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