Saturday, 28 March 2015

Day 145 - A Cracking Conference at the RSPB Member's Weekend

Vote for Bob!
Hi all today's Day 145 and I have been at York University at the RSPB Member's Weekend. It was quite a short drive over to York, only about three quarters of an hour, and it was quite an un-eventful trip in terms of nature. The only interesting thing that we saw was a Kestrel but other than that, it was just your usual, wood-pigeons, black-headed gulls that sort of thing. When we got there we made it over to the Exhibition Hall which is where registration was. There were a couple of stalls in there, one for children (of which I was probably the only one to visit but I'll get to that in a minute), there were lots of stalls with competitions on, I entered one in which you had to identify the bird from really close up. Keep in mind that each bird was from a completely different country or even a different continent! To make it easier for us, though, they gave us a book that had pictures of the birds. There was a stand for Vote for Bob and I got see him! You can see him in the picture to the right. Finally there was a stand for Yorkshire Coast Nature and I got to talk to another person that I am in touch with over Twitter which is always fun.

Now, onto the talks. The first talk was by Steve Rowland and was about The Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project. This was mainly talking about transforming plots of land into something that wildlife can thrive in, recreating habitats that have been lost or are threatened. The main example was Wallasea Island. This was one of the largest projects that the RSPB has ever undertaken. They were working with farmers and land owners. They are still working on this project now but when it is finished they are saying that is going to be one of the best reserves they have.

A Great Crested Grebe nesting in the middle
of the University of York
The next talk was about Ospreys by Ian Perks. The talk was called Ospreys in Britain: Back from the Brink. This was an extremely interesting talk as Ian was talking about how they became extinct in the UK but two Ospreys stopped off here when they were migrating and bred successfully. Sadly, egg collectors stole them. The next year the same two Ospreys stopped off and bred again successfully but this time, no egg collectors stole them and they fledged successfully. These then went on to breed. And so it continued, they kept breeding. Just from those two Ospreys we now have around 300 breeding pairs in the UK. A big part of this success was the RSPB getting involved to protect the birds and they had to do a lot of that - even rebuilding a nest when somebody cut down the branch it was on with a chainsaw! The other important thing the RSPB did was to tell people about the Ospreys and get them to visit and see these wonderful birds. The Osprey camp has over the years transformed from a caravan, to a potting shed through to a wonderful big modern building now with compost toilets!

After this it was tea and coffee break but all I really did was look at the birds outside as you can see in the pictures. I did notice though that there was a stand that was highlighting the investigation work the RSPB do into wildlife crime.

A gaggle of Snow Geese outside of the conference
The next talk was by Kara Brydson about Saving Scotland's Seas. She talked mainly about sea birds and there was a lot of figures like the UK has around 90% of all sea birds in Europe but this is declining rapidly. She was saying that sea birds are the most rapidly declining bird-type in the world. This is pretty incredible when you think about all the types, Garden Birds, Forest birds, etc. She also talked about new marine protected zones which are important as sea birds have had protection on land for some time but not at sea until now.

The final talk that I stayed for was by Dave Lamacraft the Senior Conservation Officer for Plantlife. The talk was called Working with Plantlife in Wales. The main aspect of the talk was how when the RSPB and Plantlife joined forces, they were able to help some of our lichen and plant species. He also talked about all the different types of plant in the Temperate Rainforest or Celtic Rainforest. These are very important to a wide range of lesser plants (lichens, mosses, liverworts etc.).

Here is the link to the page on the RSPB for the Member's Weekend:

It was a great morning, the talks taught me a lot. It struck me though that I was the only young person there which was a shame. There were lots of friendly people that obviously care about nature a lot. Young people though need to know about the work that is going on and to be inspired to care about our wildlife too - I wonder if there`s going to be a young members weekend sometime, RSPB?

Hope you enjoyed,


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