Spending a day bird watching in the snow

Andrea Aspy and Gerald King, from Todmorden Riverside Improvement Group, taking part in the RSPB's Big Garden Bird Watch
Andrea Aspy and Gerald King, from Todmorden Riverside Improvement Group, taking part in the RSPB's Big Garden Bird Watch

Members of an environmental group braved the snow and freezing temperatures to take part in a national ornithology event.

Todmorden Riverside Improvement Group (TRIG) joined in with the RSPB’s Big Garden Bird Watch.

Members spent an afternoon trying to spot as many birds as they could at Tipside, Todmorden.

Penny Bennett, from TRIG, said: “Having bribed the birds with plenty of food over the last few months, we were pleased to record 17 different species - a good count for Tipside.

“A new visitor this year was a collared dove.

“Although they are quite common in the valley, we hadn’t recorded them here before.

“We were pleased that the loss of tree and shrub cover from felling works by an adjacent landowner had not had too severe an impact on the count, though we missed out on visits from any finches this year and we didn’t spot any sparrows either, who enjoy hanging out in privet bushes and the like.”

Members arrived wrapped up in their winter attire for the event.

They explored the area, armed with pens, clipboards and binoculars to record the birds they saw.

Penny said TRIG members put out bird food at various places on Tipside, so birds are used to coming to the site to feed.

This in turn makes it a good spot to see larger numbers of some species.

“The snowy weather meant that birds have had to spend longer feeding, giving birdwatchers more chance to spot them,” Penny said.

The number of birds spotted this year was slightly down on 2012, with one few species recorded.

TRIG, with the support of the Environment Agency, is hoping to remedy the loss of trees in the area.

It plans to carry out tree planting in the next few weeks.

TRIG also holds a monthly working party on Tipside, when it invites volunteers to help out with a day of general site maintenance.

Penny said more information about TRIG’s upcoming activities will be announced soon.