THE Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership (CVLLP) is inviting people who are interested in local wildlife to help them survey the local bird population in and around the Churnet Valley area.
Local naturalist, Wendy Birks, who coordinates the “Wildlife From Your Doorstep” project said “We already have a number of volunteers who survey the bird life of the Churnet Valley either while out walking or simply by keeping note of birds visiting their gardens, and this has brought to light some interesting information about local birds.
"For instance, last March one of our volunteers who lives in Bottomhouse had a Ring Ouzel using their garden bird feeders; Ring Ouzel's are considered to be very rare in Staffordshire in winter.
"While another reported that their friend had photographed a Hoopoe in their Cheadle garden; Hoopoes are rare passage migrants in Staffordshire.
"And, in May several volunteers saw a solitary Red Kite visiting the Churnet Valley; Red Kites were almost driven to extinction by the 1970s, but are now making a comeback due to the success of reintroduction programmes in Wales and several areas of England."
Volunteers don't need to be experts or require any special equipment, apart from a pencil and notepad, however if they do have binoculars this will help them to see more.
A bird identification book or access to a bird ID website would also be useful.
Volunteers will be provided with “get started” information, and recording sheets.
Wendy said “This time of year is an interesting time for ornithologists, there are lots of birds on the move as many arrive from northern Europe to take advantage of our relatively mild climate, and then, once the harsher weather, starts many bird species seek out food at garden feeders.
"People who are interested in wildlife notice these changes and we are interested in recording what they see.
“All volunteers will receive help from CVLLP with identifying bird species and will be given regular updates of the progress of the project via a website and through newsletters, plus we will invite volunteers to join us on bird-watching walks in the Churnet Valley, an opportunity to meet CVLLP team members and other participants, and, hopefully, see some birds.”
To become a volunteer or for further information about this project contact Wendy Birks at firstname.lastname@example.org or Helen Anderson on telephone number 01538 381356 or at email@example.com