 1pm. We will be looking out for Skylark, Corn Bunting, Little Owl, early summer migrants and searching for waders by the Thames. Please note there are no facilities on site.

Leaders Donna Zimmer and Nicky Wilson

Saturday 6 April 2019 – Spring Fair 10am – 1pm

Freemantle Hall, Bexley High Street – please refer to full advert within this newsletter

Friday 12 April 2019 – 70 years at RSPB Minsmere – Adam Rowlands


Our second meeting in 1979 comprised (as many meetings did then) of RSPB films – Shetland Isles of the Simmer Dim (we welcomed Bill Coster last September to recount the recent history) and A Welcome in the Mud described the attractions of Minsmere’s famous Scrape. Tonight we welcome the RSPB Suffolk Area manager to bring us up to date with news and stories of 70 years at Minsmere (the RSPB not Adam). As in 1979 a coach trip will follow.

Saturday 13 April 2019 – Quiz night – Please contact Stuart Banks for details.

Sunday 14 April 2019 – Attenborough Nature Reserve, Notts Wildlife Trust.

07:00 – 19:00 (COACH TRIP)

This reserve located beside the River Trent, formed from naturalised gravel pits, will be unfamiliar to most of us but should offer plenty of habitat to explore along its three nature trails. Among the attractions is an artificial sand martin bank that saw 279 chicks fledge in 2017. All facilities on site including Café.  Donations gratefully accepted by the Trust. Leader Tony Banks 

Thursday 18 April 2019 – Crossness Nature Reserve & River Thames      

09:30 – 12:30

Meet within the reserve perimeter in Norman Road (gates will be unlocked at 9.15 then locked again once everyone has arrived until 12.30). It has been a few years since a spring visit to this popular reserve. A rising tide could produce close views of wildlfowl and waders and spring migration could be underway with anything turning up. Leaders Ralph and Brenda Todd 

Saturday 27 April 2019 – Joydens Wood, Bexley, Kent.  P/C DA2 7PB

08:30 – 12:00

A repeat of our 2nd local field trip. Meet Summerhouse Drive entrance (adjacent 178) and Squires Road bust stop (B12 and 429) – we’ll be looking for resident and summer visitor breeding birds. Leaders Ralph and Brenda Todd. 

Saturday 4 May 2019 – Dawn Chorus Walk – Lesnes Abbey

04:45 – 06:15

Meet on the corner of New Road and Monks close where Ian Holt, local warden from Bexley council, and the local RSPB leader will take us for a magical walk through the grounds and into the woods to listen to the dawn chorus unfold around us. This walk will be free of charge with donations at the end. If you have binoculars please bring them with you but if not we will have a few spare pairs available to use.

Leader Martin Burke

Thursday 9 May 2019 – Hall Place North/Bigs Hill Wood & Shenstone Park

9:30 – 12:30

Meet Hall Place Car Park. A first time exploration away from the usual Hall Place Gardens walk – we’ll look for spring migrants and resident birds in the scrub and mixed woodland of these three rarely visited sites. Leaders Ralph and Brenda Todd

Friday 10 May 2019 – A short AGM will be followed by a members evening and bird quiz 

Saturday 11 May 2019  40th Anniversary Concert with Sidcup Symphony Orchestra

A celebration of Nature – see full advert in upcoming BRSPB newsletter / contact the group as above.

16 – 23 May 2019 – Local Group Holiday to Huelva in Spain, with local guides.

Contact Stuart Banks (Group Leader) for possible vacancies. 

Sunday 9 June 19  –  Minsmere RSPB Reserve, Suffolk. 

07:30 – 19:00 (COACH TRIP)

40 years to the day when the group embarked upon its first coach trip (£3.50) – Minsmere was the obvious destination – 88 species were seen with bittern and marsh harrier major rarities – today they are almost guaranteed. In June Minsmere’s varied habitat will be alive with breeding birds including gulls, terns, avocets, bitterns, marsh harriers, reed warblers and many more, some visible from a number of hides. All facilities available at the visitor centre including hot and cold refreshments.

Leaders Ralph and Brenda Todd

Friday 14 June 2019 – The Return of the Osprey – Ralph Todd


When the group’s founder gave this talk in 1979 there were fewer than 15 pairs of ospreys breeding in the UK – all in Scotland. Today over 300 pairs breed, including c20 in England and Wales. This talk reflects on a great conservation success story by the RSPB, the role volunteers have played in it, some wonderful birdwatching in stunning landscapes of Speyside and an update on current osprey projects.

Sunday 18 August 2019 – Bird Watching Fair – Rutland Water

07:00 – 19:00 (COACH TRIP)

In 1979 Bird Fair was still 9 years from being conceived – today it attracts over 20,000 visitors plus exhibitors from around the world, raising funds for Birdlife International. Combine excellent birdwatching with all the fun of the Fair. There will be an entrance cost as well as coach ticket. PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL MONIES FOR BIRD FAIR TRIP MUST BE PAID BY 31 JULY SO THAT WE CAN ORDER ENTRANCE TICKETS.

Friday 13 September 2019 – Kent Wildlife Trust 60 years on – Victoria Golding


Our first programme had two talks featuring Kent – Birds of Kent by Brian Hawkes and Bough Beech Reservoir by Roy Coles. Tonight’s talk focuses on KWT’s role in wildlife conservation and reserves in Kent by a Trustee of many years.

Sunday 22 September 2019 – Titchwell RSPB

07:30 – 19:00 (COACH TRIP)

As an RSPB reserve, Titchwell is only 6 years older than the group but quickly became a favourite to visit. This will be the 31st coach trip (April 1985 being the first) but it had already been visited on four occasions as part of the early weekends away, the first being in March 1983 when the then Warden Norman Sills (who designed and developed both Titchwell and Lakenheath) gave an after dinner talk. A fabulous coastal reserve at all times of year (we’ve visited every month except July and August), expect to see a wide variety of wildfowl (including sea duck), waders and hopefully some birds of prey. Leader Martin Burke

Saturday 28 September 2019 – Bough Beech & Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve KWT

09:30 – 14:00

Meet at Bough Beech visitor centre (postcode TN14 6LD). Planned as a follow up to September’s talk you can either join both walks or dip into either. Leader George Kalli

Friday 11 October 2019 – The Albatross Campaign- Cleo Small


The first programme also featured “Seabirds of Britain” by Mike Beckwith, tonight we welcome RSPB seabird specialist to bring us up to date with the Global Seabird Programme. Cleo will be speaking about their work in Marine Protected areas and with seabirds around the world.

Sunday 13 October 2019 – Cley

07:30 – 19:00 (COACH TRIP)

Once known as the mecca of birdwatching – along with RSPB Minsmere historically perhaps the two most famous bird reserves in the country.  Cley Marshes is Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s oldest and best known nature reserve. It was purchased in 1926. This will be our 10th  coach trip (first in 1987) though weekend visits preceded this. Like Titchwell its well positioned hides provide great views of waders, wildfowl with a real possibility of bearded tits, bittern and harriers.

(An entrance fee is payable by non NWT members)

Leader Martin Burke

Saturday 19 October – Quiz night – more details to follow in future newsletter

Saturday 26 October – Choral concert – more details to follow in future newsletter

Friday 8 November 2019 – A year in the life of Moat Park – Simon Ginnaw


A return of a popular speaker who will share with us a year in his local patch of Mote Park, Maidstone in Kent. He will transport us through the seasons with photography, music and birdsong. We will discover the secret lives of our best-loved wildlife.

Sunday 17 November 2019 – Pagham Harbour

07:30 – 19:00 (COACH TRIP)

A repeat of our second ever coach trip (11th November 79 – then just £2.50). this reserve was then managed by West Sussex Council, now under the watchful eye of RSPB. This will be the 25th visit making it the third most popular coach destination for the group. Leader George Kalli

Saturday 23 November – Autumn Fair 10am – 1pm

Freemantle Hall, Bexley  – more details to follow in next newsletter

Friday 13 December 2019  – 40th Anniversary Social Evening

As 2019 comes to an end, a time to reflect on a programme packed with celebratory activities and events. 50 years of local groups, 40 years for RSPB Bexley. Come along and share memories of the year and past events with short presentations by members, a musical welcome from the children of Bedonwell Junior School and time to chat, have a drink and some nibbles and hear how well the group did with the £10K fundraising target. An evening when it would be great to invite any former members you are in touch with. We hope to have at least one RSPB staff member present.

Saturday 14 December 2019 – Rainham Marshes RSPB Reserve Purfleet Essex RM19 1SZ          

09:30 – 13:00

Another site, not ever thought of as a nature reserve when the group started. A visit in 1983 was something of a challenge given the restricted access, unsavoury nature of the place. Not until the RSPB acquired it and spent years and lots of money developing it was it really suitable for group visits. Today we make our 9th visit since it opened 15 years ago. A great place for winter wildfowl, waders and passerines, not to mention Christmas shopping and excellent cakes.

Leaders Ralph and Brenda Todd

Events list kindly supplied by Nicky Wilson, BRSPB Newsletter Editor.

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The Bexley Lepidopterist, August 2018

First 2018 sighting dates for all species of butterfly recorded in Bexley. Doing a butterfly transect. Lesnes Abbey Woods moth-trapping session report.  

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Bexley RSPB Crossness bird walk, September 18th 2018.

Migrants still few and far between as Peregrine, Kestrel and Stonechat provide the birding highlights for 24 attendees at BRSPB’s Crossness outing.

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Lesnes moth-trapping session kicks off longer term recording effort

Six people attended a short-notice moth-trapping event in Lesnes woods last night (21st August) that, it is hoped, will lead to further work next year to help plug an important gap in modern records available for the site. This will be important in informing habitat management work here.  

Ron Waters who lives nearby at Bostall provided a mercury vapour and two actinic light traps, all of which were battery-powered. The former was set out in the Ransom glade, to the west of New Road, where it appeared to be attracting more moths than the actinics which had been placed some distance away. Unfortunately it also excited the interest of a potentially dangerous number of Hornets and had to be turned off early in the proceedings, as they were crashing into the participants, who besides Ron were Lesnes Estate Manager Ian Holt, trainee Fay, volunteer John, Alan from Meopham who is a recent convert to moth-ing and was looking for more experience, and Chris. 

Alan, Ron, John, Ian and Fay surround one of the actinic traps.

Whilst conditions were good, only 14 species of moth made an appearance, including a Micro the identity of which still has to be determined. It was thought that this was due to the peak moth season having ended. The number of other insects caught was also low, and included a few adult Caddis flies, a handful of true flies, some Shieldbugs (several juveniles plus an adult of the Forest Bug, primarily a denizen of Oak woodland), a few Oak Bush Crickets and an Ichneumon type species. The recent cooler weather with downpours may have brought general invertebrate numbers down.

The broad-leaved woodland specialists trapped were two Black Arches and four Maiden’s Blush.

A Black Arches (Lymantria monacha) at the Lesnes moth-trapping session, one of two  woodland specialist species found.

The other species recorded were Centre-barred Sallow (1), Light Emerald (4), Brimstone (1), Copper Underwing (1), Beautiful Carpet (1), Common Carpet (2), Peach Blossom (1), Wax (2), Meal (1), Vine’s Rustic (1) and, somewhat disconcertingly under a closed tree canopy, the non-native Box moth (2 – one of each colour form), although we were not a huge distance from housing.    

Beautiful Carpet (Mesoleuca albicillata) was one of the species that turned up.

The Peach Blossom (Thyatira batis) tends to inhabit woodland, and has larvae that feed on Bramble.

Centre-Barred Sallow (Atethmia centrago), moderately common in the south of England, trapped at Lesnes (Photo: Alan Roman)

Ron has agreed to run more moth-trapping sessions here next year, and Ian is keen for more wildlife recorders across all taxa, including birds, to help him improve our knowledge of the current inhabitants of the woodland and parkland at Lesnes. Contact: <>

Report and (unless otherwise stated) photos by Chris Rose

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The Bexley Lepidopterist, Issue No. 5, published

The fifth issue of ‘The Bexley Lepidopterist’, Mike Robinson’s latest compilation of information regarding butterflies and moths in Bexley, is made available for reading or download below.

This includes an updated list of the first sightings of all butterfly species seen in the Borough this year, a note on the number of species recorded in local gardens, lists of species seen on the fourth (Erith Southern Marsh) and fifth (Holly Hill Open Space) organised ‘butterfly walks’ (of which there will be more next year) , an account of the tantalising possibility that there was a Camberwell Beauty at Foots Cray Meadows, a warning about the Box Moth (for which details of any further local sightings are sought) and a report on a first moth-trapping session at Thames Road Wetland.    

Download the PDF file .

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