January, 2017

Our work

Our work
You might be surprised to read that our work is far broader than nature reserves and Big Garden Birdwatch. Read more about what else we do.

Natures Home magazine uncovered

Behind the scenes at the RSPB magazine and much much more...
  • The Urban Birder comes to Sandy

    I always like to stay in touch with our brilliant team of contributors to Nature’s Home magazine. Getting their views and chewing the fat over the big conservation issues and challenges is time very well spent. I’ve always thought that an integral part of the magazine is allowing RSPB members to have their say and also to have plenty of external voices such as Simon Barnes, Nicola Chester and many more as well.

    I always look forward to my annual catch up with David Lindo. Yesterday he visited The Lodge where we had a really productive day along with youth editor Jack. I hadn’t ordered the rain that set in at around midday, but he bravely soldiered on and posed happily for some shots for me and also for the “Show the Love” week, part of the Climate Coalition's "For the love of..." campaign. Please get involved too!

    TUB and Mark Ward - shot in the rain by our fabulous photographer Ben Andrew (rspb-images.com)

    I was at least able to thank him by finding a group of around 8 bramblings feeding in the paddocks opposite the reserve entrance, while we were out discussing the big issues at the moment,  which I thoroughly enjoyed as well, being my favourite bird.

    David’s been a key part of first Birds, then Nature’s Home magazine for many years now, championing urban birds and other wildlife. He is the Urban Birder after all. I know that many readers love David’s pieces and his bullfinch article where we asked you to tell us about your sightings of this cracking finch still generated the most comments ever on a Nature’s Home blog post! When I was a lot younger looking than I am in the pic above, and had just taken over the reigns of Birds magazine, I remember David calling me up to introduce himself and we hit it off straight away. He's a great guy.

    I think we left him with plenty to think about after meetings with our corporate partnership team, our campaigns team, our head of nature policy and our social media team. Being such a well known face, plenty of other people managed to grab some time with David too, including Chief Exec Mike Clarke in the busy canteen where plenty of people were queuing up for roast dinner Thursday...

    We’ll be challenging David with some great subjects this year in your magazine, so don’t miss out. Your April issue is well in progress as I write – always one of my favourite issues of the year. I hope you’ll like it too.

  • Waxwing update

    Have you seen one yet? if you have, then you're doing better than me!

    This photo of waxwings was taken in Bedfordshire by Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)

    Following my blog a month ago about  the special birds arriving this winter, I mentioned that the current invasion of waxwings was centered on Scotland. Well, the good news is (for those in England that is!) that after Christmas, they started to move south in numbers, presumably having had some very cold temperatures and running out of food to deal with. I was in Yorkshire with family after Christmas and they had reached there in some good flocks by then. The Midlands are picking up some good groups now and there appears to be a secondary arrival from the continent hitting Norfolk based on a few flocks of presumably newly-arrived birds seen along the coastal strip this week.

    You might know that RSPB HQ is on the edge of the town of Sandy, Beds and two birds turned up this week in the traditional spot of the industrial estate on the edge of town - classic waxwing habitat. Hopefully more will join them and I'll have a good flock to enjoy on the journey in to work each day. I've seen them here in past waxwing winters and they often stay for a good few weeks. If my wife lets me divert that way!

    My top tips for seeing waxwings are:

    • Learn the beautiful trilling call. Listen to a waxwing here
    • Check out any flocks of "starlings" you see perched in trees or flying over
    • Find out where the berries are near you. look for rowan, guelder rose, cotoneaster and hawthorn
    • Cruise around your local industrial estates and fast food eateries. Sounds strange but that's where many berry-bearing bushes are purposefully planted

    And that's this week's waxwing update!

    Let me know if you you get lucky by leaving a comment below and helping to track where the flocks are around the UK. Good luck.