Spring Birds Flock to North West Nature Reserves
coldest winter in over 30 years, North West National Nature Reserves
are starting to see the first signs of warmer weather in the region
as migrating birds flock to the area and herald the start of spring.
Spring is the time when the natural world is on the move. Millions
of migrating birds provide one of the most exhilarating signs of
lighter days ahead as new species start arriving for the summer and
winter residents return to their traditional breeding grounds.
Natural England’s National Nature Reserves (NNRs) are a great place
to see some of this astonishing seasonal movement in action.
On NNRs up and down the country, spring sees the return of migratory
waders, such as golden plover and curlew; while whinchat and ring
ouzel start to appear on our upland heaths and moors. From
late-March to mid-May, swallows pass through in their thousands;
yellow wagtails and whitethroats return from their African wintering
grounds to breed on England’s lowland farmland; and redwings and
fieldfares return to Scandinavia to breed.
There are 31 National Nature Reserves across four counties in the
North West of England and they offer ideal opportunities for
observing birds and wildlife. Nearly all have hides, trails and
viewing areas and spring is an especially good time to visit, with
birds arriving daily for the summer and winter visitors preparing to
“The arrival of our migrant breeding birds is a treat for
wildlife watchers and National Nature Reserves provide some of the
best safe havens for both these long-distance travellers and for our
resident species. It reminds us what an important resource these
reserves are and how important they are to the future of our
wildlife.” said Poul Christensen, Chair of Natural England.
With spring around the corner, here’s Natural England’s guide to the
best bird migration hotspots on North West National Nature Reserves:-
Finglandrigg Woods National Nature Reserve, Cumbria
Departing redwings and fieldfares fly overhead and the first
chiffchaff arrives. The nuthatch is a recent colonist here and can
usually be heard calling whilst warblers such as blackcap, garden
warbler and willow warbler arrive. On early mornings and evenings
the skulking grasshopper warbler can be heard ‘reeling’ from patches
of rush pasture and scrub.
North Walney National Nature Reserve, Cumbria
Flocks of waders gather at the high tide roosts before beginning
their spring migration northwards. Off the coast migrating sea ducks
such as common scoter and eider can be seen, whilst resident
waterfowl start to nest on the pools – look out for mute swans,
dabchicks, teal and tufted ducks. The reed fringes are full of reed
buntings, and by late eApril are joined by sedge warblers.
On sunny days
wheatears move up the coast towards their breeding grounds in the
Cumbria Fells, whilst rarer passage migrants can include hoopoe and
dotterel. On the dune heath there are stonechats and meadow pipits
and the air is full of the trilling songs of skylarks.
The Ribble Estuary National Nature Reserve
Most wildfowl have departed for their breeding grounds by spring,
geese remain into May. Passage waders stop off here to ‘refuel’
before continuing their long flights northwards.
High tides push the birds close inshore where they can be seen in
breeding plumage. The calls and displays of breeding lapwing and
redshank can be heard and seen on the saltmarsh.
Cabin Hill National Nature Reserve, Merseyside
In 1970 a flood bank was created by the water authority to protect
low-lying land behind the dunes from tidal surges. This left wet
slack areas on either side which have since become important for
wildlife including natterjack toads.
The shore provide feeding and roosting grounds for many migrating
and over-wintering birds including knot, grey plover and bar-tailed
godwit. Also seen on the site are song thrush, reed bunting, linnet
OVER BUT FULL RECOVERY AT LEAST A YEAR AWAY
Management survey says rate of job losses will increase – and
business owners see little improvement in bank lending situation.
The recession may officially be over, but small business owners in
the North West believe a full recovery is a long way off as they
continue to be hampered by the freeze in bank lending. Just
65% say they have seen no general improvement in bank lending or
facilities for SMEs, despite the introduction of the Government’s
Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) scheme.
The figure – revealed in the latest quarterly survey of over 1,000
businesses from Clifton Asset Management (CAM) - is the highest of
any region in England and Wales. According to the research 26%
of SMEs in the North West have made job cuts in the past 6 months,
with 15% saying they will have to reduce their payroll further in
the next half-year. This is in line with the national average, but
represents a 6% increase on the previous quarterly figure. And
67% of North West firms believe the recession effectively has
another year or more to run, the highest figure of any English
Despite this some 10% of business owners in the region said they
believe Labour will win the forthcoming General Election if they
were the only voters. Again, this is the highest figure anywhere in
England, although this is far fewer than the 53% who named the
The state of the economy continues to have a major impact on
business owners’ retirement plans although the situation is
improving, according to the latest CAM survey.
Some 72% of North West business owners say their retirement is
further away now than it was a year ago, compared to 85% in the last
quarterly survey. The main reasons given for delaying
retirement are tougher trading and market conditions (53%) and
declining property and pension values (27%). In terms of
retirement age, 60-65 remains the most popular option in the survey
(40%), with 17% saying they have no plans to retire, down from 21%.
Neil Greenaway, managing director at Clifton Asset Management,
said:- “How people view their retirement prospects is a
crucial part of our survey, so a fall in the number of business
owners who see retirement moving further away has to be good news.
However despite Government assurances, our survey clearly shows that
businesses in the North West are still not seeing many signs of an
easing in the bank lending gridlock.
Our latest survey is confirmation, if it were needed, that the
recovery will be a long, drawn-out and patchy process, and it speaks
volumes that over two-thirds of those surveyed in the North West
believe a full recovery to be at least a year away, with increasing
numbers of business owners also planning to make job cuts in the
CUTTING HOSPITAL BEDS WOULD HIT PATIENT WAITING LISTS WARNS UNISON
DO you agree
with UNION who say that “Waiting lists would grow and patients
suffer if hospital beds are cut.” This was the warning given
by UNISON, the UK’s largest public sector union, on 17 March 2010.
The union reacted angrily to proposals by the think tank Reform, for
the number of NHS hospital beds to be slashed by 30,000, calling
them “irresponsible”. Karen Jennings, UNISON Head of
Health, said:- “Waiting lists would grow and patients suffer
if hospital beds are cut. Reform’s proposal to slash 30,000 NHS beds
is irresponsible and ill- thought through. The shift from acute
hospital care into a community based setting must be a managed and
seamless process. The NHS cannot afford to lose the highly skilled
staff who currently work on the wards that would close. Reform’s
proposals may save money, but will do nothing to save lives.”
Vandalism In A South, Liverpool Cemetery....
Police have started an investigation into an incident of vandalism
at a cemetery in South Liverpool where several gravestones have been
knocked over. Police were called to Toxteth Cemetery on Saturday, 13
March 2010 when staff on site discovered the damage. A forensic
search of the area was carried out and local officers are keen to
hear from anyone with information. Anyone with information is asked
to contact Crimestoppers on:- 0800 555 111.