RSPB Phoenix

Weekend Away based around the
RSPB reserve at Leighton Moss
Friday 30th April to Monday 3rd May 2010

Our 2010 weekend away was organised around a visit to the RSPB reserve at Leighton Moss.

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The weekend started bright and early for some of the party
as we joined Leighton Moss Wildlife Explorers for a Dawn Chorus walk.
And no Dawn Chorus would be complete without ending with a bacon buttie!
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  The Dawn Chorus birdlist was an incredible 44 species.
Bearded tit Chiffchaff Great tit Marsh harrier Sedge warbler
Blackbird Collared dove Green woodpecker Moorhen Song thrush
Blackcap Coot Grey heron Mute swan Swallow
Black-headed gull Dunnock Greylag goose Pheasant Swift
Blue tit Gadwall Jackdaw Pied wagtail Tufted duck
Bullfinch Goldcrest Lapwing Pochard Willow warbler
Canada goose Goldfinch Lesser whitethroat Reed bunting Wood pigeon
Carrion crow Great black-backed gull Magpie Reed warbler Wren
Chaffinch Great crested grebe Mallard Robin

Those of us who had enjoyed a lie-in arrived at the reserve at 9am to join the rest of the Group and the
Leaders from Leighton Moss.

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Jim and Tim showed us the moths that had been trapped during the previous night.

We then joined Rita and Rachel and the other Leaders to go on a birdwatching walk and tried bug hunting, pond dipping. It was great fun and the weather was glorious.

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We found lots of spider mites, centipedes and millipedes under the log slices in the orchard.
We even found several toads burrowed underneath the logs.


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Amongst the pond dipping discoveries were mayfly larvae, diving beetle larvae, a whole host of daphnia
and a superb caddis fly larvae in its carefully constructed case.


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Sadly the good weather didn't hold out for our afternoon walk with Jim to Trowbarrow Quarry Nature Reserve and the heavens opened but we were prepared!. The rain didn't dampen our spirits, as we walked through the beautiful limestone scenery.

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We even tried singing in the rain which seemed to scare some of the darker clouds away!


  On our walk to Trowbarrow we took part in the Bee Scene survey for Plantlife

  Of the fifteen Bee Scene flowers we were asked to record we found:
        Bramble, Dandelion, Dog rose, Herb Robert, Rosebay willowherb & White dead-nettle.

  In addition we identified:
  Bluebells Dog’s mercury Ground ivy Wood sorrel Early purple orchid
  Cuckoo Flower Germander speedwell Dog violet Lesser celandine Lilly of the valley
  Wild strawberry Cowslips Wood anemone Hedge garlic Yellow archangel
  Lords and Ladies Wood avens Ramsoms Silverweed

The UK has 24 species of bumblebee. Some of the most beautiful species are in danger of disappearing. Bumblebees are very important creatures because they pollinate a large number of flower species, both wild and cultivated. The Bumblebee Conservation trust is involved with the project in the hope that through their own involvement, many more people will appreciate the humble bumblebee and take steps to provide the flower-rich habitats which bees so desperately need.

We discovered that the Trowbarrow area was good for Bumblebees.
Our visit results are saved on the Plantlife survey on-line map.

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Our evening activities had the theme of 'Night-time wildlife'.

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We ate fish (or sausage) & chips for our evening meal!.

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We then designed rain-loving play dough creatures, coloured in three dimensional ducks
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and set moth lures outside the Education room.

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Tina told us about some of the animals that like to come out at night.

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We experimented on Junior Leader Julian to show how difficult hunting in the dark was,
and we dressed Hope to show how animals have special adaptations to hunt and survive at night!

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We dissected Barn owl pellets and identified the skulls and bones of mice, voles and shrews.
It was fascinating.

As parents arrived to collect everyone, Dave told us all about Barn Owls and the Cheshire Barn Owl Group.


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On Sunday morning we joined the Peregrine Watch at Warton Crag to learn all about these incredible birds
of prey. We had fantastic views of the male Peregrine and heard the female calling to him from the nest.
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A family of ravens had fledged earlier that morning and incredibly we saw Jackdaws move in to steal and recycle twigs from the raven's nest to build their own.

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We then headed down to the beach at Morecambe, by the statue of comedian Eric Morecambe.

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Our time at the beach started with a sandcastle-building competition.

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The adults played rounders and we played lots of games and relay races and on the sand.

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We made human sculptures of a sea anemone and a rag-worm, then we did some experiments with the sand.

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Our stay at Morecambe was rounded off with a family quiz based on the Tern Project.
The amazing sculpture trail on the sea front.


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We returned to the site at Fell End for our afternoon of tree planting.
We planted 80 rowan trees in a wildlife area as part of the CSV Action Earth campaign.

Click here to see the full Tree Planting Report with CSV Action Earth.


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Our weekend was rounded off with lots of games and prizes.

Weekend Birdlist
Bearded tit Curlew Greylag goose Marsh tit Shelduck
Blackbird Dunlin Herring Gull Moorhen Shoveler
Blackcap Dunnock House martin Mute swan Song thrush
Black-headed gull Eider duck House sparrow Oystercatcher Starling
Blue tit Gadwall Jackdaw Peregrine Swallow
Bullfinch Godwit Kestrel Pheasant Swift
Buzzard Goldcrest Lapwing Pied wagtail Tufted duck
Canada goose Goldfinch Lesser black-backed gull Pochard Wheatear
Carrion crow Great black-backed gull Lesser whitethroat Raven Whimbrel
Chaffinch Great crested grebe Little owl Reed bunting Willow warbler
Chiffchaff Great tit Long tailed tit Reed warbler Wood pigeon
Coal tit Green woodpecker Magpie Robin Wren
Collared dove Greenfinch Mallard Rook
Coot Grey heron Marsh harrier Sedge warbler
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Oystercatcher by David Tolliday.

Lots of children and adults took photographs during the weekend.
We have created a special page to capture all of these memories.
Click here to view the collection of 'snaps'.


We had an absolutely brilliant weekend.

Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers would like to thank all of those volunteers with the RSPB (including our own Leaders) and other conservation groups that helped with the planning, organisation and running of our weekend. We received lots of guidance and advice from local organisations and individuals that proved invaluable
and helped to make our weekend a great success.

Most of all we would like to Thank the children and parents that joined us
for this fantastic weekend for their continuing incredible support.