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
Get a rare view of peregrine chicks with the RSPB when you visit Chichester Cathedral this spring.
Home to breeding peregrines since 2001, Chichester Cathedral hosts our annual Date with Nature event, where live HD footage of the nest is beamed to a special viewing area in the Cathedral’s Royal Chantry Garden. RSPB staff and volunteers will be on hand with binoculars and telescopes, to help you spot the birds and to answer your wildlife questions.
Last year, all four chicks successfully fledged from the tower, and this year the pair has laid a further four eggs. These eggs are expected to hatch around the date that the event opens, on Friday 28th April.
"Witnessing the new chicks hatching is one of the highlights of the project." said RSPB spokesperson Mark Weston. "Visitors love to come and watch the screens as they emerge; it’s a rare sight that people don’t often get to experience."
"Our live video feeds provide a fantastic way for families with young children to get up close to nature, as they can see the birds in detail without worrying about any noise disturbing them" added Mark.
Peregrine falcons were driven to near extinction in the UK through the use of pesticides and hunters but as populations recover they are becoming more common in urban areas. Chichester Cathedral site was the first in Europe to host a peregrine webcam to provide an intimate view of peregrines raising their young.
The peregrines "nest" on the Cathedral Tower, in a box made and supplied by the Sussex Ornithological Society. When the young are starting to learn to fly, the RSPB will move out onto the Cathedral Green. Entry to the Cathedral is free and the Date with Nature event runs until Saturday 2 July.
Live footage of the peregrines can be viewed on the events page.
Today the state of the UK’s birds 2016 (SUKB)* report was released, and although the number of species in decline has worryingly increased, this comprehensive report also highlights how targeted conservation efforts can turn around the fortunes of some of our most threatened species.
Red kites, golden eagles and the ground nesting nightjar have all shown significant recoveries thanks to the work of conservation groups.
Staff on our RSPB reserves work hard to create the right environments for these threatened species to thrive, and as breeding season begins we can really start to see the hard work paying off.
Wardens from our Weald reserves have spotted some fantastic species in the last few weeks; why not take a trip and see what you can discover for yourself!
At RSPB Broadwater Warren, near Tunbridge Wells, we recorded our first tree pipit of the year this week. With 14 recorded singing males on site last year, we are hoping to have another good breeding year for this red listed* bird. Yellowhammer, woodlark, green woodpecker, stonechat and a peregrine and a raven have also been recorded on the heath in the last few weeks.
Elusive marsh tits and a lesser redpoll have been seen in the wooded areas of the reserve recently, along with bullfinches and siskins. Marsh tits have also been spotted at our RSPB Tudeley Wood reserve near Tunbridge Wells, where another raven was also sighted, so fingers crossed for a breeding pair this year! Buzzards and a red kite have been recorded hunting across Pembury Heath.
Our weald reserves are also all home to the rare lesser spotted woodpecker; Listen out at RSPB Fore Wood near Battle, at RSPB Broadwater Warren where they have been recorded near the straight broadwalk, or at Decoy Cottage in RSPB Tudeley Wood.
If you do spot anything exciting and unusual on your visits to our reserves we would love to hear about it! Tweet us your findings using @RSPB_Southeast
*This annual report is the one-stop shop for all the latest results from bird surveys and monitoring studies, and it highlights how more than a quarter of the UK’s regularly-occurring bird species are now what conservationists refer to as ‘Red-listed’. We have colour coded the birds above so that you can tell at a glance what status they are; red, amber or green. You can find out more about the status classification here.
Throughout April RSPB Rainham Marshes nature reserve is marking This Girl Can month with a series of events and activities, some of them for women only.
We’ll be walking, running, climbing, wiggling, cycling or taking a moment in nature to boost physical and mental wellbeing. Whatever your ability you’ll be welcome at our sessions. Come with a friend or by yourself and escape the tyranny of the treadmill. No special kit needed and we even have hire bikes on site for you to try out on our recommended cycle route.
This Girl Can is a celebration of women doing their thing no matter how well they do it. Funded by The National Lottery and developed by Sport England, the aim is to help women overcome the fear of judgement that stops too many women and girls from taking part in sporting activities.
Whether you are a determined newbie or a die-hard marathon runner, you’ll enjoy exercising in the beautiful setting of RSPB Rainham Marshes; our tall reed beds and breeding lapwings will take your breath away. 92% of people take part in outdoor activities to relax and de-stress, and what better setting could there be but a nature reserve to recharge your batteries, flex your limbs and fill your lungs? We’ve created special areas where visitors can get active, admire the wildlife and drink-in the amazing landscape that is RSPB Rainham Marshes.
Our activities cater for individuals and families, and 70 to 80% of all outdoor users feel participation strengthens family relationships. We have a bicycle trailer for families with smaller children plus permanent bouldering facilities and an adventure playground. See our webpage for full details of events. Whilst some sessions in April are for women only as part of our This Girl Can promotion, our cycling, climbing, running, Nordic walking and mindfulness sessions continue throughout the year.
Share your experience with us on Facebook #ActiveinNature