Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Reeds at sunset, Strumpshaw Fen

###### Update on the Group's activities ######

In my earlier update I indicated to you that RSPB HQ were, in October, reviewing their position with regards to Local Group activities and once I had heard from them I would be in contact with you.

Well, that review has taken place and I have received updated advice from them. Unfortunately, it doesn't really take us much further. I can confirm that HQ indicated that whilst their advice that INDOOR meetings could not take place remains the same, they would allow outdoor meetings SUBJECT to local / national restrictions being adhered to. Sadly, just as myself and the Committee were considering this updated advice, the country was placed in a national lockdown until, at least, early December.

Even if such a national lockdown had not been issued, it was our view that under Tier 3 category (which Wirral had been placed into) it would not be possible to hold an organised outdoor meeting. Even if we came under the more lenient Tier 1 or 2, we would be limited by "the rule of six" and, again, the Committee felt that this would prevent a meaningful outdoor meeting taking place. It is likely that once the national lockdown is lifted, areas of England will be placed into one of the "Tiers" detailed above and so, sadly, I feel it will be some time before outdoor meetings can take place despite the change in HQ's advice.

I know that you will be, like myself and the other committee members, hugely disappointed by this but as I have said before, your health and safety are our over-riding concern. I will keep you updated as things progress.

The RSPB have, on their website, a number of nature related activities for autumn which will help keep you occupied through the day. They update these regularly and so hopefully there will be something to suit everyone.

It has been nice to "bump into" many members when I have been out birdwatching on Wirral and I think many, like me, use birding as a means of helping get through these uncertain times. I know that some are feeling the strain more than others, so if you want somebody to talk to please do not hesitate to give me a call.

On a "non-COVID"note, I am pleased to report that the work on the new hide at Burton Mere is progressing well and should be completed in the next few weeks. You will no doubt recall that the Local Group played a vital role in raising the £95,000 needed to fund this work. Whilst volunteering at Burton Mere I have been heartened to hear visitors praising the update work being carried out at the reserve. You should be proud of the role you, and the Group as a whole, have played in this very important project.

I will keep you informed of any material changes but in the meantime, please keep safe and well.

Group Leader