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…..
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…..
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…..
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…..
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…..
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…..
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…..
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…..
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…..
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…..
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…..
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…..
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…..
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…..
Volunteers from Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers took part in an unforgettable weekend at Jodrell Bank’s Bluedot Festival 2017. The weekend was an incredible mix of music, science, culture and arts. Based in the Planet Field, the Wildlife Explorers stall featured lots of hands-on activities to engage and inspire families. The Feely boxes were a big hit (despite the odd scream when fingers made contact with the jelly slugs!) and everyone enjoyed matching creatures to their man-made wildlife homes. The skull collection was fascinating for visitors of all ages – an incredible opportunity to compare and contrast the skeletal adaptations of … Click here for more information…..
The penultimate meeting of the season was dedicated to ‘The Sounds of Nature’. At the start of the meeting Explorers designed CD covers for a Wildlife Sounds Greatest Hits CD after selecting their favourite sounds for a wild soundtrack. Birdsong was very popular but lots of other animal noises featured too. We learned that animals use sound to communicate for lots of different reasons. Sound can be used to make contact with others of the same species, advertise for a mate, beg for food from a parent, act as a warning or declare territory. The sound quiz was … Click here for more information…..
Unlike most Wildlife Explorer meetings our last outdoor meeting of the 2016/17 season required some special equipment: sun hats and suntan cream. It was a glorious, sunny day and very, very hot Armed with binoculars, bird books and a couple of birdwatching experts we walked along the River Bollin looking and listening for the largest number of bird species possible. We were hopeful of seeing dipper and even kingfisher and although they didn’t feature on our final bird list we did see a really good selection of different species and had great views of grey heron sunbathing with their … Click here for more information…..
Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers celebrated International Dawn Chorus Day with an early morning walk at local National Trust property Hare Hill. Everyone set their alarms for just a few hours after they went to bed and the Leader team was on site to set up at 5.30am. Birds sing in the early morning to take advantage of still air conditions in order to attract mates so a group of more than 35 explorers assembled by 6am to begin their Dawn Chorus walk. Leader Martin (for once wearing an ordinary hat) demonstrated the calls of some of the birds we … Click here for more information…..