News archive

June 2018

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

RSPB Chester Group secures grant for swift conservation

RSPB Chester Group secures grant for swift conservation

RSPB Chester Group is pleased to announce that we have just secured funding from The Naturesave Trust to support swift conservation in target areas within the city of Chester. This will help us to increase the availability of suitable nest sites around Chester by offering subsidized box installations in areas near existing swift colonies. The Naturesave Trust, a registered charity, was founded in 1995 by Naturesave Insurance of Totnes in Devon to fund environmental and conservation projects in the UK.

RSPB Chester Group started the Chester Swift Conservation Project three years ago to raise awareness of the alarming fall in breeding swift numbers in the UK. Working with partners including Chester Zoo Wildlife Connections, Cheshire Wildlife Trust, rECOrd, and CWAC, the Project's survey work in Chester in 2016 and 2017 confirmed a fall in breeding swift numbers of 46% since 1995, mirroring the statistics nationally. The reasons for the fall are complex but part of the problem is the renovation of old buildings and construction of new developments, which do not provide suitable sites for nests.

Project members have already talked to schools and community groups about the possibility of installing artificial nest sites (boxes and bricks) on suitable buildings. Last year, the Queens School put four swift boxes up near existing natural nest sites on it buildings near the city walls and installed a mini-amplifier to play attraction calls. Discussions with the University of Chester and a local social housing company aimed at installing swift boxes and bricks into new-build developments are at an advanced stage. The Project recently organised two swift walks in June 2018 in Hoole and Great Sutton, as part of the first-ever UK Swift Awareness Week.

If you or someone you know would be interested in having a swift box installed on your home, we would be very happy to provide more details. Please get in touch with us at

Thursday, 14 June 2018

2018 UK Swift Awareness Week

2018 UK Swift Awareness Week

Swift Awareness Week will run from 16 - 23 June. There will be events and publicity all around the country, organised by dozens of local swift groups. These events aim to raise awareness of swifts; bringing a focus to their plight and to provide information about how to help them. The swift is one of the few endangered species that individuals can help in their own property. There are numerous groups across the country working hard to try to halt their dramatic decline of 50% in just 20 years.

The RSPB Chester Group has been helping to raise awareness of swifts over the last three years. We are holding two 'swift walks'

17 June, 8.00 pm, in Hoole, CH2 3AZ
21 June, 8.00 pm, in Great Sutton, CH66 3NZ

Please email or phone the leader to book your place and for details of the meeting point.
Booking is essential via or phoning 01829 782 237

See our events tab for more details

Friday, 1 June 2018

Avocet wading in water

Leighton Moss Coach trip - Book now

Not long till this trip, so BOOK NOW to avoid disappointment. There are still spaces but the coach is steadily filling.

This reserve has had a major makeover since our last group visit, including adding extra islands to some lagoons, already bringing in more waders. Plenty of Cetti's warblers and avocets, bearded tits, dragonflies, and you may glimpse the otters and deer.

Recent sightings and seasonal highlights are available at the link given.

Setting off at 8am, we hope to reach the reserve at 10 - 10.30, which gives us a good visit before we set off for home at 4.30pm. Plenty of time to see the birds and also visit the café for a warming drink and maybe some food. There is also a good shop to browse, or maybe buy new binoculars or scope.

Leighton Moss boasts the largest reed bed in north-west England and is home to a wide range of spectacular wildlife including otters, bearded tits, marsh harriers, egrets and red deer. See for yourself! Visit the hides, explore the trails and enjoy amazing views from the Sky Tower.

Most of the hides have been rebuilt, with large picture windows, and more comfort. Most areas and hides are now wheelchair accessible. The café is upstairs but there is a stair lift on the back stairs.

See the event listing for more information.