Thursday, 21 January 2016

Birds of Conservation Concern 4- Beddington Farmlands

We still have 10 pairs at Beddington Farmlands

The BoCC4 was published in the December issue of British Birds (more HERE). The words sobering and bleak were used by both the paper authors and the British Birds editor to describe the conservation state of birds in the UK at present. There are now 67 species on the Red List (27.5% of all regular occurring species that were assessed), 96 on the Amber list and 81 on the Green List. So basically the majority of birds in the UK are threatened.

The regular occurring birds at Beddington Farmlands which are on the red list include:

Common Pochard  ( WDP1 -51%) *for criteria definition see below
Northern Lapwing  ( BDP1 - 57% , BDP2 -63%)
Ringed Plover  (WDP1- 52% )
Whimbrel  (BDP1-67%, BDR1-50% )
Eurasian Curlew  (BDP2-62%)
Black-tailed Godwit  (HD)
Ruff  (BDP2-62%, BDR1-62%)
Herring Gull  (BDP1-60%, WDP1- 53 to -60%)
Turtle Dove  (IUCN VU, BDP1-92%, BDP2-96%)
Common Cuckoo (BDP1-60%, BDP2-60%)
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (BDP1-81%, BDP2-81%)
Skylark (BDP2-60%)
Common Starling (BDP1-70%, BDP2-83%)
Ring Ouzel (BDP1-72%)
Fieldfare (BDP1-50%, BDP2-63%)
Song Thrush (BDP2-59%)
Redwing (BDP2- 59%)
Mistle Thrush BDP2-62%)
Spotted Flycatcher ( BDP1-80%, BDP2-88%)
Whinchat (BDP1-55%)
House Sparrow (BDP2- 66%)
Tree Sparrow (BDP2- 90%)
Yellow Wagtail (BDP1-63%, BDP2-57%)
Grey Wagtail (BDP2-57%)
Tree Pipit (BDP1-64%, BDP2-70%)
Linnet (BDP2-60%)
Lesser Redpoll (BDP1-64%, BDP2-83%)

WDP1: Winter Range Decline of more than 50% between the wintering atlases y/e 1984 and 2011
BDP1: Breeding Population Decline of over 50% over 25 years
BDP2: Breeding Population Decline of over 50% over a longer term
BDR1:  Breeding Range Decline of more than 50% between breeding atlases y/e 1991 and 2011
HD: Historical decline.
IUCN: Globally threatened.
VU: Vulnerable.

Herring Gulls- a Red listed Species (The highest conservation priority). Ironically the environmentally very unfriendly landfill is supporting this species. It's unsettling to think that even our scavenging species are beginning to decline! 

Personally the words sobering and bleak are far too gentle to describe the state of nature in the UK and especially on my own local patch. I wouldn't hesitate at using the words devastating, depressing and soul destroying to describe the experience at watching the place where I grew up and learned to love nature being destroyed.  However it is important to use that anger and hurt to harness into a well directed, planned and focused reaction.

For me the reason why species are nationally declining is because they are declining on all the local patches in the nation and if you can stop and reverse it on your own local patch- that is the main way to deal with this crisis.  Yes I understand the need for central policy changes, for more engagement and I understand that some of these declines are e.g. related to climate change etc but I believe these big problems are the result of lots of little problems and I don't believe those changes will come unless there is enough pressure on the front line. As a local patcher, I recognise that local bird and nature groups/individuals are on the front line of this devastation and I often contemplate that to deal with it we need the support of a wider community.

Somehow the conservation movement needs to move in one spear headed direction (NGOs, celebs, conservation groups, individuals, conservation friendly business, conservation friendly politicians etc) where the effort leads to enough pressure on the front line that can assist with driving the central changes too. The different levels- local, regional and national need to align and focus and that means local groups connecting with that regional and national support (and even international). Locally we don't really have the support of the regional and national movement and isolated locals groups are quite frankly doomed to failure without that support. At the moment we don't appear to be near that but hopefully slowly getting closer. 

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