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
I sat with goosebumps all over my arms and a tear in my eye. It was Sunday evening last week and I was watching the Tour de France on TV.
This sporting occasion was going to go down in the history books. I was imagining telling my kids about the day I sat and watched Bradley Wiggin become the first Briton to ever win the Tour de France, arguably one of the hardest sporting events in the world.
Over the last few days it has occurred to me how similar the RSPB is to that of Brad’s winning Tour de France team! Let me explain. Right from the very beginning, in the early days of Team Sky, they had a clear winner in mind, they knew who was destined to be the winner of the yellow jersey. It was agreed that the team would work to achieving this goal and stick to it. For us, this yellow jersey winner is all UK wildlife. And there is no alternative. If we don’t continue to work for UK wildlife; the otters, the skylarks, the swallowtail butterflies, the sparrows, then our countryside will be an impoverished place. I also think that an otter would look great in a yellow jersey!
Take the sprinters for example, the Mark Cavendishes who are about power and pure strength. For us at the RSPB, these people are our campaigners. When we need to shout loudly about something, they rally round and they move fast.
And how about the hill climbers? Well, it’s about putting in the hours, digging deep and getting a good job done and there is no better example of this than the network of RSPB nature reserves around the region. Day in, day out our reserve staff have to make sure that the habitats are in tip top condition for all kinds of wildlife and they have to make sure that our visitors have a great time too. This isn’t a job that you can hurry, it takes time, love and a lot of patience.
Finally, there are the domestiques, the riders who give themselves up for the good of their team mates, carrying bottles and getting the team where it needs to be. It’s no secret that the RSPB only survives because of its army of volunteers who give up time and expertise to get the organisation to where it is today.
It may not be quite the Tour de France, but running the RSPB is certainly a team effort and we wouldn’t succeed without the help and dedication of each and every single member, volunteer and worker. And until our UK wildlife is safe and sustained for future generations, I will always be striving to achieve that yellow jersey.
Blogger: Adam Murray, Communications Officer
Have you watched the new Batman and Spiderman movies? Were you dragged along by your other half or are you a secret comic book superhero fan?
This started off a debate in our office over who is best between these two masked crusaders. Spiderman had it easy being bitten by a radioactive spider giving him super cool powers. Whereas, Batman equally had it easy as he is a millionaire and can just buy all his amazing gadgets. I am always a Marvel man rather than a DC comic bloke – so Spiderman gets my vote. It also reminds me of the 1970s when my brother regularly jumped over our floral sofa with his spidey pyjamas.
Got me thinking though, with our future direction as an organisation being more inclusive of all bugs, birds and beasts in the UK, how do we choose which species is “better” than an other? As you can imagine it is not as easy as you think – but watch this space for more information on this topic.
What I can do is let you know that bats and spiders, regardless of their superhero namesakes, are as equally awe inspiring as each other. For example, did you know that the name “bat” dates from 1575 but has many other regional variants like the Yorkshire “flittermouse”. The common pipistrelle – Europe’s smallest bat and the ones you often see in your garden at dusk – can be known to roost in numbers as large as 100,000 (now that is a party).
I have always loved spiders, mainly because as a kid I would chuckle at my Mum’s reaction to them, Miss Muffet style. Speaking to our very own spiderman in our Conservation Team you can see that many people love these underdogs of the underworld. Do remember that, with the exception of the water spider, few British spiders will give a painful nip. For an animal with such a small brain one must be agog at the mathematical complexities and strengths of a spider’s web. And if you go down to Norfolk today you may come across the great raft spider whose legs can span more than 13 centimetres (5 inches).
So next time you head to the cinema for some modern day B-movie think about all of Nature’s superhero Olympians who have inspired the writers to produce a darn good yarn.
Photos: Spiderman and Batman battle it out at the RSPB in the East offices. Courtesy of my 20 month old son (honest).
Find out more on Twitter ( @RSPBintheEast ) or from our friends at the Bat Conservation Trust (@_BCT_ ) and Buglife ( @Buzz_dont_tweet ). Also let us know who is your favourite.
Back in late January we asked you to help us. Help us with something very close to our hearts. Hintlesham Woods is one of the largest remaining blocks of ancient woodland in Suffolk and is nationally important for its size, archaeological features and the communities of plants, birds, insects and other wildlife that live there.
However, it is threatened. National Grid is planning to construct new transmission lines in the area in order to accommodate new power generation from off-shore wind farms and the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power station. One of the proposed routes for these transmission lines would cut right through the centre of the woods. If it were to be chosen it would require the destruction of several hectares of this irreplaceable ancient woodland. It is unthinkable.
To destroy an ancient woodland isn’t to simply cut down all the trees. It would fragment the habitat, and reduce it’s natural value. It’s a bit like someone coming along, chopping you house in half and putting a brick wall through the middle of it. You could still live there for a while, but it wouldn’t be long before you suffocated with the lack of space and you certainly wouldn’t be able to sell it to anyone! Given there were alternative routes available that wouldn’t involve the destruction and degradation of one of our most precious gems of natural heritage this was something we simply could not allow to happen without a fight!
This is where you came in. We asked you to write to National Grid expressing concern and call on them to do the right thing and choose an alternative route.
And guess what? A few weeks ago National Grid announced which route sections they propose to put underground and put forward a new option for the Hintlesham area, which would take the transmission lines around the north and western edge of the wood instead of through the centre. Whilst it may not be our ideal outcome, it is a compromise that represents a clear victory for local wildlife and the local community.
It really is fantastic news and it wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for your effort and support, so from us to you...Thank You! We could not have got this far without you.
But...there is always a but!
We are not out of the woods yet (pardon the pun!). The new option is not final. National Grid has opened a public consultation to allow people to have their say on the new proposed route. We need your help once again to ensure that National Grid do not change their mind.
Step up for Hintlesham Woods by taking part in the public consultation:
Alternatively you can write to:
Bramford – Twinstead Tee Public Consultation, Freepost, National Grid Connections (no further address or stamp is required).
Please keep your comments positive, after all they have listened to us! The consultation closing date is Friday 27 July.
Please send copies of your comments or letter, and any replies to firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can post it to: Steven Roddy, Hintlesham Woods Campaign, FREEPOST ANG6335, The RSPB, UK Headquarters, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 2BR. This will help us monitor the progress of our campaign.
Finally, thank you for you help. Your efforts really do help make all the difference.