Thursday, 28 August 2014

RSPB's 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." 

Avocet in flight © Lee Fuller. Image from the BirdGuides Iris galleries.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Schools, Families and Leisure, commented: "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, visit

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Skokholm Island Sink or Swim - they call him 'Flipper'!

Dodging dolphins, jelly fish and basking sharks and battling the Pembrokeshire currents to raise money for charity.
On the 22nd of August at approximately 7am Dave Astins, a daring volunteer and supporter of the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales will be attempt a treacherous sponsored swim from Marloes Sands, across Marloes Bay to the beautiful Skokholm Island approximately 2.5 miles in a straight line!
The Wildlife Trust have carried out research and have yet to find someone who has successfully completed and recorded the swim from the mainland to the island, so this is quite possibly a first!   Dave who works in Education and Children’s Services for Carmarthenshire County Council said, ‘The distance isn't a fear for me but the strong currents, jellyfish and basking sharks are a different will also be a truly unique way of getting to Skokholm Island’.
After the swim Dave also plans on staying on the island for 3 nights, and carrying out some volunteering for the Wildlife Trust whilst there.
Dave who trains with Pembrokeshire Triathlon Club will raise money towards the Wildlife Trusts’ work on Skokholm Island, a world famous seabird colony and Britain's first Bird Observatory.

If you’d like to help Dave support the Wildlife Trust then please visit the JustGiving page on the following link:

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Salford Quays Bird Watching Cruise, Saturday 24 May 08:00 - 10:00

Join experienced local birdwatchers and our tame birder from the Greater Manchester Local Record Centre as you cruise around the stunning surroundings of Salford Quays and along the Manchester Ship Canal to the former Pomona Docks.

The area is steeped in industrial history, Salford Quays once being the busiest port in the world and is classified as a Site of Biological Importance. Over 100 species of bird have been seen here in recent years including Mute Swan, Cormorant, Grey Heron Kingfisher, Lapwing, Moorhen, Grey Wagtail, Skylark, Song Thrush, Dunnock, Bullfinch Goldfinch and Greenfinch.

On last year's cruise we watched a Peregrine Falcon feeding on prey on a penthouse flat balcony and Sand Martins hawking for insects over the ship canal. Kestrel and Sparrowhawk were also hunting alongside the canal.

 Salford Quays, © Charlesdrakew/Wikimedia Commons

Please note although there is a sheltered cabin below deck, it's advisable to bring appropriate clothing in case of adverse weather conditions and should you wish to birdwatch from the open top deck. Don't forget to bring your binoculars!

Tickets £11.00 per person can be purchased online here.

Departure point - Lowry Footbridge (Lowry Centre side of Salford Quays). To left of footbridge. Parking – Lowry Outlet Mall, The Quays, Salford M50 3AH.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The Iberian Chiffchaff in East Yorkshire

A few images and a sound recording of the Iberian Chiffchaff, present on private land at Grimston (E Yorks) on 13th April 2014. Unfortunately, despite efforts, access could not be organised for a wider audience.

All images and sound recordings courtesy and copyright of Mark Robinson. More on birding in the area can be found at

Images and sound recordings © Mark Robinson

Monday, 7 April 2014

Last call for North East Wildlife Photography competition

There's still enough time to enter the North East Wildlife Photography Competition 2014 which has attracted a line-up of impressive judges including Ross Hutchinson ITV Weatherman and Sam Lee, folk singer and keen wildlife photographer.

Durham, Tees Valley and Northumberland Wildlife Trusts have again joined forces with the Natural History Society of Northumbria (NHSN) and the Great North Museum: Hancock in the hope that keen snappers will showcase the best of the region’s wildlife. 

Last year people of all ages and abilities entered 1,500 photos of this region's amazing wildlife and left experts highly impressed by the quality of their pictures.

Sam Lee said: “I am really honoured to be squinting my photographer’s eye over the glorious images of the natural world for this competition. As a onetime photographer, who has decided to document the world around him through music,  it is a great thrill to be getting back in touch with my visual training and see the world through the eyes and lenses of the talent across the North East.”

Nestlé which has worked with Northumberland Wildlife Trust on the planting of butterfly meadows at its factory in Fawdon is the main sponsor, with prizes being donated by Opticron, Newcastle College, BBC Wildlife Magazine, Bird Watching Magazine, Digitalab, Going Digital North East, Kielder Water and Forest Park, Naturetrek, Northern Experience Wildlife Tours, Serenity Farne Island Boat Tours, Speyside Wildlife, Vine House Farm and West Country Wildlife Photography Centre.

This year, there are six competition categories to enter, with each category winner and runner-up receiving a great prize and an overall winner being selected from one of these categories for the main prize of £250. 

  • Wildlife portraits - photos that capture the character, essence or traits of a species
  • Wildlife in action - photos that capture wildlife behaviour and action 
  • Wildlife in the landscape - photos that show wildlife in its habitat, landscape or setting
  • Botanical: photos of plants, fungi and lichen 
  • Young person’s - photos of wildlife or plants taken by anyone aged 16 or under 
  • Art in nature - photos of flora and fauna that are composed for artistic effect
Entry is free and open to everyone, but photographs must have been taken in the North East.  The closing date for entries is midnight, Monday 5 May 2014.  The winners will be announced at an award ceremony to be held on Thursday 3 July, and will be displayed at the Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle before going on tour around the region.

For details of how to submit your entry (online or by post) plus full terms and conditions visit or write to: Steve Ashton, North East Wildlife Photography Competition, Tees Valley Wildlife Trust, Margrove Heritage Centre, Boosebeck, Saltburn, TS12 3BZ. 

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Latest BTO Wetland Bird Survey goes live!

Waterbirds in the UK 2011/12, the latest report of the Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS), has been published. Search the interactive online interface to find latest information on the status of the UK's waterbirds and the wetlands used by them. With a new colour report providing a summary of the results and other waterbird related stories, the new style 'WeBS annual report' provides an invaluable resource for anyone with an interest in waterbirds in the UK and beyond.

Friday, 10 January 2014

AFRICAN BIRD CLUB: 20th Anniversary Meeting

AFRICAN BIRD CLUB: 20th Anniversary Meeting

Following its launch from small beginnings in 1994, the African Bird Club has grown its activities significantly and last year alone it spent over £30,000 on bird conservation initiatives in Africa – bringing the total to date up to almost £170,000 across 170 projects in 32 countries.

As it celebrates its 20th Anniversary a special meeting is being held at the Natural History Museum on Saturday 12th April. Doors to the prestigious Flett Theatre open at 1015 hrs. Admission is free to ABC members, and non-members are invited to make a donation.

Speakers include Achilles Byaruhanga from Uganda looking at the The State of Africa’s Birds and how we need to save them. Roger Safford will outline recent discoveries on the Birds of the Malagasy region. World-renowned lecturer and author Tim Birkhead will talk about Weaver birds and Honeyguides, and how promiscuity is widespread amongst these families in Africa. David Pearson will look back on four decades of intensive bird ringing at Ngulia in Kenya and Jim Reynolds will be “Terning” back the clock to look at lessons learned from 20 years of fieldwork on Ascension Island.

In particular ABC would like to see as many of its Founder Members as possible on the day – and no doubt there will be a few celebrations in at least one pub in South Kensington!

More details at

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Butterfly Conservation 'Match Pot Appeal'

Butterfly Conservation are asking for your help to transform the fortunes of in their Match Pot appeal.

A tax on landfill operators was introduced in 1996 to encourage recycling and waste reduction, with the money raised from this allocated to environmental projects.

In order to be eligible, Butterfly Conservation must contribute 10% of the total amount required for the work they want to do to save threatened butterflies and moths.

As such, Butterfly Conservation needs your help to secure landfill funds so that they can expand their landscape-scale projects. Every pound donated to the Match Pot Appeal unlocks £10 from the Landfill Communities Fund.

Please visit the donations page by clicking on the Butterfly Conservation logo below to contribute: