Friday, 29 August 2014

Second time lucky – the David Attenborough Nature reserve

One of many - Lapwings

The first time we tried to get to Nottingham we had to turn back after 4hrs, grid lock on the M6 after an accident, not the best way to spend husbands’ birthday!..  Travellers beware. A month later we finally got there, not without further traffic snarl ups and worse I left my binoculars behind!  Still...
The reserve has a large car park, no fee, nor entrance cost, but donation recommended similar to Mere sands wood reserve.
My initial impression of the reserve is a mature version of Brockholes, similar habitats, large walking area, but more overgrown. I was particular pleased to find a tower hide, always good to view from on high, over the reeds! Access pretty good with benches dotted about to tally on. Again the visitor /café although smaller reminded me of Brockholes, set by the lake, nice food and yes if you want to feed the ducks, swans, geese and coots they’re waiting for you. Bird food on sale in shop.
Nature centre

We went in August, the weather wasn't particular good which probably meant some birds were skulking away, however the highlight came within five minutes of starting our walk, as we stopped on Barton lane overlooking the Tween pond a kingfisher flew past us, closely followed by a hair stirring common tern overhead!  Lots of tufties, mallard, coot, grebe, mute swan on lakes, geese and herons on the river, mixed tit flocks, sparrows, blackbirds and thrushes in the undergrowth, sedge warblers in the reeds. Common terns and black headed gulls were on posts on the Coneries pond. Lots of Lapwings on the works pond, buzzard and kestrel over the Erewash fields (llamas minding a sheep flock here!)  
Works pond

Butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies were noticeable along the river path vegetation, along with a couple of little voles scurrying across.
Quite at few welcome information boards insitu 

On the south west edge of the Nottingham, the Attenborough Nature Reserve is a mostly quiet haven. Managed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, the 360 acres of lakes, wetland, grassland, woodland and scrub, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) it’s squeezed between the railway and the River Trent. The extraction of river gravel created the lakes. The reserve lies around these flooded gravel pits and the created habitat attracts wildlife, especially the birds for which it is best known. There are large lakes formed by the flooded pits, known as Church Pond, Clifton Pond, Coneries pond, Main Pond, Tween Pond and Beeston Pond, plus drier areas of scrub and grassland such as Corbetts Meadow and Erewash field
Main pond
Coneries pond

The spire of St Mary’s church in the centre of Attenborough village and is visible from most points across the reserve, and it is the village that gives the Nature Reserve its name. Sir David Attenborough, who opened the reserve in 1966.
The reserve is an important over wintering site for wildfowl i.e. shoveler, goldeneye, goosander, wigeon and large numbers of mallard and teal.  For several years several Bittern, have spent the winter in the reserve. In the summer, the breeding birds include great crested grebe, shelduck, little ringed plover and common tern, for which tern breeding platforms are provided. Reed and sedge warblers in the reed beds.

The reserve was busy with families and its criss-cross reserve paths are used by bike riders. The paths provide a range of views; are surfaced and are mainly flat so give easy access for those in wheelchairs and other disabled users. There was one point on the walk where a kissing gate may be considered narrow, path alongside the railway leading from Erewash field to nature centre.

River Trent

The riverside path forms part of the Trent Valley Way, a long distance footpath that follows the River Trent, on the opposite side there is some farmland proved to be popular with canadian and greylag geese . From here I could hear skylark and yellow hammer.

Tower hide

Clifton Pond from Tower hide

Tween Pond for Tower hide

The reserve has three hides,  one of the best being a tower hide giving view over the Tween and Clifton ponds (sorry no disabled access) On the day we went I met a lady who told she’d seen a Bittern 3 times during the winter months from the hide- in the Clifton pond. You will need to get the access code from the centre for the Delta hide. There are also viewing screens along the paths.

The reserves Nature Centre has a small shop and is the base for The Wildlife Trust’s educational activities. Depending on the time of year there are screens showing what is happening in nest boxes and elsewhere on the reserve. At the back of the centre a doorway leads to a seated bird feeding area and access to the new sand martin nest/bank hide.
Sandmartin Bank

The Nature Centre café does meals; soups, sandwiches cakes recommended after a mornings exploration of the reserve, we sat on the balcony and had cake and coffee, well you have to…

On A6005, seven miles south west of Nottingham on the River Trent.
Google Maps.
More information:

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Marshside a special 20th celebration event - Sunday 7 September.

Rspb Marshside

Marshside reserve gets new lease of life:

After 20 years of successful partnership with Sefton Council, the RSPB is celebrating a new 99-year lease of the RSPB’s Marshside reserve, in Merseyside.

The new lease from the Council trebles the size of the nature reserve. It grants the RSPB control over the saltmarsh at Marshside as well as the fresh marsh and includes the former 'Rainford's marsh'. It also includes the car park and the roadside strip as far as the sewage works, but does not include the ‘Old Sand Works’, which is still under the control of the Sand Company.

Tony Baker, RSPB Ribble Sites Manager, said: "This is a fantastic way to celebrate 20 years of the RSPB and Sefton Council giving nature a home at Marshside. It’s great that it comes in the first year that our fantastic avocets have nested on the saltmarsh at Marshside.”
There will be a chance to celebrate the news and talk to site staff about their plans for the future of Marshside at a special 20th celebration event, to be held at the reserve on Sunday 7 September.

Tony added: “We have lots to think about as we look to future plans for encouraging more wildlife and more human visitors to come to the reserve; adding further value to Southport as a tourist destination, and we know we can count on our wonderful volunteers to help us step up and meet the new challenges the new lease brings." 
Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Schools, Families and Leisure, added: “The RSPB has done a great job of managing this part of our amazing coast. It’s good to know the Marshside reserve will be in good hands well into the next century.”

The RSPB’s management of Marshside forms part of the conservation organisation’s Ribble Coast and Wetlands Futurescape. This is a large-scale project aimed at creating a network of linked homes for nature across the local area.

For more information about the forthcoming celebration event, which forms part of the "Tracks Tides and Tales" Festival, visit 

Friday, 22 August 2014

More Anglesey wanderings

Looking towards the Ferry terminal Holyhead

Another sunny day, another visit to the holy isle. Bill and I have been walking the Anglesey coastal path. This time we did a short section from Penrhos Coastal Park to Holyhead and Trearddur bay to Rhoscolyn.
Penrhos Coastal Park & Nature Reserve overlooks the sandbanks and mudflats of the Beddmanarch Bay.  Obviously a local favourite for its beach and dog walking territory as the car park was chokka, ice cream & snack van in situ.  As on our previous walk more stunning views, this time towards Holyhead Mountain   and the main isle.
The watchful wader - Curlew
The park is known to attract a variety of seabirds, wildfowl and waders.  In July you’d have found the group on Holyhead prom looking for tysties (black guillemots). I have to admit despite the glorious weather there weren’t many birds out sunbathing, a few gulls, oystercatcher, shag and the highlight of the area an obliging Curlew on the shore.
There are Mixed deciduous & coniferous woods along the path, mixed flocks of Tits, Wren, Chaffinch & Robin were seen and heard flitting along the woodland fringe of the path.
Shady resting place for beloved pets
Along the wooded area of the path  you will come across the pet graveyard, memorials to beloved Brandy, Barney and Tiggy puss to name a few, endearing but sad all the same
The Park also has a number of freshwater ponds and ditches to several small pockets of reed bed. The pond by the car park had a few Mallards, duck food available at the van! 

Trearddur Bay is welsh for Arthur's has 2 beaches, one a fine sandy sweeping curve favourited by families, the other smaller with a flotilla of moored boats, canoes and surfboarders.

Trearddur's sailors
This is 'the' walk to  do, the scenery and coastal formations form Trearddur to Rhoscolyn are to be seen, on a clear day the vista stretches out before you towards the Snowdonia Mountains. Besides if your favoured you will be accompanied by Stonechats, Ravens and Choughs - fantastic.

Kronker the Raven
The path goes across the grassy headlands,the cliff top route includes an ancient well, two sea arches and a stunning view with every step! 

Coastal path

The Black arch 

Further on the White Arch, an impressive gleaming white rock arch,
White arch

At Porth Saint. The rocks here are very colourful, ranging from rusty brown to pink, and are Cambrian in origin, and show a huge geological fold in the rocks.

Porth Saint

Cliff top rest with a view

The lookout- now run by volunteers

The Coastguard Lookout post at the highest point of the walk. The lookout is a superb viewpoint, wonderful views of the distant mountains and the Llyn Peninsula, close inshore is a rocky island, Ynys Gwylanod (Isle of Seagulls) with the navigational Rhoscolyn beacon tower on it.

View towards wales

Beacon island

Oh and just to finish this was  a lovely Windy Wheatear on Leasowe Prom the day after!!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014



“First they will ignore you, then they will laugh at you, then they will fight you, then you will win.”
                       Gandhi (Quoted by Chris Packham, Hen Harrier day 10/08/14)

The inglorious twelfth has dawned but the fight goes on.

Members of Liverpool RSPB braved the wrath hurricane Big Bertha along with hundreds of others to support the Hen Harrier day.  
Dunsop Bridge protest
A soggy but inspiring day at Dunsop Bridge .  Terry from the Northwest Raptor Group gave us a talk on the persecution of raptors in the Bowland area, maddening tales of shot adults and ‘trodden into the ground’ chicks, and not just Harriers, Peregrines and the sad tale of the Bowland Goshawk, stopped from nesting in at tree, chose to nest on the ground…returning conservationists checking on it, found the nest trashed, eggs smashed, adult  shot dead.

Terry and Andrea made it to Northumberland to protest  
Northumberland protest

Lots of info on the internet, lots of pics from the  3 protest sites on twitter 


Watch an extended version of the Hen Harrier video, more footage form Chris Packham explaining why.....


Findley Wilde's H Harrier

Findlay Wilde  @WildeAboutBirds

Monday, 11 August 2014


Hi, I’m Bob.
I may just be one small red squirrel, but I have big ambitions. I want my young,
and yours, to inherit a world where they can thrive.
I’m challenging all politicians to take care of the wildlife and natural places we all enjoy.
I’m not asking you to become a treehugger – that’s my job. But in the run-up to the
UK General Election, while our politicians are busy creating manifestos full of ideas
they believe will win them votes, now’s the time to get nature on their agenda.
It’s time to buzz around the politicians’ ears, fill their inboxes and invade their newsfeeds
with our message.
It’s time to tell them to stop counting the cost of saving nature and start seeing
how much it’s worth.
It’s time to say remember, nature’s your home too.
Tell your politicians you care about nature.
Vote for me now by adding your name to my petition at

Red Squirrel, Formby Reserve


Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Experience the egret empire at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands


As dusk falls over RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands, one of the region’s greatest natural spectacles unfolds: the nature reserve is awash with birds settling down for the night, not least one of the country’s most elegant and exotic-looking, the little egret.

This month, with the help of RSPB wardens, visitors are invited to enjoy ‘An Evening with Egrets’ to marvel at one of the UK’s largest little egret colonies, which makes its home at Burton Mere Wetlands. As dusk approaches, hundreds of the birds gather from across the estuary, ready to fly into the treetops to roost overnight – a remarkable sight.

Dan Trotman, Visitor Development Officer at RSPB Dee Estuary reserve, said: “Whilst these birds are seen regularly feeding across the estuary’s saltmarsh during the day, nothing compares to the sight and sound of dozens flying together into the tree-tops next to the nature reserve for the night. It’s an amazing sight to watch. Plus the event is a great opportunity to learn about the birds’ troubled past and their current success.

“There have been evenings when I’ve been here alone and seeing the little egret colony in all its glory makes all the hard work we’ve put into managing this wetland over the years seem all the more worthwhile. They’ve become a common sight on the estuary, but nothing quite prepares you for watching these large, graceful birds take to the treetops in the numbers we see here – last year, 380 were counted flying into the roost one night!”

The event will be held on Friday 15 August, starting at 6.30pm. The cost for the walk is £5 per adult (£3 for RSPB members) and includes a hot drink and snack in the Reception Hide.

For more information on the reserve and its activities, please call the reserve on 0151 353 8478, or check out the website

Sunday, 3 August 2014

General information about Hen Harrier Day 2014 
Hen Harrier Day 2014 is Sunday 10 August.
Hen Harrier Day 2014 is an opportunity for people to express their outrage at the illegal killing of the protected Hen Harrier by grouse moor interests.  Science says there should be 300+ pairs of Hen Harrier nesting in England – this year has seen just three pairs.
Hen Harrier Day 2014 is supported by: the RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts, the National Trust, the Hawk and Owl Trust, the League Against Cruel Sports, the Peak District National Park, Birdwatch magazine, Rare Bird Alert, Welsh Ornithological Society and Quaker Concern for Animals.
There are three events planned for Hen Harrier Day where people can gather together in Lancashire (the Forest of Bowland), Northumberland (South Tyne Trail at Lambley) and the Peak District (event full).


It is easy to sit up and take notice,
What is difficult is getting up and taking action.