The Society organises two kinds of field trips, local trips where members arrange their own transport to meet at the venue and join a communal outing and coach trips to locations further afield. The coach trips are always popular so we recommend booking well in advance to guarantee your place. To reserve coach seats, please phone Gerry Johnson on 07775 663166 (after 19:00), or email him at gerry2johnson@aol.com

All Coach trips commence from Meteor Way (off Waterhouse Lane) at 07:15 for 07:30, unless stated otherwise, with pick-ups at Shenfield High School at 07:45 and Oak P.H. Grays at 08:00 or Swan P.H. Stanway at 08:00, depending on the direction on the day. There is a large car park in Meteor Way, off Waterhouse Lane, Chelmsford, CM1 2RL. At time of writing, parking is free at weekends.

Coach trips cost £20.00-£22.00 each, subject to destination and/or attendance. Accompanied juniors travel ‘free’. An entrance charge applies to some venues and reserves for non-members of RSPB, WWT, Wildlife Trusts, etc. To avoid disappointing anyone on a waiting list, non-attended coach bookings, without 24hrs cancellation notice, will incur the full trip cost. 

All non-coach trips are free to attend by members and guests – no booking necessary, just turn-up at the venue car park at 09:00 or as stated.

Current Schedule

Venue Event Date Description
MINSMERE RSPB RESERVE 14-Apr-2024

Probably the best reserve on the Suffolk coast, with so many habitats where we could see Bittern, Stone Curlew, Marsh Harrier, Avocet, Cetti’s Warbler, Bearded Reedling, Hobby, Stonechat, Treecreeper, Dartford Warbler, Mediterranean Gull, terns and many more. Over 100 species should be possible (STANWAY PICK-UP AS REQUIRED). 

FOUR PLACES AVAILABLE.

OLD LODGE SWT RESERVE 05-May-2024

A part of Ashdown Forest on the Weald in the beautiful Sussex countryside, where we will be looking for Tree Pipit, Redstart, Woodlark, Nuthatch, Turtle Dove, Spotted Flycatcher, Bullfinch, Yellowhammer, Hobby, Peregrine Falcon, Garden Warbler, plus Damselflies and Dragonflies (SHENFIELD & GRAYS PICK-UPS AS REQUIRED).

THIS TRIP IS NOW FULLY BOOKED, TO BE PLACED ON A WAITING LIST IN CASE OF CANCELLATIONS PLEASE EMAIL gerry2johnson@aol.com

HICKLING BROAD NWT RESERVE 09-Jun-2024

Hickling Broad in summer is one of the best general wildlife sites in East Anglia. During our visit we can expect to see Bittern, Common Crane, Spoonbill, Marsh Harrier plus various warbler species singing from the vast reedbeds. Hobby feed on newly emerged dragonflies and with luck we may see the Swallowtail Butterfly as they feed on the many wildflowers that are found (STANWAY PICK-UP AS REQUIRED).

THIS TRIP IS NOW FULLY BOOKED, TO BE PLACED ON A WAITING LIST IN CASE OF CANCELLATIONS PLEASE EMAIL gerry2johnson@aol.com

Past Field Trips

Venue Event Date Description
WALLASEA ISLAND RSPB RESERVE (self drive) 18-Feb-2024

The development of this ‘Wild Essex Coast reserve’ for wildlife has transformed arable fields into an excellent site where regular visitors include Short-eared Owl, Merlin, and Peregrine Falcon. Other highlights should include Corn Bunting, Marsh Harrier, Spoonbill, Great White Egret, flocks of waders and waterfowl. This is a self drive field trip and we'll be meeting in the car park at 09:00, postcode SS4 2HD.

EWT Fingringhoe Wick 28-Jan-2024

Join Swallow Birding's Steve Grimwade and members of the Essex Birdwatching Society committee from 10am for a packed day's birding at the superb EWT Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve (postcode CO5 7ND). There are two guided walks at 10:30 and 13:30, where we'll be looking for winter ducks and geese, waders, finches and raptors.

The Wildlife Trust's visitor centre will be open where you can enjoy a hot drink, get a bite to eat, and browse the Swallow Birding and EBwS display stands.

Definitely a date to put in your diary!

PULBOROUGH BROOKS RSPB RESERVE 14-Jan-2024

This popular reserve in the Arun Valley, Sussex provides a good mix of woodland and wetland habitats which are home to flocks of wintering wildfowl, thrushes and raptors that may include Peregrine Falcon, Red Kite, or White-tailed Eagle! (SHENFIELD & GRAYS PICK-UPS AS REQUIRED)

THIS TRIP IS NOW FULLY BOOKED, TO BE PLACED ON A WAITING LIST IN CASE OF CANCELLATIONS PLEASE EMAIL gerry2johnson@aol.com

FRAMPTON MARSH 17-Dec-2023

A visit to this excellent reserve on the north side of the Wash which in winter is excellent for raptors, waders, wildfowl, and possible rarities. It also boasts a new café for refreshments if it’s chilly (CHELMSFORD ONLY).

THERE ARE NOW 4 SPACES AVAILABLE ON THIS TRIP, IF YOU ARE INTERESTED PLEASE EMAIL gerry2johnson@aol.com

HEYBRIDGE PITS & IRONWORKS MEADOW RESERVE (self drive) 26-Nov-2023

Sample the delights of this part of the Blackwater Estuary, with waders, owls, grebes, geese and raptors. Then on to the new Ironworks Meadow CIC Reserve in Maldon (park in Tesco car park, postcode CM9 4LE) for Kingfisher, Water Rail and winter passerines. This is a self drive trip and we'll be meeting in the Daisy Meadow car park at 09:00, postcode CM9 4RW (parking charges apply).

BRADWELL BIRD OBSERVATORY (self drive) 15-Oct-2023

The ‘Dengie’ area of Essex is known for its remoteness and solitude, with its vast numbers of waders that feed on the mudflats and roost along the cockle shell bank. Also, Merlin, Hen Harrier and farmland species including, Linnet, Reed Bunting and Corn Bunting amongst the scrub and bushes. This is a self drive field trip and we'll be meeting at the Dengie Nature Reserve car park, East End Road, at 9am (postcode CM0 7PW).

SANDWICH BAY BIRD OBSERVATORY and PEGWELL BAY 24-Sep-2023

A prime time to visit in search of Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Glossy Ibis, Red-necked Phalarope, Red-backed Shrike, Wryneck, or Pallid Harrier all around at this time in 2022. Plus migrant passerines such as Pied Flycatcher and Redstart (SHENFIELD & GRAYS PICK-UPS AS REQUIRED).

THIS TRIP IS NOW FULLY BOOKED, TO BE PLACED ON A WAITING LIST IN CASE OF CANCELLATIONS PLEASE EMAIL gerry2johnson@aol.com

VINE HOUSE FARM 20-Aug-2023

Following the excellent talk by Nicholas Watts in April 2023, we are going to witness the award-winning practices of sustainable farming that are employed on this commercial farm. After refreshments, we'll take a 3-hour covered trailer tour around the farm, with fields of flowering sunflowers attracting flocks of farmland species including Yellowhammer, Corn Bunting, and Linnet. We will be enlightened to find out what can be achieved responsibly, thereby ensuring a low carbon footprint for wildlife. Quality home grown and UK sourced products will be available to purchase. Numbers are limited and by pre-booking only, with advanced payment of £30 each for coach trip and tour (CHELMSFORD ONLY - 08:30 departure).

HURRY, ONLY 4 SPACES LEFT!

GLOBAL BIRDFAIR 2023 16-Jul-2023

The ‘GLOBAL BIRDFAIR’ 2023 will be held at the Rutland Showground in Oakham and we have a coach trip for those who wish to attend this superb show. There's so much to see and do including attending lectures; exhibitor stands with books, clothes, artwork, bird feed and the latest cameras and optics; conservation causes to support and get involved in; tour companies offering bird and wildlife holidays and much, much more. CHELMSFORD ONLY

*Please note that entry to the show needs to be purchased separately - details will be available on the Global BirdFair website here.

STRUMPSHAW FEN RSPB RESERVE 18-Jun-2023

STRUMPSHAW FEN RSPB RESERVE (FULLY BOOKED - CALL TO BE PLACED ON WAITING LIST) – A summer visit to this superb Fenland reserve is a delight where we can expect species such as Bittern, Common Crane, Bearded Reedling, Marsh Harrier, Barn Owl, Hobby, Cuckoo, Cetti’s Warbler and Swallowtail which breed here, plus lots more. STANWAY PICK-UP AS REQUIRED

KNEPP WILD ESTATE 21-May-2023

KNEPP WILD ESTATE (FULLY BOOKED - CALL TO BE PLACED ON WAITING LIST) – A first time visit to this amazing 1,450-hectare pioneering rewilding site. Pre 2001 the land was intensively farmed, but it is now home to rare species like Turtle Dove, Nightingale, White Stork, Peregrine Falcon, Cuckoo and Purple Emperor which breed here, plus many summer migrants. SHENFIELD & GRAYS PICK-UPS AS REQUIRED.

FINGRINGHOE WICK EWT RESERVE 16-Apr-2023

FINGRINGHOE WICK EWT RESERVE (non-coach trip, meet at 10am - CO5 7DN) – Considered by many to be one of the best reserves in the county, the varied habitats hold breeding Nightingales along with many waders and wildfowl on the Colne Estuary and raptors across the vast salt marshes.

WALTHAMSTOW WETLANDS LWT RESERVE 12-Mar-2023

WALTHAMSTOW WETLANDS LWT RESERVE (non-coach trip - N17 9NH) – Just a ten minute walk from Blackhorse Road or Tottenham Hale Victoria Line underground stations. Free entrance but on-site parking is chargeable (Gates open at 09:30). The 210-hectare wetland is a unique haven just 15 minutes from Central London. There is a visitor centre, and the site consists of a cluster of 11 reservoirs supplying 3.5 million people with drinking water. Our first visit to this site which is of huge internationally important for migrating birds, especially overwintering wildfowl.

RUTLAND WATER RESERVE 19-Feb-2023

RUTLAND WATER RESERVE (BOOK NOW - ONLY 3 COACH SEATS LEFT!) – Rutland Water in the Midlands is home to the successful ‘Osprey Reintroduction Programme’. In winter it offers opportunities to see Smew, Kingfisher, Goldeneye, Red-crested Pochard, Scaup, Red Kite, Great White Egret and rarer divers and grebes, plus the chance of Glaucous and Caspian Gulls. On a previous visit we saw American Wigeon! Admission charge applies. CHELMSFORD ONLY

LACKFORD LAKES SWT RESERVE and LYNFORD ARBORETUM 15-Jan-2023

LACKFORD LAKES SWT RESERVE and LYNFORD ARBORETUM (BOOK NOW - ONLY 2 COACH SEATS LEFT!) – The varied Lackford habitat has so much potential to see Water Rail, Kingfisher and winter thrushes. While the Lynford Arboretum habitat offers Brambling, Crossbill, Hawfinch, Firecrest and, if we are really lucky, Goshawk! CHELMSFORD ONLY

FISHERS GREEN, LEE VALLEY 18-Dec-2022

FISHERS GREEN, LEE VALLEY (non-coach trip - EN9 2EE) – Meet at the Stubbins Hall Lane car park for our final trip of the year in the far west of the county on the border with Hertfordshire and a site known as the ‘Bittern Watch Point’ of the Lee Valley. Many species like Smew, Mandarin and Goosander winter on the sheltered waters amongst the islands, plus Siskin, Redpoll, Redwing, Fieldfare, Brambling, Water Rail and Merlin are all possible. Parking is chargeable.

TITCHWELL RSPB RESERVE 20-Nov-2022

TITCHWELL RSPB RESERVE (07:00 start) (FULL) – This well-known reserve is a ‘Mecca’ for wintering species with so much to see during an early winter visit, from Long-tailed Duck, Common and Velvet Scoter through to divers and grebes. Waders include Spotted Redshank, Golden Plover and Sanderling, plus Bearded Reedling, Brambling, Woodcock, Snow Bunting, Water Rail, Barn Owl and Hen Harrier. A day not to be missed! CHELMSFORD ONLY

GUNNER’S PARK, SHOEBURYNESS 16-Oct-2022

GUNNER’S PARK, SHOEBURYNESS (non-coach trip - SS3 9FD) – A visit to this excellent area to the east of metropolitan Southend, on the Thames Estuary, looking for lingering summer migrants and early winter visitors.

DUNGENESS RSPB RESERVE 11-Sep-2022

DUNGENESS RSPB RESERVE - A trip to this unique habitat of shingle protruding into the English Channel which is often the ‘hot spot’ for migrants along the Kent coast – gulls, warblers, chats, grebes, and divers are just a few of the species that can be seen on migration along the coast and on the reserve. SHENFIELD & GRAYS PICK-UPS AS REQUIRED

GLOBAL BIRDFAIR RUTLAND SHOWGROUND 17-Jul-2022

The ‘GLOBAL BIRDFAIR’ – Rising like a phoenix from the ashes, this major new birding event is at the Rutland Showground in Oakham (45-minute walk to Egleton centre and reserve). Let’s all celebrate again at this incredible weekend event at this new venue, with so much happening, with old sponsors, new sponsors, new exhibitors, new events, and lectures. CHELMSFORD ONLY

*Please note that entry to the show needs to be purchased separately and can be pre-booked on their website here.

LAKENHEATH RSPB RESERVE 26-Jun-2022

LAKENHEATH RSPB RESERVE – A spring visit to this brilliant Fenland reserve is a delight where we can expect species such as Common Crane, Bearded Tit, Bittern, Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Barn Owl, Cetti’s Warbler and Cuckoo plus lots more. CHELMSFORD ONLY

CARLTON MARSHES SWT RESERVE 08-May-2022

CARLTON MARSHES SWT RESERVE – A first time visit to this amazing reserve on the edge of ‘The Broads’. A £4 million pound Heritage Lottery grant has enabled the Suffolk Wildlife Trust to create over 1,000 acres of pristine habitat which has encouraged species such as Marsh Harrier, Bittern, Bearded Tit and Otter plus breeding waders such as Snipe, Redshank and Lapwing. New hides and trails plus a great centre with amazing views make this a great early spring destination. STANWAY PICK-UPS AS REQUIRED

WALLASEA ISLAND RSPB RESERVE (SS4 2DY) 20-Mar-2022

WALLASEA ISLAND RSPB RESERVE (SS4 2DY) (Non coach trip) – Development of this ‘Wild Essex Coast’ for wildlife is now complete and has developed into an excellent area, attracting Short-eared Owl, Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer, Great White Egret, flocks of waders & wildfowl with Hen and Marsh Harrier.

Self-drive to RSPB Minsmere 13-Feb-2022

MINSMERE RESERVE UPDATE (replaces Rutland Water coach trip which has been cancelled). Self-drive field trip to RSPB Minsmere. Please note there is an entrance charge for non-RSPB members (£8 adults, £5.5 students, £4 children). Meet in car park for a 9:00am start. Post Code IP17 3BY

Abberton Reservoir 09-Jan-2022

ABBERTON RESERVOIR  – This trip replaces the Titchwell coach trip which has been cancelled due to the high transmission rate of the new Covid-19 variant.  A superb Essex sites with so much potential to see stunning species like Bittern, Smew, Goldeneye, grebe, divers, owls and winter thrushes. No coach trip - self drive only starting at 09:00 on the main causeway and subject to any new coronavirus restrictions the government may implement between now and the 9th January.

TITCHWELL RSPB RESERVE (DEPART CHELMSFORD ONLY) 09-Jan-2022

TITCHWELL RSPB RESERVE CANCELLED  Due to the aggressive and high transmission rate of the ‘new’ Covid-19 variant the EBwS 9th January 2022 coach field trip meeting to RSPB Titchwell reserve has been cancelled. We know that anyone booked on this trip will be disappointed, but the safety and well-being of participants is always the Society’s first priority. 

In stead of this coach trip we will have a self drive trip to Abberton reservoir on 9th January 2022 starting at 09:00 on the main causeway, subject to any new coronavirus restrictions the government may implement between now and the 9th January.

BOWERS MARSH RSPB RESERVE (SS13 2HG) 19-Dec-2021

BOWERS MARSH RSPB RESERVE (SS13 2HG) – For our final trip of the year we visit this great reserve in the south of the county. Bowers Marsh is made up of dry and wet grassland, fresh and saline lagoons, intertidal habitat, saltmarsh and arable areas which in turn attracts large numbers of wildfowl and waders plus gulls, raptors and many other species

THAMESIDE EWT RESERVE (SS17 0RN) and RAINHAM MARSHES RSPB 14-Nov-2021

THAMESIDE EWT RESERVE (SS17 0RN) and RAINHAM MARSHES RSPB RESERVE (RM19 1SZ)  (Non coach trip) – A return to these fabulous bird-filled reserves on the Thames estuary where the varied habitats will offer the chance to see a large selection of waders, gulls, raptors and much more. Both sites are blessed with excellent visitor centres which offer hot drinks and a selection of food in case it is cold!

Bradwell Bird Observatory (CM0 7PW) and DENGIE MARSHES 17-Oct-2021

BRADWELL BIRD OBSERVATORY (CM0 7PW) and DENGIE MARSH (Non coach trip) – A visit to the Dengie Coast and the area around Bradwell Bird Observatory during autumn migration where Peregrine Falcon, Marsh Harrier and many autumn migrants can be found in the scrub and bushes whilst vast numbers of waders feed out on the mudflats. The afternoon will be spent at the Bradwell Bird Observatory where we look for raptors over the saltmarsh

WALTON-on-the-NAZE (CO14 8LE) & HOLLAND HAVEN (CO15 5TX) 12-Sep-2021

The NAZE (CO14 8LE) & HOLLAND HAVEN (CO15 5TX) – A trip to the north-east of the county starting at the Naze and around the John Weston reserve area for winter migrants such as Short-eared Owl, Fieldfare, Redwing, Wheatear, Firecrest, Brent Geese and the possibility that a rarity might be found like Yellow-browed Warbler, Ring Ouzel or Wryneck. Then on to Holland Haven Country Park during the afternoon to complete the day at this splendid part of Essex

STRUMPSHAW FEN RSPB RESERVE - DEPART CHELMSFORD ONLY 20-Jun-2021

CANCELLED - STRUMPSHAW FEN RSPB RESERVE - Set in the wild and beautiful Yare Valley near Norwich, Strumpshaw Fen is a great place to see the varied wildlife of the Norfolk Broads. As well as breeding species such as Marsh Harrier, Grasshopper Warble, Bittern and Hobby the reserve is a great place to see Swallowtail Butterflies plus Norfolk Hawker Dragonflies and a wide selection of orchids and rare plants. CHELMSFORD ONLY.

LAKENHEATH RSPB RESERVE - DEPART CHELMSFORD ONLY 16-May-2021

CANCELLED - LAKENHEATH RSPB RESERVE - A spring visit to this brilliant Fenland reserve is a delight where we can expect species such as Common Crane, Bearded Tit, Bittern, Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Barn Owl, Cetti's Warbler and Cuckoo plus lots more. CHEMLSFORD ONLY.

CARLTON MARSHES SWT RESERVE - DEPART CHELMSFORD or STANWAY 18-Apr-2021

CANCELLED - CARLTON MARSHES SWT RESERVE - A first time visit to this amazing reserve on the edge of 'The Broads'. A £4 million pound Heritage Lottery grant enabled the Suffolk Wildlife Trust to create over 1,000 acres of pristine habitat which has encouraged species such as Marsh Harrier, Bittern, Bearded Tit and Otter plus breeding waders such as Snipe, Redshank and Lapwing. New hides and trails plus a great centre with amazing views make this a great early spring destination. STANWAY PICK-UPS AS REQUIRED.

RUTLAND WATER RESERVE - DEPART CHELMSFORD ONLY 14-Feb-2021

CANCELLED - RUTLAND WATER RESERVE - Rutland Water in the Midlands holds the annual 'Bird Fair' in August and is home to the successful 'Osprey Re-introduction Programme'. In winter it offers opportunities to see Red Kite, Kingfisher, Goldeneye, Smew, Red-crested Pochard, Scaup, Great White Egret and rarer divers and grebes, plus the chance of Glaucous and Caspian Gulls. On our last visit we saw American Wigeon. Admission charges apply. CHELMSFORD ONLY.

TITCHWELL RSPB RESERVE (DEPART CHELMSFORD ONLY) 10-Jan-2021

CANCELLED - TITCHWELL RSPB RESERVE - This well-known reserve is a 'Mecca' for wintering species with so much to see during a winter visit, from Long-tailed Duck, Common and Velvet Scoter through to divers and grebes. Waders include Sanderling, Spotted Redshank and Golden Plover plus BeardedTit, Brambling, Woodcock, Snow Bunting, Water Rail, Barn Owl and Hen Harrier. CHELMSFORD ONLY