Friday, 6 January 2017

Join us at our Big Garden Birdwatch at Sefton Park Palm House Saturday 28 January 2017.

Big Garden Birdwatch at Sefton Park Palm House

Location: Sefton Park Palm House, Sefton Park, Liverpool, L17 1AP
Join us at Sefton Park's Palm House for the Big Garden Birdwatch.
We want to get more people interested in birds and nature and  this is the group's way of promoting the RSPB' Big Garden Birdwatch.

Reed bunting, greenfinch, chaffinch
House sparrows

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch will be held on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 January 2017.  All you need to do to take part is watch the local birds in your garden or park for an hour - visit to register your participation.

For more information on Sefton Park Palm House, please visit or

Time: 12 noon til 4 pm
Price: Free admission
Telephone: 07831 352870

Eagle-eyed schoolchildren set to count Merseyside’s birds

rspb images

Big Schools’ Birdwatch, 3 January- 17 February 2017
Tens of thousands of schoolchildren across the UK, including throughout Merseyside, will be swapping books for binoculars this term to take part in the UK’s biggest schools wildlife survey.
The RSPB’s Big Schools’ Birdwatch 2017 takes place during the first half of the spring term and helps children discover the wonderful wildlife they share their school grounds with, whilst providing a helpful insight into which species are thriving or declining.
According to research conducted by the RSPB2, one in five children are disconnected from nature. Big Schools’ Birdwatch aims to inspire children to care about the natural world around them in the hope they’ll want to help protect it for future generations.
Last year almost 100,000 pupils and teachers from schools all across the UK took part by counting the birds that visited their school grounds, and it is hoped even more will take part this year.
Over the years, more than 70 different species have been recorded in school grounds, ranging from starlings and house sparrows, to red kites and green woodpeckers. The blackbird remained the most common playground visitor in 2016 whilst starlings held onto the second spot. And for the first time wood pigeons made the top three, jumping up the list from sixth position the year before. 
Since its launch in 2002, the Big Schools’ Birdwatch has provided opportunities for children and teachers to learn about how to give nature a home in their school grounds. Many schools prepare for the event in advance by putting up feeders and nestboxes and making bird cake. Seeing and counting the birds coming to their feeders during the Big Schools Birdwatch is the perfect reward for their efforts.
Emma Reed, RSPB Education, Families and Youth Manager in Northern England said: “Taking part in Big Schools Birdwatch uses just one lesson or lunchtime so it’s really easy to get involved. We hope the excitement of taking part will then inspire children in Merseyside to get out and experience more of the wildlife around them.
“With studies showing that children are becoming increasingly disconnected from nature, a concern that is linked to poorer physical and mental health, we want to provide young people with as many opportunities as possible to have fun exploring the natural world around them.”
The Big Schools' Birdwatch is the school version of the Big Garden Birdwatch – the world's biggest garden wildlife survey aimed at families and individuals. The event will take place over three days on 28, 29 and 30 January 2017 and further information can be found on the RSPB
To register to take part in the 2017 RSPB Big Schools’ Birdwatch, visit Everything schools need to take part is available to download from the RSPB website.

2017 new year field trip

Today started cold and fresh on our first field trip of the year which, makes a change from last years rain. With the 2nd in January being a bank holiday it certainly gave lots of us a chance to get out and those that did really enjoyed the day.

This field trip has always been about enthusing and showing how many species can be found in Liverpool and we thought we would be on to break our record of 62.One of our first birds of the day was greenfinch in the trees by the car park followed by goldfinch, blackbird, wood pigeon and kestrel.

As we started to walk towards the estuary 2 mute swans flew out of the river towards town. As it was low tide the exposed mud banks were quite some distance out but telescopes we were able to show, redshanks, curlew, dunlin, oystercatcher, turnstone,mallard, teal, grey herons, cormorant, black headed, herring and lesser black backed gulls.

As we walked back from the shore 2 ravens conked their way into view and a solitary crow helped show off the size difference. We continued the walk checking the estuary as a great black backed gull flew past, but small birds kept flying about. Robins kept jumping about on the path in front of the main group, grey wagtail flew over the back of the group and in the vegetation dunnocks, wrens, reed bunting and a fly over meadow pipit. We stopped as the call of a fieldfare flew into a large shrub.  As we reached the sailing club a local dog walk told us how his dogs had flushed 3 short eared owls on the saltmarsh, we were very excited by this news. 

A single ringed plover and common gull was at the end of the slip way and 4 grey partridges flew off the marsh never an easy bird to see well.   

2 Skylarks flushed out of one of the meadows and a walk up towards the business park helped add more meadow pipits but even better some showy stonechats and 2 common snipe. A few blue tits were in this area with song thrush and mistle thrush but we had failed to see so many common species. The list stood at 40 species.

We walked back to the car to find 4 back windows had been smashed and it really spoilt a wonderful start to the year. Some went one to Sefton Park to try and add more species but the day had been ruined.

Chris Tynan

Several members of the group have contacted various agencies including liverpool council, peel holdings and mps about  the  damage and we await further contact and hopefully progress in making this site  secure for visitors.

(I have to say its not a happy start to the year. I led a walk around the reserve yesterday with 31 other people. We started at 9am and returned to the cars in the car park just after midday.

We returned to find 4 of the groups cars had had their back windows smashed and their boots ransacked. Considering the car park was full of cars it could have been all of them! The car park had lots of glass from other windows which makes you wonder that whatever low life is responsible for this vandalism is there with some degree of regularity.

I really like showing off this reserve to members and the general public but it makes me feel that RSPB Liverpool wont be leading any more walks here until security improves.

All 4 incidents were reported to Merseyside Police. Some of the group have now contacted the local councillors and MP through emails and social media.

I feel I have to let you know of these incidents).

Monday, 17 October 2016

In Memory : Jim Gordon's birding life

Jim Gordon  in 1984

In 2012 RSPB Liverpool celebrated it's 40th Anniversary, and over the years our membership has seen people come, go and return....  Recently we were reminded of our past when a new member Neil Gordon told us of his father's lifelong  interest in birds and his past connection to RSPB Liverpool. Sadly Neil's father died recently, but in his memory we asked  Neil to  put together a small  piece on his time with our group. 

Neil and his family have bequeathed  Jim's  funeral collection  to our group funds, for this we wish to offer  a huge thanks for this most thoughtful and  generous donation.  

Neil Writes -

Jim’s love of birds began at an early age. As a young boy he would wander the farmlands of Norris Green.  With no field guides or books at home, Jim was one of the generations of self taught birders’, his only source of information being a “borrowed” school book on common birds.

Family life took over for Jim and it wasn’t until his children grew that he began to fall in love with his childhood hobby again.  Living in Fazakerley he would spend hours watching Redpoll and Bullfinch in Fazakerley woods finding the occasional good bird like Long Eared Owls and would come home excitedly  telling all the family of his great finds. 
The big breaking point in his birding life came when he bought his first car, a VW Beetle and he was soon to be found at Seaforth, Lunt, Hale, Frodsham and Marshside.

Jim joined the local RSPB Liverpool group in the early eighties and spent many great days out with the group enjoying the meetings as he loved to learn and soon realised the other birders in the group were happy to pass on their knowledge.  Jim and his family spent many happy trips to the Solway with RSPB Liverpool led by Ted Richards and even ventured abroad for the first time to Majorca on a group holiday. His appetite for scarcer birds had now been lit by the group.

What followed for Jim were many happy late summer holidays to Norfolk, ticking off birds he had only dreamt of seeing whilst reading his bird books at night. The one major trip he always longed for was a two week birding holiday on the Scillys’, which he and his family enjoyed in ’84.
Jim loved to travel to see rare birds, from the Little Whimbrel in Norfolk to the White Billed Diver in Northern Scotland. If he could get there it was game on.

When Jim retired from bus driving after 30 years, it was back to local birding, with his favourite patch being Seaforth Docks.  As Jim’s health began to decline and he stopped driving, it was down to park and garden birding with the occasional twitch if he could get a lift off someone.  His love of birds, common or rare, never faded and is last day in the field was to see a male smew at Lunt this year. He came home that day tired and sore but with a broad grin on his face.

Birding full circle for my dad over the space of 70 plus years’ with lots of memories of good friends and great days out.

Jim Gordon
18/03/1936 – 12/09/2016

Thank you Neil

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Ringing the reedlings – another successful year for special birds at RSPB Leighton Moss

Autumn is certainly on its way and at RSPB Leighton Moss nature reserve in Silverdale, that means some of its most secretive residents – the bearded reedlings, are coming out of hiding, offering visitors a greater chance of spotting these elusive birds.

Leighton Moss is the largest reedbed in North West England, home to rare and special wildlife. Bearded reedlings, also known as bearded tits, are very uncommon and rely on this special environment to live in. They first began breeding at the reserve in 1973 and their numbers have been closely monitored by dedicated staff and volunteers ever since. 

Earlier this year, following stormy weather that flooded the reserve, it was feared the bearded reedling population may have declined. However, through ringing studies, where young birds have colour coded leg rings fitted, staff at the nature reserve have found that it has been another good year for these secretive birds.

Kevin Kelly, Visitor Operations Manager at RSPB Leighton Moss and Morecambe Bay nature reserve said:  “We have caught or seen nine adult males and ten adult females so far this summer, as well as fitted colour rings to 22 baby birds and nine other young bearded tits. This shows that there have  been plenty of successful breeding attempts despite the challenging weather conditions last winter.”
Kevin added: “Autumn is the best time of year to come and see these iconic reedbed residents, as they venture out onto special grit trays. We put the trays out for them to stock up on grit which helps them digest reed seeds – their main food source during the cold winter months.”
Visitors can look for bearded reedlings at Leighton Moss any day in October  but for the best chance to see these rare birds feeding on the grit trays, take a walk down the Causeway between 9.30 am-12 pm. 

Vis Mig at Hale 09/10/16

Sun's up. Runcorn/Widnes bridge in distance

Church lane watchers
It was a beautiful morning on Sunday at Hale for our visible migration field trip.
Highlight for me was the Merlin, tree sparrows, redwings and flappy fieldfare, looovve our scandinavian visitors. 

Sunday 9 October 2016

Counting period: 07:25 - 09:30
Count type: incomplete species list, not all species submitted
Weather: wind NE1, cloud-cover 3/8, visibility 25m, temperature 9 ℃, Sunny , cool NE wind F1,
 3/cloud slowly decreasing cloud cover through watch
Observers: Jeff Clarke, Chris Tynan plus RSPB group

Pink-footed Goose *
Coal Tit *
House Martin
Song Thrush
Mistle Thrush
Tree Sparrow
Grey Wagtail
alba wagtail sp.
Meadow Pipit
Hawfinch *
Lesser Redpoll
Reed Bunting

Totals: 6245 individuals, 26 species, 2:05 hours

Bold = Remarkable observation (scarce or rare species or large number)
* = Additional info (on mouseover species)

Comments: Probably significant undercount on passerines due to large group presence impeding call reception.
All migrants vectored south or south-east unless otherwise stated.

Count Website

Hale lighthouse

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Prepare for an awesome autumn spectacle on the Dee Estuary

Inline image

As summer draws to a close, the Dee Estuary enters arguably its most exciting time of year due to the arrival of vast flocks of birds returning from their Arctic breeding grounds. The RSPB is inviting visitors to take part in a series of events across their Dee Estuary nature reserve to share some of the most impressive natural spectacles in this region.

Dan Trotman, Visitor Experience Manager for RSPB Dee Estuary nature reservesaid: “I’m a huge fan of autumn, it could even be my favourite season of the year. The reserve here comes into its own, supporting thousands of wetland birds as they swap the cold Arctic for our warmer climes. High tides around the equinox make for some excellent wildlife watching too, pushing the vast swathes of ducks and wading birds into closer view along with the birds of prey that hunt them.”
The Dee Estuary is home to the largest little egret colony in Northern England and, with earlier sunsets which are another special autumn attraction on the Wirral, it becomes easier to witness the daily spectacle of over 300 flying in from the marsh to their night-time roost.  To celebrate this wild wonder, ‘An Evening with Egrets’ guided walk is taking place on Saturday 8 October at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands. The event costs £6.50 per person (£5 for RSPB members), half price for children. Booking is essential by phoning 0151 353 8478 or email

Visitors can also take part in ‘Autumn Arrivals’ on Saturday 15 October at RSPB Point of Ayr near Talacre. This short guided walk involves crossing beach and sand dunes so suitable footwear and a decent level of fitness are required. The event is free of charge, but donations are welcome. Booking is essential by phoning 0151 353 8478 or email

To experience the autumn tidal phenomenon, join ‘Parkgate High Tide Watch’ events on Monday 17 and Tuesday 18 October at the Donkey Stand and the Old Baths car park on Parkgate parade. Suitable for people of all ages and abilities, these events are free of charge, but donations are welcome. RSPB staff and volunteers will be on hand with telescopes and binoculars to enhance the impressive views. Timings vary depending on the tides, so visit for more details.
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Dan added: “You don’t have to be an avid birdwatcher to appreciate the vast numbers of birds that call the Dee their home at this time of year. These upcoming events are planned to showcase these awesome natural occurances and show why it’s so important for the RSPB to keep almost half of the estuary under its protection. So pop on an extra layer or two, and come along, we’d love to see you!”
For further information on events and wildlife at RSPB Dee Estuary, visit