Friday, 25 September 2020

Hackbridge Hero

 I've got this whole weekend booked to look for a property on the south coast so that I can move out of this area and let the place go to the dogs. So I'm packing everything up and then this- I win a Hackbridge hero award HACKBRIDGE HERO.  Ok, its not a nobel peace prize and to be honest its got to be the most down to earth and heart warming award I've ever won. The council are cunts (they just are), viridor are just doing what they do (which is destroy the planet- someone has to or else evolution couldn't work) and the bird group is mainly middle class people that don't live in this area and their middle class wealth is built on propping up the the corridors of power (the likes of Viridor and the Council) and exploiting areas like Hackbridge. I guess I was never going to get the support of the people in power- their power is based on exploitation, so a community vision where power is shared out and we build a local community for people, planet and wildlife was delusional.  A negative result in science however is a positive result as we begin to eliminate possibilities and begin to converge on the solution. 

I've tried many times to reach out to the local community of Hackbridge, I've arranged nature walks that people couldn't get out of bed for , stood as a local councillor and got about 3% of the vote, endlessly promote the farmlands, local wildlife and nature based activities on social media, helped write the neighbourhood plan, have organised local volunteer groups and carried out local improvements. In short it seemed that nobody locally gave a flying fuck or even noticed. Most of the interest for Beddington Farmlands was coming from middle class areas of South London- a poisoned interest. 

However, it appears that there is a growing group of 'Real People' that is rising up in Hackbridge now. I don't mean self righteous middle class do-gooders, or wealthy activists getting their tits out for nature, churches and consultancies funded by corporations trading gestures for greenwash or the community traps (like writing neighbourhood plans that take seven years to get through all the hoops ) that the council set or politicians that deal in the capitalisation and exploitation of expectations and hopes,  I mean real people (decorators, mums, builders, small business poeple etc) waking up and beginning to see that they can make a difference, that they are the solution to everything. 

I've won University Prizes, nominations from the BTO awards, I'm a Master of Science, A Bachelor of Science, I've won awards for environmental excellence- they are a load of fucking shit as my objectives to build a business and to be part of a community that existed to put People, Wildife and Planet first has completely failed. Those awards were nominated by Unsustainable Power Houses. The Hackbridge Hero award is the first award I've ever received from where the sustainable future will come from - from Real Poeple who will overthrow established Unsustainable Power- because they have to, to survive. 

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Wage slave moths

 My brother (and business partner) Steve, decided to take five weeks off during September which has meant I've had to run the tree and garden business on my own which has meant little time to go birding and more time to plan my early retirement and escape route. I've been burning as many bridges as I can at Beddington Farmlands to make sure I do move away and there's no going back now.  I told the Sutton Biodiversity officer to go fuck himself and called the bird group a bunch of useless listing fucks- that should do the trick! I've left the bird group and dumped all the reports. I might do a dirty protest at the incinerator and council offices to make sure I get completely banned. 

I've handed over everything over that I can and as far as I'm concerned everything is on the right path now anyway, the warden is here, we are going to get some bits of decent habitat  comprising at least 200 acres including the lakes, the 'wet grassland' (which I presume will revert to scrape), meadows and woodland edge, few of the target species will feature but maybe a couple of pairs of Lapwing and LRP might hang in there. The HEB six month scrutiny of Viridor offers an opportunity for any concerned residents to express to a top tier council committee. So it's all as much as anyone can hope for- crumbs from the capitalist's table being scavenged by desperate de-humanised drones and some generalist biodiversity and invasive species . Quite frankly I can't be bothered to sit through the bitter end of Viridor clearing planning conditions and re-visioning from an ambitious and inspiring ecological vision to a lack lustre dystopic shadow with the council taking their pound of flesh for it and using local community poodles to dig their own graves. Nothing can stop that unfortunately. Its not too bad, in a more enlightened future (once civil war or waves of pandemics, societal breakdown, chaos and suffering wake people up), there will be a refugia for wildlife to recover from and that's all we could have achieved anyway- a small ark to ride out the coming storm. In the meantime I'm moving myself and my family to high ground.

Anyway despite the bridge burning (to not just stop me coming back but also to stop them coming after me ) and being stuck running the business as a capitalist slave, the moth catching has been quite interesting this week. Here's a few of the highlights.

L-album Wainscot and Sallow. Interesting to read that L-album Wainscot has only recently been recorded for the first time in Bucks (where Holly lives). They have been daily here for nearly a month and been getting them for several years. So interesting how restricted the range is on some of these moths and also the temperature island we have in the city of London which provides very local conditions for some species of moth to thrive. 
Black Rustic - such a dark velvety enigmatic mini-beast, the contrasting white underwings makes it an absolute stunner! 
Another L-album Wainscot 
Blair's Shoulder Knot 
Large Rannunclus 
Large Wainscot 

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Beddington Farmlands- a few migrants

 Walked round with Steve Gale today. Ebird list HERE. 65 species, the highlights included 3 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Siskin, 1 Whinchat, 3 Stonechat (presumed family party) , 10 Meadow Pipit, 1 Reed Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 25+ Chiffchaff, 6 Little Egret, 14 Wigeon (an influx), 1 Pintail, 1 Red-crested Pochard, 4 Green Sandpiper, 3 Snipe and a Peregrine. 

The moth trap was pretty quiet last night- highlights included 2 Dewick's Plusia, 1 L-album Wainscot (both these previously rare species have been present daily in last two or three weeks) , a Lunar Underwing and the usual species for this time of year- Square-spot Rustics, Large Yellow Underwing, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Vine's Rustic, Pale Mottled Willow etc .

First-winter Whinchat
Adult male Stonechat
Reed Warbler
Wigeon and other waterfowl- a noteable influx of Wigeon today 

Saturday, 19 September 2020

A few autumn moths at Beddington Farmlands

Here's a few autumn moths from this week. A few new for years taking this year's Beddington moth list to 334.

Pink-barred Sallow 
Barred Sallow
Brindled Green
Scarce Silver Lines 
Acleris laterana/comoriana
Black Rustic 

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Sheppey, Kent- American Golden Plover

 I don't even know why I bother birding inland. Another day on Sheppey today, we started off at Leysdown Country Park, then did the high tide at Shellness, then we checked out Warden Point and after lunch at Leysdown (Cockney capital of the Planet Earth, where I had Jellied Eels, Cockles, Whelks, Dressed Grab and Gypsy Tart) we did Capel Fleet. 

Highlights included the long staying adult American Golden Plover at Shellness, a Short-eared Owl in off the Swale, double figures of Gannets in the Swale, 40+ Common Scoter, a Whinchat, about 50 Sandwich Tern in the Swale, 10 Common Tern there and the wader roost spectacle of 1000+ Curlew and 2000+ Oystercatcher. 

Also appeared that someone has let the Red-legged Partridges out for the shooting season- there were hundreds of them out by Harty Ferry. Surprisingly very few hirundines (only one flock of Swallow), a big influx of Teal at Capel Fleet since two weeks ago (200+ today) and Kojak and I have still to see a Wheatear this autumn. 

Kojak's account and Ebird lists HERE

Adult American Golden Plover within a flock of 388 Golden Plover
Short-eared Owl- came in off the sea 
Just a few of the Curlew roost at Shellness
Kestrel showing well
Wall Brown- a few of these on the cliffs near Warden Point. Also a few Migrant Hawkers and Common Darters. Loads of Ivy Bees around. Other butterflies included Large White, Speckled Woods and Red Admiral. 
View back towards Leysdown from Warden Point- a famous landslip area and also one of the best sites in the UK for fossil birds (from the Eocene) 

Sunday, 13 September 2020

Beddington Farmlands, Great White Egret

 Nick and Gripper found a Great White Egret on the North Lake this evening so I popped over to twitch it. Also 2 Wigeon, 2 Green Sandpiper, 2 Snipe, 1 Kingfisher and the Red-crested Pochard. 

Great White Egret (above and below) 

Kingfisher (above and below)