News archive

February 2017

Monday, 20 February 2017

A generous gift - with thanks

A generous gift - with thanks

2000 fine bone china Avocet sculptures were specially commissioned to celebrate a 100 yrs of the Royal Society Protection of Birds. We're very pleased to say that one of our members Charles Russell generously donated Avocet number 360 to our group in order to raise funds, with the proceeds to go into local conservation i.e at RSPB Marshside, Burton Mere wetlands or Hen Harrier conservation.

The Avocet was much admired and raffled at our February meeting, it now sits in a new Liverpool china cabinet, one very happy lady owner.

Thank you Charles

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Where's you green heart? Share the love with the RSPB and the Climate Coalition

Where's you green heart? Share the love with the RSPB and the Climate Coalition

This February join people like you across the UK, in showing the love for the special places and wildlife you cherish and don't want to lose to climate change.
It all starts with a green heart. Make one, wear one, share one, or pick up ........

A love song
A unique collaboration with Ridley Scott Associates, featuring a bespoke poem written by the award-winning Anthony Anaxagorou, is brought to life by Charles Dance, Miranda Richardson, David Gyasi and Jason Isaacs. With music by Elbow and the NHS Choir, it's a love song like you've never heard before.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

2017 Big Garden Birdwatch event

2017 Big Garden Birdwatch event

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Well, maybe a tad over-dramatic, but sometimes the weather makes you feel like that. Saturday dawned, - the day of our 'Big Garden Birdwatch' at Sefton Park's Palm House, and yes it was raining again; - we shouldn't be surprised, but we're English and it's a national past time talking about the weather!
This year we broke from tradition and actually held the event on the national Birdwatch weekend instead of the week before.
Our aim, to tell as many people as possible about the RSPB's 'Big Garden Birdwatch' which now covered three days Saturday 28th to Monday 30th January, giving more people a chance to record their feathered friends.
Warm and dry in the Palm House, grey and damp outside! Despite the precipitation we had a steady stream of visitors at our stalls. All kinds of questions were fired at us:- how to attract birds, squirrel proof-bird feeders, best food, gardening and best plants, what's that bird, how do you tell the difference, how do I join, where can I buy, problem cats and magpies, where's the kingfishers, where's the parakeets (popular residents of the park).
Whilst we were there we took the opportunity to promote a petition to help re-launch the National Wildflower Centre in Court Hey Park. Recently closed, the staff and volunteers are desperately trying to rally support for its revival.
An important local community resource which must not be allowed to disappear.
Our friends on the national RSPB table Derek and Joan, were kept busy and we were very pleased to hear five national memberships had been taken up.

Derek and Joan volunteer at the RSPB's Burton Mere Wetlands reserve on the Wirral
and their presence at the Palm House meant they had the opportunity to highlight the reserves attractions to hopefully future visitors.
Our Wildlife Explorers (Wex) group, aimed at young people- (, also had lots of visitors and children were observed happily 'colouring in' and making masks with the Palm house volunteers.

Whilst most of the team were based inside advising and selling at our tables,- Phil placed our telescopes in the entrance porch focused on the garden's bird tables (pre -stocked with seed, fat and scraps) and on the surrounding trees. Parakeets and flocks of redwings were seen in the trees whilst on the tables all the usual foragers were seen including numerous nuthatches caching sunflower hearts; great, coal and blue tits, magpies, robins, wood pigeons, jays, crows and squirrels and yes one large rat!
A little further a field Chris took an inquisitive young man and his dad onto the adjacent playing fields to look for two Mediterranean gulls. Successful, all part of the service!

Another volunteer's insight:
The one moment that really stands out for me is when a little boy aged around three or four was totally overjoyed by the 'singing' blackbird toy. A lot of children were interested in the bird toys, but this little boy's reaction was outstanding: when we made it sing, his eyes were like saucers and he couldn't stop laughing and clapping his hands together. His mum was crouched down next to him and she was amazed at his reaction, too, so it didn't seem to be something he did for just any old thing. In fact, he was so excited and thrilled by the blackbird's song that he accidentally pushed against his mum as she was crouching down, and she over-balanced! He kept coming back over to the table and listening to all the birds, but the blackbird was by far his favourite.

A second memorable moment was the first people through the door, a father and his son of around nine years old. The lad had a book of coastal and sea birds tucked under his arm and was obviously a budding RSPB leader of the future - his dad drove him everywhere to see the birds and they took photos of them and stuck them into this book, and he proceeded to tell John and me all about them, pointing out the rare shore lark that they'd snapped and later ID'd, and a number of other birds.

We're pleased to say we engaged with 274 visitors to the Palm House and six people joined our local group. Welcome! 😉


Once again we have undertaken a mini Merseyside birdwatch count:- 26 households across Merseyside, Rainford and Newton sent in their counts, which you can see in the table below.
This year I'm pleased to say most people were happy with their counts with only a few describing their results and experiences as - disappointing with favourite birds arriving late. The response from the RSPB to 'bad' years was to extend this year's count to three days, perhaps it did the trick?
I'm sure you'll draw your own conclusions from the table on our blog