Friday, 31 January 2014

Warden's Welly Walk at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands

RSPB Burton mere

Sunday 9 February 2014   11:00 am until 13:00 pm

Join us for an exclusive chance to go behind the scenes at Burton Mere Wetlands for a tour of one of the most important wetlands in the region!

Learn all about how the wetland was created and get closer to the wildlife that makes its home here, including huge flocks of lapwings and the magnificent whooper and Bewick's swans visiting for the winter.

This a long walk over rough, boggy terrain so a reasonable level of physical fitness and wellies are needed.  Meet in Burton Mere Wetlands' reception hide and enjoy a hot drink and snack from our selection
afterwards.

 
Places are limited so booking is essential.
  
Venue: RSPB Burton  Mere Wetlands, Puddington Lane, Burton, Cheshire, CH64 5SF

Price:  RSPB members  4, non-members  8; children half price.

Contact: Telephone 0151 353 8478 or email deeestuary@rspb.org.uk


Wednesday, 29 January 2014

A battered Big Garden Birdwatch


Well the Big Garden Birdwatch proved to be a bit of battle for our resilient counters. The chosen weekend with it high winds, heavy rain, hailstorms and thunder and lightning, was atrocious, the RSPB couldn’t have picked a better weekend...not.

Laura from Liverpool RSPB undertook a mini scouse birdwatch count, 17 households across Merseyside and Warrington sent in their counts which you can see on the tables below. 

Adjectives used to describe results and experiences read - disappointing, poor, awful, missing, nothing unusual, arrived later  and down. According to twitter and the on BBC's Winterwatch we weren’t alone, the feeling was nationwide and the count was further exasperated by the RSPB website crashing, hopefully just overwhelmed by the response! 
I’m sure you’ll draw your own conclusions from the table, and certainly the weather appears to have affected the counts, as many people stated they had regulars missing and numbers even halved from a more usual winters day count.

I was not surprised to see goldfinches at the top as these birds have been in ascendancy in recent years, indeed from our table the finches were more prevalent in gardens than our poor sparrows and starlings
Neither was I surprised to see wood pigeon in the top 10 either , these birds moving in to suburbia from their more traditional farmland habitat.
Once again House sparrows and starlings showing a worrying trend with only 5/6 households out of 17 having them visit. 
Blackbirds were top of the list for presence, followed by bluetit.
Not a sniff of mistle and song thrushes anywhere, with only fieldfare arriving in our Warrington garden. Perhaps the weather is too mild, I usually only get the thrushes when it snows!

A little comparison count was included, sent in by our BTO friend Bob who lives in Shropshire.  I was expecting to see more farmland birds than rook, jackdaws and fieldfare, but he did have a great count of 32 H sparrows – apparently 60 arrived after his count! Obviously the rural habitat suits this flock and maybe it will give us a few pointers on what we should be doing in town. Bob rings his sparrows as part of the BTO's bird survival project: 

For those of you who have enjoyed taking part in the big garden birdwatch and would like to record more, please consider joining the BTO garden birdwatch , this will involve you recording your birds every week and uploading them to the BTO. The count includes other nature sightings such as insects & mammals and also records the type of food you put out, more recently they have included your sightings of diseased & dead specimens.


Many thanks to all those who took part in my little survey, I hope you find it of interest, please free  to add you comments, observations  on our blog.



`Bob’s
Shropshire


Total seen
Of 17 Mersey gardens/green spaces
3

Blackbird
42
16 Gardens


Blackcap
1
1
5

Blue tit
22
13
3

Chaffinch
15
8


Coal tit
4
3
2

Collared dove
5
3


Crow
6
2
2

Dunnock
9
7
9

Fieldfare


6

Goldfinch
65
9


Greenfinch
10
6


Grey wagtail
1
1


Gt spotted woodpecker
2
2
4

Gt tit
14
10
32

House Sparrow
31
5
3

Jackdaw




Long tailed tit
8
3
1

Magpie
17
10


Pied wagtail
1
1


Pigeon feral
22
4


Redwing
5
1
2

Robin
13
11
1

Rook




Sparrowhawk
1
1
3

Starling
34
6


Wood pigeon
29
12


Wren
1
1












Top 10 2014
Total seen
% of 17 gardens
1
Goldfinch
65
53%
2
Blackbird
42
94.%
3
Starling
34
37.5%
4
H sparrow
31
31.25%
5
W pigeon
29
70%
6
Blue tit
22
76%
7
Feral pigeon
22
23%
8
Magpie
17
62.50%
9
Chaffinch
15
47%
10
G tit
14
62.50%

Merseyside 2013
1
Merseyside
Blackbird
2
Merseyside
House sparrow
3
Merseyside
Starling
4
Merseyside
Blue tit
5
Merseyside
Woodpigeon
6
Merseyside
Goldfinch
7
Merseyside
Collared dove
8
Merseyside
Magpie
9
Merseyside
Robin
10
Merseyside
Feral pigeon


Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Time to witness a wildlife spectacle to remember at Parkgate

The high tide in December was accompanied by atrocious weather high winds and rain and alot of the wirral coastline sustained damage. Parkgate promenade was submerged, cars were carried away, and many creatures were drowned  hopefully it won't be  a repeat performance on  the weather front.   

Water rail
Enjoy a date with nature at Parkgate this weekend and join the RSPB toexperience one of the best wildlife spectacles in the region.Many local people are familiar with the phenomenon of the high spring
tides flooding the vast saltmarsh of the estuary, but few have been there to witness it and the activity that follows.

In a bid to encourage people to experience the wildlife spectacle forthemselves, free events will be held by the team from RSPB Dee Estuary nature reserves from Friday 31 Jan to Monday 3 Feb with telescopes and binoculars available for public use.

Dan Trotman, Visitor Development Officer at RSPB Dee Estuary reserves,said:  The high tides in early December and January were some of the biggest and sadly most destructive in many years. Seeing the incoming tide reach the sea wall at Parkgate is unimaginable on a normal day due to the extent of the marsh, but in December the tide even came over the wall onto the promenade.

These infrequent natural events are something we like to celebrate because it is a chance for people to see this part of our nature reserve on the estuary at its most impressive. The Dees saltmarsh is home to hundreds of small mammals which are flushed from their homes by the incoming tide, attracting magnificent birds of prey including short-eared owls and hen harriers to feed.

With thousands of wetland birds trying to keep on the edge of the water, large flocks can be seen shifting around trying to find drier ground. Other predators take advantage too   foxes will be more than happy to snatch an easy meal, whilst even herons and gulls have been seen helping themselves to voles and small birds.
It’s not easy watching the voles desperately fleeing for their lives in December dozens were scrambling up the sea wall and running across the road   but it s a great reminder of how much wildlife is thriving on the marsh and the value of the RSPB protecting such a vast wilderness.

The RSPB will be hosting the free events at Parkgates Old Baths car park and at the Donkey Stand on the four days of upcoming high tides; Friday 31 January, Saturday 1, Sunday 2 and Monday 3 February.
Dan added:  The extent of the spectacle is dependent on the weather conditions on the day low pressure and a strong northwesterly wind are the best to drive the tide in fully, which is quite likely with the weather we’ve had so far this winter. Obviously thats something we won’t know for definite until closer to the time; it’s a case of keeping an eye on the weather forecast, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed and be present at Parkgate regardless.

Car parking is limited on Parkgate promenade and at the Old Baths car park, but the RSPB has arranged for extra free parking to be available for visitors at Marsh Nurseries on Boathouse Lane (CH64 6RD) and the
Wirral Country Park car park on Station Road (CH64 6QJ).

The events are fully supported by Cheshire West and Chester council and are part of the Wild Wirral  Date with Nature , which is showcasing the outstanding wildlife of the Wirral Peninsula and its coastline through
a series of events in partnership with Wirral Borough Council this winter. Full details and dates of further events can be found on the RSPB website, here: www.rspb.org.uk/datewithnature/327690-wild-wirral-
For more information on the RSPB Dee Estuary reserves and activities,please call the reserve on 0151 353 8478, or check out the website.


**** Liverpool RSPB Event Sunday 02/02/14 The Wirral Wander 


Stormy Wirral