Macclesfield Wildlife Explorers RSPB Phoenix

Incredible Wildlife
Thursday 25th September 2008

Big Birds
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to shelter beneath the enormous wings of an albatross? At the first meeting of the season, Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers had the chance to find out. A ‘flock’ of life-sized bird models, on loan from RSPB Coombes & Churnet Nature Reserve, winged their way to the meeting which was appropriately themed Incredible Wildlife.

As well as familiar garden birds like the great tit and blackbird, members had the chance to see for themselves the impressive wingspan of the grey heron and the incredible albatross, which proved much bigger than everyone had imagined.

(This impressive collection of birds are more often seen as part of an RSPB school assembly.
Please contact Ros Sleigh, Lead Field Teacher at RSPB Coombes & Churnet on 07921 740679 for details.)

The meeting was packed with information about incredible wildlife like dragonflies, that have lived on earth since the time of the dinosaurs, and the oldest living animal - a 374 year old clam. We learned about the fastest, largest and the most poisonous creatures on earth.

Wildlife Explorers made a Dragonfly and a Clam diorama during their craft activities.

Some of the most incredible wildlife can also be the most elusive. Much of what is known about the Giant Squid is gleaned either from dead ones washed up on the shore or the remains of squid found in the stomachs of Sperm Whales. (The Giant Squid is responsible for the circular sucker-shaped scars often seen on sperm whales - a result of the whale’s dinner fighting back!) They are thought to spend much of their lives in the deep oceans but scientists still have lots to learn. The very first photograph of a live Giant Squid was taken as recently as 2004.
The RSPB Phoenix section of Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers investigated the facts and myths surrounding the Giant Squid, presenting their findings to the rest of the Group with a little help from a twelve-foot model squid called ‘Norman’. This model represents quite a small specimen as the largest examples known grow to five times this size, almost sixty feet in length.