Sunday, 22 November 2015

The Darkest Hour

A nursery rhyme round about the despair in the last moments before the fall of fundamental Capitalism.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Darwin's Ark

 A nice desk, some pictures and an expert panel- all sorted
The view on the walk back

Interesting debate yesterday evening at the Linnaen Society hosted LERN annual debate- 'Darwin's Ark; Should Evolutionary History Inform Species conservation?'. A handful of the usual suspects were there discussing biodiversity decline, what it means and what to do about it (that old chestnut). Reps from the Zoological Society London, Kew Gardens, Greenpeace and the University of Oxford were debating various aspects to species conservation in an event organised by a not so usual suspect to me-The London Evolutionary Research Network (Yay! another denomination of thinking conservation- just what we need- more replication, recycling, re-wording, re-use, re-packaging of the same old arguments- it's a good example of a closed system- granted) .

Everyone had a good time, lively debate, a few new buzzwords (De-extinction was a good one; bringing species back Jurassic park style (new name ((from my end of the line)), old idea), Proxy ideology; using a retarded linear simple message e.g. 'Save the Arctic' to engage people into a more complex ideology of climate change and on and on e.g. eventually get to philosophical debate (about the meaning and purpose of human existence ) and then wine and tasty tit bits to follow. Fucking love it.

PS. Nobody worked out what to do about the unfolding sixth extinction, the collapse of global ecosystems and the shrinkage of global biodiversity.  I was going to put my hand up and say maybe people should start talking about the ultimate question, the meaning and purpose of human existence which all these proxy issues are about or perhaps a look at the fundamental flaws of the social system that we live in and how to change that? Maybe the conservation crisis is a crisis of perspective or consciousness. Nahhh-hostile crowd I predict. Could possibly begin to undermine the whole culture of inequality, the paradox of an elite intelligentsia and dependence on the scraps of fundamental capitalism that the conservation community depends on. Might put a few of them out of 'work' if you went down that road too long.

So onwards to the bottom, where maybe the answers are waiting? Who knows, one thing for certain is that answers are not just confined to the conservation community (a warped paradox infested with the very disease it claims to afford solutions).

The funny thing about Darwin's ark- it's bloody sinking!

Monday, 16 November 2015


I whipped this up today. Supposed to be doing all sorts of other things but this has been on my mind for a while. Need to get into more of a structured regime with the local birding. Bird listing (especially local listing) is a game of diminishing returns so requires more strategy, more acquired knowledge and more use of technology to maintain progress. Here's my plan. It's a bit rough, no idea why I bothered doing a species and strategy table for the calender when it turned out it gave the same information and now just spotted a load of Ts where there should be Ss. Anyway, listing really should not be taken too seriously (this is bad enough) so on that note I'll leave this guilty indulgence imperfect and incomplete.


 Mordellochroa abdominalis (main), (sometimes known as Pintail Beetle) and probable Anaspis maculata (left). Both of these beetles are part of the 'Tumbling Flower Beetle' group. 
Common Malachite Beetle, Malachius bipustulatus male (swollen basal antennal joints) and Meligethes pollen beetles
 Apple Fruit Weevil, Tatianaerrhynchites aequatus (formerly known as Rhynchites aequatus)
 Anthocomus rufus. The wing cases are shorter than the body on this species. 
 Probably  Black Snail Beetle, Silpha atrata. On closer inspection confirmed as Necrodes littoralis. Caught in the moth trap. 
  Red-legged Ham Beetle, Necrobia violacea or possibly N.rufipes. Feeding on dead fox. 
 White-Bryony Ladybird, Henosepilachna argus
Chrysolina oricalcia

Roger Booth, AKA Beetlejuice, coleoptera curator at the Natural History Museum London and member of our bird group has kindly assisted in the identification of a few beetles that I've photo specimen collected at Beddington over last few months.

Bumped into Beetlejuice on the train going up to the London Wildlife Trust AGM on Saturday. He was on his way to the British Entomological Society Exhibition to display two county significant specimens that he has collected from Beddington recently and also a first for the UK which he had from nearby Morden Hall Park. He was also carrying the type specimen for two Beetle species from Indonesia. These national and world scientific treasures came out of his ruck sack on the train, a real treat for Gillian and I but scared the women off who was sitting next to me! lol. All part of a day in the London natural history underworld.

So the new beetles and yesterday's Serin take my Beddington list to 1164 (My Beddington Species List)

Mordellochroa abdominalis, Anthocomus rufus and Henosepiliachna agus are new for the Farm (Frankie found the H.agus a couple of years ago). 

Sunday, 15 November 2015


 Adult male Serin, the first for Beddington (258th species), fourth for Surrey (The first since 1986) and my 217th Beddington bird. 
 Found with a bit of Serin-dipity (Cheers Tank!) as Tank, Nick and I were walking along the enclosed beds after checking for any surviving Tree Sparrows (we had at least three) . The bird came up by the fence and called once which was enough to get us on it. I got a flash of the yellow rump. It went into a thick area of Mugwort but responded immediately to a recording and then sat on the fence for a bit before heading off to join the other finch flock. Well pleased with it as I've been checking this area for the last couple of weeks as the ruderal habitat has created some excellent feeding for well over 200 common passerines. 
 The bright yellow forehead, overall extent and intensity of yellow on breast, the white flanks and black flank streaking indicate this is an adult male. Females are less striking and juveniles are duller still.
 Once in with the main finch flocks it wasn't particularly easy to see. Here (far left) with Linnets.
 Local twitch- also involving the visiting London Natural History Society group who were serendipitously visiting on the right day. A lot of the locals managed to see it before it disappeared heading towards Parkside- hopefully it hangs around and comes back to where we originally found it. 
It's been quiet on the moth front recently, mainly because the trap doesn't work (charger broke). I managed to get the trap going a couple of nights ago but only had this Cypress Carpet and a Light Brown Apple Moth. 

A locally historic day. In addition to the Serin also on site today 3-6 Tree Sparrow, 1-2 Water Pipit, 30+ Snipe, 1 Jack Snipe, 2 Wigeon, 40+ Linnet, 40+ Goldfinch, 4 Stonechat and 1 Common Buzzard.

London Wildlife Trust AGM

Went to the LWT AGM yesterday. Some interesting talks on the work of the Wildlife Trusts, a review on the LWT projects in 2014, social media campaigning, Hedgehogs, Wildlife Photography and David Lindo gave a talk on public engagement and the Vote National Bird Campaign. Got a new CEO (Hopefully Scorer by name, Scorer by nature)  and three more members onto the Board of Trustees.

Friday, 13 November 2015

The Beddington Farmlands Bird and Wildlife Report 2014

The new report. A4 format, 129 pages, full colour throughout, compiled by the Beddington Farmlands Bird Group (BFBG), with additional data from MKA Ecology and sponsored by Viridor
 Following the introductory sections on BFBG aims and objectives, conservation update and birding review for 2014 the bulk of the report is the bird systematic list

  A Ringing Report, Breeding Bird Survey and Bird Population Monitoring Report follows the systematic list
 In addition to birds there are sections on the Butterflies, ...
 more moths (an extensive section on the moths following nearly daily moth catching in 2014) and also a shorter section on other wildlife.
 As part of the on-going species inventory this year we publish the plant list
The report concludes with a new map of the group recording area and the latest final restoration map

If you would like a copy please email Price £12.50 including post and packaging.