An enthusiastic team of families gathered at the Jodrell Bank Arboretum for the first outdoor meeting of the new Wildlife Explorer programme. Head of Gardens, 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 … Click here for more information…..
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…..
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…..
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…..
The BTO is launching a project to expand their knowledge of our various Owl species, starting with the Tawny Owl. This project will build connections with local groups to survey their local breeding population to see how the owls are faring. The BTO will also provide volunteer ringers with new skills to monitor owls, such as tagging technologies. The project will be designed so that as many people as possible can take part and will look at the annual breeding success of the owls and advance our knowledge of how Tawny Owls use their foraging areas and what aspects of … Click here for more information…..
At a whole school assembly the children at Mottram St Andrew Primary Academy created a human ID chart of the Top 10 Garden Birds (as reported in the Big Garden Birdwatch 2017 for Cheshire). Leaders were impressed by the identification skills of children of all ages and the fact that so many students had completed their own Big Garden Birdwatches over the weekend. All of the classes got the opportunity to attempt counting larger numbers of birds in flocks as part of our survey. Year 2 got to count an incredible 45 jackdaws in the field and flying in the … Click here for more information…..
A group of volunteers who have been involved in the Macclesfield Big Bird Box Build gathered at the local Cheshire Wildlife Trust reserve, Danes Moss, on a cold, bright morning to learn more about Sphagnum Moss. The session was run by Katie who has been working on the Delamere Lost Mosses Project for the last five years. Katie located a number of different species with remarkably different characteristics at different locations around the reserve. Armed with identification keys and hand lenses, volunteers learned to differentiate stem and branch leaves (harder than you think!) The group were fascinated to learn more … Click here for more information…..
Volunteers from Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers recently took part in outreach sessions at schools in Rudyard and Leek on behalf or RSPB Coombes Valley, our closest RSPB reserve. The sessions covered the work of the RSPB and highlighted the importance of wildflower meadows as habitats for a whole host of species. Children, staff and volunteers had lots of fun getting muddy making seed bombs with wildflower seeds. Each child made their own seed bomb to take away and grow a mini meadow at home. The team would like to thank both the Sycamore class at Horton St Michael in Rudyard … Click here for more information…..
Every year the Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers run a family outreach event at a local countryside site. This ’Nature Needs You’ event is all about giving families a chance to give nature a home and support the wildlife in their neighbourhood / back garden a hand! This year’s event was in partnership with the National Trust at Hare Hill in Alderley Edge. The site is a tranquil woodland garden surrounded by parkland, once part of Charles Brocklehurst’s estate. We have worked with Hare Hill before on the Macclesfield Big Bird Box Build and they have Kindly hosted our ‘Dawn Chorus and Barbecue Breakfast’ event for … Click here for more information…..
Wildlife Explorers met at RSPB Coombes Valley Nature Reserve armed with gardening gloves and spades. After a short drive to the newly acquired Bellpit Meadow they were ready to begin as morning of conservation work creating a new hedgerow. Paul Bennett, the Coombes Valley Warden showed everyone how to plant using a technique called slit planting and Leader Martin explained how to use tools safely. Bare root and cell grown plants were used from a mixture of native hedgerow species including hawthorn, hazel, field maple, dogwood and crab apple. The weather stayed dry for the whole session and a large … Click here for more information…..