This blog is a celebration of the nature in the South East and highlights ways you can get involved and explore nature in the region. If you've got news of the South East’s nature that you'd like to share, please contact the RSPB South East office on 01273 775333 or email SERComms@rspb.org.uk
This weekend, 28, 29 and 30 January, is our Big Garden Birdwatch.
You can still download a participants pack from our website and from the 28 January, you'll be able to upload results over the weekend and right through to Friday 17 January.
The survey is hugely important for us as it's not only the biggest survey of its kind, it's also the only one to report on the birds commonly found in private gardens. The number and spread of the UK's native birds is in constant flux with the seasons and the climate, but the long term change in our climate is also reflected in their populations and behavior changes. By studying your results, we have witnessed a slow but steady drift northwards of many species and the decline of a number of key native species. Monitoring these changes arms us with insights into how we can better manage that change and help nature be more resilient.
We rely on birds to help manage our environment in a number of ways, whether it's pest control, seed dispersal, cleaning habitats or even pollination. The eco-services provided by nature contributes a huge sum to our national economy and without it the cost of our food, land management and many other goods would soar. So please spare us an hour of your time this Saturday, Sunday or Monday. all you need to do is sit by a window and note down the largest number of each species you see on the ground or in your bushes and trees at any one time during the course of your sixty minute vigil. If you're quick enough to snap some photo's, we'd love to see them, so please do share images on social media labeled #BigGardenBirdwatch.
This year, we're also asking what other wildlife you see from your vantage point over the course of the year, including slow worms, hedgehogs and stag beetles.
Taking part is easy, relaxing and revealing, after all, how often are you encouraged to spy on your neighbours?
We hope you are as excited about Big Garden Bird Watch as we are!
Staff in our Brighton office were delighted to record the first chiffchaff in our rooftop garden the other day, and we are hoping it returns for the count! Don't forget to top up your feeders and ensure that wildlife has clean, unfrozen water in this cold weather.
If you haven't signed up to take part in the #biggardenbirdwatch yet, you can still download our pack online.
We've even added some special events for our reserves this weekend. Why not make your own bird feeder at RSPB Pagham Harbour or RSPB Pulborough Brooks in West Sussex, or stock up on seed at RSPB Rainham Marshes in Essex? Our North East Hants Local Group will be at Fleet Pond in Hampshire to help new and experienced birders get a closer view of the birds they spot.
If you can't make it to a reserve our membership teams will also be out across the South East this weekend, offering you advice on how to identify species, attract them to your gardens, and giving out Big Garden Birdwatch survey leaflets.
Look out for them at the locations below!
Saturday 21st January
Sunday 22nd January
Our annual Big Garden Birdwatch is approaching and this year, for the first time ever, it runs over three days instead of the usual two.
We’re anticipating a bumper year of both birds and participants, so please do register before 23 January so we can ensure you receive your participation pack in the post in time for your survey over 28, 29 or 30 January.
Don’t worry if you miss the registration deadline, you can still take part. There are identification sheets available to download from our webpages or just record your sightings then submit them online or via our FREEPOST address:
FREEPOST RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch,
10 Pond Wood Road,
The Big Garden Birdwatch is important because it is the only survey of birds in private gardens, giving a unique insight into the numbers and variety of birds sharing our lives. We can compare results with those from previous years to reveal long term changes and, for conservationists, this is the really important bit. The population changes reflect the state of our environment; caused by things like climate change, land management changes or evolving species behaviour.
Participation Packs include: an identification sheet; a pack of sustainable coffee along with a coaster; a year planner; recipes to make a tasty treat for you and another for the birds in your garden; there’s also a £5 Off voucher to spend in our reserve shops or online shop.
Members of our Medway Local Group are at Homebase in Sittingbourne, Kent, this coming Sunday, 15 January, to get you ready for the Big Garden Birdwatch and to share their enthusiasm for giving nature a home. Pop by between 10 and 4pm to say hi and find out more.
Our Rainham Marshes and Pulborough Brooks nature reserves both have Big Garden Birdwatch events planned for the following weekend (21 & 22 Jan). They will have activities to help you prepare to count the nature that counts on us for its survival in the cold winter months.
Also on Sunday 22 January, visitors to the National Trust’s Morden Hall Park near Mitcham in South London will be invited to Go Wild with bird related activities and information on taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch.
We'd like to hear from you about your Big Garden Birdwatch. You can share your experiences and images using the hashtag #BigGardenBirdwatch on our Facebook and Twitter accounts: