... so i just thought you might like a little bit more information about what's going on at the reserve on Saturday the 30th of October.
At 11am and 2pm Steve Race, our Community and Education Officer, will lead a guided walk on the reserve. This walk will be centred on 'wild bird food' and Steve will be taking you on a route that shows off the best bushes, flowers and plants for our native birds and winter migrants. The walk will last around an hour and we advise a big, warm and waterproof jacket as well as sturdy shoes if you want to take part.
Outside the visitor centre there will be a bright green tent, inside of which you will be invited to create your very own bird treats. Staff and volunteers will be on hand to show you how to make yoghurt pot feeders and apple feeders, but be warned, this activity could get a little sticky!
Inside the visitor centre you'll be able to find a wide range of bird food and accessories, including buggy nibbles, suet balls, feeders and nest boxes. For a limited time only, you will also be able to save 20% on all 12.75kg sacks of bird feed. Buying one of these large bags is by far the most cost effective way to feed your garden birds this winter, and, as well as this, you know that buying feed from the RSPB means that great care has gone into sourcing and creating your product as ethically as possible.
If you venture up the short path to the bird feeding station you will be able to observe, and possibly even assist with, the creation of our winter wildlife refuge. Here we will be using old bamboo canes, bricks, palletts and tiles to create a safe haven for creatures such as ladybirds, frogs, hedgehogs, woodlice and spiders. Volunteers will also be on hand to give you advice on creating your very own bird friendly garden.
As if this wasn't enough, the ECO catering team will be on hand (in their usual position hext to the visitor centre) to provide you with hand warming soup and coffee as well as mouthwatering food and cake.
All activities and advice will be free of charge and, as usual, members are entitled to free car parking too. If that doesn't sound like a good day out i don''t know what does, so plan a trip up to Bempton Cliffs this weekend!
The Dell area on our reserve has been an excellent place to birdwatch over the last week or so. It has been relatively easy to spot species such as brambling, blackcap, goldcrest, siskin, redwing and wren, as well as the slightly more evasive bullfinch. The birds love the cover, protection from the elements and safety that the Dell provides them and they probably also like to stay just next door to the feeding station so that they can pop in for a quick snack when they feel like it. One such bird that likes to show its face at mealtimes is a great spotted woodpecker, which has been seen several times over the week.
In the warmth and dryness of the visitor centre and reserve office we've been planning a special event for these lovely little birds. On the 30th of October the RSPB holds 'Feed the Birds Day'. This day aims to make garden owners aware that birds need a little extra help at this time of year by providing activities and information sessions for people to take part in. This year our event will run from 10am to 3am and will include bird cake making, guided 'wild bird food' walks and various other activities. More information can be found here: http://www.rspb.org.uk/events/details.aspx?id=tcm:9-262559 or you can phone the team on 01262 851179.
Hope to see you there!
If you’ve got older brothers or sisters then you’ll understand how it feels when they get to do everything first. They’re the first to ride a bike, first to go to ‘big school’ and first to stay out past 8pm.
Imagine how you’ve feel though if they were the first to fly…
Most of the gannets on Staple Newk have grown up and left the nest now, taking their wobbly leaps of faith into the sky. Some however, are still sitting impatiently on the rock complaining to their parents that it’s not fair. We’re aware of three young gannets on our reserve that are yet to fledge. The noisy nursery ground that they were born into however, has now turned into a quiet cliff face.
One of these young gannet chicks was a successful second attempt by some very determined parents. Their first egg was seen to have rolled (purposefully or accidentally – we’re not sure) out of the nest and disappeared after a few weeks. We thought they would just write this year off as a bad experience and come back next year to try again but they surprised us by sitting on another egg so late in the season.
Our pleasure was mixed with worry as the new chick hatched just as the first of the older chicks were getting ready to fledge. Around the reserve the same thing was happening in a couple of other locations. Fortunately all three of the chicks have managed to survive the terrible wind and rain that buffeted our coastline a few weeks ago, as well as the bullying of older birds in nearby nests. We have high hopes that they will make it to fledging age and hope that we’ll be lucky enough to be around to see it when it happens.
One of the loveliest sights you can see here at Bempton at the moment is that of large groups or 'charms' of goldfinch congregating on plant seed heads. On the reserve itself we have swathes of thistle heads that these colourful little birds seem to love. Neighbouring the reserve (and bordered by a public footpath) there is also a large field full of a bird seed crop, which includes sunflowers and kale. If you’re lucky, you might see a charm of up to 20 goldfinches at a time flying up out of this field and along the cliff top. As well as this, they also like to perch on our birdfeeders and pose for the CCTV camera, which you can watch on the screen in the visitor centre. They really are beautiful, colourful birds and in my opinion they deserve a bit of recognition in the winter for being so bright and cheerful looking!
The collective term for a group of goldfinch really suits them don’t you think? A few months ago now a gentleman brought me in a list of the collective names for a wide range of birds that can be seen or heard on our reserve. These included ‘a nid of pheasants’, ‘a strop of razorbills’ and ‘a clattering of jackdaws’ to name a few. There seems to be a bit of variation between sources for the actual definitive term for each group but most are quite entertaining anyway. I'm alwarys interested in quirky little things like this or interesting snippets of information so if there's anything you'd like to share then please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Bempton Cliffs recently received a cheque for over £200 from an enterprising team of youngsters taking part in Humberside Police’s Lifestyle project. The Wombles team, consisting of Robin, Tom, Daniel and Ted from Beverley, raised the money by carrying out a number of fundraising events in the local area. Their initial idea was to have a cake sale to raise money to buy the materials needed to build bird boxes. Due to the kindness of a supplier however, the materials were provided for free and so the team were able to donate the money from both the cake sale and the sale of the bird boxes they made.
As well as these money making schemes the boys also decided to do their bit for wildlife too. They built their own bug hotel to attract insects and other creatures and they created some tasty treats for their garden birds out of pine cones, lard, raisins and seeds.
Here at Bempton we were really impressed to hear about all the hard work the boys put in and we all want to say a HUGE thank you for the money they donated. Steve Race (our Community, Education and Outreach Officer) was lucky enough to be able to meet all four lads and have the cheque presented in person as you can see from the photo below. We also want to say a big thank you to the family, friends and contacts of the team who we know also put in a lot of hard work. The money raised by the Wombles will go towards important conservation work on the reserve.
If you’re interested in making an insect refuge or creating your own bird treats, keep an eye out for our ‘Feed the Birds Day’ event on the website or on facebook. Weather permitting we will be out and about on the reserve with activities and advice for those of you interested in giving your garden birds and insects a helping hand this winter.