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.
When i was a young girl, my summer holidays were longed for. We would dream about those hot summer days in the depths of winter and when they finally came round, the freedom was overwhelming. No school for 6 weeks! Only now that i’m an adult does it dawn on me how tough summer holidays can be for parents. Juggling your annual leave, asking favours from relatives, and what on earth do you do when it’s raining?!
But, as a child, summer holidays were nothing but laughter and adventure. Thinking back, it fills me with nostalgia. I remember taking trips to the beach where we would run onto the sand, bang in our retro windbreak, cover ourselves in suncream, eat sandwiches and make sand castles. We would carry our nets over one shoulder and look out for crabs in rock pools and collapse into the car for the journey home, tired and weary. When the seaside was just a little too far to travel, me and my friends would set off on our bikes, pockets full to the brim with penny sweets. All kinds of wildlife would cross our paths from bugs and moths to swifts and barn owls. For a real adventure, we would sometimes camp out in our back garden. And when darkness fell the night time came alive with hedgehog snuffles, bats zipping around overhead and moths delicately taping on our tent door. I can vividly remember just how exciting it was to be outdoors, under canvas and experiencing nature, first hand.
This summer, the RSPB wants to take you back to your childhood and offer you the chance to take part in its first ever Big Wild Sleepout. Whether you want to take part as a family, a couple or fancy accompanying your grandchildren, sleeping out on a nature reserve is a fantastic adventure. There are four RSPB nature reserves in Norfolk and Suffolk offering a camp-out experience where you can have a real night time adventure under the stars. Or, you could simply get out into your own garden put up a tent and have your own camp out. Whether you try to identify what night-time noises you can hear or simply have a tea of toasted marshmallows and hot chocolate, getting outdoors will feed your soul. Waking up with nature through the summer months is much better than the normal drones of your alarm clock and as the dawn chorus starts to stir and the melodic chimes of blackbirds, robins and thrushes. Big Wild Sleepout is taking place on the 9, 10 and 11 August. Visit rspb.org.uk/thingstodo/sleepout/ for all the information on how you can take part.
As featured in the Eastern Daily Press, Saturday 27 July
With 70% of the UK farmed, farmland is of pivotal importance for our wildlife and we need wildlife friendly farmers to give nature a home, Nicholas tells us how he runs a successful farm business whilst providing important habitats for birds, insects and flowers.
As I sat down with my wife, Anne, for supper last Saturday, I realised what a special day I’d had. I had been out checking Tree Sparrow nest boxes with my eight year old grandson, Tim, and out of the 30 nest boxes we checked 28 were occupied. And not only had I been able to share my passion with my grandson – and he gets a big buzz out of it as well – but the Tree Sparrows were only there because I had created the habitat for them. Earlier I had been checking Barn Owl nest boxes, for the past 3 years I have had 9 pairs nesting on the farm and they are only there in those numbers because I have provided the right habitat for them, the same with Whitethroats, Reed and Sedge Warblers, Yellow Wagtails, Linnets, Lapwings and butterflies. They have all increased.
Which brings me to ‘Giving nature a home’ as that is what I have been doing for the past 20 years: It was in 1982 when I started recording the breeding birds on my farm but I didn’t realise just how fast they were declining until 1992, and this really worried me. I love farming and I love wildlife – especially the birds, so I just had to start reversing that decline on my farm.
I have studied every crop and every type of cultivation, plus the other habitats on and around the farm such as dykes and hedges. And not only on my farm but all my neighbours’ farms as well, with every spring seeing me walk about 70 miles surveying the land to find out where the birds are and why they are there – or, of course, why they are not there. All these surveys are done between 5am and 7am, and I never fail to be motivated enough to get out there and do it, and my daughter Lucy often accompanies me too.
These breeding bird surveys have taught me so much about birds and I have put it all into practice on my farm. I have planted hedges, widened dykes and dug lots of ponds. I have persuaded our local drainage board not to cut our drainage ditches so often, I have wide grass margins, cultivated margins to provide seed and insects for our small farmland birds, and 15 acres of wild flower meadows for butterflies and other insects. The land to create this habitat has been taken from rich Fen farmland, as we don’t have any steep banks, wet holes or awkward field corners here in the Fens. I have lots of spring crops which are ideal for Lapwings, and this year over 30 pairs of this wonderful bird bred on my farm. In the winter and spring I feed hundreds of birds all over the farm as I just love to see a lot of birds around.
I was born on my farm, and I love it as my home, my work and my passion.
Proud to be in the East, then find out more and vote for Nicholas here www.rspb.org.uk/farmvote
Blogger: Adam Murray, Communications Officer (Marketing & Brand)
This is a little view into my world, it is my own personal experience of my natural family man's way of life. It may not be the norm but may resonate with some of you. If it does then please forward this on to your friends. Thanks and enjoy relaxing days.
The Natural Family Man
i-phone in hand
his and hers converse trainers
fat face gilet ( yes gilet not body warmer)
i-phone apps to keep the kids quiet
strangely tempted by our children’s left-overs
knowing the Cbeebies channel number on the Sky Box by heart
my partner getting sweaty at Pilates or Zumba
going to Book Clubs for “adult conversation”
blasé about offspring’s bodily functions
a house of Ikea with shabby chic thrown in for uniqueness
ripping up the old carpets for those older floor boards
loving a freebie on Gumtree or Etsy
a wallet of loyalty cards showing our fickleness
going loco, viva la revolution
dismissing local news and papers
reading the Guardian, fed up of capital listings
replaced 80s and 90s lyrics to Thomas the Tank and Post Man Pat
calling out the youth of today and rip-off 80s fashion
reluctant micro scooter club groupies
hair in strange places, aching knees, battle scars
staying in on Date Nights, asleep by nine thirty
remembering the time before emails and tweeting
the comfort of indoor soft play for the children
feeling guilty not going back to the wild like when you were a kid
yearning for more time
of old times of mud pies and fishing for stickle backs
for our kids too
Dear RSPB can you help me
I’m an 35 plus Natural Family Man
with big adventures in mind
For help on some simple tips on what to do with the kids at weekends, after school or in the holidays go visit www.rspb.org.uk/homes and download your FREE booklet.
Photo Credit: Eleanor Bentall (rspb-images.com)
For more things that might may you chuckle:
MC stands for Middle Class http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jACmmDei5jU
The Motherhood http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNVde5HPhYo