News archive

May 2014

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Black-winged stilt in Kent and Sussex

Black-winged stilt in Kent and Sussex

Two rare black-winged stilts are nesting on the RSPB's new reserve at Medmerry in West Sussex. The long-legged wader has only bred successfully twice in the UK - the last time nearly 30 years ago - and the last breeding attempt was on the Somerset Levels last year.

It is thought that a dry spell in southern Spain has displaced the birds to southern Britain. And it is believed that a changing climate may bring these birds more regularly in future.

Black-winged stilts are large black and white waders with long reddish pink legs, usually found in the Mediterranean. They nest in wetland and feed on insects which they pick from the surface of the water or forage for in shallow mud.

The RSPB has set up a 24-hour watch on the nest with local volunteers to give the birds the best chance of producing young and to protect them from egg collectors.

The stilts' presence is a tribute to the wetland conditions at Medmerry, the largest open-coast managed realignment scheme in Europe, and the RSPB's newest reserve.

A pair of black-winged stilts is also breeding on an island on the RSPB's North Kent marshes reserve at Cliffe Pools. The pair is nesting and is also the subject of a 24-hour watch organised by the RSPB to protect the eggs and young.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Big Wild Sleepout

Join in. Sleep out.

The Big Wild Sleepout is all about spending a night in nature's home to raise money and help save our wildlife.

Join family or friends for a fun sleepout in your back garden or at your local RSPB reserve. Put up a tent, make a shelter or sleep under the stars and discover a whole world of wildlife on your doorstep. Get the barbecue on or bake some delicious goodies then pass round your donation box and raise some money.

Sign up today for your free fundraising pack! It's crammed full of useful hints and tips so you can get the most from your Sleepout. What's more, if you raise the most money through a JustGiving page you'll win £500-worth of Blacks camping goodies.

The Big Wild Sleepout is your chance to spend a night in nature's home - be it in your back garden or even on one of our reserves, join in and have some fun with your friends and family.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Legoland wildlife garden

Legoland wildlife garden

Legoland unveils its own wildlife garden, with a little help from the RSPB.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Don't frack nature's home

Don't frack nature's home

Steven Roddy, Head of Parliamentary Campaigns, writes:

Despite the UK Government's best efforts to win over our hearts and minds we, like many other organisations, individuals and communities, remain unconvinced that the proposed benefits of fracking for shale gas outweigh the potential risks.

We are genuinely concerned about the possible impacts on our countryside. The Government's own environmental report fails to answer serious questions about the effects expansion of the shale gas industry might have on our wildlife, climate and environment. But in spite of this, and the risks to our legally-binding climate change targets, the Government is pushing ahead this year with plans to offer two thirds of Great Britain up for licensing bids from the industry.

The fact that even protected sites, our natural treasures, will be included in this licensing round is very worrying indeed.

Alongside safeguarding vulnerable habitats and providing a home for our most important wildlife, protected areas are important for our health and wellbeing, giving us space to breath and connect with the natural world.

We are calling on the Government to rule out all protected areas from the upcoming licensing round.

Please ask the Government to keep nature's home safe from fracking by using the link to email them.

Thank you for all your support, together we can make a difference.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

News from the RSPB's Weald reserves, Broadwater Warren and Tudeley Woods.

News from the RSPB's Weald reserves, Broadwater Warren and Tudeley Woods.

The reserves have just had their best ever 12 months for volunteering. In the past year volunteers have contributed 5,207 hours at our 2 main reserves and 4 smaller reserves. A HUGE THANK YOU to all our volunteers for everything they contribute to the RSPB and Saving Nature. More volunteers are always welcome. Contact alan.loweth@rspb.org.uk to find out about the opportunities to get involved.

The Exmoor Ponies have returned to Broadwater Warren for the summer. They are now in the 150 acre area between the visitor car park and the A26. Later in the season they'll be moved over to the Groombridge side of the reserve.

Tree pipits have been very vocal at Broadwater Warren. This charismatic bird has a very distinctive parachuting flight from up high to the ground. It's fluting song can currently be heard every day at Broadwater and numbers are the highest since the RSPB acquired the site. This is especially important because tree pipits are Red Listed as a species of highest conservation concern.

A cuckoo has been heard calling on the western side of Broadwater. There is also a second cuckoo just north of the reserve in the privately owned woodland.

Woodlarks are still singing, announcing their territories. Dunnocks (the hedge sparrow) have got off to an excellent start this year and are doing well at both Broadwater and Tudeley. Linnets are singing their scratchy, chattery song and chiffchaffs are announcing their name from the scrub. Willow warbler, whitethroat and garden warbler have also been heard in the last couple of days.

Join one our May guided bird walks to hear and see some of these lovely birds. Details are listed on the Broadwater Warren site.

Finally, I would personally like to say thank you and good bye to everyone receiving this email. I am leaving my role as Weald Sites manager on Friday 2nd May, to take up another conservation post, doing similar work for Trees for Life, based in the Highlands. I've hugely enjoyed working on these amazing reserves and I'm thankful for all the lovely, supportive (and hard-working) people I've had the pleasure to meet. I'm sad that I'm leaving Broadwater Warren just as all the hard work is starting to produce amazing results, but I will look forward to returning when work allows, to see the nature reserve taking shape and enjoy the wildlife that makes Broadwater home.