Bugs, Birds and Beasts in the East

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Bugs, Birds and Beasts in the East

All of our up to date fun and frolics in the East from office antics to great conservation stories and those magical connections with nature.
  • Springwatch: The stars come out and the drama begins!

    Author: Rachael Murray, RSPB Communications Officer

    The first ever BBC Springwatch was beamed live into our living rooms back in 2005. 11 years later and it is stronger than ever, showing us the trials and tribulations of UK wildlife in high definition.

    We’ve been really excited to welcome the BBC back with their cameras, cables and technological wizardry to once again shine a spotlight on some of the amazing wildlife that we create a home for at Minsmere.

    From bitterns to badgers, avocets to adders, at this time of year the reserve is bursting with life – and we're just beginning to see the stars of the show emerging this series.  There's already been quite a bit of drama! Will our stone curlew chick hatch successfully?  Where is Fat Dad, the male great tit, nesting with his family in alarming proximity to our sparrowhawk? And will our avocet family out on the scrape survive the torrential rain and hungry black headed gulls? 


    Picture: Glenn Dearing


    We've already got some strong contenders for 'star of the show', but if there is one thing that Springwatch has taught me, it’s that if you look closely, absolutely all wildlife can capture the imagination and ignite a passion for the natural. Who would have predicted this time last year that a humble stickleback would hog the airtime?!

    We hope that you enjoy the series, and moreover, that you are inspired to embark upon your own Springwatch experiences this year. Whether you head to you local nature reserve, or just pop outdoors to see what creatures are making a home in your garden, you too can find a wildlife star on your doorstep!

    To get stuck into the drama, tune in to BBC 2, 6.30pm and 8pm, Monday - Thursday.

    If you’d like to plan your own Springwatch experience at Minsmere, visit www.rspb.org.uk/minsmere, or to have a live encounter with the wildlife of Springwatch at a nature reserve near you, visit www.rspb.org.uk/reserves.


  • Migratory birds offered 'service stations' for their epic journey!

    Author: Sarah Osborn

    Sunday the 8th May was World Migratory Bird Day, an annual celebration highlighting the beauty and wonder of migratory species, as well as the unique challenges we face in protecting them.

    As the old saying goes, ‘one swallow does not make a summer’, however for me, the first sighting of summer migrants in our skies is always exciting. I draw hope from the birds’ regular annual arrival, even if the weather remains unpredictable!

     As I watch the acrobatic flight of my local swallows when they arrive each year, it is easy to forget just how amazing migration is.

    Migrating birds can travel several thousands of miles to spend different seasons in different parts of the world.  For some young birds this means finding their way to places they have never been to before. For others, it involves the ability to navigate across continents to exactly the same spot, often the very same nest, year after year. Pretty amazing don’t you think?

    As conservationists, this means that we need to ensure that migratory birds have a safe place to live and abundant food in both their summer and winter destinations.  And as the migratory journey itself is often long and arduous, we also need to make sure the birds have a safe place to rest and refuel on route between seasonal destinations. It’s a bit like the bird equivalent of our motorway journeys with those longed for service station breaks!

    The successful conservation of these international travellers requires an international response. This is why the RSPB is a partner in BirdLife International, a global partnership of independent organisations who aim to protect our migratory species in their seasonal homes and ‘service stations’ around the globe.

    Swift. Credit: Alain Georgy (RSPB)

    This is a great time of year to watch wildlife. As well as the swifts, swallows and house martins you will begin to see moving into your neighbourhoods, there are a great many other fascinating species settling in for the summer, or just popping in for a spot of food and a rest before carrying on to their final destination.

    Whatever the weather and your plans for the forthcoming weekend, why not head outdoors and take some time to enjoy our new arrivals?

    To find out more about the RSPB in Cambridgeshire visit www.rspb.org.uk

    Keep in touch: www.facebook.com/rspbcambs

  • black Tailed Godwit is a bit of a beauty

    Author: David White, Visitor Experience Officer, Lakenham Fen

    Here in Cambridgeshire and the surrounding Fens we are lucky enough to provide a home to a wide variety of rare nesting birds. Thanks to fantastic conservation work across the county, our reedbeds are famed for their bitterns, marsh harriers and bearded tits; the UK’s fast disappearing turtle dove population continues to hang on thanks to wildlife friendly arable farming in the area; and did you know that Cambridgeshire’s wetlands also provide a lifeline to another special bird?


    At this time of year, black-tailed godwits are looking their best with a brick red breast, mottled back and a long, mostly orange beak. Around 46 pairs of the limosa race of this species nest at RSPB Nene Washes each year and whilst that probably doesn’t sound like many, this handful of birds are an astounding 90% of the British breeding population.  


    Black tailed-godwits are a picky bunch, and will only nest in a habitat called ‘wet grassland’ (it does what it says on the tin!), which is a rare and threatened habitat in Britain.

    Black-tailed godwits in flight. Credit: Chris Gomersall (RSPB)


    This species first nested in Britain at RSPB Ouse Washes in 1952, and the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire have since been creating new areas of wet grassland to encourage this species to nest in the area once again.


    To make our small black-tailed godwit population feel more at home in the county, the RSPB is currently restoring a 260 hectare area of wet grassland known as March Farmers which sits right next to Nene Washes nature reserve. This is the largest wet grassland restoration project in Britain, making Cambridgeshire the centre of the conservation of one of the UK’s rarest breeding birds! We are hoping that our work at March Farmers will nearly double the UK population of black-tailed godwits in the coming years.

    Although the black tailed godwit is not necessarily the most well known nesting bird in the area, it is a very important part of our local wildlife and a bit of a beauty to boot! Why not head over to RSPB Nene Washes to try to see one of these scarce and beautiful birds for yourself?

    For more information about RSPB Nene Washes and to plan a visit: www.rspb.org.uk/nenewashes.

    Keep in touch: www.facebook.com/rspbcambs