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.
It’s pretty hard to see things in the dark, and that’s most probably why some of our incredible night time wildlife goes unnoticed as it hops, snuffles and flaps around our neighbourhoods.
I love to snuggle up cosily of an evening. As dusk empties our skies of colour, blue fading slowly to black, I can invariably be found closing curtains, shutting blinds and allowing the cheerful glow of lamps and fairy lights to illuminate my evening.
I only realised quite how much I was missing by shutting out the darkness when one evening I left a window open and my curtains ajar. As I brushed my teeth I was enchanted by a pale lemon yellow creature, delicately positioned on my bathroom wall, pointed wings fully extended. After a bit of research I discovered I’d been lucky enough to have welcomed a swallowtail moth into my home. Like a beautiful beacon for night time wildlife, this wondrous beast ushered in thoughts of the incredible wild world going about its business right outside my windows every evening.
Now, I try to keep my eyes and ears open for the sights and sounds of wildlife as I make my way through the neighbourhood as night falls. Even in my city location, bats swoop, owls hoot and foxes forage. The other evening I almost tripped over a hedgehog as it scurried quickly across the road in search of a juicy slug filled dinner or perhaps a bed for the night. And now I know that the small grey nuisances that chomp holes in all of my clothes give moths a bad name, there are actually beauties all the colours of the rainbow out and about feeding in moonlit gardens every night – what a lovely thought!
As the summer holiday’s get in full swing and alarm clocks are resigned to the bottom drawer until next term, there is no better time to immerse your family in the wonderful world of nocturnal nature. This July, the RSPB are hoping to encourage 100,000 adults and children across the UK get closer to wildlife by spending a night out under the stars during our Big Wild Sleep Out event.
There’s something special about spending a night under canvas. For us adults, it provides a much needed tonic from our busy, electronic lives (yes, be brave, leave that mobile phone indoors!) and for children, well, camping is just magic isn’t it? The idea of staying up late, hunting for nocturnal beasties and spending the night in what is essentially a homemade den is about as exciting as it gets for a summer holiday adventure! Think Swallows and Amazons, the Famous Five and Huckleberry Finn, camping out is a rite of passage for all youngsters, the first taste of life outside the family home and the perfect time to ignite a passion for wildlife that will burn as bright as the campfire throughout adulthood.
So, whether you are hungry to spot a hedgehog, barmy about bats or like me, you love to marvel at moths, swapping your home for nature’s home this July will be an unforgettable adventure which will give your family even more reason to love nature. Happy camping!
Register now for the RSPB’s Big Wild Sleep Out - 29-30 July
In preparation for your big night the RSPB are providing activity packs with loads of ingenious ideas and tips to make your wild night under the stars one to remember.
Register to take part in the Big Wild Sleepout out and download your free Night-time Passport!
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.
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