January, 2012

Our work

Our work
You might be surprised to read that our work is far broader than nature reserves and Big Garden Birdwatch. Read more about what else we do.

RSPB in the East

All of our up to date fun and frolics in the East from office antics to great conservation stories and those magical connections with nature.
  • A Golden Opportunity

    Blogger: Gena Correale-Wardle, Community Fundraising Officer

    Have you ever had that dream where you’re running the 100 metres for your country at the Olympics? It’s all in slow motion, the crowd is going crazy as your feet take turns pounding the track, you can see the finish line in front of you getting ever closer and then... you wake up!


    I know I have, and I probably will have this dream again as this year’s Olympic fever takes hold!

    But what if, instead of waking up, you got to reach the finish line? What if that dream could become a reality?

    Well, this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity could become a reality anyone who supports the RSPB through the Gold Challenge – and there’s still time to take part and give yourself a chance to win this incredible prize!

    The Gold Challenge is an opportunity to raise money for the RSPB and be part of the world's largest sporting event. All centred around the 2012 Olympics, the Gold Challenge allows you to test yourself in 5, 10, 20, or 30 Olympic and Paralympic Sports by the end of 2012 while fundraising for charity.

    Full details can be found on the Gold Challenge website: www.goldchallenge.org

    The Gold Challenge is open to everyone aged 16 and above and encourages everyone to take part irrespective of ability and fitness levels – what a great opportunity to get fit, learn a new discipline or simply challenge yourself to go the extra distance whilst also raising vital money for wildlife and conservation!

    Two RSPB Gold Challenge fundraisers will win the chance to run 100 metres in the Olympic Stadium or a Stadium Pass in the Gold Challenge Stadium Parade and will receive a Stadium Pass for the day for them and one guest, to take place in April 2012 – long before the Usain Bolt’s of this world get to have a go!

    You might not have got any tickets to the Olympics but you can still be a part of it!

    Get in touch for more information (gena.correale-wardle@rspb.org.uk or 01603 697521) or visit the website above.


  • Did you go BIG with your bird watch this weekend?

    Blogger: Erica Howe, Communications Officer

    With a few days of January left all I can say is it has been a funny old month! I’ve seen people out and about wearing flip flops, I’ve even seen folk out in the city with shorts on. I’ve seen people eating their lunch outside and I’ve been out on my bike with only a few light layers on. Hardly typical behaviour for January. Then again, looking out my window it has started to snow.

    Here at the RSPB, we’ve also had a few ‘odd’ wildlife reports throughout the month. Frog spawn has been discovered and ladybirds have become more active because of the mild weather.  I think it’s safe to say that this weather is turning everything  topsy-turvy.

    Perhaps, and even more surreal, this weekend was the RSPB’s Big Garden Bird Watch - The world’s biggest garden bird survey! A weekend where historically we’ve battled snow, gales and torrential rain to sit and watch the birds coming in to find respite in our gardens. Seeking comfort from feeders packed full of goodness and nestboxes left for shelter from the elements.

    This weekend was exceptional to say the least. With temperatures up to 8 degrees, fog and rain on its way, we’re in for an interesting time of surveying!

    Big Garden Bird Watch is a fantastic thing to take part in; you grab a cuppa, a sandwich and take a relaxing hour to watch your garden wildlife with your family. With so many pairs of eyes watching and recording their garden birds on the same weekend, we gather a lot of data – in fact, a huge amount!  By analyzing all your counts and comparing results across all years, we can find out how our garden birds are faring. Your counts inform our important conservation work since it helps us to identify what species most need our help.  We can then prioritize our research work and identify measures to help the species, which are shown to be struggling.  So, it might have seemed like a relaxing, enjoyable way to spend an hour this weekend but it’s also fundamental to the conservation work taking place across the UK. Your small step really does make a huge difference.

    The data from past Big Garden Bird Watches have helped us to understand that once common birds like house sparrow and starling have declined greatly in the last 25 years.  Song thrush too is a well known and much loved garden bird, but it's certainly not as familiar as it once was.  It is amazing to think that Big Garden Bird Watch and similar surveys have shown the UK populations of house sparrow have declined by over 60% and starlings by 78%!  In time, we hope that declining species will recover and we and future generations will be able to continue to enjoy their company in our gardens. 

    So let us know how your Big Garden Bird Watch went and send us your photos on our RSPBintheEast Twitter or Facebook pages – the best ones get a FREE bird feeder.

    Article in Saturday 28 January Eastern Daily Press

    Photo: Dunnock by Ray Kennedy (rspb-images.com)

  • Poems that win prizes for you and Nature!

    Blogger: Matt Howard, Community Collections Scheme Officer

    You may remember hearing about our very exciting poetry competition that we are running in partnership with leading independent UK poetry magazine, The Rialto.

    We really have been moved and delighted by the entries received so far, but why not have a go yourself?  As well as offering poets the chance to win considerable cash prizes and publication of their poems in The Rialto, the competition will raise money for conservation – a triple whammy!

    The closing date is 30th April 2012, so there is still over 3 months to get your entry in.

    We have given the competition a ‘Nature’ theme, though this really will be given a wide interpretation by the judges. To help expand on this, I thought it would be useful to share Michael Mackmin’s mention of the competition in is his most recent editorial for The Rialto:

    So what is Nature Poetry? As the flier says, the judges will give this a wide interpretation. That’s up to them, but I’d imagine it won’t have to be just poems about creatures and beings that share the planet, or about ‘environmental concerns’. We are all air and water, everything we eat comes from the earth or the sea, most people know the roughness of a leaf or the heft of a stone can change a mood or express a feeling. I asked a 16 year old, What is nature? and she said, insects and grass: I asked a 32 year old the same question and she said, the sun and the moon and the stars and flowers and fruit and babies. You might just have to write your poems and take a risk.

     Does this sound up your street, want to have a go? How about these prizes to tickle your taste buds

    1st prize is £1000

    2nd Prize is £400

    3rd Prize is £300

    Additional Prize is a personal tour with Mark Cocker of his most cherished wildlife places in East Anglia.

    Our two judges are former Poet Laureate, Sir Andrew Motion and the leading Nature Writer, Mark Cocker

    The entry fee is £6 for the first poem and £3 for each subsequent entry.

    Full details and the facility to enter online can be found The Rialto website here: http://www.therialto.co.uk/pages/the-magazine/nature-poetry-competition-2012/

    If you would prefer to enter by post, you can download an entry form from the website or conversely, do get in touch and I can send you one.

    Matt Howard Tel: 01603 697515 Matt.howard@rspb.org.uk