Saturday 10th November 2018: Conservation Work – RSPB Coombes Valley

Wildlife Explorers headed to RSPB Coombes Valley Nature Reserve for a morning of practical conservation work in Bellpit Meadow, a short drive from the Visitor Centre. The weather gods looked kindly upon the group and we benefitted from yet another dry outdoor session, despite a dubious forecast earlier in the week. The first task was to plant around 100 hawthorn saplings around the edge of the meadow using a slit planting technique. Warden Paul Bennett demonstrated and then explained how to use the tools correctly.  As well as raking up bramble and nettle that had been cut earlier in the … Click here for more information…..

Sunday 21st October 2018: Walking with Red Deer – Lyme Park

It’s normally only possible to rouse Wildlife Explorers before dawn once a year – for the annual Dawn Chorus Walk, but the chance of an early morning walk at NT Lyme Park to observe the red deer rut was impossible to resist. Wrapped up warm, families gathered at the main car park before sunrise armed with torches and binoculars.   Ranger Craig gave us an introduction to the history of Lyme Park, the deer herds on the site and the behaviour of red deer during the rut. At we set out at the start of the walk we could hear … Click here for more information…..

Monday 15th October 2018:Autumn Leaves – Trees Through the Year

A seasonal indoor meeting – The meeting kicked off with identifying tree leaves using a variety of resources – posters, ID charts and identification books. After a quick introduction about how and why leaves change colour in autumn everyone got hands-on with some real ones with a leaf litter sieving activity. Tiny invertebrates were then collected in bug pots and examined using a USB microscope with images projected on the big screen to give incredible detail on both anatomy and behaviour. Specimens collected included centipede, devil’s coach horse, money spider, slug, springtail and harvestman. All of the minibeasts were returned … Click here for more information…..

Saturday 13th October 2018: Nature Needs You Welly Walk – West Park, Macclesfield

  For the first time Wildlife Explorers joined forces with Macclesfield Town Council to run our annual ‘Nature Needs You’ event in conjunction with ‘Welly Walk’ at West Park. The morning started with unpromising weather – high winds and threatening rain – but everyone worked hard to get the gazebo and all of our equipment in place.   It wasn’t long before the visitors started arriving. The team rans lots of hands-on activities – all with a ‘helping nature’ theme. As well as making bird nestboxes, bee homes and wildflower seedbombs, children made bird food and planted native tree seeds. … Click here for more information…..

Monday 17th September 2018:Tides – Life at the Water’s Edge

The first indoor session kicked off with ‘Tides – Life at the Water’s Edge’ a reminder for some of summer holidays spent by the coast! Abercrombie organised a fascinating shell quiz for the joining activity. Explorers learned lots about the variety of shells and how to spot the odd one out! Leader Martin explained how and why we get tides and then discussed some of the challenges for the creatures living in the intertidal zone. Our craft for the session was strandline printing – recreating an intertidal zone in art, complete with seaweed, flotsam and jetsam on the strandline, using … Click here for more information…..

Sunday 16th September 2018: Jodrell Bank Work Party

An enthusiastic team of families gathered at the Jodrell Bank Arboretum for the first outdoor meeting of the new Wildlife Explorer programme. Gardener Phil Bolton, had organised a busy morning work party with tasks for Explorers of all ages to get involved in. Last year we worked on sprucing up the bird hide (which still looks great) and clearing the bird feeder area of bramble to allow clear views to the wildlife pond. This year, helped by the long,dry summer the wildlife pond has all but dried out, providing an ideal opportunity to clear some of the encroaching vegetation away … Click here for more information…..

September 2018:RSPB Coombes Valley Meadow Sessions in Leek

Leaders from Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers ran a selection of education outreach sessions for RSPB Coombes Valley Nature Reserve at schools in Leek. The team visited Year 5 at St. Mary’s Catholic Academy and Springfield Special School. As well as covering the work of the RSPB, the sessions highlighted the importance of wildflower meadows as habitats for a whole host of creatures. Children played games to illustrate the wide range of animals and birds found in meadows and were set challenges to compare the diversity of meadow and rainforest habitats. There were happy, muddy hands all round as children (and … Click here for more information…..

Monday 21st May 2018: Birds of Prey – Predator Design Perfection

The penultimate indoor meeting of the season focussed on birds of prey and the incredible adaptations that make them formidable airborne hunters. Leader Martin explained that as well as sharp beaks and powerful talons (all perfected to deal with different prey) these birds have a whole host of mind-boggling special features to make them efficient and effective predators. In owls the facial disc channels sound precisely to allow hunting at night and their feathers have a soft edge facilitating silent flight, enough to surprise unsuspecting mice and voles. The fastest animal on earth, the peregrine falcon, can only achieve amazing … Click here for more information…..

Sunday 13th May 2018: Exploring Fletcher Moss, Didsbury – Birthplace of the RSPB

The Wildlife Explorers visit to Fletcher Moss Park and Parsonage Gardens took advantage of a glorious sunny day. There are two main buildings on the site, one of which, The Croft is famous as the birthplace of The RSPB. In 1890, Emily Williamson held a meeting at The Croft to discuss the exploitation of bird for their feathers. The Plumage League was formed and great work was done campaigning against the use of bird feathers in fashion, particularly millinery. Birds like the Great Crested Grebe were saved from the brink of extinction. On joining forces with Croydon’s Fur and feather … Click here for more information…..

Sunday 29th April 2018: Dawn Chorus and Barbecue Breakfast

It’s that time of year Wildlife Explorers set their alarm clocks for 5.00 am and head to a beauty spot close to Macclesfield to listen to the incredible sounds of the Dawn Chorus. 35 Wildlife Explorers gathered at the car park at the bottom of Tegg’s Nose Country Park, Leader Martin played a selection of bird songs so the group could start to familiarise themselves with the sounds filling the woods. Families learned how to identify Chiffchaff, Willow warbler, Wood pigeon and the distinctive trill of the wren. There was a carpet of pretty, white wood sorrel flowers and the … Click here for more information…..