At the beginning of April, the weather became a bit warmer and the winds swung more into the south which helps the migrants coming to us for their breeding season.

On our way to Campfield RSPB reserve, we saw our first sandmartin from Broughton Bridge and as we drove past Bowness-on- Solway, we heard a chiffchaff calling. Shortly after we got to the reserve, I heard a willow warbler. In our garden buff-tailed bumble bee queens have been visiting our hellebores and during the day, Marjorie spotted a heath bumble bee queen on a flowering currant near the Visitors Centre at Campfield.

When we were at Campfield Reserve on Good Friday, a superb Barn Owl was hunting over the field next to the Visitors Centre, even though it was broad daylight. This delighted our 8-year-old grandson and enabled our friend and fellow volunteer, Judith Rogers, to take some excellent photographs of it, one of which accompanies this article. To our further delight, it hunted in the same field again yesterday and some visitors told us that while they had been watching it hunt, a second Barn Owl was perched on a nearby gate. Let us hope we have a breeding pair in the area.

Barn Owl ©Judith Rogers FROM MY PERCH

migrants and will soon be off to the north to breed. Perhaps in the next few weeks, we may see whimbrel passing through on their way to breed in the Northern Isles of Scotland. They are similar to curlews but have a distinctive head stripe and a distinctive call. If we are lucky, we may get a visit from a garganey, a beautiful little duck, a bit like a teal but rather retiring, so not always easy to see even if it is present.

Neil Hutchin Has spring arrived at last?

Around some of these, lapwings were displaying and should soon be sitting on eggs if they have not yet started. As the season advances, the pools will slowly shrink giving lapwing chicks and some other birds moist edges on which to gather their food. On each of two pools, I also spotted a redshank and both they and the lapwings were calling.

On the nearby wet meadows, large shallow pools of water have been allowed to form over winter.

There has been a flock of black-tailed godwits present, but these are winter visitors or passage

RSPB West Cumbria Group’s next indoor meeting will be in September. The programme will be announced nearer the time. Meanwhile the RSPB West Cumbria Group will hold a Coffee Morning from 10.00am to 12 noon on Saturday, 12th May in the United Reformed Church, Main Street Cockermouth. All are welcome. There will also be a Discovery Day at RSPB Campfield Reserve, Bowness-on-Solway on Sunday 27th May, from 10.00am to 4.00pm, a great chance for children and adults to come and discover more about the fascinating reserve and take part in various activities. Refreshments will be available plus book plant and cake stalls.

More details from or from Group Leader Dave Smith on 01900 85347, or Marjorie and Neil on 01900 825231.


Gardener’s urged to let soil breathe and welcome life- giving worms.

The lowly worm is essential to life. It

spends its life beneath our feet – it turns the soil, allows it to breathe, recycles and enriches it. Worms are the gardener’s best friend and are essential food for other wildlife. That’s why The Wildlife Trust and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) have launched a new campaign, Go Wild for Worms! These nature-loving organisations are asking people to help worms and watch their garden flourish from the ground up by creating compost heaps, feeding the soil and reducing hard surfacing like paving.

Did you know?

• Worms are vital food for toads, birds, beetles, shrews and badgers - you name it!

Robin©Matthew Gould-press • The UK has 29 different species of worm

• A worm can eat its own weight in soil in one day and their burrows help the soil David Harpley, Conservation Manager at


Cumbria Wildlife Trust said: “To many people, worms may not seem particularly special but they’re essential for our soils and for wildlife. Charles Darwin said they

were the most important animal in the history of the world! He called them ‘nature’s ploughs’ for the way they mix soil layers and enable plants – the basis of all life on earth to grow. I hope the Go Wild for Worms! campaign will encourage people to remember the importance of these little but hugely important creatures.”

Ways to encourage worms in your garden:

•Reduce waste, recycle veg peelings and create a compost heap

•Feed your garden with compost and organic fertilisers

•Attract hedgehogs, beetles and centipedes to your garden to control pests

• Dig up your paving - let the earth breathe and plants grow

Go Wild for Worms! is the 2018 ‘Wild about Gardens’ campaign, an annual celebration of wildlife gardening run by The Wildlife Trust and RHS. ISSUE 425 | 26 APRIL 2018 | 56

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