Site Manager and media star Michael Copelston was interviewed on BBC Radio Nottingham on this morning's Frances Finn show.
Michael, along with Lincoln University students Katie, Laura and Matt, appeared on the show to talk about six new podcasts that the students recorded and produced, that will soon be available to listen to on our web page.
The interview can be found on the BBC Radio Nottingham website under 'listen again' and the Frances Finn show. The interview starts at 2 hours and 13 minutes into the programme.
The RSPB will have a stand at the Gainsborough Riverside Festival again this year, so if you'd like to speak to us about Beckingham Marshes, we'll be on stand 29.
I believe the weather forecast for the weekend is good, which will make a pleasant change after very strong winds in 2011 and wind and rain last year!
UK nature is in trouble – that is the conclusion of a groundbreaking report published today by a coalition of leading conservation and research organisations.
Scientists working side-by-side from 25 wildlife organisations have compiled a stock take of our native species – the first of its kind in the UK. The report reveals that 60% of the species studied have declined over recent decades. More than one in ten of all the species assessed are under threat of disappearing from our shores altogether.
Erin McDaid, Communications Manager for Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust said: “Whilst our wildlife is clearly in trouble and needs help there are still things to be positive about and which can give us hope for the future. A great example is the return of the otter.
“After an absence of many decades we now have otters back at our Attenborough nature reserve and evidence of otters can be found on other wetland sites in the county. There are even glimmers of hope for threatened species such as the water vole which still have strongholds in Nottinghamshire such as along the River Idle.”
RSPB Beckingham Marshes is another success story in the making, a partnership project recreating 90 hectares of wet grassland on former arable land near the River Trent. This now rare habitat in Nottinghamshire is home to lapwings, water voles, smooth newts and dragonflies.
The incredibly special site lies within an area known as Trent Vale where the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and the Canal and Rivers Trust work with other partners, including Natural England, Environment Agency, RSPB and local communities.
Carl Cornish, spokesperson for the RSPB says: “It’s a uplifting feeling for me to walk through the entrance gate at Beckingham Marshes and step back in time to a lost landscape. The reserve has put back the a habitat that was once a common feature of the Trent Valley landscape – grazing cattle, singing skylarks, tumbling lapwings, dashing hares, the flash of a dragonfly – magical.”
The State of Nature report will be launched by Sir David Attenborough and UK conservation charities at the Natural History Museum in London this evening (Wednesday, May 22), while simultaneous events will be held in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.
Sir David Attenborough said: “This groundbreaking report shows that our species are in trouble, with many declining at a worrying rate. However, we have in this country a network of passionate conservation groups supported by millions of people who love wildlife. The experts have come together today to highlight the amazing nature we have around us and to ensure that it remains here for generations to come.”
Dr Mark Eaton, a lead author on the report, said: “This report reveals that the UK’s nature is in trouble - overall we are losing wildlife at an alarming rate.
“These declines are happening across all countries and UK Overseas Territories, habitats and species groups, although it is probably greatest amongst insects, such as our moths, butterflies and beetles. Other once common species like the lesser spotted woodpecker, barbastelle bat and hedgehog are vanishing before our eyes.
“Reliable data on these species goes back just fifty years, at most, but we know that there has been a historical pattern of loss in the UK going back even further. Threats including sweeping habitat loss, changes to the way we manage our countryside, and the more recent impact of climate change, have had a major impact on our wildlife, and they are not going away.
“None of this work would have been possible without the army of volunteer wildlife enthusiasts who spend their spare time surveying species and recording their findings. Our knowledge of nature in the UK would be significantly poorer without these unsung heroes. And that knowledge is the most essential tool that conservationists have.”
I visited Beckingham Primary School this Tuesday and ran a session with each of the four classes. The children carried out a 'Bird Friendly Schools' survey of the garden that they will help to develop and then made some pine cone feeders for the birds that they hope to attract there.
They are currently learning all about birds and other wildlife at school and some of them have been busy building some very nicely decorated nest boxes. The image below shows some of the fruits of their labours.
When The Old Willow Works was restored in 2011, RSPB volunteer and Beckingham History Group member Chris duFeu, thought that it would be a good idea to provide nest boxes for the barn owls that had previously bred in the building . Therefore, the talents of local builder Michael Rennison were employed to build and install the boxes - one at either end of the building.
I've never been lucky enough to see barn owls in the Beckingham area. However, Chris assured me that they were around, as he had recently found numerous owl pellets when inspecting one of the boxes.
Motion-sensitive cameras were installed in the boxes earlier this year and connected to a plasma screen in the Willow Works conference room. The first time that I turned them on revealed only a lonely stock dove in one of the them. However, when I turned them on again this week, I was amazed to see two barn owls roosting in one of them, along with the aforementioned stock dove!
The image below is just a record shot taken with my phone, but we will have better images recorded using the nestbox camera to follow.