Saturday, 22 November 2014

Pochards etc

 Female Pochard (in summer the bills are often black)
 Male Pochards (Juvenile birds moult into adult type plumages early in the winter)

The easterly airflow with low cloud continues resulting in some vis mig and new arrivals. Highlights were a first-winter Little Gull, 167 Redwings, 6 Fieldfare, 50+ Lapwing and Pochard numbers also increased to 52 birds.

Corvo birding article in Azores national press

Friday, 21 November 2014


A nice little morning with Lukas and Elaine from Bedzed. 13 Brent Geese flew relatively low over the lake and headed south-east, 5+ Snipe, 15 Fieldfare, 2 Redwing, 48 Lapwing (including an arrival of 24 birds), 46 Pochard, 30 Tufted Duck and 4 Wigeon.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Bioregional 20 year anniversary at The Crystal E16

The Crystal- a sustainable cities structure

Spent the afternoon at The Crystal on the Docklands for Bioregional's 20th year anniversary conference.
We did a bit on aspirational living and nature and some interesting talks on renewable energy etc.

Bioregional are a Hackbridge-based company (part of the Bedzed eco village) and they are partners in the development of the Beddington Farmlands Nature Reserve and developing Hackbridge into one of the most bio-diverse suburbs of London. 

The Blame Game

Who is to blame for the decline of nature in the UK and wider?

Is it the National Farmers Union and the Common Agricultural Policy? Is it the building developers? Is it the failure of the conservation NGOs? Is it global warming? Is it population increase? Is it the obsession of the conservation community with nature-celebrities, fluff, gush and glossy tosh? Is it the self indulgence/pomp of the scientific community with over technical, obscure and irrelevant pursuits? Is it the lack of co-ordination and over-competition between conservation societies/the scientific community, the public and government? Is it the scramble for limited funding? Is it the duplication of effort over and over a-f##king gain? Is it the global elite? Is it the cytoplasmic mass of mindfulness-less humanity within the conservation movement that infests and overwhelms anything of worth?  Is it birders treating nature primarily like a commodity to collect/hoard rather than something to enhance? Is it the repetition of conservation mantra married with lack of action? Is it the people in positions of power to make a difference in conservation using their power to line their own pockets and seduce their colleagues? Is it the hunting community? Is it my bloody neighbour who has just astro-turfed their lawn? Is it LIDL shoppers that support unethical cheap food production ? Is it the immigrants? Is it Patrick Duffy? 

No. After much deliberation I have come to a conclusion. I am to blame. I am solely and entirely responsible for the decline of nature within the UK and wider. 

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Autumn vs Winter

 Marsh Harrier flew east today. Garganey still about. Also 30+ Woodpigeon and a few Mipits moving south.
  I thought this bird looked more like a herring x LBB ?
 Leucistic first-winter Herring Gull
 Caddis fly sp. Saw a bumblebee in Gillian's garden today too. Species possibly Limnephilus affinis (thanks Derek)
Tidied up our woodland glade planting and the butterfly strip at the reserve entrance
Autumn refuses to give up the ghost with a bit of visible migration this morning including one of the farmlands few records of Marsh Harrier for November. The Garganey still about too.
However I've finally yielded and started looking through the gulls. Better make the most of them because the landfill might only have a two or three years left. So the gulling season starts- winter is here(ish) .
Also been doing a bit of habitat work recently (on the Hackbridge wildlife gardens and Mile Rd)- putting a few places to sleep for the winter, cutting back overgrowth and tidying things up. Put a load of bulbs in recently too for the spring and quite of bit of additional planting. A bit dissappointed that we didn't manage to extend the wildlife gardening habitat too much further this year- just an additional 1/2 acre or so. Will use this winter to plan a big push for next year.
Filed a formal complaint to the local authority this week about the delay in restoration at the farmlands. Stop the Incinerator campaign members are still looking into legal appeal options so one way or another hoping to keep encouraging along the restoration programme and see some progress over the winter months.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Independent mini Conservation NGOs ?

 A small local team to manage a 'cell' (a local area) 
Tree work (felling a dangerous Beech)
 Reed Planting on nature reserves
 Planting a pyracantha hedge (a wildlife friendly hedge)- as opposed to fencing
 Wildlife gardening
 Meadow management 
Wildflower meadow planting (this one an industrial estate) 
 A mature wildlife garden
 A mini-wildlife garden planted from scratch  (in Bedzed eco-village) 
 Recycling of all the green waste- logs for burning, woodchip for garden mulch and biofuel
 Some timber used for carving, furniture etc  
Public tours/exhibitions/workshops etc for skill transfer/awareness/new customers etc

I hear a lot about low wages and shortage of well paid job opportunities in conservation. The independent option is not a bad one- either self employment/partnerships setting up a company etc. The little company I run with my brother and friends manages green spaces (tree and hedge work, wildlife garden makeovers, habitat creation in private and communal gardens) in our local area (our patch), we do habitat restoration/maintenance on nature reserves and we do workshops/exhibitions/tours etc to promote our work and spread ideas. So basically we are like a micro-conservation organisation (we've got our green spaces(our 'reserves') we manage them for wildlife and we promote that work, pollinate ideas and attract new members/customers. We do some of our ecological consultancy/survey work our selves but personally I find it too tedious and prefer to be doing practical/business work so we work with consultants (independent ecological consultancy is of course another option for the independent minded conservationist). We've also got a few side lines which keeps things interesting- a bit of nature tour leading, writing etc (would love to get more into nature friendly farming in future). 
There's plenty of work in what we do (unfortunately we have to turn work down due to over demand), the financial rewards are good and its very rewarding in more important ways too.
A socio-economic landscape of a good number of mini practical conservation NGO's probably be a good thing for conservation?