Young people all over Scotland will be counting birds in their garden for an hour this weekend as part ofthe Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ BIG Garden Birdwatch. This census hopes to discover which are Scotland‘s commonest birds. and perhaps more importantly. which birds are in decline. Children play a vital role in gathering this prized information. which is invaluable in helping the RSPB save wildbirds and their habitats.

The Young Omithologists Club is the junior section of the RSPB. and its 125.000 UK members (l l.()()() in Scotland) make it the biggest environmental organisation for young people in the whole world. The YOC has moved away from being solely interested in birds to having much more to do with wildlife generally. As Jonathan Osborne. the RSPB's Youth Officer for Scotland. says: ‘My aim is to try and interest. and gain commitment from. as many young people as possible. I don‘t expect them

Watch the birdy

; to grow up to be birdwatchers. but I do i expect them to grow up to care for the environment.‘

Birds have become an obvious feature of our urban landscape. and Osborne thinks this is why they hold a fascination for us. ‘When I give talks. I ask people how many badgers or foxes they saw on their way to work. Then I ask how many birds they saw.‘ For city

dwellers. they are often a rare link to the natural world. and are an ideal way to introduce children to environmental awareness.

lfyou would like to take part in the BIG Garden Birdwatch survey. all you

need to do is watch your garden for an hour and write down what birds you see. For census forms and Young

; ()rnithologist Club membership details. see below. (Gabe Stewart)

BIG Garden Bin/watch Sat 29.51”: 30

Jan. Census forms available from

Jonathan Osborne. RSI’B Scottish

Headquarters. 17 Regent Terrace.

3 Edinburgh [5H7 5BN. 03/ 557 3/36.

:— See fish

And so from iowl to iish . . . It you were one oi the 477,000 visitors to llorth uueensierry’s Deep-Sea World last year and you kept your guide book, this is your last chance to use it to take advantage oi its iree entry oiier to the aquarium during January 1994.

Whether you pay or not, this one million gallon aquarium, with the world’s longest transparent tunnel running through it, is well worth a visit. Walking through the tunnel, 112 metres long, creates the impression oi being an alien in the sea creatures’ environment. As they iloat majestically above and around you, it’s easy to understand why ancient mariners mistook rays ior mermaids. They’re very social creatures, as their willingness to be stroked in the ‘touch tank’ proves and time and again they suriace to have a nose around, in the process showing oii their underbelly gills, which have an uncanny similarity to a smiling lace. The walkway also takes you past sinister black conger eels, as menacing as nuclear subs, and awe-inspiring sharks.

The touch tanks also give kids the chance to stroke lobsters and other iish; and don’t leave without being dazzled by the tropical tank - a living tapestry ln iull colour.

Besides the close proximity and l massive volume oi sealiie, the

l aquarium gets bonus points ior design.

it’s easy to take in all the exhibits at children’s pace, and because you can

? travel round and round the circular

5 tunnel’s loop as many times as you

3 wish, only the most intrepid oi

i toddlers will manage to get lost. (Gabe : Stewart)

I Deep-Sea World, llorth 0ueensierry,

i File, 0383 411411. £4.50 (£3.25) under ! iours tree, iamily ticket (two adults,

i iour children) £13.95.

llaln or shine, our at-a-glance guide will see you through. Events are listed under outdoors or indoors columns, and then divided by city. llids listings compiled by Gabe Stewart.

Outdoors it tsp: ram:—

Activities and Fun

I Fact llunt Meet at Law Drive. bottom of Burnside Road. Newarthill. Motherwell District Ranger Service. 0698 269 696. Sun 6 Feb. 2—4pm. Free. Look for natural clues leading to natural treasure in the Legbrannoch project area.


Activities and Fun

I YOC Walk Meet on Blackford Glen Road. 200 metres from the foot of Liberton Brae. Info Malcolm Porteus. 447 0539. Sun 30 Jan. 9—l 1.30am. Free. Non- rnembers of the Young Omithologists Club are welcome to join this walk from Blackford Glen to Hermitage. exploring and learning about the natural environment.


Activities and Fun

I Javanese Percussion Workshops Strathclyde Arts Centre. Washington Street. 22l 4526. Every Sunday for ten weeks. 10.30am-l2.30pm. Free. 7+ years. Gongs. drums. xylophones. flutes. singing and much more. Fun and easy to play. Booking advised.


I Dick Whittington King‘s Theatre. Bath Street. Ticketlink 227 55 l 1. Until Sat 29 Jan. Mon—Sat 2. l5pm. 7pm. £3-£l0.

I Mr McScrooge Pavilion Theatre. l2] Renfield Street. 332 1846. Until Sat 29 Jan. Sun—Fri 2pm. 7pm; Sats 2pm. 5.30pm. £8.75 (£5.75). £6 (£5).


Activities and Fun

I lost box making Conference Room 1. Royal Botanic Gardens (lnverleith Row entrance). lnfo Damion Willcock. 556 5856. Fri 4 Feb. 7—9pm. Free.

I Watercolours and Storytelling Upper Gallery. The Netherbow, 43—45 High Street. 556 9579. Sat 29 Jan. 2.30—4pm. £3. 6—9 years. Places limited to twelve. Hear a story and then be inspired to paint a watercolour based on your own ideas. I Saturday Storytelling Upper Gallery. The Netherbow, 43—45 High Street. 556 9579. Sat 5 Feb (and every Saturday until end of March). 2.30—4pm. £l.50. 6—9

years. By adding drama and music. Janis Perry brings folk and fairy tales to life.


I Design Pure. Purely Danish National Museum of Scotland. Chamber Street. 225 7534. Until ll Feb. Mon—Sat 10am-5pm; Sun noon—5pm. Free. No sizzling bacon I’m afraid. but a small exhibition that seems apt for families. While the Lego table distracts little ones. parents can gaze at a fantasy world of sensual-looking household appliances. where cutlery and teapots have a whole new reason for existence. The future beckons with clean-cut idyllic lounges. free from jammy smears or Lego underfoot. The exhibition itselfwill only take up a brief five minutes. but while there. why not re-acquaint yourself with the museum itself. which is a rainy day lifesaver: The Victorian Engineering room is a button-pusher's paradise; the animal rooms give kids a really close look at some of the more enigmatic animals who keep their distance at the zoo; and The World in Our Hands is a comprehensive.

- well-presented documentary on life on

earth. shown on a fifteen minute loop in the Bio Dome. Oh. the tea room's child- friendly too.


I MCM Film Centre Saturday Matinees Lothian Road. 228 1638. £1.50. Films start at l lam. doors open 10.30am. 29 Jan Thunderbird 6 (U); 5 Feb check film listings.

I Filmhouse Saturday Matinees Lothian Road. 228 2688. £2. Films start at 2.30pm. 29 Jan The BFG (U); 5 Feb Dennis (PG).


I Sleeping Beauty King‘s Theatre. 2 Leven Street. 229 I201. Until Sat 29 Jan. 7pm with weekday mats at 2.15pm. £4.50—£10.50. Written by Evening News critic Raymond Ross. starring Les Dennis. Jan Wilson and Gerard Kelly.


Activities and Fun

I YOC llature Ramble Belhaven. Dunbar. Info Brian Robertson. 031 663 1604 for where to meet. Sun 6 Feb. lOam—noon. Free. This walk offers an opportunity to explore a variety of wildlife habitats. from rocky shorelines to estuary and fresh water. The YOC group leader hopes to see some shovellers. a little grebe. a tufted duck. and hopefully. that uncommon wader. the greenshank.

\ x.

I llational Birdwatch Event Lowport Community Education Centre. Linlithgow. Info Andrew McAulay. 0506 858847. Sat 29 Jan. 11am-4pm. Free. 5+ years. This open day gives you the chance to find out more about our feathered friends: Go on bird-watching trips to see Linlithgow Loch’s healthy Wildfowl population. two minutes down the road; make your own bird tables; watch videos; learn how to make your garden more bird- friendly; or play indoor and outdoor environmental games.

I Young 0mithologists Club Lowport Community Education Centre. Linlithgow. Info Andrew McAulay. 0506 858847. Sat 5 Feb. l0.30am-l2.30pm. Free. 5—8-year-olds will be indoors busy with the arts and crafts. making puppets. face masks. playing games. all intended to lead them into a gentle awareness of the environment. 8—15-year-olds will be outdoors taking part in a survey of wildlife on Linlithgow Loch.

60 The List 28 January—10 February I994