Wardens at RSPB Geltsdale are celebrating this spring as the number of lekking black grouse rises from 27 to a whopping all-time high of 50, following a successful breeding year in 2013.
Black grouse males gather at traditional open spaces to perform their flamboyant displays, called 'leks', peaking in April to May, and mainly in the early morning or at dusk. The females, known as grey hens, select a mate, and afterwards leave to rear their chicks alone.
Black grouse used to be found throughout Britain, but due to habitat loss in the lowlands they are now confined to upland areas of Wales, Scotland and northern England. Although they are an iconic upland species, black grouse can find it difficult to thrive in these areas due to poor weather, overgrazing by sheep, an increase in forestry plantations and fragmentation of suitable habitat.
RSPB Geltsdale is offering amateur and professional photographers a unique opportunity to get close to the reserve’s breeding waders.
A photographic hide will be available for hire for a total of ten two hour sessions, between 12th and 27th April 2014. The hide can take up to a maximum of two people per session and will be exclusively for the use of the person making the booking.
The fee is £40 per session with a 25% discount for RSPB members. Payments will be taken in advance to confirm the booking.
This is a time-limited offer to minimise the disturbance to the breeding birds and will be booked on a first come first served basis
For further details and to book contact RSPB Geltsdale by phone on 016977 46717 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org
TWO new hedgehog hotels have appeared in upper Teesdale this week thanks to RSPB Geltsdale and Denton Woodcraft.
They are located at the Forest of Teesdale Primary School and AONB’s Bowlees Visitor Centre and means families of hedgehogs will now have a better chance of getting through tough winters in cosy new winter homes.
Children at the school will add their hotel to their growing nature garden and Bowlees Visitor Centre’s new home will go alongside a raft of new bird and bat homes.
Sam Finn, from the AONB Partnership, said: “Our WildWatch project encourages people to get out and about and record what wildlife they see so we can get a better of understanding of what’s here in the North Pennines. We just hope that with this new addition we’ll be able to add a few more families of hedgehogs to that list.”
Andrew Harrison, class teacher at Forest of Teesdale School, said: “We have been looking at our environment and despite living in such a wonderfully rural area you don’t always notice the detail so the hedgehog homes will help the children get a real connection to wildlife