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…..

Saturday 24th March 2018: Conservation Work Party – Danes Moss

Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers assembled a group of enthusiastic volunteers for a morning of conservation work at Danes Moss. This Cheshire Wildlife Trust reserve near Macclesfield is Cheshire’s largest and highest lowland raised bog, one of the scarcest and most threatened habitats in Britain. The open areas of the bog are covered with plants like cotton grass and cross-leaved heath and at least six species of sphagnum moss. In recent years the Trust has undertaken work to expand the reserve and recently contractors have been busy working on site to help clear large tree saplings from the bog. Bunds of … Click here for more information…..

Monday 19th March 2018: Magnificent Meadows – The Importance of Wild Flowers in the Countryside

Since the 1930s we have lost 97% of our wildflower meadows in Britain. Changes in traditional farming practices mean that this important wildlife habitat has become increasingly rare, along with the species of birds, insects and wildflowers that it supports – some have even become extinct. At the most recent Wildlife Explorer meeting our members learned about the plants that grow in meadows and creatures that make their home there. To get everyone in the room ‘meadow-ready’ (and to help everyone defrost from the recent cold weather) we all spent a few minutes lying on the floor with our eyes … Click here for more information…..

29th and 30th January 2018: Macclesfield Children’s Centres at Ash Grove and Broken Cross Big Schools Birdwatch

You are never too young to start learning about nature in your immediate environment – and the tiny children visiting Macclesfield Children’s Centres this week were no exception. Families were introduced to a selection of toy singing birds so that they could learn how to identify some of our most familiar garden visitors. There was also an opportunity for even the youngest birdwatchers to get hands-on using binoculars. Unfortunately torrential rain at the Ash Grove session meant that we couldn’t complete a birdwatch but a cold, crisp bright morning at Broken Cross meant that we a really good list of … Click here for more information…..

Monday 12th February 2018: Prehistoric Wildlife – Discovering Dinosaurs and Fossils

The Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers February indoor meeting involved some time travel as we focussed our attention on the origins of modern birds! Both age groups headed back millions of years to the age of the dinosaurs for all of our crafts, games and activities. The dinosaur name game at the start of the meeting got everyone scratching their heads as they worked out the origins of those amazing dinosaur species names and even created some of their own! Then it was time to dig out Leader Martin’s trusty geological timeline scarf to help to work out when, in the … Click here for more information…..

Sunday 11th February 2018: Martin Mere – Day Visit

Another chilly winters day for the February Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers outdoor meeting to the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) Martin Mere Wetland Centre near Ormskirk. In 2002 a wildlife survey recorded well over 2,000 different species of birds, mammals, insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles and mini-beasts living in and around the mere which gives the site its name. There are over 100 species of international water-birds plus an otter enclosure, eco-garden and a world record breaking minibeast hotel! The group arrived just as the reserve was opening and met up with a volunteer guide from WWT who gave us an … Click here for more information…..

Saturday 27th January 2018: Big Garden Birdwatch, West Park, Macclesfield

With a wet, cold, dreary day for our Big Garden Birdwatch event we didn’t hold out much hope for many attendees or many birds. What a surprise we had! With a team of around 20 eager birdwatchers we set off to record the bird life at West Park in the centre of Macclesfield. In the end we were very lucky with the weather and the hour of our birdwatch was perhaps the best of the morning. We saw lots of blackbirds in the play area, including two having quite a scrap. Smaller birds were flitting in the trees – including … Click here for more information…..

Monday 15th January 2018: Garden Birds – Our Familiar Feathered Friends

Lots of fun at the first indoor meeting for 2018 focussing on Garden birds in preparation for the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch at the end of the month. The starting activity was matching close ups of birds to the correct bird, looking for colours and shapes. The group constructed a ‘wildlife explorer’ (with key items of equipment: binoculars, magnifying glass, pond net, ID book and of course a Wildlife Explorers T-shirt!) and demonstrated typical wildlife explorer activities with the help of a few props. Thanks to Emilia who demonstrated the bee collecting pollen game brilliantly! As well as identifying the … Click here for more information…..

Sunday 3rd December 2017: Tree Dressing and Silly Hat Competition

This year Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers held their annual Tree Dressing meeting at the Peak District National Park Ranger Centre at Trentabank in Macclesfield Forest. This was the result of a last minute venue change due to continuing maintenance work on the reservoir at the bottom of Tegg’s Nose Country Park, however, the Trentabank Education Area proved to be perfectly suited to the event and a very popular venue will everyone taking part. For Wildlife Explorers Tree Dressing is an opportunity for the group to celebrate the importance of trees and woodland for wildlife and people. Ephemeral clay faces, creatures … Click here for more information…..

Friday 17th November 2017: Sphagnum Moss ID Training at Danes Moss

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…..

Tuesday 28th November 2017: Coombes Valley Meadows Outreach Programme

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…..

Monday 20th November 2017: Going Underground – Life Beneath Our Feet

Wildlife Explorers started the evening with a photo quiz. They had to identify different textures in nature as animal, plant or fungi  – it was much more difficult than everyone expected. Older Wildlife Explorers and Phoenix also tried to decide which family of animals and plants the pictures showed. It was a real challenge but the children managed to get far more right than the Leaders! Thanks to Phil Barnett for the brilliant photographs. At the November Indoor meeting Wildlife Explorers learned about the wildlife right under our feet – in the soil, in burrows and tunnels and caves. Leader … Click here for more information…..

Saturday 7th October 2017: Nature Needs You

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…..

Saturday 4th November 2017: Meadow Conservation Work Party

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…..

Monday 16th October 2017: Alien Invaders

Wildlife Explorers welcomed a special guest to the October Indoor Meeting, Sal Potts from BEACON. BEACON (Bollin Environmental Action and Conservation) is a group of people working towards controlling and eradicating invasive non-native species (INNS) within the Bollin catchment, which includes all the tributaries, meres, brooks and streams connected to the River Bollin such as the River Dean and Mobberley Brook. The meeting started with Explorers designing an amazing array of feathers. Some chose feathers from real bird species, others used their imagination to create amazing, colourful designs. Sal then talked about the work of BEACON. She explained what invasive … Click here for more information…..

2nd October 2017: – Gordon Buchanan at Buxton Opera House

Leaders and RSPB Phoenix members joined a packed Buxton Opera House for ‘Animal Families and Me’, a talk by Gordon Buchanan. The acclaimed television wildlife cameraman and presenter of many popular BBC wildlife series shared some of his amazing experiences with some of the world’s most incredible animals. As well as incredible tales of his travels to some of the most remote parts of the world , Buchanan used his own film footage and photography to illustrate how his ‘up close and personal’ style allowed him insights into the behaviour of some of our planet’s most iconic species. The audience … Click here for more information…..

Monday 18th September 2017:The Sun – The Solar System and the Source of Life

The first indoor meeting of the new Wildlife Explorers season focussed on the source of energy for all life – the Sun. Children began the evening by selecting a planet from our solar system and designing an extra-terrestrial creature with special adaptations to live successfully in conditions there. The group learned about the importance of the sun and the way that energy is transferred through food chains and food webs. To help us understand how the earth relates to our neighbours in the solar system we listened to a song about the eight planets and older explorers had the treat … Click here for more information…..

Sunday 17th September 2017: Jodrell Bank Working Party

    As part of our ongoing partnership with Jodrell Bank the Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers came together this September for a working party in the Arboretum. The day was grey and overcast but the group were raring to go as usual particularly since Becky, Head of Gardens and Interpretation,  was offering to carry most of the tools and equipment to site in her handy buggy. Tools and equipment were prepared and loaded and transported to site ready to work at one of the arboretum’s bird hides. Loppers, shear, secateurs were all necessary for us to work to clear vegetation from … Click here for more information…..

Monday 4th September 2017: Teggs Nose Farm Pond Survey

Leaders and RSPB Phoenix members visited Tegg’s Nose Farm to conduct a second annual pond survey. This was a fantastic opportunity for the group to learn about the variety of aquatic minibeasts and how to identify them to family level.               Leader David Wilson who has just started his MSc studies on River Science was on hand to help with identification and sampling techniques. (He couldn’t wait to don some waders and get into the pond in search of aquatic invertebrates!)                We kept separate lists for the two main ponds. Unfortunately, due to the dry weather over the … Click here for more information…..