Thursday, 8 October 2015


 Mistle Thrush and Chaffinch in the Obs garden
 2 Mistle Thrush (a rare visitor to the garden)
 Meadow Pipit- about 30 on the mound. Also 2-3 Stonechat. 
 About 40 Goldfinch and 30 Linnet on the mound
 The young Mute Swans are flying now. Good numbers of waterfowl about including Wigeon, Shoveler, Gadwall, Teal, Tufted Duck and Pochard. 
This Pampas was flowering

Went over the farm after work on the bike for a quick look round.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Wildlife Gardening

 Spent the last couple of days working on the wildlife gardens in town- Silverdale and Bedzed (still need to get to the farmlands entrance too- need a local green team now- if you live local and fancy a job let me know- one or two days a week,  as ever will pay a bit more than you get for the same job in this area.  Contact for more info. Also need people to canvass for more work and also some help with getting the marketing and models right to start rolling this out. 
 Garden Spider- loads around at the moment
 Red Admiral on the last bit of Buddleia 
Asters and Sedum providing late flowers for pollinators. Also cyclamens are flowering now and tobacco plants. The Pictorial meadows seed from Dunnett's Sheffield team is still flowering too (exotic plants in there to prolong the flowering season). Been tidying up the beds and putting in new bulbs- early spring Irises, summer Aliums and Snake head Fritillaries ( to add to the composition of bulbs that are timed to flower in a synchronised fashion- like a very slow firework display :-)  ) 

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Harvest at the Obs

Harvested peppers, tomatoes, courgettes, onions and carrots from the obs wildlife garden this morning
Window peppers- well ahead of the garden ones
Tabacco doing well in the bed. Most of the vegetables were grown in this standard estate flower bed
The wildflowers mix still flowering and has been all summer- really quick win

Carrots weren't much cop

Spent the morning doing a few bits round the obs with Jo and then met Kojak and Swifty over the farmlands for a bit of vis migging. 6 Redpoll, 1 Mistle Thrush, Pied Wagtails and Greenfinches on the move, 3 Stonechat by the lake, 2 Skylark, a few Meadow Pipits and 30+ Linnet. Took the bike through the long vegetation (aka the flushing mobile) but only put up a Skylark. Should be working on the report  now but got distracted by Vader and Jubba who were interested in the massive marrow that came out of the car park. 

Five Reasons to be Positive about the Future for Nature

1. It aint that bad
The present can always be a time of relative subjective abundance and even in any type of unfolding catastrophe there is more than a lifetime's work for the keen naturalist in almost any place they look. There's more species and ecological curiosity going on in a garden than any one human being could ever completely understand in their life time- despite the fact that with every passing generation biodiversity is reducing exponentially over a wider geographic area in places like the UK, the capacity to perceive and understand biodiversity is also increasing exponentially concurrent to intensive biological management enabling biological populations to concentrate in a mere fraction of the geographical space of non-intensive areas e.g. managing habitat in the garden will 'create' more biodiversity.  Nature in all directions is, from a single human perspective, infinite and intensive management offers infinite opportunity in concentrating both biodiversity and awareness of that biodiversity. Phds are carried out on the biological processes occurring on a single log. There is literally endless interest by looking closer and closer as the macro environments disappear (if that is what is happening where you live e.g. like me) and endless opportunity to re-organise biodiversity and perception/awareness of it. There is no need to restrict oneself to 'natural nature' (whatever that means)- we are now in the Anthropocene- parks, gardens and human created environments have a super abundance of macro flora and fauna that is often ignored (like a herd of elephants in the room) by 'traditional' ecologists. Some of the most concentrated biodiversity hotspots on the planet are city parks where flora and fauna have been introduced from all over the world. Nature reserves can concentrate biodiversity into orders of magnitude higher than non-managed environments. Only will and imagination and organisation limit the creation of new habitats. The environmental crisis is mainly a crisis of perception and consciousness- which projects into the real world as a real crisis.

2. Keep calm and Love Flies
The London Natural History Museum estimate that there could be between 10 and 100 million species on this planet and so far naturalists have only described 2 million of them. The planet is still relatively unexplored so there is more than enough work to keep any naturalist happy through even the most extreme of perceived or real environmental catastrophes (which will mainly affect macro fauna). So kids it's time to start looking closer (when all your birds are dead, its time to look at e.g. moths and hoverflies). The bigger you are the less chance you have of surviving any type of unfolding apocalypse (The Dinosaur effect) so the big stuff is going to need to cling on for as long as possible (good to see thousands out in town on Sunday supporting the Rhinos and Elephants). Humans are macro-fauna so we'll either self destruct or adapt to sustainable futures so either way will generate more opportunity for biodiversity. Any post apocalyptic world (either localised or wider) will be colonised very quickly.  Look at the wonderful example of Chernobyl after the nuclear meltdown Post Nuclear Nature. So, even in the worse conditions nature will survive and bounce back. Even in the most horrific events, at least there will be plenty of flies to identify and study.

3. Ignore the Scaremongery!
Not good to get thrown into despair by conservation NGOs and public figures playing the scare mongery game and trying to engage people in an un-winnable and soul destroying war of reversing decline by nostalgic idealism, before 'Nature' is ready for it or trying to stop unstoppable forces. Nature looks after herself and all the evidence points towards human self destruction being part of the plan (to greater or lesser extents) . Human innovation is also part of the plan but there is a choice element too that- catastrophe, apocalypse, crashes and recovery are all nature's way- it's necessary and humans I would strongly argue have the privilege of choosing which way to go.  NGOs are in the businesses of trying to get people to sub-contract their responsibility to a power house, more so for keeping the power house running, the index linked pension schemes of the boards of directors- than the empowerment of individuals to save themselves and the immediate world around them. The enemy within is often the greatest challenge anything or anyone has to face.

4. Working on the Solutions
Needless to say some humans and nature will survive any post environmental apocalyptic world (local, regional or global) and the new evolved advanced societies will have learnt something from that period of their natural history. New political structures, new social structures, the conservation movement organising itself properly.  new management models, new code would have developed and that is all evolving now through sustainable innovation, activism and new technology. The new underlying coding and models will kick in, only when the old models and coding is in ruin. It's the old Phenoix syndrome. Re-organisation often occurs from complete chaos. Mutations and innovations need time and the right opportunity to replicate. Even patience, doing nothing or very little and waiting is hard but very rewarding work.

5. Its a divine comedy.  'Nature' clearly has a sense of humour- which is why humans exist I reckon. There's always a funny side- especially when things seem really bad.

This link is a bit shit but I like the message : A message from Mother

Friday, 2 October 2015

Euro-Trip Links

A few very useful links to some excellent resources from my recent trip:

Well easy to book train tickets across Europe for any conceivable route: The Man in Seat 61:

Excellent Local based Bulgarian conservation and bird and nature tour company, for tours and nature guides: NEOPHRON

Pioneering Ecological Farming Project in Valley of the Roses. Courses, volunteering and products: BALKAN ECOLOGY PROJECT

Affordable Decadence in Belgrade: HOTEL MOSCOW


Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Euro Trip, Day 12, The Balkan Ecology Project, Shipka 2

 Spent the morning helping out with the Veg boxes from the Ecological/Biological Farm ( more here: WILDLIFE FARMING and MORE HERE )
 View from Shipka over Valley of the Roses
 In the afternoon went fishing with Dylan- here with a Pumpkin Fish
 Marsh Harrier (above) and Red-backed Shrikes were around the Lake
Roma people

Back home tomorrow. 


Taking a drive over our new land

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Euro Trip, Day 11, Balkan Ecology Project, Shipka


Back to Shipka today to my Brother's family home, the Balkan Ecology Project (more HERE). Was planning on doing some birding in the local area but strange local weather conditions are currently generating very strong winds from the mountains. We spent the day doing a bit of work round the farm.