Ribble Reserves Blog w/c 25.11.19
The Ribble Reserves blog combines news from all our Ribble reserve sites; Marshide, Hesketh out Marsh and the Ribble Discovery Centre. Providing the latest information on sightings, events, shop offers and educational visits.
Ribble Discovery Centre
With thanks to our friends at the Fylde Bird Club we note that 4 ring necked parakeets have been observed in Stanley Park in Blackpool again. Loved and hated in possibly equal measure this non native species are thought to be derived from escapees, throwbacks from Victorian times when the popularity of keeping tropical birds was high. The population originally stabilised in London, however as they have successfully bred, the population has spread, with the birds now having been observed in most counties in the UK, including parts of Wales and even Scotland. Ring necked parakeets are monitored closely to ensure their non native impact is not a negative one on our native flora and fauna.
Ring necked parakeet photo credit Ben Andrew RSPB-images
Education and Visitor centre
The quieter Winter period is a time to reflect on the school season.
Our learning support team comprised of volunteers are fantastic. Alongside our faithful and long serving nature activity assistants, we have successfully inaugurated 4 newer members to the team! We now have 1 more volunteer nature activity assistant and 3 volunteer nature activity leaders! This is a huge success for us and means that we are able to deliver our sessions to more children. Our sessions provide hands on outdoor learning opportunities, which are vitally important for our young children. Learning outside the classroom provides different opportunities to being inside. Experiences outdoors in nature at a young age can promote greater connections to nature, which in turn can act as a catalyst to inspire an understanding of its importance.
Our volunteer are made up from a wide variety of people. Some, retired from a teaching background to others who are just starting out and are building up experiences for their future careers. Volunteering with the RSPB in this way can really boost your CV and working with childfren in an outdoor learning environment provides breadth and depth to your experience.
For further information about volunteering on the learning team check out or volunteering vacancies page http://bit.ly/volsrdc and email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
BINOCULAR AND TELESCOPE OPEN WEEKEND SATURDAY 30 NOVEMBER AND SUNDAY 1 DECEMBER
Want to #LookALittleCloser at the wildlife around you? Pop along to this event,where our extensive range of binoculars and telescopes will be on display for you to try outdoors.
Not just for wildlife experts, our shop stocks a wide variety of equipment for differing skill levels. Our range includes popular RSPB and Viking binoculars as well as other premium brands such as Swarovski and Nikon. Our friendly, knowledgeable team will be on hand this weekendto offer impartial advice. We can help you select the best kit for your needs, whether you are an experienced wildlife watcher or are looking for something for the family to spot nature in your garden.
Money raised through these purchases helps our reserve teams to continue to deliver our wildlife conservation work, advocacy and allows thousands of people every year get closer to nature.
No booking required, just drop in throughout the day.
We have also got a fantastic 50% off 10 super suet cakes with meal worms, a sure fire garden bird favourite (they are in my garden anyway!). Perhaps grab a pack to keep those birds well fed over the coming winter, with temperatures set to drop next week I'm sure they will go down a treat with your feathered friends.
Ribble-Wide Pink Feet
The pink-footed geese have been entertaining residents and visitors to the Ribble in ever growing numbers. This noisy wintering population rely on the marshes for food and protection - but also take full advantage of any left over crops in the surrounding fields.
The Ribble Pink-foot population is counted once a month by volunteers, and this months count is in. Marshside reported 2,056, with a big proviso that the visibility was terrible (fret/mist is an issue binocular makers are yet to solve). The total count for the area exceeded 40,000 (and some in the mist). The count is coordinated, which is important for this mobile forager.
All the counting got us thinking about collective nouns.We found for geese on the net: "Flock" - seems too plain "Gaggle" - A firm favourite - but feels like it has a limit "Nide of Geese" - Thought this was an old name for nest of pheasants "Plump" - Hmmm, a bit like a quilt of eiders "Skein" - What else would you call a line of them in the sky? - "Team" - Doesn't fit "Wedge" - A contender for birds in flight. None of these seem to fit geese in their thousands though, our volunteers have suggested (over a well deserved coffee break) a: "cacophony", "gozgantuan", "Ribble", "ridiculous" and "stadium".
Ribble Wide Swans
Whooper Swans have arrived in good numbers, and are making good use of the fields around the estuary. At the moment, and flock are preferring the fields alongside Hesketh Out Marsh, -last time we looked at these a Hen Harrier stomped through in pursuit of skylarks. Its always worth keeping an eye out for colour rings too, Stuart Darbyshire scanned a flock by Banks Marsh and discovered a couple of ringed birds. The resulting report showed one to be over 20 years old.
photo credit: Stuart Darbyshire
photo credit: Stuart Darbyshire
Frosty Mornings at Marshside
The first frosts are starting to take along the estuary, with winter officially starting in the next few days. Wigeon continue to whistle through the mist - seemingly creating more silence. The image below is of Crossens outer marsh, captured on a particularly cold cycling commute.
photo credit: WesDavies
Despite the frost, a few insects are still to be found (very late). We still see the odd sun fly (Helophilus pendulus) hanging on. As well as their sunny appearance, these guys have the best scientific name. From the Greek - Helo = Marsh phil = love pend = hang So - Dangling marsh lovers.
Sun fly at Marshside photo credit: WesDavies
Also, un-seasonally late was this tapered drone fly. Its cunning bee camouflage worked well as it emerged from an ATV helmet.
Tapered drone fly - Banks Marsh photo credit: WesDavies
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