Where we are
We are in the village of Beetham, 5 miles from junction 35 of the M6, with Lancaster and Oxenholme Railway Stations both within easy reach. We have the advantage of being on the edge of the Lake District, but not within it. More important for birds is that it is within a mile of the Kent Estuary, which leads into Morecambe Bay, with its huge wader flocks - the second largest estuary for birds, after the Wash.
Within 3 miles is the RSPB reserve at Leighton Moss with its Bitterns, Otters, Marsh Harriers and Bearded Tits in addition to much interesting woodland and parkland locally. There are freshwater pools for waders and inland are the dales for upland birds - Grey Wagtail, Dipper, Ring Ouzel, Merlin, Goshawk etc.
At a site in the Lakes is England's only pair of Golden Eagles, and indeed, within reasonable reach are sites for various birds, including Hawfinch, all three Woodpeckers, Goshawk, Black and Red Grouse, Corn Bunting, large flocks of Pinkfeet with stragglers, if we can find them, of Bean, Barnacle, Brent and White Fronted Geese, Barn Owl, Nightjar, Twite, Purple Sandpiper, Dotterel, Water Pipit, Long Eared Owl, Willow Tit, Jack Snipe, Puffins, etc.
In the right conditions, sea watching can be good, and in the autumn, Heysham is one of the prime sites for Leach's Petrel. In winter Gull watching can be fruitful and Heysham normally hosts at least one Mediterranean Gull.
The WWT reserves of Martin Mere and Caerlaverock are within reach and indeed if anything special turns up, we can go further afield (we are in touch all the time with the pager!) However, the main focus will be local, and much can be seen really very locally. Indeed, the intention is to work at a leisurely pace but make sure we cover most of the habitats in the time available. Beginners are most welcome and being a small party we can tailor what we do to the level the group wishes.
Mike Robinson, Barn Close, Beetham, Cumbria, LA7 7AL, UK
Tel: 015395 63191 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org