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.
Author: Rachael Murray
Unless you have been living under a rock, you won’t have failed to have noticed the electronic phenomenon that is Pokémon GO. The premise, in case you have been cave dwelling, is that you move about your local neighbourhood eyes firmly fixed on your mobile phone, searching for virtual monsters going by names like Spearow, Beedrill and Sandshrew. The make believe beasts that feel at home in water can be found near lakes and rivers, those that enjoy tree life are likely to be loitering in your local wood and the beach lovers, well, on the coast of course.
The game will no doubt have been developed by the kind of geniuses that devise Google’s infinitely complex algorithms and keep online shoppers hooked on virtual purchasing, so we can’t be blamed if we are completely and utterly addicted. Looking on the bright side, the great thing about this game is that whilst it keeps our nation transfixed on their screens, it does, at the very least, get them outdoors!
However, a world full of fantastical wild creatures, with funny names, in their chosen habitats sounds strangely like actual nature doesn’t it?
Here at the RSPB we’d like to harness this innate enthusiasm for searching for strange beasts and will be offering a natural alternative to Pokémon GO in Norwich this summer.
Head to a park near you and you can join the RSPB’s Emily Harvey for wildlife activities that will enchant youngsters without the need for any kind of augmented reality. We’ll be encouraging your little monsters to get their hands dirty searching for real life wild creatures as we take them mini-beasting and challenge them to a natural scavenger hunt.
Have you ever seen a baby harlequin ladybird? Found in gardens and parks across the UK, their black and bright orange spiked robotic exterior could rival any pocket monster. And for special powers, well, the everyday spider spins web about five times as strong as high-grade steel to catch its prey, and did you know that ants can smell in stereo? In my view, that makes mini-beasting just as thrilling as Nintendo’s new masterpiece, and no Poké Balls required!
Emily will be revealing the secret world of wildlife in the heart of the city and it’s all for free! Funded by Aldi in partnership with the RSPB, forget catching Pokémon, Emily’s sole aim is to help the children of Norwich catch the wildlife bug!
Screens are here to stay, it would be naive to assume otherwise, but I firmly believe there is room in our lives for Pokémon and real life monsters, and if we encourage enjoyment of both, we could have an army of budding naturalists who, as well as doing battle with virtual beasts, are also ready to fight for our real wildlife.
Project Officer, Emily Harvey, will be encouraging families to uncover the wildlife secrets of the City at the following locations:
1 St Clements Park, NCC Neighbourhood Play Days
3 Whitlingham Country Park Wild Wednesday
6 Eaton Park
7 Wensum Park
9 Jenny Lind Park, NCC Neighbourhood Play Days
10 Whitlingham Country Park Wild Wednesday
12 Eaton Park
15 Sewell Park, NCC Neighbourhood Play Days
For more information, visit www.rspb.org.uk/wildparks
It’s pretty hard to see things in the dark, and that’s most probably why some of our incredible night time wildlife goes unnoticed as it hops, snuffles and flaps around our neighbourhoods.
I love to snuggle up cosily of an evening. As dusk empties our skies of colour, blue fading slowly to black, I can invariably be found closing curtains, shutting blinds and allowing the cheerful glow of lamps and fairy lights to illuminate my evening.
I only realised quite how much I was missing by shutting out the darkness when one evening I left a window open and my curtains ajar. As I brushed my teeth I was enchanted by a pale lemon yellow creature, delicately positioned on my bathroom wall, pointed wings fully extended. After a bit of research I discovered I’d been lucky enough to have welcomed a swallowtail moth into my home. Like a beautiful beacon for night time wildlife, this wondrous beast ushered in thoughts of the incredible wild world going about its business right outside my windows every evening.
Now, I try to keep my eyes and ears open for the sights and sounds of wildlife as I make my way through the neighbourhood as night falls. Even in my city location, bats swoop, owls hoot and foxes forage. The other evening I almost tripped over a hedgehog as it scurried quickly across the road in search of a juicy slug filled dinner or perhaps a bed for the night. And now I know that the small grey nuisances that chomp holes in all of my clothes give moths a bad name, there are actually beauties all the colours of the rainbow out and about feeding in moonlit gardens every night – what a lovely thought!
As the summer holiday’s get in full swing and alarm clocks are resigned to the bottom drawer until next term, there is no better time to immerse your family in the wonderful world of nocturnal nature. This July, the RSPB are hoping to encourage 100,000 adults and children across the UK get closer to wildlife by spending a night out under the stars during our Big Wild Sleep Out event.
There’s something special about spending a night under canvas. For us adults, it provides a much needed tonic from our busy, electronic lives (yes, be brave, leave that mobile phone indoors!) and for children, well, camping is just magic isn’t it? The idea of staying up late, hunting for nocturnal beasties and spending the night in what is essentially a homemade den is about as exciting as it gets for a summer holiday adventure! Think Swallows and Amazons, the Famous Five and Huckleberry Finn, camping out is a rite of passage for all youngsters, the first taste of life outside the family home and the perfect time to ignite a passion for wildlife that will burn as bright as the campfire throughout adulthood.
So, whether you are hungry to spot a hedgehog, barmy about bats or like me, you love to marvel at moths, swapping your home for nature’s home this July will be an unforgettable adventure which will give your family even more reason to love nature. Happy camping!
Register now for the RSPB’s Big Wild Sleep Out - 29-30 July
In preparation for your big night the RSPB are providing activity packs with loads of ingenious ideas and tips to make your wild night under the stars one to remember.
Register to take part in the Big Wild Sleepout out and download your free Night-time Passport!