Category: Marshside (RSPB)

Blog Post: Wild is the wind

Welcome to this weeks Ribble roundup, which as the title suggests has been a wild and windy week. The Ribble Discovery Centre welcomed their first school visit of the new year on a very blustery day! The Year 2 class from Strike Lane Primary School Completed the Plant Detectives session in the secret garden, it was quite a challenge in the wind, but, one I suspect many of the children will not forget. The children were great, eager to learn and explore, fully embracing the weather and #LearningOutdoors away from their usual classroom setting. Thanks to @StrikeLane for tagging us on their twitter post about the visit. @RSPB_Ribble Facebook: @RibbleEstuary Recent sightings The wildness of Ciara blew in a single barnacle goose , spotted on the edge of Fairhaven Lake on Tuesday afternoon. This is an usual sighting for us here and to see just the one does suggest it has been blown off course in the storm surge. We were anticipating a large number of “blow aways”, but, alas, no others materialised! We have also spotted a couple of extra cormorants on the lake though. The lake has also been filled with Wednesday’s high tide as the work on the sluice gate has now been completed. This will allow the water to refresh with the high tides via the automatic sluice gate, allowing the water to return to an increased salinity. Half term fun at the Ribble Discovery Centre Presfield School have been back in the Marshside workshop. Finishing touches were made to the birdbox kits, before they were whisked away to the Ribble Discovery Centre. There was time left to make some boxes for themselves though, and we were impressed with their hidden talents once again. Many thanks goes out to Presfield School for these kits. They are all ready for our activity on Wednesday 19.02.20 10-12 to celebrate National Nestbox Week. To book please call 01253 796292 or email, or even just call in on the morning. We shall be putting them together and giving them a lick of paint. We will also advise as to the best location to place them in your garden for their new prospective tenants. Ciara Hits Marshside Storms have names now, so we might as well roll with them. Ciara bore down on the Ribble at the beginning of the week and tested the resilience of its wintering wildlife. The saltmarshes were inundated with water, leaving little refuse for its inhabitants. The pictured black-headed gulls at Marshside made good with the invertebrates bounding their way away from the high tide, but not all species were as lucky. For many birds, all they could do is hold tight. The curlew in the video seemed particularly peturbed by the wind. One of the few sparks of luck we witnessed was the wind doing the voles a favour. Escaping from the water and retreating to the outer banks often leaves these guys overly exposed to predation. However, the bad new was for kestrels who found it difficult to hover in the strong gusts. Saltmarshes do an amazing job of helping protect the coastline from high stormy seas as their structure dissipates energy. As the energy drops out of the sea it deposits debris, and the bigger the storm, the more debris you get. Some debris is good, as mats of seed provide food and start regeneration processes. The large trees and logs that have appeared at Marshside will provide home and shelter for invertebrates. The sea is not discerning though, and we can already see an worrying amount of plastic washed up – stay tuned for a plan to remove it all. The wind subsided towards the end of the week and things began to return to normal. The inner marshes are holding a lot of water, and there will no doubt be some amazing foraging opportunities for birds as is slowly recedes. Dennis – As this is written, storm Dennis approaches. Will it hit the same ? Avocets The Avocets arrived early, and in style this year. Stuart Darbyshire reported the two pictured as the storm first hit, and by the second day of windy weather they reached double figures.

Blog Post: Calm is the day

Welcome to this week’s Ribble roundup. We are still eagerly awaiting more followers for our new Facebook and Twitter pages. Please share, so we can reach out to as many people in the area as we can. Facebook: RSPBRibbleEstuary Twitter: @RSPB_Ribble Ribble Discovery Centre After the success of the feeders we have had in the “Secret Garden” at Fairhaven Lake, we have placed a feeding station near the centre of the park next to the pavilion. We are hoping this will attract the numerous goldfinch, blue and great tits that are frequently observed around the park, as well as the blackbirds, robins and chaffinch. Being next to the pavilion there is a seating area for to sit and enjoy the birds on the feeders. Recent sightings include the kingfisher again, the flash of shimmering blue is always a delight to see. The pintail ducks are also hanging around, just the 1 male still and a varying number of females looking very elegant on the calmness of the lake. Education and Visitor Centre We have our “Build a nestbox” activity looming closer as we approach half term. Our friends at Marshside have our kits ready, with thanks to one of their local schools. The activity will take place on Wednesday 19 February 10-12, booking is ideal so we can prepare for numbers. To reserve your space please call 01253 796292 or email us at £5 per kit for non members £4 per kit for members. The session links to Family Wild Challenge and is a great activity to get the kids involved in nature during half term. There will also be small “through the nesthole” quiz to undertake around the lake while the box dries. Then all you need to do is take it home and get it up ready for prospective tenants. We have also taken a number of bookings for school sessions during February, it’s fantastic to see schools still wanting to get children outdoors even in the colder months. So we are looking forward to welcoming them. Our Volunteer Visitor Experience Internship is still live too, click here for further information and please feel free to highlight it to anyone you feel maybe interested. We have also been lucky enough to receive some BBC Radio Lancashire exposure in these last few weeks. Firstly talking with Alison Butterworth about the importance of the Ribble Estuary as a migration site and secondly having a chat with Brett Davies for his drive-time show to air on Friday 14 February. Shop Offers in the shop this week include: Two mugs for £16, retailing at £9 each (offer excludes local ranges but includes our fantastic new product range) Buy two nestboxes and save £2 Buy two scarves for £20, retailing at £15 each Buy two singing birds for £14, retailing at £8 each It’s still 50% off buggy nibbles…but only till 18 February so make the most of this one Jo Marshside

Blog Post: Volunteer Power at Marshside & Not So Pink Feet on the Ribble NNR

Love My Marsh Event Clearing waste from Marshside is an ongoing battle, with waste from the sea and river collecting in the saltmarsh on falling tides, as well as litter being thrown from cars along the roads. Fly-tipping is also becoming a more frequent issue. Despite the inclement weather, we had a hardy gang of folk make a difference on the saltmarsh at Marshside last weekend. Togged up to the hilt and pickers in hand they scoured the saltmarsh, removing an array of waste from this special habitat. We sorted the spoils into recyclables, landfill and ‘treasure’. Unfortunately the landfill pile far outweighed the other, with a disappointing amount of black bags heading for the ground. Treasure included a serviceable chair, sprayer (complete with unknown liquid) and a pirates hook. Its of note that if the glass bottles belonged to the pirates, they have diversified from rum of late. We were secretly hoping to find Robin, to help out Batman (our workshop mascot) who appeared on the marsh last year. But alas, he must still be adventuring with the Titans. Presfield Hereos Presfield School do an amazing job of keeping Mrshside rd and Marine Drive clear of littler week in and week out with their excellent litter picks. This week they showed off their woodwork skills (who knew) and made an impressive set of ‘Birdbox Kits’ in our workshop. Thus weeks class measures a sawed over 20 kits, next week we will be pre-drilling the holes and packing them up ready for dispatch to the Ribble Discovery Centre . Stay tuned for details of the up and coming DIY Birdbox event there in the coming weeks. Marshside Birds With our focus on litter, willow clearing and birdboxes, its been difficult to keep up with our favourite winter residents. Reports have been coming in that the Dowitcher has been hanging around in its preferred spot. We did see that that the tufted ducks , loving known as tufties are starting to look rather smart, and proud of that fact. Nells hide is a grand place to see them up close. Tufted at Nells Hide: WesDavies We have also had reports of a suspected intersex wigeon . Spotted by Stuart Darbyshire, this bird sure has an interesting set of characteristics, no doubt due to some strange genetics. Prob intersex wigeon : Stuart Darbyshire There are thousands and thousands of pink-footed geese on and above the Ribble at any one time. Hidden among these are a few ‘orange legs’. They are not separated in anyway – but they are cool to spot. Some of the fun is finding one, but we find that its the looking through them is where the real fun is. Orange pink feet : Stuart Darbyshire

Blog Post: Spring is in the air…but should it be?

Welcome to this weeks Ribble Roundup Not only do we have our new Facebook page @RSPBRibbleEstuary , we also have our own Twitter page too @RSPB_Ribble . Please like and share our pages, we are really looking forward to engaging with as many of you as possible and providing lots of information about our work in conservation and education around the estuary. We look forward to welcoming many visitor contributions on both channels and welcome any photographs and snippets of information about our wonderful sites. Ribble Discovery Centre My daily stroll around the lake has yielded some great results this week, spending a good half an hour observing our female kingfisher’s successful hunting missions on Wednesday. She was perched on the over hanging branches on a tree on the furthest island. Her missions were rewarding and she characteristically bashed the fish against the tree before consuming them. Thursday, brought 3 pintail ducks basking in the spring-like sunshine. Two male and one female have been recorded on our sightings board, however, I observed one male and two females. Pintail ducks are treat to see any time with their regal sort of presence gliding serenely across the water, male plumage is also rather majestic. The air was also alive with spring birdsong, the unusually milder weather seemingly having an overall uplifting effect on the lake and garden residents. Many blue and great tits have been using our feeders as well as house sparrows, starlings and the occasional cheeky jackdaw! The oystercatchers and redshank have also been busy around the lake. The oystercatchers are feeding on the invertebrates in the grass on the far side of the lake and are also regularly seen on other nearby grasslands. There are still one or two perhaps slightly braver redshank on the edges of the lake….I do wonder if it’s always the same one or two? We have been sent a couple of photos from one of our regular visitors. So many thanks to Stewart Kay for the redshank shots. The redshank are picking out the tiny molluscs and crustaceans from the lake edges. Redshank on the edges of Fairhaven Lake Education and Visitor Centre Volunteer Visitor Experience Internship opportunity. At the Ribble Discovery Centre we are offering a Volunteer Visitor Experience Internship opportunity. We are looking for an enthusiastic, passionate volunteer intern to play a vital role within our team and help deliver a great experience for schools, families and general visitors for two to three days a week March – September. This role has the potential to be extremely flexible, offering a chance to gain experience in a variety of areas. It will provide the opportunity to boost confidence, experience and skills required to make that first step into a career within the conservation sector. The role would suit a graduate, looking to fulfil work placement, anyone looking to gain teaching skills and visitor engagement experience. It would also be suitable for someone looking for a change in career. Volunteering with the RSPB is a sure fire way to gain relevant experience and I am a proven example of that, having volunteered on the learning team at Leighton Moss previously. If you think this role would suit yourself or even someone you know please have a look at the role profile on our website here and get in touch. The closing date is Thursday 20 February. Shop Our shop continues to do well, with 90% of money going directly back into conservation, education and advocacy. Some of this will be the wonderful work that goes into the land management at Marshside and Hesketh out Marsh. Our Christmas sale will remain on till 11 February, with some really amazing bargains to currently be had. There is still half price off 3kg bags of buggy nibbles, which are going down a treat in our feeders in the gardens here. There is also a save £2 deal on two nestboxes. This is a great time of year to be getting those nestboxes up, so they can be checked out by any possible residents in time. Nestbox display in the Ribble Discovery Centre, photo credit Jo Taylor

Blog Post: Skyfall

Welcome to this weeks Ribble Roundup w/c 20.01.20 Not only do we have our new Facebook page @RSPBRibbleEstuary , we also have our own Twitter page too @RSPB_Ribble . Please like and share our pages, we are really looking forward to engaging with as many of you as possible and providing lots of information about our work in conservation and education around the estuary. We look forward to welcoming many visitor contributions on both channels and welcome any photographs and snippets of information about our wonderful sites. Marshside Marshside – Crossens Predator Proofing We are happy with the way Crossens has developed – especially with the speed that birds have taken to this prime spot. We are not the only ones that have noticed, as foxes have (quite understandably) noticed the change. This week we have been ‘snagging’ the anti-predator fence, making sure that the birds we attract can successfully fledge chicks unhindered. We found a lot of evidence of foxes prowling the perimeter, and fixed a few week spots that would no doubt be tested when chicks can be heard calling from inside. Image: WesDavies Marshside – Looking up We have been treated to some outstanding sunrises and sunsets over the week, and have been grateful for a break in what seemed like a never ending cycle of heavy rain. Sandgrounder sunrise: WesDavies Rimmers Aglow: AlexPiggott Marshside – Volunteer Party Snacks The volunteer work party continued to cut and burn the encroaching willow on Marshside Rd / Rimmers Marsh. What changed this week was the calorie intake, with the introduction of smores at the end of the day. Who knew it was acceptable to sandwich marshmallows between chocolate biscuits? By the end of play, we convinced ourselves that we were calorie neutral. Smores – WesDavies If you think you could eat smores, get in touch (terms and conditions apply) Ribble Discovery Centre Since those beautiful photographs were taken at Marshside we have had a week of fog. However on arriving via Granny’s Bay on Wednesday morning there were hundreds of curlew on the shore line. What a contrast, the large and heavy construction machinery in the foreground and the beautiful, mystical and ethereal look of the curlew in the fog on the mudflat just beyond the saltmarsh. This again highlights the importance of the Ribble Estuary to these birds. The estuary is a significant strong holding of curlew especially in the winter, they will freely move around here, being pushed up to the shoreline in high tide. Curlew have suffered a steep decline in population over recent years and they are in real trouble. The RSPB alongside the BTO, Natural England and other organisations have a established a UK Curlew Action Group and a conservation plan is in place. For further information about our work with curlew conservation both in the UK and internationally click here. A rather grey and foggy photo of the Curlew at Granny’s Bay Curlew at Granny’s Bay, photo credit: Jo Taylor Other interesting sightings at Fairhaven Lake include two pintail ducks spotted on Wednesday morning, the female kingfisher and a number of little egrets , once again standing in the lake, due to the low level water. It’s really great to be able to observe them hunting, they look to be having quite a lot of success. There are also many redshank bobbing around the slopes of the lake too, flying off with their high pitched alarm call on anyone or anything getting too close. Redshank photo credit Jo Taylor Education and Visitor Centre We are looking forward to welcoming our first school visit of 2020 in February, with a class from Strike Lane in Freckleton visiting to undertake our “Plant Detectives” session. We shall be wrapping up, having lots of fun and learning outdoors. Shop This week in the shop we have half price on 3kg buggy nibbles and our bird feeding starter kit is still half price till Sunday. It can still be purchased before the ##BigGardenBirdwatch One of our retail volunteers Lesley has spotted this mug, lid and tea leaf infuser from our new product range that she particularly rates. She says: “It’s a beautiful mug, but really handy and practical, the infuser allows a good quality loose leaf tea to be placed in, the lid keeps the tea hot whilst it infuses and then you place the infuser into the lid, so it doesn’t make a mess on the worktop”. Lesley’s preferred loose leaf tea is Early Grey.

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Blog Post: New Year, New You

Welcome to this weeks Ribble Roundup 13/01/20 Please like and follow our new Facebook page @RSPBRibbleEstuary. We are really looking forward to increasing our followers and providing lots of information about our work across the estuary. We are also looking forward to welcoming many visitor contributions, there are so many talented photographers out there, you can truly showcase our sites. Recent sightings around Fairhaven include our kingfisher (of course), plenty tufties , mute swans , mallards , 2 male pochard , lots of black headed gulls , whose head plumage is already transitioning into summer and a small number of common gulls . Ribble Discovery Centre January is a great time to be looking for new things. We have had a successful start to the new year, with a number of enquiries about our volunteering positions at the centre. We have 2 posts on the education team available; Volunteer Nature Activity Leader, for further information about this role, please click here and our Volunteer Nature Activity Assistant, please click here for further information about this role. Both roles are vitally important to the learning team and without our fabulous volunteers we could not offer the same fantastic experience that we do. What is also very exciting is that we are also looking to recruit a longer term volunteer role, to holistically support the learning team and the centre, so keep your eyes peeled for that one…it’s in the pipeline. We have also recently welcomed 2 new retail assistant volunteers to the crew as well. Education and Visitor Centre This is the time of year many schools start to think about their educational visits and we have had a number of enquiries regarding Summer term already. Many of our activities are tide dependant, so I would urge any schools interested to book in now to avoid disappointment. We have a number of bookings in place already from schools who missed out last year. Don’t forget our sessions are curriculum linked and really add depth and breadth to the science curriculum, providing hands on coastal experiences that simply cannot be sought in school grounds. Check out our web page for more information about sessions and bookings. Mud dipping with year 4 earlier in the year. Photo credit Jo Taylor We also welcomed a drop in session from Clifton Lodge Nursery this week. They brought a small group of 2-3 year old children to visit. We had a lovely little session looking at shells, crabs and other exhibits from the sea. I look forward to welcoming them again with their pre-school group. Shop Our #BigGardenBirdwatch feeder kit offer is still on till 27 January. At almost half price, this really is a great kit to set up garden bird feeding. Find out more about the ##BigGardenBirdwatch here. Help Save Nature – Volunteer places at Marshside / Hesketh Out Marsh Spring feels far from sprung, but we are starting to recruit volunteers to take up the challenge of seasonal places. Do you have what it takes to keep track of Avocet chicks as they start to wander? Could you tell an ‘A’ Lapwing chick from a ‘B’ ? Could you help us keep track of fantastic Mr Fox and what he is up to ? If so, follow the links below and get in touch. Practical volunteers on the Ribble – Link Avocet and Lapwing Watchers – Link Predator monitors – Link Getting Involved at Marshside…/wild_2D00_challenge_2D00_poster_2D00_a4-_2800_3_2900_.pdf

Blog Post: 2020 – A vision for Arctic terns at Hesketh Out Marsh

Keen eyed visitors will have spotted the ‘ One Wing Amongst Many ‘ sculpture that has appeared on the cross bank between Hesketh Out Marsh West and East. The skyline breaking wing stands to thank FCC Communities Foundation for supporting our work on the realignment of the East wing of Hesketrh Out Marsh. If the sculpture seems familiar, you may have seen the rest of the set one the Fairhaven Discovery Trail, near the Ribble Discovery Centre . This is the first wing of many to make it to this side of the Ribble Estuary. The sculpture silhouettes an Arctic tern against sky, and is the highest point in a surprisingly large area. Photo Credit: WesDavies Photo Credit: WesDavies Arctic terns , a scarce bird in the North West UK, were once common on the Ribble Estuary. Unfortunately, land use changes, influxes of other spices and changes in the meta population led to their decline. Our work at Hesketh, has started to improve their fortunes. Firstly with the creation of new habitat ( the realignment ) and latterly with the creation of bespoke nest sites. These tailored sites, are in the form of both floating rafts and shallow banks of cockleshell. Several families of terns quickly utilised the rafts and banks, as well as a few rouge pairs making their own way. Photo Credit: WesDavies Photo Credit: WesDavies Most pairs so far have been successful, and when they return this year they will find further safer spots within the shadow of ‘one wing amongst many’.

Blog Post: Welcome to 2020

Ribble Reserves Roundup w/c 06/01/20 The Ribble reserves blog combines new from all our Ribble Estuary sites: Marshide, Hesketh out Marsh and the Ribble Discovery Centre at Fairhaven Lake. Providing the latest news on sightings, events, shop offers and educational visits. Fistly, welcome to 2020, we are aiming for this year to be even better than ever! Starting off with a new Facebook page. We will now have a Ribble Estuary specific page @RSPBRibbleEstuary. This page will aim to do similar to the blog and combine news, sightings and information from all three sites across the estuary. We will wholeheartedly welcome your photos and contributions to the page. Please start following us now to keep up to date with events and happenings. Ribble Discovery centre We start the year with news that the female kingfisher is still being regularly spotted around the lake, we have received some wonderful photos and videos of her in action, so many thanks for those and keep them coming. The lake is also alive with the call of the redshank. A small number of redshank have taken to frequenting the slopes of the lake to probe. They are quite jumpy little birds, agitated very easily and if startled take off rapidly crying their tew-hoo-hoo alarm call. We’ve also maintained the regular cormorant drying off spot, frequently all 4 of a regulars stand together airing their wings, looking eerily prehistoric, especially in the wintry light. Photo from archive by Andy Hay The water level in the lake has been very low this week, whilst the contractors work on the sluice gate. This has led to the little egrets being able to stand in the lake to hunt. The egrets often roost in the trees on the islands at high tide and in the evening, but we rarely see them stalking prey standing in the lake. Photo from archive by Matt Wilkinson Meanwhile, up on the sand dunes there a small flocks of linnet flitting about, a lovely sight to see and hear as they twitter in flight. Linnet populations are currently down and they are of red conservation status. Education and Visitor Centre It’s not long now till the ##BigGardenBirdwatch . For further information about this vitally important and fun to do survey please see our page here . The survey helps understand how our garden birds are doing and monitor trends and problems, which we can then all act on. We are already looking forward to half term and our nestbox building event on Wednesday 19 February 10-12, which coincides with National nestbox week. This is a limited and bookable event so please call the centre to reserve your places, £5 per nestbox or £4 for RSPB members. Shop After the mele of Christmas, our shop is now fully stocked with new exciting ranges and products. We also have a fantastic offer on suet nibbles, with 50% off 3kg bags, a great offer and will go down a treat for the ##BigGardenBirdwatch (Cover photo from archive by Any Hay)

Blog Post: 2019 – Bigger – Better – Connected – Annual Roundup #2

Happy New Year As we step into a new year, we reflect on what 2019 brought us, and think about what 2020 has in store. Last years theme was a Bigger Better and more Connected Ribble, and we took some giant steps in that direction. Bringing the estuary,…

Blog Post: Just in time for Christmas and Annual Round Up #1

Ribble Reserves w/c 16/12/19 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 visits. Marshside – Christmas do As if by pre-arrangement, our volunteers meeting for the Christmas get together were greeted by a purple heron. The bird – discovered by Ken Morrison – showed well next to the car park before heading towards Crossens inner marsh in the fading light (17/12/19). This scarce visitor to the UK is most likely the bird from further up the coast, mentioned in the last blog. The last record of this bird at Marshside was a flyover in 1979 (north west over Crossens). Think we should arrange for everyone to meet in the car park more often. Photo Credit: WesDavies John Dempsey recorded this video of the bird hunting before it made its move Also in the area are two (at least) Bewick’s swans , making their appearance just in time for the festive period. They are in the flock of 20-30 whoopers that are spending their time in the fields behind Hesketh Out Marsh . This flock is quite mobile, and if not right behind the reserve is often on the approach road or adjacent fields. These two Bewicks’s were seen on Dib road by Stuart Darbyshire . Photo Credit: Stuart Darbyshire Car Parking at Marshside Parking charges at Marshside began at the start of the month. Money raised will help us continue to look after the facilities, and wildlife. Members – Free Blue Badge Holders – Free Non Members – £1.50 2Hrs £3.00 2Hrs + Annual Roundup – #1 Redshank Its that time of year when we start looking back at what we have achieved, and what challenges face us next year. Redshank are high on the agenda. This noisy bird has declined nationally by half, every ten years, for the last thirty years. We have improved their fortunes on the Ribble with the creation of new habitat at Hesketh, and improving food and nest availability at the Marshside. To help them successfully fledge chicks, Suttons is also protected by a predator fence. Within three years, predator exclusion fences will be protecting this species at all Marshside reserves compartments (Rimmers, Crossens and Suttons) as well as strategic areas at Hesketh. These predator exclusion zones will also benefit many other species. We will continue to improve the food and nest availability too – practically this looks like diggers and cows on the marsh. The result is an ever improving network of ditches and pools, contorted to provide ideal conditions for plenty of tasty and nutritious invertebrates. Ribble Discovery Centre The Fairhaven Lake kingfisher has been spotted again which is always pleasing to see, many thanks to @andypne3 for his photos and tweets. Big thanks also go out the Fylde Bird Club for their continued weekly updates of local sightings. There remains 2 pochard on the lake and the usual waterfowl. The mallard drakes are now basking in their full colours after their second eclipse moult earlier in the year and actually look quite stunning in the wintry light. As the year draws to a close, we have been looking back on our successes this year. Our education team are revving up to start again in the new year. There are already of number of bookings in the diary for Spring and Summer Term. Many of our sessions are on the coast so the good tide days do get “bagged” quite rapidly. I would urge any schools interested in booking their schools visit for next year to get in touch with early in the new year. Mud dipping session with a Year 3 class in Summer term 2019. Just look at the creatures we found. The children use our identification cards and discussion takes place as to how these invertebrates are adapted for this habitat and how they fit into the food chains here. Photo Jo Taylor Visitor Centre and events. IT’S BUSINESS AS USUAL IN JANUARY 2020. The National Lottery Heritage Fund re-development project will commence in September 2020, so until then it’s business as usual. The shop will keep the existing opening times, changing to 10-5 after the Spring equinox. Education visits will also continue as normal and will remain unaffected by the sea wall defence works. In fact access to Granny’s Bay is set to become even easier in Spring 2020. Many thanks to VBA who have supervised our access through the car park at Stanner Bank, enabling our continued education work. As well as many school education sessions we also welcome many scouting groups particularly in the spring and autumn evenings. For further information about scouting visits please email One of the VBA contractors getting in on the mud dipping action with these scouts! Photo Jo Taylor We have run a number of activities in conjunction with Fylde Borough Council and Fylde Rangers with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Below are photos from the beach bushcraft session. This was an amazingly popular event with over 65 children taking part on St Anne’s beach. Children undertook beach combing and identification, then used their beach treasures to create fabulous sculptures and undertook beach camp fire lighting with the Fylde Rangers. This is an event that will run again next so keep your eyes out in August. Also keep a look out for the beach tots sessions running on Fridays by Lancashire Wildlife Trust in the New Year. Our events plan for the 2020 is currently being rolled out. All events will be posted on our web page here and our facebook page and twitter page so keep your eyes peeled! Some events require booking so don’t miss out. Shop WARNING FABULOUS OFFER! Big garden bird watch starter kit offer! All of this for £20.60, items bought singularly would add up to £41.20! This bird feeding starter kit, includes 1 nut and nibble feeder, 1 seed feeder, 1 suet ball feeder, 2 packs of suet balls with sunflower hearts, 1.8kg bag of sunflower seeds and 1kg bag of buggy nibbles! Phew….what a fabulous kit! Not only is this great for keeping the birds well fed over winter (suet and sunflowers really are a winner in my garden) it’s really going to help with your #BigGardenBirdWatch 25-27 January. We have had two record years for shop sales meaning that the level of money our shop directly contributes to conservation, education and advocacy has increased. Allowing our wonderful work with schools and youth groups and all the vital conservation land management at site such as Marshside and Hesketh Our Marsh to continue. Many thanks to our many loyal and faithful customers for your continued custom and care for our work. Christmas opening times are as follows: 23 December 10-4, CLOSED 23-26 December Open as normal 27-29 December (closed Monday as normal) Open Tuesday 31 December 10-3 Regular opening times continue from 2 January 2020 ALL THAT REMAINS TO BE SAID IS MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE! WE LOOK FORWARD TO NEW YEAR 2020