Wildlife Explorers brought their season of outdoor meetings to a close with an ‘Evolution Expedition’ at Chester zoo. Joined by the intrepid sea captain , Robert Fitzroy of the HMS Beagle and renowned naturalist Charles Darwin, author of On the Origin of Species, a 40-strong group of explorers were excited to find out more about the incredible birds, animals and plants that are kept at the zoo as part of important conservation and breeding programmes. The expedition included Leader Kat who was celebrating her 21st Birthday and Explorer Matthew who was enjoying the trip on his 5th Birthday. After singing … Click here for more information…..
The latest meeting of Wildlife Explorers focussed on minibeasts with lots of legs, from six-legged insects and eight legged arachnids (including spiders) through to the many-legged centipedes and millipedes. The meeting started with Explorers learning about the 30 Days Wild initiative from The Wildlife Trusts. Wildlife Explorers are supporting this project throughout June and are encouraging members and their families to take part in ‘random acts of wildness’ every day in June and report back about it. (Photos and a description of who, what, where and when [email protected] please). The craft for the day was making a incredible psychedelic spider … Click here for more information…..
Leaders Tina, Susan and Frankie headed to Alderley Edge to talk to Pre-School and Year one about garden birds. It was a fantastic sunny day and the sessions ran outside on the school field. Leaders showed pictures of common garden birds. (Whilst wild birds were flying across the field and between the trees). We were very impressed by the knowledge and identification skills of the children. Favourite birds included blackbird and blue tit. We then listened to some bird songs. We were even interrupted by real birds – song thrushes and wood pigeons were singing and jackdaws called as they … Click here for more information…..
Leaders and families from Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers travelled to Rutland Water for a weekend of birdwatching and natural history. The Rutland Water Nature Reserves are run by Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust in partnership with Anglian Water. The whole of the first day was based at the Anglian Birdwatching Centre at Egleton. A nature walk in the morning gave the group chance to see lots of different birds – migrant Chiffchaffs and willow warblers sang and blackcaps chattered in the trees. There were huge numbers of house martins and sand martins feeding low over the water of … Click here for more information…..
Leaders and families from Wildlife Explorers set their alarms for very, very early in the morning as is now traditional at this time of year for the annual Dawn Chorus walk. Birds sing in the still early morning air to claim breeding territory and attract females in a wonderful cacophony of different songs – the morning of our walk was no exception. We started early enough for the first bird to be heard to be a tawny owl, probably on his way home to bed! Blackbirds, wrens and dunnocks sang against the background of wood pigeons and distant pheasants. We … Click here for more information…..
Leaders Dave, Jen, Tina and Will visited The Tytherington Club Holiday Club to talk about Homes for Wildlife and help children make bird boxes for use in the club grounds. The session began with everyone looking at a whole range of different manmade wildlife homes and working out which wild creatures they were designed for. The answers were deduced using the size of the animal and position of the home, from a hedgehog house to a barn owl box and from a butterfly shelter to bat box the solutions arrived at were all correct. Everyone then designed their own home … Click here for more information…..
After a quick welcome from Ranger Martin Winder, a safety talk and instructions on how to safely complete the tasks for the day a large group of Wildlife Explorers headed to the Education Area. Armed with gardening gloves, a selection of tools and lots of enthusiasm families headed to the education area. As well as tidying up the tree shelters in the hedgerow and removing dead plants, saplings from the tree nursery were transplanted to the hedge, filling in spaces and extending the hedgerow. There was also plenty of bramble to clear and fallen branches were collected into piles for … Click here for more information…..
The most recent indoor meeting for Wildlife Explorers focussed on Rainforests and the incredible variety of life these habitats support. The group learned about the work the RSPB does managing the Harapan Rainforest in Sumatra. We are losing rainforests across the world at an alarming rate and yet the Harapan Rainforest sees local communities coming together to restore and protect the area. The forest is home to incredible creatures from Sun Bears to Sumatran Tigers and Tapirs. After measuring and comparing their height against the height of various rainforest birds and animals Explorers got crafty and coloured cards depicting rainforest … Click here for more information…..
Volunteers from Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers visited the nursery at Puss Bank to talk about garden birds and do a spot of hands-on birdwatching in the school grounds. Before we headed outside on a short birdwatching walk, each group of children learned a little bit about some of our most common wild birds – we talked about their colours and what they sound like. We were also very careful to make sure that everyone understood the safety rules for using binoculars. The unseasonal warm and sunny February weather was perfect for birdwatching. Lots of birds were calling and we listened … Click here for more information…..
One of our favourite School Birdwatches takes place each year at Victoria Park. Our morning birdwatching with students from the King’s School Junior Division was bright and sunny (if a bit on the cool side) and everyone was treated to a great selection of bird species. Three groups of children from Year 3 and Year 4 walked over to the park and used the bandstand as a perfect base for watching the birds. There was a huge enthusiasm as students got to grips with using binoculars to watch the blue tits and great tits high in the trees and count … Click here for more information…..
Despite a soggy start to the day lots of Wildlife Explorer families gathered at Poynton Coppice for a ‘Signs of Wildlife’ Treasure Hunt. As well as brilliantly rhymed wildlife-themed clues (honestly!) – families had to complete a series of challenges on the way round the treasure trail including listing the birds we heard singing, determining the tree species on site from looking at their buds and identifying lichen. Family members of all ages took on searching out the clues and completing the challenges with great gusto. Admittedly there was one tiny glitch with the clues – Tina and Susan had … Click here for more information…..
Leaders visited Ivy Bank Primary School in Macclesfield for a rearranged Big School Birdwatch. The first date was cancelled due to snow and ice – luckily the weather was dry and mild for the new session. It was decided that we would run two sessions each with two full classes (sixty children in total). We started in the classroom with an introduction to the Top 10 garden birds, some background on the survey and its methodology plus some safety tips for using binoculars. Everyone was really surprised that such large groups of children were able to birdwatch outside so successfully. … Click here for more information…..
Volunteers and young birdwatchers faced more wintry weather for the Big Schools Birdwatch at Mottram St. Andrew Primary Academy. After a smattering of overnight snow had turned to ice the ground was very slippery and the trainee ornithologists from the Reception and Nursery classes also had to contend with driving sleet. Despite conditions being far from ideal for a bit of birdwatching children had great fun using their binoculars. We listened out for robins, blackbirds and blue tits and we also heard crows and wood pigeons calling. As well as good views of jackdaws the children and adults were all … Click here for more information…..
Leaders Mark, Abercrombie, Susan and Tina visited Terra Nova for a cold but very sunny morning completing the Big School Birdwatch. After learning a little bit about about garden birds – how to identify some of them and what they sound like – children wrapped up warm with hats and scarves to head out on a birdwatching walk around the school grounds. The school regularly feeds the birds (although they have recently been competing with local squirrels for the best treats!) and a soon as the groups were outside we could hear birds singing. The best views during the morning … Click here for more information…..
Wildlife Explorers were lucky with the weather for their 2019 Big Garden Birdwatch (last year there was torrential rain!). Keen families of birdwatchers gathered near the café in West Park armed with binoculars and bird ID sheets. After a quick recap of the Top 10 garden birds for Cheshire in 2018 and some safety tips for using binoculars we set off to look and listen for the birds in the park. With so many eager birdwatchers it wasn’t surprising that we spotted a good range of species, however, we did manage to see some really special birds. We got excellent … Click here for more information…..
Rainow Preschool was our youngest group of birdwatchers this year- some of the children are just two years old, with the more mature members of the cohort being as old as four! The session started with children identifying pictures of garden birds and listening to their different songs. The great spotted woodpecker was a big favourite and everyone knew the barn owl. With their new bird identification skills it was time to wrap up warm with hats and scarves to head outside on a birdwatching walk. Everyone was equipped with a pair of binoculars and listened intently to the safety … Click here for more information…..
Volunteers for Wildlife Explorers visited Prestbury CE Primary School to hep run their Big School Birdwatch. As well as an assembly explaining how taking part in the birdwatch (and the Big Garden Birdwatch) can help the conservation of wild birds several groups of children ventured outside with binoculars to record the birds in the school grounds. Children got excellent, close views of carrion crows, robins and blue tits. A couple magpies were spotted too. As well as looking for birds children listened out for calls – the very first bird they heard was a nuthatch. The team were really impressed … Click here for more information…..
The Birdwatch at Kettleshulme St.James was set against one of the prettiest backdrops we have ever had at a Big Schools’ Birdwatch. The school grounds and surrounding countryside had a thick covering of snow, under bright blue skies and glorious sunshine. Perfect conditions to look for birds. After an introduction covering bird identification, survey methods and the safe use of binoculars each class spent time outside looking for and counting birds. The very first bird spotted was a starling – we got great views with the telescope – the sunshine highlighted the gorgeous green and purple tones of the bird’s … Click here for more information…..
Our morning at Puss Bank saw volunteers and enthusiastic pupils coping with a wide range of weather conditions. As well as snow showers, sleet and cold temperatures there were also moments of bright sunshine and some mist! The morning started with an assembly (indoors!) where we learned about some of the birds that we might see. Volunteer Leaders were really impressed by the bird identification skills on show as robin, blackbird, blue tit, house sparrow and starling were all identified with ease. After a quick talk on using binoculars safely it was time to venture outside in the wintry conditions. … Click here for more information…..
The first meeting of 2019 was designed to prepare everyone for the biggest event in the RSPB’s year – the Big Garden Birdwatch. Leader Helen devised a fabulous craft – a garden bird collage featuring some feathered favourites – a blue tit and a robin. Children used postage stamps to make the bird’s plumage to great effect. After a quick talk about the importance of the garden birdwatch in monitoring bird populations (which also featured a light sabre and Leader Susan’s incredible transformation into Queen Elizabeth II) it was time for some practical birdwatching. Trainee Junior Leader Natasha took on … Click here for more information…..