L.O.S. Young Birders' Club visits St.Thomas C.E. Primary School

The L.O.S. Young Birders' Club team paid a visit to St. Thomas' C.E. Primary School in Leigh last Wednesday to give some more presentations about birding to young people, with the aim of raising their awareness of the natural world around them.

We worked with two Year 4 classes and, building on the experience gained from our first session, the team offered a modified version of the initial presentation deciding to concentrate on just one practical activity with each class.

George introduced our presentation to the first class and covered such topics as why we need to feed the birds throughout the winter and spring and what sort of birds we are likely to see in our gardens.

There were a lot of questions and feedback from the children - as you can see from the photographs, they were very keen and enthusiastic and clearly interested in the subject.

Tony then demonstrated how to build a bird feeder out of a recycled clear plastic water bottle, some garden wire and a couple of sticks. 

The children worked well in pairs to make the feeders and seemed to really like this activity.  After the bottles were filled with seed they couldn't wait to hang them up and see what birds they attracted.

Finally the children did a word search about bird names to finish off the practical session, before Martyn told them about the L.O.S. Young Birders' Club and the 'Big Garden Birdwatch' event at Pennington Flash on Sunday 27 January.

He also mentioned the competition for designing a new logo for the L.O.S. Young Birders' Club, the details of which are on the website.

After the presentation had been given to the second class, the children worked in pairs to make some bird ID dials. Each person cut out a circular dial and then fastened it to their partner's dial.

When completed, the children used the ID dials to identify some birds from a colour photographs. There was also a slightly harder set of photographs  showing only small parts of birds to ID for those who had finished.

Following a discussion with class teacher Mrs. S. Grant at the end of the session, we also volunteered to accompany the children on a fieldtrip to Lilford Park in Leigh, where they are looking at what impact the proposed guided busway from Leigh to Manchester will have on birds, wildlife and habitat in the area.

This is exactly the sort of project with which the L.O.S. is hoping to get involved in the future.

At the end of each session the class was presented with a metal bird feeder filled with either fat balls or seed for being such a great audience. Our thanks go out to the staff and pupils of St. Thomas' for making us feel so welcome and for working so well on this project - we hope to see you again soon.

Future primary schools lined up for our presentations include Bedford Hall Methodist Primary School in Leigh, St. Richards R.C. Primary School in Atherton and St. Catherine's Catholic Primary School in Lowton.

Big Garden Birdwatch Event at Pennington Flash

This weekend sees the start of the Big Garden Birdwatch organised by the RSPB and to coincide with this, Wigan Leisure and Cultural Trust (WLCT) are holding their own special event at Pennington Flash, on Sunday 27 January.  The event runs from 11am to 3pm.

Members of our Society will be present to hold the inaugural meeting of our L.O.S. Young Birders' Club, where we shall be taking young people on an number of guided walks around the bird hides and giving tips and information about simple bird identification.

This is part of our campaign to get more young people interested in birding and nature, which we have started by giving presentation at local primary schools.  A page on the website has been set up for youngsters to record their sightings seen on the walks or in their local area and they can also send photographs, written reports and even artwork for inclusion on the website to leighos.webmaster@gmail.com.

As well as the guided walks, the following activities will also taking place:

Snowy Owl from last year's event
  • Bird of Prey demonstration
  • Nestbox building and for sale
  • Willow weaving demonstration
  • Making apple juice with a press
  • Making recycled bird feeders and fat peckers
  • RSPB's Roger Hayes will be in attendance

We do hope that as many L.O.S. members as possible will be able to attend and help generate interest in the Society as well as the new L.O.S. Young Birders' Club.
Martyn Jones

A successful start to the L.O.S. Young Birders' Club Campaign

George's introduction
On Friday 12 January, Tony Bishop, George Pike and Martyn Jones began the L.O.S. Young Birders' Club campaign at Gilded Hollins Community Primary School in Leigh. 

Our first presentation was to a Year 4 class of pupils all aged between 8 and 9 years old and the main focus of the session was to tell the pupils about our Society, what we do and how we can all help birds and wildlife in general.

Tony loses his bottle
The presentation was introduced by George with Martyn operating a PowerPoint slideshow and this led into a demonstration by Tony of how to make a simple bird feeder out of a recycled plastic bottle (full details of which are here).

Then it was the pupils turn to make the feeders - the class was divided into five groups of six pupils who each had a tray with all the materials to make one birder feeder between two children.

Fortunately the children listened very carefully and there was only one slight accident with the seed!

Here are some photos of the construction process:
Inserting the perches
Filling the feeder
The finished product
Unfortunately we didn't have time to make the Bird ID Dials as planned with the Year 4 class, and so we left them with the materials and quiz to do so at a later time.  The class teacher seemed very keen to do this and carry on the work we had started.

The first session was finished with Martyn giving a short presentation about the LOS Young Birders' Club which is planning to give a guided tour around the bird hides at Pennington Flash at the Big Garden Birdwatch event being held there on Sunday 27 January, more details about which will follow in a later post.  

Martyn also showed the pupils the new LOS Young Birders' Club Website where they can add their own bird sightings, as well as send in photographs, artwork and nature reports by email for publication on the web.

In the next session we gave a revised version of the presentation to a Year 5 class of pupils aged 9 and 10.

This time we had a little longer to deliver the materials and so after George had done the introduction, Tony showed the class how to make the Bird ID Dial.

The pupils paired up and had no difficulty in cutting out the dials and assembling them with the fastener. To the left is a photo of the finished product.

Tony then demonstrated how to make the bird feeder and again the pupils were very enthusiastic and skilled in making their feeders. Here are some of the results:

At the end of the session the Society donated a metal bird feeder with fat balls for the Year 4 class and a metal and plastic seed feeder to the Year 5 class as a thank-you for their hard work during the sessions. We were made to feel very welcome by all the staff and pupils at Gilded Hollins and they seemed to enjoy the activities as much as we did.  On our way out we noticed that some of the feeders had already been hung up in the trees outside the Year 4 classroom.

Hopefully we will manage to visit a lot more schools and organisations in the area to encourage bird and nature watching and conservation. Our next presentation will be given to St. Thomas' Primary School in Leigh on Wednesday 23 January, and we are hoping to visit Bedford Hall Methodist Primary School next month.

If anyone reading this has any contacts with primary schools in the Wigan and Leigh area we'd like to hear from you so that we might arrange to give them our presentation and encourage membership of L.O.S. Young Birders' Club events.
Martyn Jones

Mink Recording

Following two appearances today by our Conservation Officer Roy Rhodes on BBC North West Today and BBC North West Tonight, we have received 14 new records of mink in the area, bringing the total to 27 records.

If you missed the video reports on BBC TV, they will appear here in the new few days and if you would like to report a mink sighting please do so here, rather than on our normal contact page.

Save wildlife habitat at Worlaby in Lincs

Hi everyone.

Below is a request from Pauline Greenhalgh, asking us all to sign the Government Petition, I would be obliged if you would do this to help save a fantastic bird haunt.

David Shallcross, Chairman.

P.S. would you also circulate to your own contacts.

This could do with signing by as many folks as we can get it round to. Its been begun by David Newby to try and stop the land at Worlaby in Lincs returning to agriculture and thus losing the short eared owl winter population, not to mention killing all the voles in the process ... 

We have visited on several occasions to take photos as you know and while there have counted 6-8 owls flying and the count has been up to 16 Short-eared Owls some years. We've also seen Barn Owls and Hen Harries hunting over the area. I would say its a Nationally Important feeding place for raptors ...

Perhaps David you could circulate this round the LOS email group? Only a few hundred signatures is hardly going to sway anyone - they need many more folk to sign - this is important for the population of shorties in the whole country - not just a little problem in a corner of Lincolnshire!



First Presentation for L.O.S. Young Birders' Club

Friday 11 January will see the first presentation by L.O.S. members to primary school pupils in a bid to raise awareness of birding, wildlife, habitat and nature in general in our local area. Our first presentation will be to Year 4 and 5 pupils at Gilded Hollins C.P. in Leigh when we will be stressing the importance of feeding birds throughout the winter, making bird feeders and identification dials and finishing off with a short identification quiz.

As a follow up to this presentation, the pupils will be invited with their parents to attend the Big Garden Birdwatch event at Pennington Flash on Sunday 27 January where are number of guided walks will be run by L.O.S. members as well as other related activities.

The long term idea is to form an L.O.S. Young Birders' Club, which meets once a month for a guided walk around a local site.  The youngsters will need to attend with their parents and will be given checklists on which they can record their sightings.  A website has also been developed for them to submit their sightings as well as any reports, photographs or artwork which they do at school or at home. A link is on the right hand side of this page.

More details will follow on the exciting event at Pennington Flash next week.

Breeding Bird Survey 2013

A recording square has become vacant for grid reference SD5300 Billinge. A volunteer is urgently needed.
Please contact Mrs A.J. Smith 01942 861759 for details.

Fieldtrip to Marshside RSPB and Hesketh Bank RSPB

This very next Sunday (13th January), join us all on a trip to the seaside!  Marshside and Hesketh Bank, with possibly Martin Mere en route.

Waders galore plus who knows what else. Weather guaranteed!

Meet at 0800 hrs at Doctors Nook car park, bring friends and lovers, buckets and spades, binoculars and scopes, butties and flasks and last but not least husbands and wives.

Please drop me a line if you can make it.  
Al Foy

Waxwings at Howe Bridge Crematorium

In the last week or so we've been very fortunate to have up to 20 Waxwings in the L.O.S. recording area at Howe Bridge Crematorium.
(c) Ian David Greenhalgh
(c) Ian David Greenhalgh
The birds have been very tame and quite easy to photograph and on some occasions there have been more photographers present than birds!  The only problem has been the weather with the light often being very poor on many occasions.  That said, some excellent shots have been taken by our members.
(c) Pauline Mellor Greenhalgh
(c) Pauline Mellor Greenhalgh
At one point whilst I was there, a large group of noisy leather-clad bikers arrived en masse and headed towards us, clearly quite amused at what all the birders and photographers were doing. Read about what happened here on my blog.
(c) David Shallcross
(c) David Shallcross
I think you'll all agree that there is a great deal of photographic talent in our Society!

Martyn Jones

Derby Room Meeting

Our first meeting of the new year is on Friday 4th January.

"The Ken Gallimore Memorial Lecture", once again and for the 42nd time, we welcome Gordon Yates, who will show us his film "A World of Birds"

Gordon has never disappointed us that's why we invite him year after year. Here is an extract from Gordon's Blog, he has a new DVD out which you can buy at the meeting.

The undoubted highlight of the Pennine year was the finding and filming of a female Barn Owl who had laid her eggs on the ground in a corner of a barn. Daily filming was taken of her as her eggs hatched and the young even climbed out on to her back and inter acted with a singing Swallow on a beam above. It was one of the most exceptional events I have ever seen in more than forty years of filming Raptors and highlights our latest DVD ‘A Bird for all Seasons’. This will be our last DVD and incorporates seven years of filming as it follows the lives of eighty species of birds through the seasons of the year. It is proving very popular and one purchaser informed me that he had already watched it thirteen times since he had purchased it twenty days ago!!! 

My DVD can be purchased through my website www.gordon-yates.com  or telephoning me on 01706 631770.