Ribble Reserves Blog w/c 02.12.19 The Ribble Reserves blog combines news from all our Ribble reserve sites; Marshide, Hesketh out Marsh and the Ribble Discovery Centre. Providing the latest information on sightings, events, shop offers and educational visit Black Redstart – Banks Marsh This bonnie start has been bobbing around Banks Marsh (Ribble NNR) cattle pen over the frosty days. This is quite a scarce visitor locally. Blk RdStart at Banks Marsh Photo Credit: Stuart Darbyshire Seven Raptor Challenge Seven birds of prey still frequent the Marshside reserves and Hesketh Out Marsh . We have seen many people complete the 7 in a day challenge, some picking up the final species as the sun set, and a few dipping out at 5 or 6. Will you take up the challenge before the year is out ? Merlin at Marshside PhotoCredit:WesDavies Sparrow Hawk at Marshside Photo Credit: WesDavies Hen Harrier- Marshside Photo Credit : Stuart Darbyshire Hesketh Out Marsh As birds and GWE Approching HOM Photo Credit:WesDavies Great White Egret on HOM approach Banks Marsh Reed warbler nest Willow bark ap hid Ribble Discovery Centre Recent sightings include some quite exciting birds. There were 36 curlews counted over at Lytham Moss, which is a fantastic number. Curlews are easily identifiable as being the UK’s largest wading bird and have a long curved bill. Perfect for reaching those delicious lugworms in the mud or indeed earthworms in the soil! There has been 3 snow bunting spotted up at Fleetwood marine lake. A beautiful larger bunting, probably migrated down from Alaska or Greenland for the winter. In keeping with the title of the blog there has been several raptors spotted over this side of the estuary also. A juvenille female merlin was observed hunting over the saltmarsh at Church Scar earlier in the week, alongside 50 or so godwits feeding on the estuary. There are also lots of buzzards buzzing around too, frequently being mobbed by crows. It is a theory that this occurs when juvenille buzzards are finding new territories. The crows become unsettled by the intruder in their patch and so try to ward the predator off. A ringed necked duck has also been listed as a spot on Fairhaven Lake. This single male has been observed with the tufties, as is often the way. The ring necked duck is of a similar look to the tufted ducks but has a grey flank, a larger head and an obvious (with binoculars or scope) white ring on its beak. Let us know if you spot it! A male and female pochard have also been spotted. Snow bunting photo credit Ben Andrew RSPB-images Education and Visitor Centre This week has been all about our volunteers. We had our learning team get together, an opportunity to thank them for their service this season, plenty cake and cupsof tea were had. But, we also looked back on our season. We have delivered our education sessions to over 1500 children since April this year and received 95% outstanding feedback. Much of this is down to our team of dedicated learning volunteers. It was also time for our Christmas together! We had a good turnout, with a competitive quiz hosted by Liz and volunteer Ray. Our area manager was in attendance and delivered our successes to the team, which is positive and inspiring to hear. We also had a number of long service awards to present, for 5 and 10 years service in volunteering with the RSPB. The Jacob’s join also went down well! Volunteering with the RSPB can be a rewarding experience and we have many roles across the organisation. It’s a great way to gain experience across a variety of fields whether it be in the retail sector, the education team or hands on fieldwork at Marshside and Hesketh. The RSPB offer all relevant training, uniform and references if relevant. We have many young people who have gained vital experience and have then gone on to secure work within the conservation sector, or have have upskilled to the point of securing other permanent work. We also have students undertaking university courses that require placement and being on the learning team is fantastic experience for anyone wanting a career working with children. Outdoor learning is a hot topic at the moment and where better than to gain experience than with the UK’s largest conservation charity? For further information on roles please contact firstname.lastname@example.org Volunteer photo credit Ben Andrew RSPB-images Shop After the success of our binocular and telescope open weekend it’s a wonder we have any left! But do not fear there is still time to purchase before Christmas. Our retail manager Ben has superb knowledge and is more often than not on hand to help with any queries you may have. He will also provide honest, impartial advice and is always super helpful! We have still got a fantastic 50% off 10 super suet cakes with meal worms, a sure fire garden bird favourite (they are in my garden anyway!). Perhaps grab a pack to keep those birds well fed over the coming winter, I’m sure they will go down a treat with your feathered friends.
Ribble Reserves Blog w/c 25.11.19 The Ribble Reserves blog combines news from all our Ribble reserve sites; Marshide, Hesketh out Marsh and the Ribble Discovery Centre. Providing the latest information on sightings, events, shop offers and educational visits. Ribble Discovery Centre With thanks to our friends at the Fylde Bird Club we note that 4 ring necked parakeets have been observed in Stanley Park in Blackpool again. Loved and hated in possibly equal measure this non native species are thought to be derived from escapees, throwbacks from Victorian times when the popularity of keeping tropical birds was high. The population originally stabilised in London, however as they have successfully bred, the population has spread, with the birds now having been observed in most counties in the UK, including parts of Wales and even Scotland. Ring necked parakeets are monitored closely to ensure their non native impact is not a negative one on our native flora and fauna. Ring necked parakeet photo credit Ben Andrew RSPB-images Education and Visitor centre The quieter Winter period is a time to reflect on the school season. Our learning support team comprised of volunteers are fantastic. Alongside our faithful and long serving nature activity assistants, we have successfully inaugurated 4 newer members to the team! We now have 1 more volunteer nature activity assistant and 3 volunteer nature activity leaders! This is a huge success for us and means that we are able to deliver our sessions to more children. Our sessions provide hands on outdoor learning opportunities, which are vitally important for our young children. Learning outside the classroom provides different opportunities to being inside. Experiences outdoors in nature at a young age can promote greater connections to nature, which in turn can act as a catalyst to inspire an understanding of its importance. Our volunteer are made up from a wide variety of people. Some, retired from a teaching background to others who are just starting out and are building up experiences for their future careers. Volunteering with the RSPB in this way can really boost your CV and working with childfren in an outdoor learning environment provides breadth and depth to your experience. For further information about volunteering on the learning team check out or volunteering vacancies page http://bit.ly/volsrdc and email email@example.com for further information. Shop BINOCULAR AND TELESCOPE OPEN WEEKEND SATURDAY 30 NOVEMBER AND SUNDAY 1 DECEMBER Want to #LookALittleCloser at the wildlife around you? Pop along to this event,where our extensive range of binoculars and telescopes will be on display for you to try outdoors. Not just for wildlife experts, our shop stocks a wide variety of equipment for differing skill levels. Our range includes popular RSPB and Viking binoculars as well as other premium brands such as Swarovski and Nikon. Our friendly, knowledgeable team will be on hand this weekendto offer impartial advice. We can help you select the best kit for your needs, whether you are an experienced wildlife watcher or are looking for something for the family to spot nature in your garden. Money raised through these purchases helps our reserve teams to continue to deliver our wildlife conservation work, advocacy and allows thousands of people every year get closer to nature. No booking required, just drop in throughout the day. We have also got a fantastic 50% off 10 super suet cakes with meal worms, a sure fire garden bird favourite (they are in my garden anyway!). Perhaps grab a pack to keep those birds well fed over the coming winter, with temperatures set to drop next week I’m sure they will go down a treat with your feathered friends. Ribble Wide Pink Feet The pink-footed geese have been entertaining residents and visitors to the Ribble in ever growing numbers. This noisy wintering population rely on the marshes for food and protection – but also take full advantage of any left over crops in the surrounding fields. The Ribble Pink-foot population is counted once a month by volunteers, and this months count is in. Marshside reported 2,056, with a big proviso that the visibility was terrible (fret/mist is an issue binocular makers are yet to solve). The total count for the area exceeded 40,000 (and some in the mist). The count is coordinated, which is important for this mobile forager. Image: WesDavies All the counting got us thinking about collective nouns.We found for geese on the net: “Flock” – seems too plain “Gaggle” – A firm favourite – but feels like it has a limit “Nide of Geese” – Thought this was an old name for nest of pheasants “Plump” – Hmmm, a bit like a quilt of eiders “Skein” – What else would you call a line of them in the sky? – “Team” – Doesn’t fit “Wedge” – A contender for birds in flight. None of these seem to fit geese in their thousands though
Ribble Reserves Blog w/c 11.11.19 The Ribble Reserves blog combines news from all our Ribble reserve sites; Marshide, Hesketh out Marsh and the Ribble Discovery Centre. Providing the latest information on sightings, events, shop offers and educational visits. Ribble Wide WeBS Count Wetland Birds Surveys (WeBS) counts are conducted nationally, once a month throughout the UK. Over 3,000 volunteers contribute to the survey, making over 40,000 visits each year to 2,800 sites. The survey is a partnership between the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology), the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) and the JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee). Counts on the Ribble are coordinated over a high tide by dedicated volunteers, with routs covering nature reserves, private land, parks and open access. The data is handled on a national level by the BTO and utilised for management decisions locally and nationally. On the latest count, one a patch to on the north of the estuary we found (among many more) 2,645 lapwings . These iconic birds were in large flocs, apart from one ( see video ) that was more friendly. Rimmers marsh highlights included 137 pintail , 866 wigeon and 128 tufted ducks . Suttons and Crossens was busy with 1,025 Golden Plover , over a thousand lapwing and 2055 wigeon. The saltmarsh/mud revealed 1,650 dunlin , 13050 knot , 700 oystercatcher and 850 pink-footed geese . If you would like to take part in any survey work around the Ribble, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org Ribbl e Discovery Centre Frost is on the ground and cold is in the air! The sea and sky are shades of icy blue, the gulls shriek their distant cries and winter is on its way. Despite the sea wall defence works on Granny’s Bay the estuary is still full of life with waders and waterfowl. Curlews are frequently observed on the mudflats, using their specialised bills for finding those succulent lugworms underneath the mud. Talking of specialised bills, shelduck are also fond of the mudflats, using their bills to shovel up the millions of hydrobia snails on the surface and dabble in the water for other aquatic invertebrates. Shelducks are one of my favourite sightings. Their mix of duck and goose like stature and bright bottle green head with chestnut breast band make them unmistakable. Their name is thought to be derived from “shield duck” in reference to their bright red bills that look as though they form a shield on the face. Shelduck Mike Langman RSPB-images In addition to these guys, eider duck have been spotted dabbling on the mudflats near Church Scar and pintail ducks have also been seen bobbing about on the sea. Education and Visitor Centre This week I’ve been out and about checking out the locations we use for our school and educational visits. It was a cold morning and standing on top of the sand dunes makes you feel very small. You can truly appreciate the vastness of the estuary when the tide is out. The colours are changing in the landscape and the winter palette is taking over. Across the estuary, photo credit Jo Taylor I also participated in the North West beach school network workshop on Fleetwood beach. A great session, linking the locality to the curriculum and the winter and spring equinox festivals that were celebrated on the North West coast. Fleetwood Beach Photo credit Jo Taylor Just look at those colours! Shop IT’S THE BLACK FRIDAY SALE! Grab yourself a bargain on a variety of items including selected gifts, Christmas and bird care products. Our friendly staff are awaiting your visit. All purchases directly support nature with 90% of all net income directed to conservation, education and advocacy. Marshside Litter Picking Gems This mermaid purse was among the normal discarded plastic and hubcaps found litter picking at Marshside. Possibly dropped by a human adventurer returned from the shoreline – but just as likely to be that a black-headed gull let it drop in a struggle. We think this egg capsule is from a small eyed ray. If you find any egg cases; or fancy going on a hunt for them, check out The Shark Trust for tips and citizen science projects. Small eyed ray egg casing (mermaids purse) Scaup Watching at Nels Hide This scaup pictured on Rimmers marsh has been keeping a close eye on visitors to Nels hide. Scaup – Nell’s hide – Rimmers Marsh Wigeon Wigeon have arrived in their thousands and can be seen moving around the estuary in large flocks. The birds below were photographed along marsh side road. These whistling ducks have been reported in flocks of more than 7,000 throughout the estuary. Wigeon from Marshside road path Marsh Edge Management One of our volunteer tasks forces winter tasks is to cut back vegetation along the marsh boundaries. Some cover is good for screening visitors or wind shelter, but taller/denser vegetation offers cover and nesting spots for predators. Willow coppicing at Marshside
Thanks for using my photos, there were actually fourteen Cattle Egrets but one was well below the others and was lost in cropping.
Ribble Reserves blog w/c 11.11.19 Our new Ribble Reserves blog combines news from all our Ribble reserve sites; Marshide, Hesketh out Marsh and the Ribble Discovery Centre, providing you with all the latest up to date information about sightings, events, shop offers and educational visits. Ribbl e Discovery Centre Success! The Fairhaven Lake kingfisher no longer eludes himself from the us at the RSPB Ribble Discovery Centre! He is becoming quite bold and has been seen on the fence at the marina, using this as a hunting perch to look into the shallow lake water. Kingfishers hunt small fish and other aquatic invertebrates. It’s fantastic to see this bird still here as it suggests that the lake has enough food to sustain him. Lets hope this continues through the winter months. Kingfisher Photo credit: Ben Andrew RSPB-images Educational visits We’ve really hit the winter season now but there are many bookings coming in for Spring and Summer term. Our keystage 2 “Investigating coasts” session has been very popular this term. This session takes place up on the sand dunes, which is a fantastic place to be. Children often feel they are on top of the world there. The view is amazing, looking right across the estuary to our friends over at Marshside. On a really clear day you can even see North Wales. This session is again hands on, providing an opportunity to design a sea wall defence. This really encourages children to work in teams and apply their knowledge. If you are interested in booking an educational school visit please contact out learning officer Jo Taylor at email@example.com. Visitor Centre and family events VBA are currently working on the sluice gate in the lake. The sluice gate will allow the lake to refresh automatically in conjunction with the tides. Whilst working on this, the company have recovered the original sluice gate machinery. This machinery required an operative to turn it to actually open the gate in order o refresh the lake. It’s looking like this machinery will now have a home somewhere in the new visitor centre as part of the funding re development of the site. Photo credit Steve Ball Shop
Ribble Reserves blog w/c 04.11.19 Our new Ribble Reserves blog combines news from all of our RSPB Ribble estuary sites; Marshside, Hesketh Out Marsh and the Ribble Discovery Centre providing you with all the latest up to date information about sightings, events, shop offers and educational visits! Ribble Discovery Centre The kingfisher continues to be spotted flitting over the lake, it continues to evade us in the centre however! Redshanks and oystercatchers are spotted frequently on the edge of the lake and over 30 mute swans were counted this week. Educational visits With #OutdoorClassroomDay today we thought we would look at our education season so far. This season since April we have delivered our learning sessions to schools and youth groups, engaging 1500 children. That’s a lot of mud dipping! We offer a suite of sessions linked to the Science National Curriculum and our coastal beach sessions also match the Cornerstones curriculum. We undertake sessions in and around the lake and gardens such as plant detectives and living things and their habitats, but one of our most popular sessions is the mud habitat study. Awe and wonder is rife in this session. Children have the opportunity to not only discover and identify the invertebrates living beneath this highly nutritious mud but they also have the chance to understand their wider relationship within the food chains and ecosystem of the habitat. The opportunity to use wide scientific vocabulary is there and this was commended in our Council for Learning Outside the Classroom Quality badge inspection. Brownies mud dipping photo credit Jo Taylor Our feedback this season has also been excellent with 100% of respondents stating their session was “outstanding” or “very good”. This is with great thanks to the huge contribution of our many learning volunteers who are so vital to our team. If you are interested in booking an educational visit at the Ribble Discovery Centre at any time of year please contact our learning officer Jo Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org Visitor Centre and family events Our Autumn Explorer trail was very popular over half term with over 70 families taking part. The winner has now been drawn and will be collecting their family prize from the Ribble Discovery Centre this weekend. Well done! Shop Alongside our Christmas cards, wrapping and calendar offers there’s currently a fantastic 20% off 12.75kg boxes of Buggy Nibbles (R402649) and High Energy Suet Sprinkles (R403130). Normally £39.99, now £31.99 too. In our centre we sell a wide range of books, including some great wildlife identification guides and also a range of natural history novels. Great for that special Christmas gift. Ray, one of our centre volunteers has written the following book review for us: “This book is a must – sensitive, inspiring and told in such a way it gives you feeling you are being told a story by someone who genuinely cares. It is well researched and factual interspersed by humour. If you love birds, history or just a thoroughly good story then this is a must read for you. I would recommend this nook to anyone interested in birdwatching and the history of the conservation movement, anyone wanting a good read and anyone interested in the history of the Second World War.” Marshside Skies We have been treated to displays from a suite of raptors present at Marshside of late. Peregrine , hen harrier , merlin , sparrow hawk , marsh harrier hunt over the inner and outer marshes, often agitating their quarry into amazing evasive displays. The black tailed godwits below are were filmed at Marshside (Rimmers Marsh) keeping ahead of a peregrine. https://vimeo.com/371079332 Out and About A the days get shorter and the first few frosts reach in, the marshes colour palette is finding its winter hues. Dusk at Sandgrounders hide: Marshside Record breaking cows This cow broke the coveted ‘interference record’ – with an outstanding heavy scratch test of a freshly repaired stile …. 45 seconds is going to be hard to beat From the Web Visitors have been enjoying the nomadic band of cattle egrets as they move from site to site along the Ribble. These thirteen were photographed by Janice Sutton as they headed to roost. Its incredible to see this species increase its footing on the Ribble. Janice also caught up with the growing flock of twite now enjoying the saltmarsh. This image was taken by the pier, but they have been spotted at Marshside and along the fence line at Hesketh Out Marsh .
Ribble Reserves Roundup w/c 28.10.19 Our new Ribble Reserves blog combines news from all of our RSPB Ribble estuary sites; Marshside, Hesketh Out Marsh and the Ribble Discovery Centre providing you with all the latest up to date information about sightings, events, shop offers and educational visits! Ribble Discovery Centre It’s been a cold crisp week here at Fairhaven Lake. Many of our regular residents and visitors are on the lake including numerous mute swans, mallards, coots, moorhens and tufted ducks. We have also had a juvenille great crested grebe on the lake for the last few weeks which is a real delight to see and a couple of little grebes . There’s also been a single pochard hanging about with the tufties too for some time. There’s been a small number of sightings of a kingfisher these last few weeks flitting around at the top of the lake, which really is a fantastic sighting and we are all on the lookout to spot it ourselves. The cheeky black headed gulls are as noisy as ever and a looking rather majestic in their winter plumage. We also have a couple of cormorants frequently seen on the edge of the jetty, drying out. Black headed gulls. Photo credit Jo Taylor Cormorant. Photo credit Andy Hay RSPB-images Educational visits We had a fantastic pre-school and reception class from Copp Primary in Great Eccleston undertaking an Autumn sensory walk last week. We were very lucky and had a lovely cold crisp sunny morning. All 27 children were dressed fantastically for their morning and loads of fun was had collecting different leaf shapes, feeding the ducks and spotting all other signs of Autumn. Loads of conkers from the horse chestnut and acorns from our Holm oak in the park were found. The children had a really great hands on #OutdoorLearning experiences, really hitting all those characteristics of effective learning in the EYFS. See our web page here for further information about school visits. All sessions are linked to the National Curriculum with our coastal sessions also being a perfect match to the Cornerstones curriculum. Dandelion seed head and caterpillar. Photo credit Jo Taylor Visitor Centre and family events Our Autumn explorer trail running in conjunction with Fylde Council has been very popular. As half term has been so staggered around the country we will continue to run it till Sunday 3 November, so there’s still time to get your entry into the box for the family prize draw! There’s also still time to come and make one of our pine cone creatures! We are also exhibiting the finalists and other entries for the Fairhaven Photographic Competition till Sunday, so there’s still plenty time to take a peek at these great photos. Shop Our shop has some great stock for all your winter bird care needs, with an vast array of feeders and food. We currently have 30% off 3kg bags of suet nibbles,which are always a winner with the birds. We also stock a wide range of binoculars and telescopes for a all differing skill levels. Our range includes popular RSPB and Viking binoculars as well as other premium brands such as Swarovski and Nikon. Perhaps treat yourself or someone you love for Christmas. Call in any time and chat to our experts, there’s also open weekend coming up at the end of next month 31 November and 1 December. We’ve also got offers on Christmas cards and wrapping paper as well as calendars at the moment. Get ahead of the game and get organised for the big day! It’s double points on your loyalty card till Monday! Photo credits Jo Taylor Marshside and Hesketh Out Marsh The alternative airshows held recently at both these sites have been very popular with spectators undertaking guided walks across the marsh before the tide came in. An amazing wildlife spectacle of waders and other birds moved across the marsh looking for roosting sites as the water rose. As the marsh flooded small mammals were spotted trying to escape the water and the hungry raptors above! Our guided bird watching walks at both sites are also very popular, providing opportunities to learn more about the land management, ecology and wildlife present at the sites. The habitat work at Crossens Inner Marsh have been underway and will improve the water levels at the site. This has been put to the test recently with the bouts of heavy rain and high tides and is being monitored to ensure they do prevent prolonged flooding to protect the rare coastal grassland. Thousands of pink footed geese are observed daily feeding in the rich grassland and then flying across the estuary to roost in the evening. There are also large numbers of wigeon over wintering at the sites too. The raptors have also been abundance with marsh harrier , merlin and kestrel amongst others. Merlin photo Credit Chris Gomersall RSPB-images
Marshside is within easy striking distance for me so I go a few times a year. Referring to Annabel’s maps: The best time to do the Redshank path is probably at high tide when the birds congregate closer in, otherwise they can be spread out all over the mudflats and it’s possible you won’t see anything near by, although in May I think there will still be loads of Skylarks out on the salt marsh. However, if you have to choose only one walk, then I’d do the Cossens circuit or Rimmer’s Route. There are often lots of birds at the back of the reserve which you won’t see from any hide. Keep an eye open for Hares, too.
Hi Ian, Thanks for getting in touch. You can find the downloadable map of the site on the website here, which will give you an idea of your bearings. www.rspb.org.uk/…/marshside_trail_guide.pdf In terms of sightings, in spring the site is known for i…
My local RSPB Group from North East England will be visiting Marshside in May 2020 of which I’ve never visited before on my RSPB Groups annual birdwatching week long holiday visiting a number of birdwatching areas in Cumbria and Lancashire. As well my …