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: Kate Blincoe, Communications Manager
It’s September time and with the promise of mellow autumn days and blackberries comes a familiar feeling. It’s a heavy sort of weight on my chest; not painful, not unpleasant; it is just sitting there like mild sorrow or the reminder of past grief.
I’m not the only one; whatever your age, many of us feel a ‘back to school’ emotion at this time of year. Lazy August days are behind us and national celebrations are drawing to an end; it’s back to business with the old routine of kids out of the door, sitting in traffic and 9-5 life without the recompense of long evenings on the patio with a Pimms.
Nature too is changing. Our swallows and swifts are circling overhead, and soon they will be gone again on their arduous journey south. Meanwhile, animals are starting to feed up in preparation for hibernation.
Much as I adore summer, life is too short to feel gloomy about the end of a season. So here are my top ideas for surviving the ‘back to school’ feeling and enjoying this beautiful time of year.
Firstly, why not just look up! Autumn brings stunning aerial displays as birds flock together. Birds join forces to improve their survival chances in the winter, as they can share warmth at night and be more effective at finding food. Swirling, whirling starling murmurations over cities at dusk will enliven your commute home, with flocks sometimes reaching tens of thousands of birds.
In the nearby Wash, birds such as knots are gathering to escape the arctic cold. They will wow us with their aerobatics at high tides later in the year - RSPB Snettisham nature reserve in North Norfolk is famous for this.
Secondly, it’s always fun to go nuts with a little foraging. A wander through autumn woodland, as the leaves start to change colour is always a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Add purpose to your stroll by bringing out your inner squirrel and collecting wild nuts such as hazelnuts and sweet chestnuts.
Autumn is the time for preparing to hibernate. No not you, there is no excuse for a family sized bar of dairy milk and a slanket, but you could help wildlife get ready instead. Make sure you leave an area of undisturbed leaves and logs in your garden, perfect for insects such as ladybirds as well as hedgehogs, frogs and toads.
And finally, don’t give up on the outdoors once the weather changes. The health and mood benefits of being active outside really are the best way to beat the autumnal slump. It may be back-to-business, school-time again, but nature is our playground – enjoy it.
This article was Kate's last EDP article before leaving our Communications Team and went in the paper on Saturday 1 September. Thanks again Kate for being a great boss and brilliant team player. We will miss you and your words of wisdom.
Photo Credit: Ray Kennedy (rspb-images.com)
Blogger: Rachel Frain, Fundraising and Project Administrator
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been stepping up for nature. Calling on our trusty supporters to build an army of bucket collecting volunteers, for our together for trees campaign. If you haven’t heard, Tesco stores nationwide have opened their doors to us on the 21 & 22 September so we can raise money for the rainforests.
I’ve been staying behind after work with a group of colleagues to call our loyal supporters, asking if they can spare a couple of hours in an attempt to help us raise over £1 million for the campaign. I have been amazed by the positive reaction and sheer generosity of our members, even those that are slightly sceptical about our partnership with Tesco, realise that the 20 million customers that pass through their doors every week could help us in our mission to Save Nature. Speaking to our members and hearing first hand their willingness to give up a couple of hours of their time reminded me why I do, what I do. I’m an administrator in the office 5 days a week and don’t get out onto the reserves very often. I sometimes feel like I’m not doing much to help the RSPB create a world richer in nature but I’ve been reminded that by being a small cog in a much bigger wheel of motion can make a difference!
No matter how big or small our role is or how much or little time we can spare, together we can save nature.
If you think you could help us for a couple of hours at your local Tesco store on the 21 or 22 September please contact our Together for Trees coordinator Lili Kumar email@example.com 01603 660066. To find out more about our Together for Trees campaign take a look at:
Photo credit: Clare Kendall (rspb-images.com)
Blogger: Kim Matthews, Campaigns Officer
I’ve been completely infected with Olympic and Paralympic fever, so much so that I have joined my local gym with grand aims of losing weight and getting fit. But if I’m honest, the very best thing about it so far has been the steam room. The billowing, humid heat that hits you when you open the door instantly transports me back to my first ever visit to a tropical forest.
Armed with a shiny new machete bought from a shop in Norwich (who’d have thought!), I arrived somewhat wide-eyed in the colourful chaos that is Bangkok. I had arranged to be a volunteer field researcher in Khao Yai National Park, about three hours northeast of the city, to help with a project studying wild gibbon behaviour and ecology.
The park road from the main gate to the headquarters seemed to go on forever, winding upwards and twisting sharply. Passing beside sheer cliffs sparkling with running water and sudden, unexpected viewpoints with breathtaking vistas of a seemingly never-ending forest canopy, I was travelling into another world.
The forest edge itself was like a barrier between worlds, dividing the tamed from the untamed. A few metres in and you have left the human world behind. The muted, green light closes around you and you have arrived in a magical place, one which thrums with unseen life and where you never quite know what to expect. Immeasurably tall trees soar upwards into the distant canopy and strange, wonderful creatures may await you around the next turn of the trail.
What looks like an emerald-green shoot at first glance, soon turns out to be a vine snake, and that’s no puddle in the middle of the trail, it is an elephants’ footprint, often the only sign that they had passed along even the narrowest of trails not long before.
But nothing compares to the song of the gibbons, a duet performed each morning by the adult male and female of each family group. A loud pronouncement of territory and a constant renewal of the bond between them, the females’ long whoops grow ever higher in pitch, whilst the male winds a counterpoint harmony around them.
Standing at the base of a tree full of singing gibbons, the air around you, even the ground beneath your feet, reverberates with the sound. If ever there was a moment to celebrate simply being alive, surely it is this one.
(Stuff the gym, I’m off to buy a ticket to Thailand!)