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: Adam Murray, Communications Officer
The RSPB currently has 52 Facebook accounts which include regional, reserve, country, volunteering, online shop and national pages.
This lack of consistency is confusing. It makes it difficult for good people to find what they’re looking for and for.
It is not practical for every reserve to have its own account, as we are lucky enough to have over 200 nature reserves (38 of which are in the East of England) and as such we need to have a number of pages that makes sense to everyone.
So over the next few weeks or so we are in the process of having a bit of a Social Media Spring Clean (OK call it an autumn clean). Some existing pages will be closing, some being renamed and some newbies on the horizon. So watch this space and get migrating.
The revised structure that follows loosely replicates the BBC's regional broadcast media structure:
RSPB Love Nature
East of England
RSPB Three Counties
See you soon Facebookers.
Photo Credit: Migrating turtle dove by Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)
Blogger: Adam Murray, Communication Officer
You may find yourself humming the classic Christmas line about a partridge in a pear tree this festive season, but pear trees can be a great gift for all sorts of other wildlife too.
We are encouraging people to think about planting pear trees now, to benefit birds and other garden wildlife in the future.
At the time when most of us are thinking about all the chocolates and mince pies we have been eating, why not think about a healthy, fruity start to the New Year for our wild garden visitors.
In early spring, pear flowers are brilliant food sources for hungry honeybees, solitary bees and bumblebees. Providing sources of nectar and pollen early in the season can really help these insects. During summer and autumn birds like thrushes and blackbirds will benefit from the fruit as windfall. The foliage is nibbled by many caterpillars, which later turn into beautiful moths. The adult moths are great food for bats.
Adrian Thomas, wildlife gardening expert from the RSPB says, “What I REALLY like about pear trees is that they are good for us and wildlife – they look great in blossom; the pears taste great, and wildlife can share the bounty.”
Kate Merry, Project Development Officer for Butterfly Conservation, said: “Pears and other fruit trees are fantastic feeding stations for our butterflies and moths. The caterpillars of a number of moths such as the Dark Arches and Vapourer moths feed on the foliage. In the autumn, Red Admiral butterflies can be seen drinking the juices from the fallen fermenting fruit.”
A well-planned garden can provide a mix of areas for wildlife by using plants of different shapes and sizes. This will provide wildlife with a variety of places in which to feed, shelter and nest. Planting a mixture of different trees and shrubs is a natural and sustainable way to provide year round food for wildlife.
The best time to plant trees and shrubs is right now. ‘Bare rooted trees’, those not in pots, are the cheapest ones to go for and are best planted before the end of December.
If you don’t have a huge garden and think a tree might take over, follow the example of many urban gardeners and train it alongside a wall. More and more urban allotments and community gardens are adopting this tactic as the best use of limited space.
The wildlife will still benefit, no matter what shape the tree ends up!
For more information on the RSPB’s Homes for Wildlife, please visit www.rspb.org.uk/hfw
Blogger: Erica Howe, Communications Manager
We reported on some rather shocking news this week. The hen harrier is the bird most likely to become extinct in England because of human pressure. I’ve only ever seen a hen harrier once; on a visit to RSPB Titchwell Marsh last Christmas. As I stood on the path i was freezing with the bitter wind blowing through my rather unsuitable, not-very-winterproof-coat! My eyes were watery with the cold and i was trying desperately to ignore the darkness that was starting to fall upon me. I spent ages scouring over the reedbeds for barn owls, stubbornly trying to catch a glimpse of my favourite bird. From the distance a pale, slow figure appeared from behind the silhouted trees. As it glided over the reedbeds trying to get some much-needed food before settling for the night, I realised that this was no barn owl. For no more than five minutes, I was privaledged enough to stand and watch a hen harrier. For those five minutes, the cold evaporated and the wind held its breath. It was a priceless experience.
Now, when i think back to that day at Titchwell, it puts my experience into a whole new light. The chances are, I won’t see another hen harrier in England. Certainly not in such unexpected circumstances. When i think about the significance of that cold afternoon it makes me so very sad. Wildlife numbers will fluctuate; we live in a fast-changing world and ups and downs will be a way of life. But, to drive a species to extinction is unforgivable.
Bird crime is mindless criminality, plain and simple. However, It will be a very real contribution to the demise of such a stunning creature. The hen harrier is just one species struggling for survival in a time when we are supposed to be putting our faith in the ‘greenest government ever’. Quite frankly, they are failing miserably. If the hen harrier disappears from England, we will witness the government breaking its recent commitment to avoid any human-induced extinctions before 2020.
Well George Osbourne should certainly be pleased with himself. In a season of goodwill and peace on earth, he has left a huge black cloud over the future of our environment. His recent attack on the habitat regulations was disappointing to say the least. It certainly won’t do birds like the hen harrier any favours.
I never thought that our environment and the wildlife that lives in it could change so dramatically in my lifetime. There will be birds that my grandchildren may never get to see. There will be habitats that are forever lost to development that my grandchildren may never get to walk amongst. Yes, it makes me very sad, but it also fills me with confidence to think that there is still something we can do about it. Visit www.rspb.org.uk to find out how.
Article in EDP on Saturday 17 December.
Photo by Andy Hay (rspb images)