News archive

December 2017

Monday, 18 December 2017

Festive fun with the RSPB on the Dee

Festive fun with the RSPB on the Dee

With the Christmas countdown well underway, get into the festive spirit at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands nature reserve. For those wanting a break from the hustle and bustle of the high streets, a visit to Burton Mere Wetlands is the perfect way to unwind this winter.
Dan Trotman, Visitor Experience Manager at the RSPB Dee Estuary reserve said: "The reserve is at its busiest in winter, playing host to tens of thousands of wetland birds visiting from the far north - just like Father Christmas!
"Not only are the large flocks a sight to behold, winter is also the best time of year to see birds of prey, with marsh harriers, peregrines and merlins regularly hunting the flocks. All of this can be enjoyed beside our pellet stove with a mince pie and a hot drink in our cosy Reception Hide."
The site offers plenty for families to do this festive season, with a free seasonal quiz to follow around the nature trails. Wildlife Explorer backpacks are available to hire daily for £3, complete with binoculars and other nature detective equipment, and there's even a den building area in the woodland to make a shelter from the chillier weather.
Dan added: "The recent cold snap transformed the reserve into a picturesque winter wonderland, so it's the perfect place for a bracing walk to work off those Christmas indulgences."
Burton Mere Wetlands is open every day except Christmas Day, 9.30am-4.30pm, with an early close of 3pm on Christmas Eve and a late opening of 10.30am on Boxing Day.
For the more adventurous visitor, a High Tide Raptor Watch event is taking place at the wilder part of the Dee Estuary reserve - Parkgate.. Visitors have the chance to see the rare phenomenon of the water covering the whole marsh, reaching the sea wall. As well as closer views of thousands of ducks, geese and waders as they are forced upstream by the rising tide, visitors may also spot rare hen harriers in search of mice and voles that are flushed from the grasses.
The High Tide Raptor Watch takes place on Thursday 4 January from 10.30am-1.30pm and is free of charge, but donations are welcomed on the day. No booking is required but for further information check out the website, call the reserve on 0151 3538478 or email

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Christmas fun at the RSPB Ribble Discovery Centre

Christmas fun at the RSPB Ribble Discovery Centre

This festive season, families are invited to take part in the RSPB Ribble Discovery Centre's Christmas nature trail. Ralph the red deer is Rudolph's cousin and he has a very special job - to find out what the creatures of Fairhaven Lake and the Ribble Estuary want for Christmas, and he needs families to give him a helping hand. Follow the clues around Fairhaven Lake and bring back the answers to the centre to collect a prize.
No need to book, drop-in from Saturday 9-Saturday 23 December, 10am-4pm
Venue: The Ribble Discovery Centre, Inner Promenade, Fairhaven Lake, Lytham St Annes FY8 1BD
Contact: For more information visit or phone 01253 796292 or email

Friday, 1 December 2017

How much would you miss birdsong? More than just a tweet

How much would you miss birdsong? More than just a tweet

Last Sunday RSPB Liverpool screened the stunning and thought provoking film 'The Messenger' by SongbirdSOS productions.

Fifty four people attended our event and judging by the post screening reaction it had obviously achieved its aim.

The film is visually stunning and took us to far flung places such as Indonesia, Canada and France. This film was hard hitting and we couldn't help be moved by the issues it raised; at times maddening and upsetting such as the French man illegally catching and eating ortolan buntings, the Indonesian bird markets, and the hundreds of migrating birds flying into high raise windows. Towards the end of the film we were treated to the sight of an expanding circle of 2,100 dead birds laid out on a museum floor, a strong image bringing tears to your eyes.

But this film wasn't just made to shock, it showed some amazing people, monitoring birds and fighting back, from the man who turns out Manhattan's 911 memorial lights (, and the CABS activists combating the illegal killing or trapping of European birds (
But there was a glimmer of hope for the future, as we observed Canadian children at the Royal Ontario museum tip toeing around and asking questions about all the dead birds on the floor? We must nurture their interest and educate our future generations.

After the film an informal discussion gave the audience a chance to let off steam, empathise and ask what you we can do to help birds.

Here's a link to watch the Q & A session:

Some initial suggestions:
1. Install ultra violet window alert stencils at home and at work - available at various UK bird food supplier websites.

2. Campaign, sign the petitions, write letters, fundraise and if you can afford it donate.... Support the RSPB Love Nature, RSPB Operation Turtle Dove or RSPB Birds without Borders and BirdLife International

3. Buy bird-friendly coffee - Bird & Wild Coffee Partnered with RSPB to give 6% of all sales to RSPB to help protect our birds, wildlife and nature in the UK, whilst protecting migrating birds at coffee origins

4. Cats - Put a bell on your cat's quick release mechanism collar and keep your cat indoors when birds are most vulnerable: at least an hour before sunset and an hour after sunrise, especially during March-July and December-January, and also after bad weather, such as rain or a cold spell, to allow birds to come out and feed.

It is hoped that our group will be able to bring this film to our members at an indoor event screening in the near future and more importantly be able to contribute in some way to help tackle the issues this film raises.

Here's a link to watch the trailer:

DVD shop:
Every DVD comes with a FREE bag of bird friendly-coffee from Bird& wild plus a promo code for future purchases. Bird & wild is on a mission to help protect migrating birds. Every bag of Bird & Wild coffee sold helps the RSPB, the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Centre and the Fair-trade Foundation.

Here's a link to the Bird & Wild shop:

A warning from the past: in 1957 Mao Tse-tung's set about a campaign against tree sparrows that were eating the nation's grain, subsequently hundreds of millions of sparrows were killed. Achieving this aim contributed to a catastrophic ecological disaster which led to 30 million people dying of starvation. We ignore this lesson at our peril, whether it is birds, bees, other wildlife or the planet's natural resources.