The Birds in Your Garden

The more I learn about migration the more unbelievable I find it. The number and variety of birds which travel vast distances to breed is staggering. From humming birds flying between Mexico and Alaska, to gulls which circulate between Newfoundland and Chile, returning via Africa.

Cuckoo – photo by Pete Curran

Cuckoo – photo by Pete Curran

Many garden birds take part in these epic voyages too. Cuckoos are probably the best known, but Swallows, Swifts and House Martins make much the same journey and are a lot smaller. All these species are now on their way back, many of them already in southern Europe, and are being tracked by the BTO, using a range of data loggers, to help understand better where they migrate to, and by which routes, and maybe learn why their numbers are in decline.

During these early months of the year, we see short-range migrants moving through our gardens. Birds such as Siskins, Chaffinches and Goldfinches are moving northeast towards their breeding grounds, having spent the winter in the south and west of the country.So far this year most of the numbers reported are lower than usual, suggesting that fewer birds came across the North Sea in the first place.

Blackbirds from Fennoscandia and northern Germany also spend their winters here and move back east in early spring. I’ve seen Redwing and Fieldfare in my garden recently, possibly forced away from their usual feeding locations by the snow, but also starting to make their way back north-eastwards to breed.

As you mayhave heard, The Yorkshire Arboretum stillhostsa flock of around a hundred Hawfinches, a very rare event. They will presumably be returning to their breeding grounds soon, though there is always the hope that a few may stay and breed.

Migration habits are changing everywhere. Climate change allows many species to overwinter closer to home, as exampled by German Blackcaps wintering in southwest England rather than around the Mediterranean. Ever more species are breeding in the UK as well as in continental Europe, witness the spread north of Little Egrets which are now to be seen regularly in Yorkshire.

At the other end of the journey, both climate change and population growth are affecting our migrants’ summer quarters. Increased populations need more food and fuel, so forests are rapidly being eroded and land use is changing, with farming becoming more widespread and intensive. All of which reducethe availability of food for wildlife.

Food is key to migration: birds consume a vast amount of energy flying long distances, often across hostile terrain such as the Sahara. To do this they must fatten up before their journey, and then refuel on the way. Climate change produces ever more extreme weather conditions, which often mean insufficient food is available to migrants at their point of origin and en-route. We know that this is one of the major causes of migrating Cuckoomortality through Spain, where droughts and wildfires have caused major problems recently.

On the brighter side though, now is the time to keep your eyes peeled. You never know what might choose your garden to rest and refuel in on its way back home! Particularly if we have some strong winds to blow them off-course.

If you find the lives of our garden birds interesting and would like to join in and count the feathered occupants of your garden, please contact me or visit the BTO Garden BirdWatch website( If you know of an organisation not a million miles from York which would like a talk on garden birds call: Mike Gray 07596 366342 or gbwmike

Amblers Walks

The Boroughbridge Amblers have some walks planned during the next few weeks. On Thursday 15th March, there will be a walk of 4.5 miles at Markington and South Stainley. For further details, contact the walk leader, Viv, on 01423 326182.

On Tuesday 20th March, there was planned a walk of 5 miles at Boston Spa. Unfortunately this has been cancelled. Linda has kindly offered to lead a walk from Wetherby instead, 3/4 miles, contact her on 01423 322988.

For all walks, meet up in Back Lane Car Park, Boroughbridge, for a 10am departure. Lifts are available and transport sharing is encouraged. Everyone welcome!

Walkers are Welcome

IMG_0433Plans are well in hand with the programme for  this years  Boroughbridge Walking Festival to be held over the Easter weekend 2018. Organised by the Boroughbridge Branch of Walkers Are Welcome the Festival will include walks for all levels  and members of the family and this year will include a charity walk for Hearing Dogs for the Deaf.

IMG_0429The popular Myton Walk with afternoon tea is on the programme once again, this time concentrating more on the village history and the Battlefield.
It is planned to hold a new walk at Copgrove and a walk around Boroughbridge finding out the history of the churches.
For more information  about the walking festival visit the website or find the group on Facebook.

Community Carols

carolsatthehallThere will be Community Carols at The Coronation Hall Sunday 10th December at 6pm. Organised by All Saints Church, Kirby Hill. Mulled wine, orange, & mince pies! There will be a collection in aid of Candlelighters.

Evening of Traditional Carols at Aldborough

carolsAn evening of Traditional Carols including Carols from Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Dorset! Friday, November 24th, 7.30pm at Aldborough Village Hall. What an exciting way to start your Christmas preparations.Come and join us singing and playing these carols, share a light supper, and meet old and new friends – or just come and listen. Bring your instruments and join the band. Everyone welcome. For more information, please ring Jane Barber on 01423 325808 or email chair @

Jennyruth Christmas Fayre

image002Jennyruth Workshops, is holding a CHRISTMAS FAYRE OPEN AFTERNOON at Unit 5, Red House Farm, Bridge Hewick, Ripon, HG4 5AY on Friday 8th December from 1.30pm to 4.00pm.

We will have a large range of Christmas items and handmade
gifts for sale. There will be music and mince pies and hot drinks to enjoy as well as displays of work. The Ripon Walled Garden will be selling some of their products, such as wreaths, seasonal plants as well as planted containers & baskets. So, don’t miss it, it is always a fun event, with a great atmosphere and open to all. Enquiries: Tel. 01765 606620 or email info @

New Volunteers for Boroughbridge Feathers Badminton Club

Volunteers BB 001Andrea Bryson and her family Jessica and Mackenzie are the new volunteers for the “RACKET PACK”   Badminton Group for Primary aged children 5-11yrs. They will assist Badminton England Coach Margaret Taylor with the delivery of these fun and learning sessions.
The group started in September at Boroughbridge Sports Centre, at the High School YO51 9JX. The New BADMINTON England sessions are designed for Primary age children and include games with learning skills needed for early badminton play.
The “RACKET PACK” meets on Thursdays 5.30pm to 6-15pm at the Sports Hall in Boroughbridge High School.
It is a place where youngsters can learn the skills of badminton and have fun. The players can use the club lightweight rackets of varying sizes which are suitable for this age group.
For information about the “RACKET PACK”

The Junior club age 11-18yrs meets following this group at 6-15 to 7.30pm. This is suitable for those who have played a little badminton and wish to improve their skills.

The Badminton Club also has an adult group who play socially.
This begins at 7.30pm until 9pm. Come and give it a try!

Further Information about any of these groups please get in touch with Margaret Taylor 07711 496005 or ma.shuttles @

The Story of Christmas

StoryXmaspicYou are invited to attend a new ambitious production at Ripon Cathedral on Saturday 2nd December at 7.30pm. This has been specially written for Ripon Cathedral to help raise funds for the Cathedral Choir and Music Trust. This will be a powerful interpretation, through acting, dance and singing carols, of the story of The Nativity with local actors bringing to life an adult version of the Story of Christmas and the journey to Bethlehem.

John Middleton (retired vicar on Emmerdale and awarded actor) will be the narrator and three dances are being choreographed especially for this evening by the Academy of the Northern Ballet. Evocative and reverent music will be accompanied by The Cathedral Choir and the Ripon Grammar School choir. The production will also feature a donkey a belly dancer and a few other surprises along the way!

Tickets are available to buy online and from the Cathedral Shop