Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The Urban Jungle

Don’t miss ‘The Urban Jungle’
Thursday August 1st at 7pm on BBC1

Chris our local group leader has been liasing with the producers.


Fox in Calderstones Park,  Liverpool

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Exclusive chance to sleep in nature’s home at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands

This August, discover what really goes bump in the night by taking part in the RSPB’s brand new Big Wild Sleepout at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands nature reserve.
For one weekend only, a ‘sleepover’ will be held at the site offering families a rare chance to camp at the reserve and take part in a variety of exciting activities.  This fantastic summer sleepout experience, which will be held on both Friday 9 August and Saturday 10 August, will include the opportunity to discover the secret world of the reserve after dark and look for owls, bats and badgers.
Dan Trotman, Visitor Development Officer at RSPB Dee Estuary Reserves, said: “The RSPB is encouraging people to spend a night in nature’s home and what better way to experience it than joining our Big Wild Sleepout event at one of the best wetlands in the North West.
“Alongside taking part in all the interesting activities, including moth trapping and den building, families will be able to cook on our barbeque grills and enjoy a good night’s sleep in their own tents under the stars. This is a rare opportunity and there are limited places available for both nights so we encourage families to book as soon as possible. It’s a great way to get outside and join in a community event.”
The Burton Mere Wetlands event is one of a number of Big Wild Sleepouts taking place across the UK from 9-11 August. Around the country, people will not only be sleeping in their tents, but in dens made from fallen branches, ropes and sheets, while ‘Glampers’ will be halfway between camping and comfort as they bring their mattresses outside.
Richard Bashford, the RSPB’s Big Wild Sleepout organiser, said: “There’s plenty of RSPB organised events taking place, but if you can’t join one of these, then you can take part by sleeping out in your garden. Imagine if you settled down and heard an owl calling, a fox barking or peeked out of your tent and saw a bat feeding overhead.”
To make the most of a garden sleepout, there are plenty of fun activity ideas on the RSPB website, from building dens to torch light safaris. People can also ask their friends and family to sponsor a sleepout to help the RSPB to give nature a home [note 2].
In a bid to encourage even more people to sleep out, the RSPB has joined forces with Blacks, the outdoor retailer [note 3].
Ken Reeve, CEO of Blacks, says: “Blacks is extremely proud to be part of this tremendous initiative. We are wholly supportive of any campaign that encourages more people to engage with nature and we see the Big Wild Sleepout as an ideal platform to encourage families to experience the outdoors together.”
The Big Wild Sleepout is part of the RSPB’s new Giving Nature a Home campaign which is aimed at inspiring everyone to provide a place for wildlife wherever they live and however big their outside space is [note 4].
There are two chances to join the event at Burton Mere Wetlands - from 5.30pm on Friday 9 August until 9am on Saturday 10 August and from 5.30pm on Saturday 10 August to 9am on Sunday 11 August. The cost is £15 per adult and £10 per child. Participants are asked to bring their own tents and refreshments for the evening and breakfast. A barbeque grill will be available for use on Friday and Saturday evening and hot and cold drinking water will also be available. Indoor toilet facilities are on site.
To book for the Burton Mere Wetlands Big Wild Sleepout, call the reserve on 0151 353 8478 or email . Payment in advance is required.
For more information and ideas on how to make the most of your Big Wild Sleepout, and for details of events near you,

Monday, 15 July 2013


Merseyside Ringers

With a blindingly beautiful view of the sun rising over the horizon in my rear view mirror, I knew it had been worth getting up at 4.30am to go to Oxmoor Nature Reserve with Ann to see the bird ringers in action.  We arrived at 5.50am to be met by Jeff Clark who took us to see the Merseyside ringers. 

The birds are first caught ringed, weighed and measured then tied up in old fashioned cotton drawstring wash bags, all the bags which were held up on bungees were twitching and moving, quite funny to watch. 

Fiesty Reed Warbler
They then bring the birds over to us watchers and show us various bits, like the tertial feathers and if very young the gape, also they occasionally opened the birds mouth and we could see its lovely little tongue, and to think we used to eat Lark’s Tongue!! 

There were lots of Reed Warblers for us to look at, a young Song Thrush, a juvenile Dunnock, White Throat, Great Tit, two young Bullfinches, so very different to the Warblers with their chunky beaks, very dark and very beautiful.  Then there was the dearest little wren, so tiny.  The size of all the birds shook me, seen through binoculars they can look quite large, then to see them in a hand they are minute.  I had the privilege of being allowed to hold a bird then set it free, it was so wonderful to hold something in your hand, so small, and you know that in a few weeks it will fly to the Mediterranean or sub-Saharan Africa, which will take 4 days of non-stop flight.  We also saw in the hand Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and a Sedge Warbler.



The icing on the cake was seeing the head honcho, aka Prof. David Norman, climbing up a very tall ladder to the Kestrel nest box.

Kestrel chick

  He bagged the chicks and brought them down for us to see.  Two were quite big and strong, but there was a tiny little one, which they said they doubted would make it. 

We then saw a Buzzard being harassed by a Kestrel before Ann and I decided it was time to move on to Burton Mere, there I saw my first Yellow Wagtail and Ann saw the Spotted Redshank. 

We also managed to see 6 Grey Heron, Shelduck and their chicks, Coot, Moorhen, Lapwing, Bar Tailed Godwit, Swallows, Little Grebe, Redshank, Teal, Common Tern, Avocet, Blue Tit, Nuthatch, Little Egret, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Buzzard, Mallard, Great Tit, Tufted Duck and Ringed Plover.

A brilliant day was had by us both, and truly worth getting up for.

Ann and Rhodie