Adrian Thomas did us proud with his feature on RSPB nature reserves in the Spring 2012 issue of Birds. I hope you will be inspired to make a trip to a reserve you haven’t explored yet, or to revisit an old favourite or two over the next few weeks.
We want you to don your outdoor gear, put on your boots, hats and gloves and get out there in the next few weeks as winter turns to spring. Based on the number of letters and e-mails I receive about readers’ visits to reserves, I know that you love them as much as I do.
It has been one of the strangest winters I can remember - where is the wintry weather down here in the south? It actually feels as if winter hasn’t happened. If it wasn’t for all the great winter wildlife I have seen, winter could have been a non-event for me.
Over Christmas, I managed a trip to one of my favourite RSPB reserves: Titchwell - a reserve I first visited back in August 1993 when my parents took me there in the school holidays. Spoonbills, avocets, curlew sandpipers, little stints, whimbrels and little terns were among the line up of birds I saw for the first time ever and I made careful sketches of them all in my diary when I got home for posterity.
Titchwell is one of the RSPB’s best known reserves and is a simply superb place for wildlife watching. What I particularly enjoy seeing in action at Titchwell is the way that RSPB reserves offer experiences for everyone.
On my latest visit, I’d joined the crowd craning our necks looking up into the alder trees by the footpath leading from the car park to the reserve, to watch the redpolls and goldfinches picking seeds from the cones. We were hoping to see the Arctic redpoll that was accompanying its commoner lesser and mealy redpoll cousins and I soon had the little frosty ‘snowball’ standing out from the rest by its much paler plumage and shaggy trousers.
In the centre, people were enjoying snacks in the restaurant and the visitor centre was doing a roaring trade. It was great to see several families out and about too. I took a walk down to the beautiful sandy beach with views out to Thornham Point to the west and the golf course at Brancaster to the east.
I could have walked for a good few miles, but sadly time was limited - note to self, allow more time on next visit...
So, the big questions are:
What’s your favourite RSPB reserve?
What’s the best experience you’ve had at an RSPB reserve?
Please let us know by leaving a comment below if you have registered on the RSPB Community, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim & Eve sent this email into the Birds magazine inbox:
On 5th January my wife and I (members) went with her daughter and family (9, 6 and 3 (young members) to Vane Farm, Perth and Kinross, which is not too far from our home in Dunfermline.
When we opened the door of the reserve shop a young woman said you must go upstairs now to see a pair of "giant " Sea Eagles. There was a buzz about the cafe and viewing wi ndows. We were directed to the telescopes and looked across Loch Leven to the island, passing views of ducks and geese to see the two Sea Eagles on the northern end of the island. We could easily see the blue tags on them. A strong wind was blowing and the birds looked as though they were cold and huddled together, which meant we were disappointed not to see the Sea Eagles in flight.We will be back on a calmer day!