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.
Blogger: Erica Howe, Communications Officer
The largest conservation organisation in Europe is today launching a plea for keen birdwatchers to take part in a rather unusual project.
For its 2013 calendar, the RSPB is looking for bearded birdwatchers to take part in a photo shoot around the East of England.
But there’s a catch. They are to pose with nothing more than their binoculars, strategically placed, to raise money for the society!
RSPB Director in the East, Paul Forecast said: “This is a great opportunity for us to show off the talented birdwatchers we have in the region. Having a beard is a really important part of the look of a birdwatcher so we will insist that all models have a certain amount of facial hair.
“I would also advise that anyone who is really keen on a career as a naked birdwatcher model considers the option of wearing sandals and socks for a little something extra!”
Birdwatcher Rob Coleman, pictured said: “I am really excited to take part in the calendar for the RSPB. With the great weather at the moment, it’s the perfect excuse to top up your tan and shows that you don’t need to wear camouflage to have a good time!”
[Editor's Note: Jermaine Stewart would agree...see video below]
Anyone who is keen to find out more can email the RSPB on firstname.lastname@example.org
Blogger: Kate Blincoe, Communications Manager
The number crunching has been done and the eagerly awaited results have been announced. The nation wants to know what it means to them. No, not the budget! I mean the annual stock take of our birds; the results of Big Garden Birdwatch 2012 are just out!
The weather has been particularly unusual so far this year, so we were interested to see how this has impacted on the results. In fact, the lack of a prolonged cold snap has made it an easier winter for our smaller birds such as goldfinches, which have been thriving after previous tough times.
There is sad news for one of my favourite birds though. The chatty mimics, starlings, are at an all time low since the survey began more than thirty years ago. The downward trend has been going on for the past 25 years. Scarily, their numbers have declined by almost 80%.
When the survey began, the average number of starlings seen in a garden was 15. Now, it has dwindled to three, more of a civilised afternoon tea than the starling parties that used to take place around the nation. I rarely see starlings in my garden anymore, but I remember what a feature of my childhood they were. Noisily washing their iridescent plumage in the birdbath, their chattering and squawking was the backing music to my hours spent in the garden. One particularly confident bird even used to impersonate the way my Dad called the ducks in for feeding.
Starlings are famed for their stunning wintertime displays, when they decorate our skies in huge swirling masses, known as murmurations. If the downward trend continues, then these formidable groups will become less and less common.
The sun is shining as I write this. I want to look outside and feel positive. Indeed, working in environmental communications it is practically in my blood to share the joy and wonder of the natural world. But sometimes, we just need to pause from our busy lives and ask what is going on. Continuous declines like those we have seen with starlings can’t be blamed on ‘a bad year’. Something serious is going on.
Suffice to say, the RSPB is looking into why this is happening, to better understand what we can do about it. We are so very grateful to all of you out there for doing your bit and helping us to measure and spot these changes by taking an hour to see what is going on in your parks and gardens. If you want to do even more to help us, then log on to www.rspb.org.uk
Featured in the EDP, Saturday 30 March
Wind power is in the news more and more, and the issue has never been so emotive. The RSPB considers that there is an important role for wind power to play on the land and at sea because it offers a low carbon source of electricity. We believe, however, that windfarms must be sited and designed so that they are in harmony with nature and do not cause unacceptable impacts. For the next week we’ll be pointing you towards a series of daily blogs from our climate change team which explain and explore our position on wind power. We’re really interested in your feedback too, so please use this as an opportunity to quiz us on all things wind!
No matter what you think about wind power, we hope you enjoy and engage with these posts with an open mind.
Have a read of the first blog, 'Wind power and climate change' here.