4. London Wetland Centre

  • November 10, 2013 · 9:30 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

The full itinerary:

0930 - 1015 Meet at the entrance, head for the cafe and grab a coffee while discussing camera settings and tactics for the day. 

1030 Take our private guided tour of the wetland centre, during which we will become familiar with the site and its inhabitants.

1130 Begin our first photograph session along the South Route. These are all wild areas and you can shoot from hides or in the open. In small groups we will shoot sand martins, herons, small grebe, woodpeckers, wigeon and more.

1300 Meet back at the cafe for lunch for those that want it, free shooting time for those who don't or who bring a packed lunch and want to eat on the job.

1345 Head over to the otter holts for their afternoon feeding, with time to get into position and discuss camera settings.

1400 Second photograph session - otter feeding. We will get some great close ups here.

1430 Third photograph session - wood ducks. A quick session to fit in these extremely rare and beautiful birds before the afternoon feed begins.

1500

Fourth photograph session - captive wetland birds, accompanied by a warden who will allow us to help feed them, giving us good opportunities for photographs.


1600 The end of our organised day. Use the free time to visit any unseen areas, or areas you would like to return to. As dusk falls, the bats come out and make a great subject to try to photograph as they swoop over the water!

1630 Sunset.

1700 The reserve closes.

Equipment:

Clothes - Remember to bring enough warm clothes to keep you going all day. It gets very cold and damp very quickly in the afternoons at this time of year, and you won't be moving much so hats, gloves and a spare jumper won't hurt. Waterproofs are a must.

Cameras - Ideally you will bring a DSLR. The captive birds are easily shot with short lenses or compacts. Try using your macro lens as a a high quality portrait lens. There's no limit to long lenses - I've used 500mm with a 2x convertor and a 1.6x cropped sensor and still wanted it longer ;)

Supports - Tripods may be brought, but will be cumbersome in the hides. Use them outdoors in the wild areas only. I would suggest bringing either a monopod or beanbag rest. You can buy a beanbag rest (just google it for hundreds of options) or you can make one out of a large sock or similar - just stuff it with dried beans, rice, sand, or whatever springs to mind, and then just tie it at the end. This is the best solution for the hides which have very narrow windows.

Food - the cafe is great for food and drink and I'll make sure we have enough tables reserved, but you can purchase food in Barnes before you arrive or bring a packed lunch and flask of something hot if you'd prefer.

About the site:

Over 200 species of bird have been recorded on site since 2000. Also making their home amongst the 300,000 plants and 27,000 trees we planted during the centre’s creation are water voles, dragonflies, frogs, snakes, slow worms, bats, newts and butterflies, to name just a few.

There are numerous different wildlife habitats such as lakes, pools and gardens, there are scrapes for wading birds to feed on, reed beds where up to seven bitterns make their home each winter and grazing marshes and wildflower meadows.

There are six hides, perfect for both watching wildlife and photography.  If you are lucky – and patient – you can see reptiles, amphibians and numerous dragonflies and butterflies as well as water voles.

Winter is one of the best times to visit the nature reserve because then some of the prettiest wild ducks, such as wigeon, teal and pintails arrive. At dusk you may see bats swooping across the water, hunting for insects.

The paths at London Wetland Centre are all flat and there are plenty of benches dotted about. The centre is fully accessible for those with specific needs. Please let me know at least two weeks in advance if you will require any assistance on the day (carers of registered disabled visitors may attend without any charge – please contact me directly about this before RSVPing).

Travel:

The 283 bus goes direct to the centre from Hammersmith bus station (stand K), or 33, 72 and 209 stop nearby (alight at the Red Lion stop, approximately 150 metres walk from the wetland centre).

Barnes rail station is just 25 minutes from Waterloo or 10 minutes from Clapham Junction. It is then a 15 minute walk to the wetland centre (or 5 minutes by buses 72 or 33). You can also alight at Barnes Bridge station then walk through Barnes village (about a 15 minute walk) or catch a 209 bus (alight at the bus stop opposite the Red Lion pub, which is approximately 150 metres from the Centre).

Hammersmith tube (on the Piccadilly and District & Circle Lines) is the nearest tube station. From here it is just a 10 minute bus ride (see above).

The London Wetland Centre is situated on Cycle Route 4, which includes access from the River Thames towpath.

There is free parking for cars on site, and you will have free access to your vehicle all day if you need it.

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  • Rhys W.

    Thanks Matt for organising another great day out. It's always nice to meet fellow photogs and learn new tips/techniques. I especially found useful your written tips. Made me look at the subject matter/set my shot up more critically. Thanks again. Rhys

    1 · November 12, 2013

    • Matthew M.

      Thanks Rhys, good to know the cheat sheets are helpful!

      November 13, 2013

  • Rhys W.

    Matthew is the perfect host, considerate of everyone's gear, experience and skill level. I always come away having met new people and learnt more.

    1 · November 12, 2013

  • Jimbo

    It was nice to meet you all, and I hope you found the tour informative and had a a good day at the London Wetland Centre.. I certainly feel that it is a sanctuary for humans as well as wildlife.

    I see from the uploads that you achieved some splendid photographic output: I particularly like the sleeping Fulvous Whistling Duck, with it's reflection in the water forming part of the image.

    3 · November 11, 2013

    • Matthew M.

      Thanks James, we had a great day out. Keep an eye on the photos page - there's sure to be more to come!

      November 11, 2013

    • Jimbo

      There are indeed some lovely shots - you're a talented group! Glad to see the Eiders weren't overlooked!

      November 12, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great to see everyone at the lovely WWT!

    November 11, 2013

  • Julie D.

    It was great to meet you all yesterday and I'm looking forward to joining you on another outing soon.

    November 11, 2013

  • Alex

    The visit to the Wetland Centre was a lovely introduction to the group and the centre itself for that matter! An enjoyable day all round! Thanks all.

    November 11, 2013

  • Kris

    I'm so glad you all had a wonderful day. My end of term is 22/12 & we don't return until 6/1/2014. So hope there is a meet up during that period

    1 · November 11, 2013

    • Matthew M.

      I'll have a think about this - it'll depend on everyone's availability of course, but I am sure we can think of something fun.

      November 11, 2013

  • Harry S.

    Sorry I had to miss it ,sounds like a great day

    1 · November 11, 2013

    • Claire B.

      It was Michelle. Hope you're back to normal today :)

      November 11, 2013

  • Dawn P.

    And thanks Matthew for organising such a good event.

    1 · November 11, 2013

  • Dawn P.

    Had a fab day, still sorting the 'wheat from the chaff' in terms of photos but so glad I hung around to the bitter(n) end (sorry) as I finally saw an actual bittern! From the Headley hide for about 20 minutes or so, couldn't get a decent photo of it in the dusky light but I took 'eye pictures' instead. Made a great day even better. Went home with a skip in my step.

    November 11, 2013

  • Monique

    A great day out!

    1 · November 11, 2013

  • Derik P.

    It was great! I know the LWC well; I've been birding there since it was a working Thames Water site but usually I'm there with binoculars, telescope and notebook, watching and studying birds. Leaving that equipment at home and bringing a camera requires a whole different mindset - you're thinking about pictures not ornithological study. It's like a contradiction, approaching somewhere you know well but doing do for the first time. Thank you Matthew for what was a unique experience.

    2 · November 10, 2013

  • Debbie B

    A lovely day and a great group. Thank you Claire for bringing the monopod for me!

    1 · November 10, 2013

  • Matthew M.

    Lovely to see you all! What an amazing day today - incredible weather and some really nice opportunities. As far as I know no one glimpsed a water vole, but we got some great photographs from what I saw on my way around. I do hope you all enjoyed it - feel free to drop me a line for suggestions and improvements to our trips out, I'm grateful for all feedback. Please please take a second to rate the activity and if you have a minute or two to leave a group review as well.

    Thanks to suggestions today I'll be setting up a Facebook group in the next few days so we can better discuss future venues and opportunities and I'll be setting up out next outing this week too. It is very likely to be grey seals in the Thames Estuary. Very exciting :)

    Thanks again to everyone for make the day so good. Please upload any photos you'd like to share in the usual way. I'm dying to see them!

    Matthew

    2 · November 10, 2013

  • Valerie R.

    Hello everyone, I had a brilliant day. From leaving my home early this morning on the bike to returning in the dark.
    Many opportunities to take beautiful photographs, lots of advice from lovely, generous people, wonderful birds and otters. Thanks to everyone for making my first met up so enjoyable.

    2 · November 10, 2013

  • Claire B.

    Another great day. Even the weather was fab, a big thank you to Matthew :)

    1 · November 10, 2013

  • Claire B.

    I have a spare monopod as well if anyone is in need :)

    November 8, 2013

    • Debbie B

      Hi Claire - if it's still available can I borrow your monopod please?

      November 9, 2013

    • Claire B.

      Of course Debbie. I shall bring it with me for you :)

      November 9, 2013

  • Derik P.

    I'll be using a monopod, but I actually have two - so if anybody wants to borrow one for the day, just reply here and I'll bring it along.

    1 · November 8, 2013

    • Derik P.

      No problem, Michelle!

      November 8, 2013

    • Harry S.

      Thanks

      November 8, 2013

  • Matthew M.

    So, we are now a full group of twenty wildlife photographers! I can't offer a waitlist because there is a charge for the Meetup, but if anyone who didn't manage to get in would still like to please add your name here. If I have any cancellations before the day I will offer you the places on a first-come-first-served basis.

    October 29, 2013

    • Dawn P.

      Hello Matthew, I'd like to attend, please let me know if there is a space. Muchas gracias.

      1 · November 8, 2013

    • Matthew M.

      I've sent you a private message, Dawn.

      November 8, 2013

  • Sue

    I think I might have to cancel :-( I shall confirm in an hour or so.

    November 7, 2013

    • Sue

      Hi, after lots of thought I'm going to have to cancel. I really want to come...which is why it's taken me 24 hours to make my mind up. I've just had a very busy week & need to catch up before the week starts again.Hopefully someone else will enjoy going instead of me.

      1 · November 8, 2013

    • Sue

      Thank you... & have a fabulous time...

      November 8, 2013

  • Harry S.

    Looking forward to next week, may have a slight hangover as at the Rugby the day before . But should be a great day.

    1 · November 2, 2013

  • Kris

    Thanks Martin, I'm delighted

    1 · October 29, 2013

  • Derik P.

    Heh! Just found it! it's the first time I've used Meetup so it's a bit confusing - or I'm easily confused!!

    1 · October 28, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      You found it! :D

      October 28, 2013

  • Derik P.

    Hi, where do I find the link to make the Paypal payment please?

    October 28, 2013

    • Matthew M.

      Hi Derik, everything has now gone through and you're booked in. See you soon.

      October 28, 2013

  • Valerie R.

    Hello, this is my first time attending an event. So that I fully understand can you tell me, do I have to call the wetlands centre to reserve a place?

    October 28, 2013

    • Matthew M.

      Sorry Valerie, I should have checked your name against the RSVP list. You'll need to RSVP on the Meetup list and then send me £18 by PayPal. You don't need to do anything else - I've arranged everything. Let me know if you need any other help or advice.

      October 28, 2013

  • Matthew M.

    Kris, and anyone else waiting, I've spoken to the centre and they are happy to take additions to the booking, so I have reopened the RSVPs - look forward to seeing you, Kris!

    October 28, 2013

  • Kris

    The one date I could be sure of coming on as I hand in work a few days before - Damn I'm sorry to miss it.

    October 27, 2013

    • Matthew M.

      I will speak to the centre tomorrow, Kris. The booking has gone through but they may well be happy to add to it. I'll let you know.

      October 27, 2013

  • Valerie R.

    This will also be my first meet up. I'm looking forward to cycling from Richmond hill to the Wetland Centre. I shall be keeping my fingers crossed for good weather, animals and company.

    1 · October 26, 2013

  • Alex

    First visit to the centre and first meetup too! Looking forward to it! :)

    1 · October 26, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I LOVE WWT and am definitely coming along! It's going to be great! There are so many photo opportunities. Going with a group is very exciting!! Can't wait!!

    1 · October 22, 2013

  • David L.

    Would love to come along but will be doing a Lightroom workshop that day.

    October 21, 2013

  • kim r.

    I would love to have come but I am working that day

    October 20, 2013

  • Amanda M.

    I'm very interested but am away on holiday now so can't confirm or sort out payment at the moment. Hopefully I can sort it out soon. Thanks

    October 10, 2013

  • Kris

    PS It also sounds like very good value

    October 10, 2013

  • Kris

    Hi Matthew,
    It sounds a lovely day and I'd really like to come but I've just returned to university and have some course work to hand in about then.

    1 · October 10, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Would love to come but Sundays are very tricky so if there is another one on a Saturday I would probably be able to make it... Sounds like a great day!

    October 10, 2013

  • Harry S.

    Will be coming along as long as not working, will RSVP next week to when I know for sure

    1 · October 10, 2013

  • Debbie B

    Would love to come but may have a meeting that day - will sign up if I don't.

    1 · October 9, 2013

  • barbara

    I would love to join, but won't be in London that Sunday.

    1 · October 3, 2013

Your organizer's refund policy for 4. London Wetland Centre

Refunds offered if:

  • the Meetup is cancelled
  • the Meetup is rescheduled
  • you can cancel at least 14 day(s) before the Meetup

Additional notes: I need to plan carefully and pay in advance for our visit so regrettably cannot refund any money paid within 14 days of the Meetup. If I cannot lead or we cannot enter the site on the day I will refund all money paid or reschedule your booking.

Payments you make go to the organizer, not to Meetup. You must make refund requests to the organizer.

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