You will find out about all the exciting stuff going on with the RSPB in the east of the UK. We cover our sites in the following counties: Norfolk, Suffolk, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, and some of our great Lincolnshire ones. So if you are if you have never heard of the Strumpshaws and Snettishams or Stour Estuary or Sutton Fens here is you chance.
Blogger: Murray Brown, RSPB Volunteer Project Coordinator
The RSPB's St Albans 'Date With Nature' got off to a flying start last weekend. The project aims to show people the nesting grey herons on the island in the lake and some of the other wildlife that calls the park home. Despite the weather being somewhat "British" on Saturday, RSPB volunteers and staff were out there with a throng of nearly 100 visitors watching the spectacle. We were delighted that this crowd had risen to well over 300 on Sunday!
Why not take a leaf out of the heron's book during this wintery weather and get active? There is plenty of activity at the heronry, with birds rebuilding last year's nests, displaying and courting. One pair evidently started proceedings early in January as they already have chicks in the nest! Although this seems early, the Herons' breeding activity has been relatively late in the last couple of years due to prolonged winter cold spells. The current estimate for the number of occupied nests stands at...drum roll... 14.
If these splendid herons with their lofty stature are not your thing then there are plenty of other birds that are winter visitors to the park on the lake, including large numbers of black-headed gulls, drake pochards and tufted ducks, who are looking especially handsome. If you have never seen a shoveler, with their comedy beaks then you could have seen the three amigos seen around the north island. A cormorant was at the lake on Saturday and resident green and great spotted woodpeckers were both recorded over the weekend. The local sparrowhawks are providing a bit of excitement every now and then and a kestrel treated visitors to a flyover on Sunday.
Thanks to our lovely volunteers, some telescopes and binoculars and fun activities - you can really take a sneaky peak into this world of long legged beauties.
Blogger: Helen Leach, Receptionist (Eastern Regional Office).
Every week I pop along to my yoga class hoping to relieve myself of life’s stresses and achieve that, sometimes seemingly elusive, state of total relaxation and connect with myself again.
Last week the class started as normal talking about our focus for the session and then after over an hour of bending, twisting and inverting my body into what looked like impossible positions for a human body to get into, the time came to be still, meditate on the present moment and capture that feeling of complete contentment in the here and now. As we settled down pulling on socks and blankets to keep in the new warm energy, our teacher slowly turned up the relaxation music with the sound of waves lapping against the shore and bird song calling over it.
As I lay there my mind slowly became transfixed on the soothing sounds with no outside thoughts entering to interrupt it. I was so absorbed that I felt quite perturbed when the time came to bring my awareness back to the room and how my body was feeling.
The following weekend I was walking through my local park when I was struck by the stunning sound of birds singing in the trees and immediately the same feeling of inner calm, freedom, and contentment washed over me as if I’d just done over an hour of yoga all over again. I stood there relishing in the moment with dog walkers and cyclists moving past me in slow motion, holding onto the sensations for as long as I could.
In life we experience numerous types of connections and associations with people, music, books, sentimental trinkets; the list can go on forever. Now every time I hear a bird song I will be connected with those special feelings that bring true contentment to my life and the best thing is I can get that every time I walk outside my front door. The best things in life really are free!
Credit: Chris Gomersall (rspb-images.com)
Blogger: Jon Reeves, Site Manager for the Ouse Washes
The ideal conditions on the Ouse Washes last week, which resulted in fantastic birding opportunities, are now a memory. High tides coupled with rainfall in the catchment area has resulted in a rising flood which is now bank to bank and making bird watching more of a challenge. Farmland birds can be viewed from the visitor centre are continuing to delight, with often over 100 birds feeding in close proximity at any one time, these include, tree sparrow, house sparrow, reed bunting, yellow hammer, brambling, gold finch, green finch and chaffinch.
For more information about our reserves find us at www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/
Credit: Adam Murray - RSPB