7th December 2010

Pupils in The Topsham Primary School Godwit Club become

TV stars for a day!

On Tuesday 30th November 2010 The Topsham Primary School Godwit Club walked down to the RSPB hide at Bowling Green Marsh, Exe Estuary, England to be greeted by about 200 Black-tailed Godwits on their arrival.  The children keenly scanned the birds' legs using binoculars and telescopes desperate to find a colour ringed bird to report.  Sadly, none were spotted but maybe there was one in amongst them which we missed!  As it was high tide there were also many other birds using the marsh so there was plenty of bird life to see, as well as an appearance by a fox and two deer!  David Price, an expert on godwits having been involved in ringing in Iceland, was also on hand to talk to the children in the hide and he brought along some coloured rings for the children to see.  The children really enjoyed asking him questions and finding out how the birds are ringed.  

The Topsham School Godwit Club, Julia Bradbury, David Lindo, David Price, Sally Mills and Claire Joules in the RSPB bird hide at Bowling Green Marshes

The other exciting visitors to the hide that day were the film crew for the BBC's Countryfile programme.  They were filming on the Exe estuary and heard about the great work the Godwit Club have been doing so popped along to see what they were up to.  Excitedly, the children explained to Julia Bradbury and David Lindo all about the project and why it's important more people know about reporting sightings of colour ringed Black-tailed Godwits.  They also showed them the posters they made and were putting up in the hide to raise awareness and asking sightings to be reported to the school.  This will feature on this week's BBC's Countryfile, on Sunday 12th December 2010.


Some of the students excellent posters asking people to look out for colour-ringed godwits

Back at school after the visit the children logged straight on to the internet to email various people including the school in Iceland to update them on their trip to the hide.  The children have enjoyed reading about what the other schools have been up to and sharing their interest in this amazing wading bird which visits all of their countries during the year.

The Godwit Club have been meeting weekly after school to study the amazing migration patterns of the Icelandic Black-tailed Godwits.  Earlier in the term, they also spent time plotting on maps the movements of individually colour ringed Black-tailed Godwits which had visited the Exe estuary previously.  Due to the abundance of food, the Exe estuary is a very important wintering site for the godwits, with hundreds of birds visiting each year They were amazed to see that there were many sightings for individual birds over a 10 year period, and they were particularly impressed that the same birds had returned to Bowling Green Marshes many times.  They are now hoping one of these birds will return over the next couple of months so they can add new data to their maps and email the scientists with some more current sightings for their database.

Below, a selection of photos from the Topsham Primary School Godwit Club successful visit to the RSPB hide at Bowling Green Marsh on the Exe estuary in England.

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