When I joined the RSPB with my Mum and Dad back in 1992, I remember the incredible excitement of getting the welcome pack - the cover on Birds magazine was, I believe, a red-throated diver and there was loads of other great stuff, BUT it was the little blue and white "Guide to RSPB reserves" that got my attention more than anything.
The thought that I now had access to what at the time was probably something like 100 RSPB reserves, thanks to my shiny new membership card was incredibly exciting and I eagerly started picking out my nearest reserves. The Ouse Washes, just six or seven miles away from oiur home in Cambridgeshire Fenland caught my eye first of all and it was there that many Sunday afternoons were spent with my parents, watching thousands of wigeons, Bewick's and whooper swans, kingfishers, snipe, merlin, hen harriers and much more.
Oystercatchers at Snettisham by Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)
Check out our new reserves section
Anyone joining the RSPB now will get a much flashier reserve guide and have access to more like 140 reserves, and in the new Nature's Home magazine, you'll also find a new RSPB reserves section. In the first ever issue of Nature's Home, my old local patch, Snettisham in Norfolk has the prime position as main reserve to visit this winter. To give you a flavour of what you could see here, check out these incredible shots of knots massed at Snettisham from Tom Mason who was interviewed in the last ever issue of Birds magazine, Autumn 2013.
There's lots of tips about visiting Snettisham in the new Nature's Home. To see sights such as the ones captured by Tom at their best you'll need to be on the reserve a couple of hours ahead of high tide, so you can visit the RSPB website for more information on recommended dates to visit and also buy a tide table which lists the high tide times, from the visitor centre at Titchwell for £1 or by sending a stamped addressed envelope and £1 in stamps to; RSPB. Barn A, Home Farm Barns, Snettisham, King’s Lynn Norfolk PE31 7PD.
And there's more...
I won't spoil the surprise too much, but there are four other top notch winter reserves to visit in the new magazine, so hopefully you'll be inspired to visit. And of course, I'm already working up our spring selection for the next issue with my terrific reserves colleagues around the UK.
Let me know how you get on with your visits - and what you see.
I'm busy with issue two now and it is taking shape nicely - the bar is set high, but I think people will like it even more than the first one!
Yes I really enjoyed the new look magazine, and I will look forward every three months to arriving with anticipation.
Thanks Glossy Ibis (a few of those around in the UK at the moment!).
I'm envious of your visit - it's been too long since I've seen the Snettisham spectacle myself. Glad you enjoyed it. Well worth getting up early for I'm sure!
I was at Snettisham at 6.00am on Sunday morning last with many other visitors. We were enthralled by one of the most spectacular displays of bird life that you can see anywhere in the world. Get there if you possibly can. Quite staggering!