Friday, 28 September 2012


With the 40th anniversary of the group’s founding coming up in 2012, we decided we wanted to celebrate our birthday with a special evening for our own members, but also to use the occasion to share our enthusiasm for birds and nature with the wider public. So with the Mersey estuary on our doorstep and one of the country’s largest cathedrals looming right above it, what more natural than to link the two with a Big Tower Birdwatch event, themed around migration !

We advertised a free programme of events during the day, including birdwatching with an expert from the top of the cathedral tower, and for those who didn’t fancy two lifts and 100 plus stairs, we ran some guided walks in St James cemetery gardens, a woodland park right next to the cathedral, in an 18th century quarry that eventually became a 19th century cemetery. To keep the children (and their parents) happy, we  organised some indoor craft activities in the cathedral itself, and we also had pinecone birdfeeders on the go, as well as lots of literature about birds, migration routes and so forth to take away.

When September 22nd finally came,  we had a perfect autumn day, with clear skies and sunshine encouraging lots of people to turn out and join us. 180 people climbed the tower to see what was about, and Jeff Clarke was able to spot not only meadow pipits and swallows, but also pink footed geese, a mute swan, several buzzards and even a distant osprey flying south.  The cathedral has a resident pair of peregrines, who were showing well, as well as a pair of sparrow hawks. Over a hundred people also joined Richie the Ranger in the park, where they were able to spot a variety of woodland birds and butterflies (not to mention those peregrines again) as well as hearing tales of the graveyard.

Overall, we felt very pleased with the numbers who came along. Perhaps a third were members of our own group, or the RSPB nationally, but for many the chance to go up the cathedral tower had clearly been a big attraction, and it gave us the opportunity to talk a bit about the RSPB, as well as gather signatures for the contact sheets and the marine conservation zone petitions.
The publicity in advance of the day, through flyers, press releases, website mentions and local radio, also meant that the RSPB was being talked about a lot, so we were able to reach a very wide audience.

In the evening we continued the theme, with an excellent illustrated talk for our members on migration linked to Merseyside by Jeff Clarke, as well as a splendid celebration cake. Feedback afterwards has been really positive, both on the daytime and evening sessions, and one recent member wrote, “Just to demonstrate the impact of the day, let me tell you a story.  On Sunday afternoon I still had all the thoughts of the day roaming around my head so I decided to go down to Hale Head to see which feathered friends may be there. I counted 18 species and one year ago I am sure that I would not have been able to do that.  The Liverpool group has helped to keep me motivated.  While wandering along the Mersey Way I encountered a couple also with binoculars so I made a comment along the lines of 'snap'!  It turned out they are also members of the Liverpool group (Anna & Gavin by name) and they too had been inspired by Saturday's events to come down to Hale to look out for migrants.  So, we had a chat about the event and then the wonders of migration.  Don't forget that your actions are like pebbles.  You throw the 'pebbles of information and experience' into the RSPB pool and then we take the ripples and spread the word.”

Anne Pope

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Burton Mere Wetlands celebrates 1st birthday

A busy weekend for our members, so after our big event at the cathedral on Saturday, why not have have more cake and a relaxing visit to BMW on Sunday!

RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands, on the Dee Estuary, is inviting people to help celebrate its first birthday by offering free entry this weekend ( 22 - 23 September).

Over the past 12 months almost 30,000 people have visited the nature reserve, which was opened last year by BBC wildlife presenter Iolo Williams, and visitors have enjoyed the many wonderful sights and sounds the reserve has to offer, including regular sightings of  kingfishers, common lizards and dragonflies.

During the celebration weekend there will be a number of free family activities, including guided walks (from 11am), mini-beast hunts and pond dipping. A local wood art workshop has also donated wildlife-inspired items for sale over the weekend.

RSPB staff and volunteers will be on hand to provide advice on the many 
different kinds of wildlife, pointing out birds, dragonflies, butterflies and much more. Special homemade birthday cakes will also be on offer for visitors.

Colin Wells, RSPB Site Manager, said: “The weekend is set to be a wonderful celebration of our first year. It’s always really satisfying to see people of all ages getting close to nature and seeing wildlife they may never have come across before. We see more and more wildlife around the reserve all the time, and it’s fantastic that so many people are able it to share it with us.”

Austin Morley, a volunteer at RSPB Dee Estuary said: “There is so much on offer at Burton Mere. Whether you just want a relaxing walk and a peaceful picnic or fancy seeing how many different birds and butterflies you can spot, there’s something for everyone.

“Only recently, three new species were spotted on the reserve that have never been seen before: a Devon carpet moth, a white-letter hairstreak butterfly and a red-veined darter dragonfly. Visitors coming to the site over the weekend may be lucky enough to see marsh harriers.”

Burton Mere Wetlands is open daily, with the reception building open  from 9.30am until 5pm. The reserve is just 10 minutes from the M56, off the A540 (Chester High Road). Entry is normally £4 for adults (concessions £2), £6 for a family and £1 for children.

Please phone 0151 353 8478 for times, details and a full programme of activities and times alternatively email or

Sunday, 16 September 2012


Saturday 22nd of September 2012

Liverpool Cathedral
St James Mount
Liverpool L1 7AZ

Join us as we celebrate 40 years of the RSPB Liverpool Local Group.
Learn about the diversity of birds living or passing through our area, and the vital role the Mersey Estuary plays in their migration journeys, with   family 
friendly activities.
 RSPB Liverpool Local Group is a volunteer- led group who have been meeting for 40   yrs. We have regular indoor  talks through the winter and outdoor walks throughout the year. To celebrate this anniversary we are inviting residents and visitors to share our  enthusiasm with a variety of activities.

Special free tower migration watch 
Local expert Jeff Clarke will be on hand to show visitors a 360 degree bird’s eye view of the Mersey looking for migrating Swallows, House martins and other birds on their epic journeys south.


Guided birdwatching walks 

If your no good with heights why not take a stroll around the least well-known park in Liverpool. The Cathedral's sunken secluded cemetery gardens are a secret haven for woodland birds in the heart of the city.
Indoor activities for all ages will be held throughout the the day.

Find out more about the work of RSPB and get some great tips for local days out.

Join local artists to create bird related artworks to take home.

Admission to the Cathedral and the event is FREE
Limited car parking is available at the Cathedral, pay on exit