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Sunderland birdwatchers invited to take part annual spotting ‘race’

South Tyneside Coastal Conservation Group committee member Doug Holden and group members preparing for the 2014 Bird Race

South Tyneside Coastal Conservation Group committee member Doug Holden and group members preparing for the 2014 Bird Race

TWITCHERS are being invited to get in a flap to take part in an 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 our feathered friends.

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

Although classed as a race, the event is actually a competition to count the most species of birds in neighbouring South Tyneside.

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. 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.

“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.

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 wildlife for many years.”

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, email Jason Thompson at durhambirderjason@hotmail.com.

 

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