You will find out about all the exciting stuff going on with the RSPB in the east of the UK. We cover our sites in the following counties: Norfolk, Suffolk, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, and some of our great Lincolnshire ones. So if you are if you have never heard of the Strumpshaws and Snettishams or Stour Estuary or Sutton Fens here is you chance.
Print this voucher and take it along to one of the seven RSPB nature reserves listed below to redeem the offer.
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Blogger: Adam Murray, Communications Officer
As my partner in crime always says “It’s better in the East”. And I couldn't agree more, especially when we can have a friendly competition with our neighbours over the number of people who have taken part in Big Garden Birdwatch this year.
How did your Birdwatch go in your local patch? Did the weather scupper you and how many cups of tea did you get through? It is a “No” for the former and “Three” for the latter in my case.
So that we can keep tabs on the state of nature in your gardens, please visit here http://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/ and fill in your results and we will keep you posted if indeed it is better in the East.
We will then give you the lowdown on which birds were the top of the pops. Will it be the cheeky house sparrow, charismatic starling or tuneful blackbird like in previous years (see below for the past hit parades). My hope is that the long-tailed tit makes it back on to this year’s list – if like Bruce Forsythe I am allowed a favourite then they would be it (but don’t tell the other wildlife).
If you did not get around to doing Big Garden Birdwatch last weekend then do not fear – anytime is a good time to take a hour out of your day, turn of the TV and do something more interesting instead (sorry WDY). Even better if you want to take it a step further then why not visit your local RSPB nature reserve to see what different wildlife resides there. If you live in Norwich then head to Strumpshaw Fen, Cambridge then why not Lakenheath Fen, Ipswich then Minsmere is right up your street and if your are of an Essex ilk then the South Essex marshes give you a taste of the Dickensian.
Let us raise our glasses (of tea) and shout “Hoorah - it surely is better in the East”.
Photo by Nigel Blake (rspb-images.com)
Past Hit Parades
Today I’d like to tell you a couple of stories about crowds.
To set the scene for the first story, imagine you’re in the Castle Mall in Norwich on a busy Saturday before Christmas.You’re wandering through and you pass a shop, empty of merchandise but there are people inside; two artists painting gorillas. You do a double-take then stop and read the sign, which tells you about the Go Go Gorillas! trail in aid of the Break and Born Free Foundation charities.
GoGoGorillas Norwich 2013 - thanks to Lee Blanchflower, COGmedia, Mik Richardson.
Before you walked past no one was paying any attention. Now, because you’re interested, other people are looking too. You wander in to have closer look and other people start to read the sign. Within a couple of minutes there are half a dozen of you, walking round the artist, taking pictures and chatting.
The other story takes place in my garden.
I’ve recently moved to a new house in the Golden Triangle in Norwich and there’s a small garden behind the house. I like to feed the birds anyway and with the Big Garden Birdwatch coming up on the 26 and 27 of January I wanted to attract some birds to the garden with some tasty treats. So last weekend I bought a new bird feeder and some high-energy bird food and on Sunday morning I put them out by the kitchen window. I’d had blackbirds in the garden before but I hadn’t seen anything else so I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I thought ‘if I get a robin in the garden by the end of the week I’ll be happy’. As last nights’ washing up needed doing, I spent half an hour gazing out of the window with soapy hands and... best half hour of the weekend! First the blackbirds turned up, then a little wren in search of insects, and then the floodgates opened! A dunnock, starlings, great tits, house sparrows and a robin, right outside the window!
What do these stories have in common? Well, crowd behaviour. The similarity between us and the wildlife in our gardens often surprises me. Whether it’s the way we gravitate toward things others are interested in or the way we’ll defend the things we care about (a blackbird defending their spot on the bird table vs. a pub local and their spot at the bar), we have more in common than we’re usually aware of.
I love the characters of the blackbirds in my garden and I’m looking forward to getting to know the new personalities as new visitors arrive. If you’d like to see why I’m such a garden bird fan, why not get involved in the Big Garden Birdwatch? Register now at www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch