Saturday, 30 January 2016

Jan 30th Norwich Castle

Norwich Castle
The RSPB have taken over Norwich Castle this weekend. This castle is a big part of Norwich's history. First built under William the Conqueror's rule as a fortification to control East Anglia, it then became a prison for hundreds of years before being converted into the museum that it is today. It is full of history and historical artifacts from across Norfolk and beyond. Now, as part of the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch weekend, volunteers and staff from Strumpshaw Fen have taken over with stands to promote the event, Strumpshaw and nature in general. There are plenty of fun activities for families to do from dressing up as woodpeckers, owls and otters to making or playing with things. There are also toy birds hidden throughout the castle to find and stamps to collect. I am here to help out. It was a lot of fun.

Setting up the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch stand
Another of our stands
Trying out the woodpecker headpiece (too small for me sadly)
Getting children interested with outdoor activities with this rowing maching
Fishing at a mock-up pond (also otter costume in action!)
Making dream catchers
Manning at my stand
This year, Strumpshaw Fen is celebrating its 40th birthday. To celebrate this landmark year for the reserve, the staff have come up with the 40th Birthday Challenge. It entails the visitors to make several visits to Strumpshaw throughout this year and search for forty special species found on the reserve and to tick them off on a sheet. Some of the species are easy, others challenging, while the rest are seasonal with a short window of opportunity to seek them out. I was given the job today to promote this challenge at a stand and to hand out these sheets to the public. Though I did not attract as many families as the other activities, I was still successful to the point that I had almost ran out of sheets! I also brought two of my wildlife diaries with me, which went down a treat and inspired children to start their own.

The museum has a collection of taxidermy birds, featuring a room of every British bird species that breed or regularly visit this country as well as a corridor of habitat dioramas. The dioramas display the habitats found in Norfolk with a selection of wildlife found in each one. Here are a few of my favourites...
Estuary diorama
Bittern and Reed warbler with Cuckoo chick in the Broadland diorama
Sparrowhawk, Swallowtail and Flag Irises in the Broadland diorama
Great Crested Grebes in the Broadland diorama
Kingfishers and Sand and House Martins
Cuckoos, Rollers and Hoopoe
More British birds in taxidermy form
Eagles and other birds of prey
Marsh Harriers
Peregrine Falcons
Great Auk and egg (extinct since 1844)

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