Twitchers get in a flap for bird ‘race’

WATCHing out ... Dougie Holden at Whitburn Coastal Park with fellow twitchers.

WATCHing out ... Dougie Holden at Whitburn Coastal Park with fellow twitchers.

TWITCHERS are being invited to get in a flap to take part in South Tyneside’s annual bird ‘race’.

For the past decade, bird lovers have been taking part in the event that sees teams battling it out to spot the most species of feathery friends.

This year’s race will be starting on Sunday, January 12, at Souter Lighthouse in Whitburn, at 8am and will run until 4pm.

Dougie Holden, a committee member for the South Tyneside Costal Conservation Group, said: “Basically, the bird race is not a race at all, but more of an eight-hour species count within the boundaries of South Tyneside.

“The winning team will be the one that records the most bird species. It has a slightly competitive edge, but it’s always great fun.”

The most species a team has ever recorded is 85 but, collectively, the highest total of different types of birds ever spotted within the borough was 95.

Participants can either travel on foot around the borough, or go by car, to track the birds at sites of their choosing.

However, they must all visit Whitburn Coastal Park at some point during the day to plant a Rowan tree.

Mr Holden said: “This year’s format is slightly different with teams having to come and plant a tree.

“This will not only give them a great sense of satisfaction, but the flowers and berries it produces will also be hugely beneficial to our local wildlife for many years to come.”

The event, which has been supported by Groundworks UK and the Big Lottery Community Spaces fund, is free to take part in.

To register a team, or for more information, e-mail Jason Thompson at durhambirderjason@hotmail.com.

Twitter: @ShieldsGazVez




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