News archive

August 2021

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

It all starts somewhere...

It all starts somewhere...

Ordinarily, late August would see many of us converging on Rutland for the Birdfair. Of course, the last two years have been anything but ordinary and, for the second year running, Birdfair has been cancelled. The event was many things to many people - but for me, and plenty of others I'm sure, it was primarily a social event. It would, being my first Birdfair as Editor, have given me chance to meet subscribers and contributors, many for the first time. It would also have given opportunity to meet up with folk from back home in Liverpool who, since I've moved away, I rarely get to catch up with any other time. Many of these individuals - such as members of the RSPB Liverpool local group and Merseyside Ringing Group - were instrumental in setting me on the birding path that led to where I am today, and it's always fun to recall tales of 'that time when I... [insert something that an over-enthusiastic 11-year-old might do]'.

Last week, I spent four mornings running a ringing course at Falsterbo for eight youngsters aged 16-24. Some had ringed before, others knew just a handful of garden birds and nothing more, but all had an appetite and an enthusiasm to learn. This group, it has to be said, picked things up particularly quickly - but in previous years, most of the 'picking up' during the first few days of the course was of dropped rings from the floor. That's ok, though, and it's a point we tried to stress to the participants: everyone has to start at some point, and they were here to learn the basics. Getting back to the basics can sometimes be hard - for those of us who know because we 'just know', explaining why a Tree Pipit isn't a Spotted Flycatcher can be challenging. It's knowledge that, sometimes, we forget others have yet to learn. When I think back to my own youth, I'm forever grateful to those who took the time to teach me such things (and more). Now, I feel like I can give some of that knowledge back and, hopefully, start the cycle all over again.

Stephen Menzie , RSPB Liverpool Member and British Birds Editor

Monday, 23 August 2021

Well done Emily

Well done Emily

Cherry's eight year old granddaughter Emily, a pupil from Brampton Primary School near Carlisle, has just won a prize for an amazing pic she did of a hen harrier. The competition was to name four rare hen harrier chicks and draw a picture. Her prize is a trip for 6 people to a badger hide on a RSPB reserve.

Competition winner Emily chose to call the chicks Indiana, Twilight, Wilbur and Turbo.

Richard Clark, Head Teacher at Brampton Primary School, said: "Being involved in the competition to name such great birds was a fantastic opportunity for our children. We live in an outstanding area of natural beauty full of amazing wildlife and anything that highlights that is a real positive. It was really difficult to choose a winner from the fantastic entries, with so many brilliant pictures and interesting names for the chicks".

The hen harrier chicks have now been ringed and satellite tagged, so conservationists and the school children can monitor their progress and follow the chicks through their travels.
The four rare hen harrier chicks are the first to successfully fledge from a nest on the RSPB's Geltsdale reserve since 2016.
Hen harriers were once found breeding across upland and lowland Britain, including Cumbria.
In the 1830's, hen harriers were almost extinct in England due to raptor persecution, which was finally made illegal in 1954