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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 196

Date:- 17 April 2005

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Aren't birds brilliant!

THE Ribble Estuary offers amazing chances to see a variety of wild birds in their natural environment and the RSPB is organising a series of one-off opportunities to help people make the best of the experience.

The first Aren't birds brilliant! walk of the season, is on Wednesday 20 April, when RSPB staff and volunteers will be searching for some of these birds. The walks will go across areas not normally open to the public, so they provide a one-off opportunity to see normally hidden parts of the estuary.

Some birds, like the black-tailed godwit and knot are fast-flying, colourful and occur in flocks of many hundreds, often thousands. They glean a precarious survival from the root-rich mud banks of the estuary.

Others such as corn buntings and tree sparrows are smaller and often harder to find in the farmland where they live. These birds rely on farmland to provide places to nest and for food through the spring and over the winter. The distinctive song of the corn bunting, sounding like a bunch of jangling keys, can still be heard on farmland along the Ribble shore.

On areas of damp grassland and marsh, the tumbling display of lapwings is accompanied by their peeee-wit calls. In many areas, these birds have declined, but the Ribble offers a local stronghold. Black-tailed godwits are rare breeding birds in the UK, but a few pairs can be found with the lapwing around the Ribble marshes.

The RSPB will be leading guided walks to look for some of these birds over the next few weeks. The walks will be in the Clifton area, between Preston and Freckleton.

Carol Coupe, RSPB project officer, said:- "The Ribble Estuary is well-known for its amazing wealth of important wildlife. Of course, we can't guarantee sightings on the walks, but there will be plenty to see. These walks will provide an excellent opportunity to see birds in an area that is not normally open to the public." 

Andrew Gouldstone, RSPB Area Conservation Manager, said:- "This is an exciting new project, and we are extremely grateful to United Utilities and Ibstock Cory for supporting the walks and to the farmers for permitting this special access to their land."

The walks will last about 2˝ hours, and start at 10 am. As well as 20 April, walks will also be held on 3, 12, 23 May, and 5, 10, 21 June.

As numbers are strictly limited to 20, booking is essential by ringing the RSPB on 01484 861148 or email:- Details of where to meet will be provided when bookings are made.

Walkers are advised to take binoculars, waterproofs, warm clothing and stout footwear 

School celebrates Primary Quality Awards

ST JOSEPH'S RC Primary School in Penketh, Warrington, has a lot to shout about as they prepare to celebrate in style after being awarded the Primary Quality Mark. A special ceremony will take place, to officially hand over the accolade, hosted by Malcolm Roxburgh, the Council's Strategic Director of Children's Services.

The nationally recognised award illustrates that a school is teaching, planning and acting to raise achievements and standards in the basic skills of literacy and numeracy. The school underwent an independent accreditation inspection in Autumn 2004. Malcolm Roxburgh will spend time meeting and greeting staff and pupils and will present the awards to those behind the award.

Cllr Colin Froggatt, Executive Member for Children's Services, said:- "Once again we have a reason to be proud of our schools in Warrington and of their continuous achievements. "Congratulations to St Joseph's Primary School and everyone who has made this all possible."

The ten key elements, which had to be met as part of the independent
inspections, were:-

1. A whole school strategy including an action plan to improve performance in basic skills.

2. An assessment of pupil performance in basic skills in the school.

3. A target for the improvement of basic skills in the school.

4. Basic improvement plans for pupils under-attaining in the school.

5. Regular review of progress made by each pupil under-attaining in basic skills.

6. A commitment to improving the skills of school staff to teach and extend basic skills.

7. The use of a range of teaching styles to improve basic skills.

8. Using appropriate teaching and learning material to improve basic

9. The involvement of parents in developing their children's basic skills.

10. An effective procedure for monitoring the action plan and assessing improvement in performance in basic skills.
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