Thursday, 29 September 2016

Prepare for an awesome autumn spectacle on the Dee Estuary

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As summer draws to a close, the Dee Estuary enters arguably its most exciting time of year due to the arrival of vast flocks of birds returning from their Arctic breeding grounds. The RSPB is inviting visitors to take part in a series of events across their Dee Estuary nature reserve to share some of the most impressive natural spectacles in this region.

Dan Trotman, Visitor Experience Manager for RSPB Dee Estuary nature reservesaid: “I’m a huge fan of autumn, it could even be my favourite season of the year. The reserve here comes into its own, supporting thousands of wetland birds as they swap the cold Arctic for our warmer climes. High tides around the equinox make for some excellent wildlife watching too, pushing the vast swathes of ducks and wading birds into closer view along with the birds of prey that hunt them.”
The Dee Estuary is home to the largest little egret colony in Northern England and, with earlier sunsets which are another special autumn attraction on the Wirral, it becomes easier to witness the daily spectacle of over 300 flying in from the marsh to their night-time roost.  To celebrate this wild wonder, ‘An Evening with Egrets’ guided walk is taking place on Saturday 8 October at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands. The event costs £6.50 per person (£5 for RSPB members), half price for children. Booking is essential by phoning 0151 353 8478 or email

Visitors can also take part in ‘Autumn Arrivals’ on Saturday 15 October at RSPB Point of Ayr near Talacre. This short guided walk involves crossing beach and sand dunes so suitable footwear and a decent level of fitness are required. The event is free of charge, but donations are welcome. Booking is essential by phoning 0151 353 8478 or email

To experience the autumn tidal phenomenon, join ‘Parkgate High Tide Watch’ events on Monday 17 and Tuesday 18 October at the Donkey Stand and the Old Baths car park on Parkgate parade. Suitable for people of all ages and abilities, these events are free of charge, but donations are welcome. RSPB staff and volunteers will be on hand with telescopes and binoculars to enhance the impressive views. Timings vary depending on the tides, so visit for more details.
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Dan added: “You don’t have to be an avid birdwatcher to appreciate the vast numbers of birds that call the Dee their home at this time of year. These upcoming events are planned to showcase these awesome natural occurances and show why it’s so important for the RSPB to keep almost half of the estuary under its protection. So pop on an extra layer or two, and come along, we’d love to see you!”
For further information on events and wildlife at RSPB Dee Estuary, visit

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Help children in Liverpool discover the wonder of nature

RSPB seeks volunteers to help with schools nature project

The RSPB is calling on nature lovers to help inspire children about wildlife as part of an ambitious schools nature project in Liverpool.

Funded by the sale of single use plastic carrier bags by ALDI, the RSPB’s Connecting Children with Nature project enables children in 15 cities across the UK to experience and explore nature first-hand by running sessions in their school grounds.

In the first few months of the project in Liverpool, the RSPB has already helped to introduce 600 local primary school children to the delights of the natural world and is planning on inspiring many more young minds in the coming year.

To achieve this, the RSPB needs to expand its existing team of excellent schools outreach volunteers in Liverpool.

Stephanie Hepworth, Schools Outreach Officer for Liverpool, explains: “We are looking for people with a passion for nature who can take children aged 5-12 outdoors and show them the brilliant birds, bugs and flowers that thrive outside their classroom window.

“We believe that connecting with nature should be a part of every child’s life. There’s loads of scientific evidence, which shows that getting outdoors and engaging with nature can have a wide range of benefits for children including improved physical and mental health, and even increased academic performance. It’s also great fun and can lead to a lifelong love and appreciation for everything that chirps, snuffles, buzzes and flutters.

“If you think you’ve got the skills to communicate your love of nature to children and can inspire them to cherish wildlife, then we’d love to hear from you.”

People interested in volunteering for the Connecting with Nature project in Liverpool should contact Stephanie Hepworth on 07841804793 or at

Monday, 5 September 2016

RSPB nature reserve gets a facelift at 30

Progression of inner marsh farm -Alisdiar Grubb

This month marks five years since RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands opened its doors, but parts of the land managed by the wildlife conservation charity have now entered their fourth decade as a nature reserve and have just undergone some home improvements.

The origins of the reserve date back to 1986 when the RSPB bought the flooded crop fields of Inner Marsh Farm in Burton. Five years of planning and hard work saw three freshwater lagoons created and then a hide was built in 1992, to bring the public closer to the great variety of birds that call the Dee estuary home. However, after years of natural change, the wetland had silted up in places and now major improvement work has provided a much needed rejuvenation of the old pools.
Colin Wells, Site Manager at RSPB Dee Estuary nature reserve said: “I’d not long moved to this reserve when the RSPB bought Inner Marsh Farm. I was responsible for creating the wetland which is now home to internationally important numbers of ducks, geese and wading birds, along with a whole host of other wonderful wildlife.”

In recent years however, despite regular ongoing management through mowing and sheep grazing, time had taken its toll and the pools were silting up, with rushes and reeds starting to dominate the water. This meant they were less suitable for the birds which were becoming further away from the hide, making it more difficult for visitors to view them. The RSPB decided more drastic work was needed, so set about a project to dredge the pools and remove the layers of silt and vegetation that had established over the years.

Colin added: “Before the diggers had even finished the work, there were various wading birds taking advantage of the newly exposed mud to find food. This bodes well for the weeks ahead as the reserve is a vital rest stop for wading birds on autumn migration from other parts of Europe.”
This desilting work is the first part of a series of improvements to the Inner Marsh Farm area of the RSPB reserve; the site team are hoping to change from sheep grazing to cattle later this year, with a view to tackling the tough rushes and restoring the area to a rich wet grassland. This along with the installation of an electric predator exclusion fence will make it ideal for nesting wading birds.
In addition, the RSPB are currently embarking on a project to fund the replacement of the aging hide, and upgrade the accessibility of the path, bringing the whole site up to the high standard of Burton Mere Wetlands.
For more information on the important work carried out at the reserve as well as upcoming events, visit