Friday, 23 January 2009

2009 marks the

anniversary of

The RSPB's

The 2009 Big Garden Birdwatch takes place at the end of January and all you need to do to take part is watch the local birds in your garden or park for an hour.
Last January, more than six and a half million birds were counted in 236,000 gardens!, were you one of the watchful diligently counting in your garden or local park.This years Big Garden Birdwatch runs on 24-25 January 2009 and we'd love you to take part!

What happened last year?

In last year' s January weekend count the Goldfinch claimed 'Top spot' in Merseyside with an average of 1.64 seen per garden. Nationally with an average of 3.60 seen per garden, the House Sparrow retained its top spot with Starlings coming in second and Blackbirds completing the top three.

Why not Join us at our events at Sefton Park Palm House Sunday 25 January 2009
Our event starts at noon and finish at 4pm.
Closely observe the birds at our feeding stations through telescopes. People will be on hand for identification and general information on Garden Birdwatching and the RSPB. Kids colouring activities. Make your own pine code birdfeeder to take home.

Our friends at Sefton Park have asked wonderful story teller Taffy Thomas back to the Palm House, he'll be telling stories about our feathered friends to all our visiting children.

Meet our new Wildlife explorer team (RSPB WEX) and find out about their great Ticklish Allsorts Roadshow for kids, to be held on the evening of :27th January.

The British Trust for Ornithology BTO will be with us this year, promoting their all year round Garden Birdwatch recording scheme.

Friday, 9 January 2009

If you build it they will come

Who remembers the film 'Field of dreams'? My garden is my field of dreams and this winter I'm going for broke to bring in some winter thrushes. Lots of cheap apples and homemade cheap fruitcake litter the lawn. Today I was 'made up' as we say in scouseland, my plan had worked, after wandering the fields of Billinge to look for one, it came to me ... a beautiful Fieldfare, a belligerent fellow chasing away any Blackbird who came close to 'his' apple. l was late for work ,I wanted to stay.. it was toooo dark for the camera, I was willing the sun to hurry up, alas I had to go...but will he/she be back tomorrow? I'm baking more cake.


Thursday, 8 January 2009

Cold Weather its not great for birds!

For the first time in over a decade, nature conservation bodies are today [Tuesday 6 January 2009] calling on birdwatchers, walkers, anglers and water sports enthusiasts across Britain to minimise disturbance to groups of ducks, geese, swans and wading birds. On lakes, rivers, wetlands, and coastal areas the birds will be struggling to survive after enduring seven consecutive days of freezing temperatures.

The group making today’s call include the RSPB, the British Trust for Ornithology, the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust and Natural England.
Following a run of mild winters, this is the first time in a decade that this call has been made in England. Dr Mark Avery, the RSPB’s conservation director, said: “During freezing conditions disturbance forces the birds to squander their precious energy reserves by taking flight when they need to spend as much time as possible feeding.
“Although we haven’t made this appeal since 1997, we hope everyone who uses the countryside will heed our advice, allowing the millions of birds which visit the UK’s coasts and wetlands during the winter to stand a better chance of survival.”
If the severe weather continues for 14 days in succession, the shooting of some species of duck, geese, and wading bird can be suspended for a fortnight to help the birds recover. The last time such a ban was imposed was in 1997.
The birds affected include ducks – including wigeon and pintail – and wading birds, such as godwits, dunlin and knot. These birds either nest in the Arctic, or further north or east in Europe. During the winter the birds visit the UK to escape harsher conditions further north.
Andrew Gouldstone, the RSPB’s Area Conservation Manager for the North West, said: “Even at a time when our climate is warming, we can still expect freezing conditions, but less frequently. Wildfowl and wading birds respond to these icy blasts by moving further south and west. Mild winters have allowed some of these international travellers to cut short their journeys, with more remaining within the eastern half of Britain.

“As the natural world responds to the freeze, we can expect the UK's vital coastal wetlands to play a role in helping these hardy birds survive the winter. If the freeze continues, we can expect the warmer estuaries on our west coast – such as the Dee, Mersey, Ribble, Morecambe Bay and the Solway - to be especially important as birds escape the weather. These are amongst our most important wildlife sites. The winter of 2009 is likely to show just how vital they are to the survival of thousands of water birds.”
As someone out doing a bird survey today, I can tell you that the Ribble coast has very low numbers of waders at the moment and RSPB Marshside very few waterfowl.