News archive

March 2018

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch results reveal a golden year for the goldfinch in Merseyside

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch results reveal a golden year for the goldfinch in Merseyside

The latest results from the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch have revealed a golden year for the goldfinch along with a number of other small birds after a surge in sightings in gardens across Merseyside.
Now in its 39th year, the Birdwatch is a chance for people of all ages to count the number of birds that visit their garden, helping the RSPB build up a picture of how they are doing. This year, more than 450,000 people across the country, including over 6,000 in Merseyside took part.
The event held over the last weekend in January revealed an increase in sightings of smaller birds, such as goldfinches, long-tailed tits and coal tits that can usually be seen visiting gardens and outside spaces in mixed flocks. Recorded sightings of the brightly coloured, sociable finch rose by 17% on 2017 figures for Merseyside and its bright red face was seen in more than a third of gardens. Other small birds that are thought to have benefited from the mild January weather include long-tailed tits (+20%) and coal tits (+7%).
It also proved to be a good year for the greenfinch after a 4% rise in numbers seen, a welcome sign for a species that has undergone a 60% decline in sightings since the first survey in 1979.
The influx of these species to our gardens is thought to be linked to the favourable conditions during their successful breeding season in 2017. This, combined with the kind autumn and early winter weather in the run up to the Birdwatch in January, will have contributed to the rise in sightings.
Daniel Hayhow, RSPB Conservation Scientist, said: "Our garden birds are a part of our everyday life, whether it's the robin perched on the garden fence or the flock of starlings you see on your way to work. To have hundreds of thousands of people spend an hour watching the wildlife in their garden isn't only great to see, but it also helps us build up a picture of how our garden birds are doing, which is really helpful.
"Last summer was a really good year for many breeding birds with warm weather creating great conditions for many smaller birds to raise their young to adulthood. The rise in sightings of goldfinches, long-tailed tits and coal tits, along with chaffinches and greenfinches nationally, goes to show that in the absence of cold weather they can survive the winter months in good numbers. Looking at the results it is likely that across the UK this is what people saw in their garden."
The survey also highlighted a dip in the number of recorded sightings of blackbirds (-12%), robins (-12%) and wren (-6%) on last year's figures for Merseyside. Dr Hayhow explained: "We all will have noticed that the weather earlier in the winter was slightly warmer than we're used to, and our garden birds have felt this too. It's usual for there to be more food available in the wider countryside during a mild winter meaning birds are less reliant on the treats we put out on the garden feeders. However, unlike the finches and tits, robins and wrens did not have a good breeding season in 2017 and data from other surveys indicate that their numbers may be down overall this year."
The house sparrow remained at the top of the Big Garden Birdwatch rankings as the most commonly seen garden birds with an average of more than three per garden recorded in Merseyside throughout the weekend. Starling held down the second spot, with the blackbird rounding off the top three.
Throughout the first half of the spring term the nation's school children took part in the RSPB's Big Schools Birdwatch. The survey of birds in school grounds saw over 670 school children in Merseyside spend an hour in nature counting the birds. The magpie was top of the Big Schools Birdwatch rankings with one being spotted in over 80% of schools in the county.
For a full round up of all the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch results and to see which birds were visiting gardens where you live, visit

Rank Species

1 House sparrow
2 Starling
3 Blackbird
4 Woodpigeon
5 Goldfinch
6 Blue tit
7 Magpie
8 Robin
9 Great tit
10 Feral Pigeon

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

RSPB Bowland walks

RSPB Bowland walks

Moorland Safari 2018

Join us for a spectacular walk... along one of the Forest of Bowland's most stunning valleys. Take this opportunity to learn more about the international importance of the area for birds of prey and the rare upland habitat they call home during the spring and summer.

Birds to look out for include the ring ouzel, a regular breeder in the valley, our smallest bird of prey, the merlin and, if you're lucky, you may be rewarded with a sighting of England's rarest bird of prey, and emblem of the AONB, the hen harrier.

Tickets: £5 per person payable in advance

Available from RSPB Call: 01524 581001


Dates: April 14th, April 28th, May 12th and 16th June

Situated between the South Pennines and the Lake District, in the heart of Lancashire, Bowland is a rugged, diverse and expansive upland landscape of heather moorland, blanket bog, farmland and wooded valleys. Bowland is officially recognised as one of Europe's most important places for wildlife and is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The upland plateau is traditionally the stronghold for hen harriers, England's most threatened birds of prey, while much of the farmland provides vital homes for breeding waders, such as lapwings and curlews.

Read more -

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Mini Merseyside Big garden birdwatch count

Mini Merseyside Big garden birdwatch count

Once again we have undertaken a mini Merseyside birdwatch count:- 18 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 the count to three days, perhaps it did the trick?

Column listing - Species, No's of gardens seen in, TOTAL No's of birds seen, RANK
By no's seen, RANK By gardens found in, Red Amber Green listing

BLACKBIRD 16 36 4 1st
WREN 5 5 15 8
BLUE TIT 15 29 5 2j
GREAT TIT 12 21 8 4
COAL TIT 5 7 14 8
ROBIN 15 20 9j 2j
BLACKCAP 2 4 16 11j
STARLING 9 44 3 6 R
DUNNOCK 10 15 11 5j A
HOUSE SPARROW 10 60 2 5j R
WOOD PIGEON 13 20 9j 3
COLLARED DOVE 10 17 10j 5j
GOLDFINCH 9 97 1st 6
CHAFFINCH 10 28 6 5j
GREENFINCH 4 17 10j 9
JAY 1 1 19j 12
JACKDAW 2 3 17j 11
MAGPIE 10 14 12 5j
CROW 3 3 17j 10j
GOLDCREST 3 3 17j 10j
NUTHATCH 2 2 18j 11
SONG THRUSH 1 1 19j 12j R
GREY WAGTAIL 3 4 16j 10j R
SPARROWHAWK 2 2 18j 11j
GREY HERON 1 1 19j 12j
LESSER REDPOLL 1 1 19j 12j R
PHEASANT 1 1 19j 12j
MISTLE THRUSH 1 2 18j 12j R

GREY SQUIRRELS 2 households, 4 individuals HEDGEHOGS 0 households, 0 individuals


Last year's results:

For those of you who have enjoyed taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch and would like to record more, please consider joining the BTO Garden BirdWatch , this will involve you recording your birds every week and uploading them to the BTO website. The count includes other nature sightings such as insects & mammals and also records the type of food you put out, more recently they have included your sightings of diseased & dead specimens.

Many thanks to all those who took part in my little survey, I hope you find it of interest. Please free to add your comments and observations, on our blog.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

RSPB Local Group Volunteering - Get involved

RSPB Local Group Volunteering - Get involved

What volunteering can do for you, and what you can give back --- A volunteers blog- Sarah

'As soon as I walked in to my first meeting, I immediately thought that this was something that needed to be shared with a wider audience. The group holds some fascinating talks and walks and I knew a lot more people would be interested in attending if they knew what was happening.'

Sarah took on responsibility for creating and updating social media pages on Facebook and Twitter for the Norwich local group. She also creates posters to advertise upcoming talks to try and attract as diverse an audience as possible.

'I knew quite a lot about social media before I joined the committee and have been supported in my role by the Eastern England regional office,' explains Sarah. 'It's always exciting when a new face walks through the door at one of our meetings because they've seen one of our posters or visited our Facebook page. It's good to know that, however small, my role is having an impact on the numbers attending our meetings and, hopefully, the numbers joining the group.'

Sarah knows a thing or two about communicating with new audiences, for as well as her role at the RSPB group, she also writes a regular blog, A Wild Life in Norfolk. Reporting and reflecting on nature sightings in her local area, Sarah's blog has been so successful that she was awarded the BBC's prestigious Wildlife Blogger Award in 2015. 'It was a great honour to win such a prize for doing something I love,' she smiles.

Sarah spends one to two hours a week in her RSPB social media role and is also a physics teacher at a secondary school. 'That's one of the reasons I do this role. I feel a responsibility to get younger people involved in conservation and volunteering.

'My advice to anyone considering getting involved is to do it. Local groups desperately need a wide range of people to take on roles likes fundraiser, treasurer and communications. If you've got a skill to offer, you shouldn't be scared to speak to people. It's only one or two hours a week. My group is very friendly and welcoming and they make my contribution feel worthwhile.'

Find out about Local Group Vacancies here :

**The Liverpool RSPB Local Group has been running for over 45 years. It is a dynamic group with an increasing membership. The Local Group is a great place to meet friendly, like minded people whilst learning more about birds and wildlife. Whether you are a novice or an expert everyone is given a warm welcome.
However as everything in nature needs to change to keep evolving, so does our group. The group is run by a committee of volunteers and we are always looking for enthusiastic, creative, and conscientious people to join our committee to help us continue to develop the group to move forward for another 45 years.

Why not ask our group leader Chris Tynan or other Committee member about current unfilled/becoming available committee roles and what's involved.

Sunday, 4 March 2018



RSPB Liverpool's facebook page is now up and running... @rspbliverpoolgroup