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…..

7th-9th July 2017: Bluedot Festival

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…..

Monday 15th May 2017: The Sounds of Nature

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…..

Saturday 17th June : The Macclesfield Big Bird Box Build Big Bird Race

  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…..

Sunday 7th May 2017 : Dawn Chorus and Barbecue Breakfast

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…..

28th April – 1st May 2017: Wild Weekend Away

Wildlife Explorers and their families undertook a long and sometimes winding journey to the Welsh coastal town of Borth. The weekend started proper with Explorers meeting early on Saturday morning at Ynyslas National Nature Reserve. As well as the beach and remarkable sand dunes of Ynyslas the reserve also includes Cors Fochno, an internationally important peat bog and the  Dyfi Estuary, an internationally important feeding ground for thousands of wading birds.   There was an exceptionally high tide so those who parked on the beach made sure that they were as high up as possible! We assembled at the Visitor … Click here for more information…..

April 2017: ‘ Nature Connections’ Art Exhibition

Children from Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers have been working hard to prepare for an exhibition at the Visitor Centre at Tegg’s Nose Country Park. After learning about life in the seas they have interpreted the layers of the deep ocean in collage and have used their knowledge of wildlife and the natural world to create nature-inspired acrostic poems.      The Exhibtion runs until May 3rd 2017. Why not visit the Exhibiton over Easter to see the childrens’ work and pop in to the Tegg’s Nose Tea Room for some delicious refreshments too? … Click here for more information…..

Saturday 25th March 2017: Tittesworth Treasure Hunt

  Wildlife Explorer families gathered for a Treasure Hunt in glorious spring sunshine at Tittesworth Water, a Severn Trent Water site near Leek in the Staffordshire Moorlands.  As well as the fabulous vista of the reservoir itself there were many incredible views of the nearby Roaches. Leaders had secreted clues in a series of natural locations, each identified with a cleverly rhyming riddle. Explorers hunted out the clues and, with only a few hints, found all of them.                     Finally the treasure itself was located, our very own Treasure(r), Tim Wilson, who treated everyone to a … Click here for more information…..

Monday 20th March 2017: A Minibeast Mystery

The March indoor meeting was focussed on the amazing world of minibeasts. Leader Martin explained the extraordinary process of metamorphosis and the incredible features of these tiny invertebrates. We watched a video of the life cycle of a bee seeing the amazing transformation from grub to adult. The craft element of the meeting was completing the undersea woven collages started at the previous meeting. The collages would soon be part of the Tegg’s Nose Country Park exhibition ‘Nature Connections’                                     Teenage RSPB Phoenix members also took part in a special session learning about the differences between native, introduced … Click here for more information…..

Sunday 26th February 2017: Water Management for Wildlife Work Party

Enthusiastic conservation volunteers from Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers joined Cheshire East Countryside Ranger Ed Pilkington on the Middlewood Way to help on a water management project to create and maintain important wildlife habitats.  Armed with a variety of tools the group raked drainage ditches clear of choking weed. Wooden planks were used to strengthen the banks and form dams so that areas with deeper water were created. The group were delighted to see that frogs were already gathering and spawning in some of the ditches, meaning that the improvements that were made would have an immediate effect providing safe places … Click here for more information…..

Monday 6th February 2017: Deep Blue Sea

Our indoor meeting for February took place on a night of pouring rain – appropriate for a meeting about lots of water! At the start of this very creative meeting Wildlife Explorers used their imagination to create a fabulous array of acrostic poems – all based on nature and wildlife. Leader Martin made sure he was wearing the correct safety equipment – a wet suit, fins and face mask! – to talk to the group about the different layers in the ocean. He explained how changes in light and importantly pressure alter the communities of organisms at different depths. The … Click here for more information…..

Tuesday 7th February 2017: Home Educators at Jodrell Bank

Volunteer Leaders from Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers helped to run a special bird-themed day for home educators at Jodrell Bank Arboretum.  The session focussed on taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch, The RSPB’s national citizen science project and the biggest wildlife survey in the world.    The group learned about the work of the RSPB, the methodology for the bird survey, how to identify some common wild birds and how to use binoculars safely. Armed with binoculars, telescopes and identification sheets families explored the Arboretum in gorgeous spring sunshine. After one hour the bird list comprised 18 species including … Click here for more information…..

Saturday 28th January 2017: Big Garden Birdwatch, West Park, Macclesfield

  The weather forecast did not bode well for our Big Garden Birdwatch at West Park in Macclesfield and when the leaders arrived to get setup we wondered if anyone would brave the cold wet weather. We should have had more faith as several brave Wildlife Explorer families joined soon after to take part in the worlds biggest wildlife survey. The Big Garden Birdwatch Survey has been running since 1979 and last year over 519,000 people took part counting 8,262,662 birds. The bank of 35 years worth of data helps us to monitor trends in numbers and understand how birds … Click here for more information…..

Monday 16th January 2017: Brilliant British Birds

The first meeting of 2017 – Brilliant British Birds – focussed on preparing Wildlife Explorers for The RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch at the end of the month. (28-29th January).      The session started with members using their imaginations to design a bird that would be suited to living in Macclesfield (in the town or surrounding countryside). The result – a pleasing array of brightly plumaged birds ( most of which had waterproof properties!) The group considered how birdwatchers use their senses to identify birds by shape, colour and size and separate species by their different calls.  Then the children learned … Click here for more information…..