Work and walk – a chance to see behind the scenes at Birkhams Quarry!

Join us for this unique opportunity to carry out some practical conservation work in a working quarry. We will walk from the old Haig Mining Museum, passing signs of Whitehaven’s mining past up to Birkhams Quarry where we will get a chance get a behind the scenes view of this sandstone quarry. When we’re there well spend a short time carrying out some conservation work on an area of restored wildflower grassland and record what species we find. For more information or to let us know you’re coming along email sophie.badrick@nationaltrust.org.uk

 

Nature Recorders

We had a fantastic day with Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre recently, running a workshop to introduce people to biological recording.  The aim of the workshop was to demystify how to turn your plant and animal sightings into valuable biological records.  Stuart, from CBDC, did a great job of taking us through the process.  The weather was kind and we also got to head outside for an afternoon putting our new found skills to the test, recording all the plant species we found on a quick walk around the Haig grasslands finding three types of buttercup and two vetches in the first few metres of the car park.

cof

cof

Once we’ve got a full list of the species we saw we’ll post it on here so you can see just how many different species we found.

 

There are two more workshops planned this summer, we’ll post details when they’re finalised.

Nature recorders wanted!

Visitors looks for wildflowers

The Colourful Coast Partnership and Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre are launching a new programme of events aimed at getting people out recording the nature the find in their local area.

The Nature Recorders programme will encourage local people to map, identify and record the habitats and species of the Copeland coast.  Stuart Colgate, Recoding Officer for the Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre says ‘We have good records of some species but there are still gaps in our knowledge.  We hope these sessions will encourage people to get out, records what they see and upload their results.  This will provide valuable information about the plants and animals of the area that haven’t been well recorded like plants, fungi and most invertebrates.’

To start this process there will be a series of free events, starting next Thursday (24th May) with an ‘Introduction to Biological Recording’ workshop in Whitehaven.  This will cover how to turn random sightings of wild plants and animals into valuable biological records.  These sessions will help volunteers find out more about the habitats and species we find in the area and learn how to submit their records to the Data Centre which can potentially be used for generations to come.

We really want to get people out spotting, identifying and recording wildlife so whether you’re a complete novice or already know the names of plants and animals you see while you’re out and about there will be an opportunity for you to be involved. If you want to gain some new skills, discover more about your local area or contribute to our knowledge and understanding of this amazing area then we’d love for you to be involved.

The free training is open to anyone, if you would like to get involved or would like more information please email Sophie.badrick@nationaltrust.org.uk or phone 07342088015

Volunteering opportunity – we need you!

Seabirds nesting on the cliffs at St Bees Head, Whitehaven

As the seabirds begin to come back to nest on the cliffs at St Bees Head, a group of organisations are asking people to get involved with surveying the bird colonies this year.

The Colourful Coast Partnership is working with the RSPB, Natural England and Royal Yachting Association to recruit volunteers to take a walk up onto St Bees Head and observe the colonies for any disturbance, whether it comes from the air, the land or the sea.

Dave Blackledge, RSPB site manager, said ‘The bird numbers are increasing every year, which is great, but we need to understand if the birds are getting disturbed while they’re on the cliffs or on the water as this can affect their ability to raise healthy chicks or fish for food. We know that boats and climbers can sometimes unintentionally disturb the birds but we also want to know if there’s anything else, like birds of prey or drones, which could be having an effect’

Volunteers will be asked to go out once a fortnight and observe the seabirds from certain points along St Bees Head throughout the summer months, recording any interesting sightings. It’s not just skilled bird watchers who can get involved.   Sophie Badrick from the Colourful Coast Partnership says ‘Anyone who’s got a pair of binoculars and is happy to walk along the headland spending a few hours every fortnight viewing the birds and making notes can get involved.  We’ll be running a few training sessions in a couple of weeks to get volunteers up to speed and then it’s down to each individual to decide how often and when to go out surveying’.

The records will be collected by Natural England who can assess the levels of disturbance, whether this is an issue at the site and what kinds of activities are causing the issues. This will then allow Natural England working alongside the other Colourful Coast partners to focus on raising awareness to try and reduce the impacts of recreational activities on the breeding seabirds at St Bees Head so that the birds can continue to thrive.

Anyone who wants to get involved or would like more information should email Sophie.badrick@nationaltrust.org.uk