Tuesday 31 March 2009


It appears that the problems we are facing at Beddington are shared by many local birding patches. As a small group we simply do not have the legal knowledge or economic resources to oppose a developers mis-conduct. Our developers are not conforming to conditions set out in the public enquiry which granted permission to quarry and landfill for as long as certain habitat management restoration works were phased into the development.

Of course, the quarrying and landfill operations are well under way- and yes it is the restoration phase which is behind by about 7 years. There has been next to nothing in the way of phased restoration and the cost of catching up will be a huge liability to the company at a time in the economic cycle where costs are required to be cut.

The local authority do not possess the will or resources to enforce the conditions in the public enquiry so we are dealing with a situation of total planning failure.

Sunday 29 March 2009

30th March Beddington

6 Common Buzzard, 1 1st win Iceland Gull, 3 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 90+ Tufted Duck, 50+ Teal, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Snipe, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 6 Gadwall, 4 Shoveler and 6 Little Grebe.

Friday 27 March 2009

THE RSPB and Beddington

We have approached the RSPB on numerous occasions for help and they very politely tell us to f##k off. I guess that is the sickest thing about all these problems. The conservation bodies quite simply do not lend any support to local birding groups- it is not in their remit apparantely. They reckon they have bigger fish to fry- what is bigger than the sum of all the local patches in the UK?

What is more important than an accessible inticate and connected network of bird reserves which covers the entire country and provides local access to birds for every UK citizen. What is more important than providing birds with a place in every community across the country?

I am sick of listening to RSPB shite. 'Bigger fish to fry'- a lot of them are in it for head lines, career moves, and the 'glamour'- hob nobbing with 'big names' in conservation.

Change starts on the front line- not in brown nosing conferences and talking shops. They should get their heads out of eachothers arseholes, wipe the shit from their eyes and start helping birders.

Wednesday 25 March 2009

Beddington- The Future

Our local patch is buggered. Usual story of developers not keeping their word when it comes to rehabilitation and restoration of a site as they are focus on productivity and profits.

Well- I want our local patch to be different. To oppose the forces of these corporations it is essential to match strength with strength.

Conservation organisations and local groups are largely ineffective at permeating society at the macro level. It is a cliche but true- profits and greed come before anything else.

I believe this has occurred because conservation bodies are not utilising the most powerful resource at their disposal- that is the army of birders which patrol the lands. The relationship between the men on the ground and the power houses is one of mis-trust and lack of unity.

The answer to effective conservation lies in the unification of the conservation power houses and the troops on the ground. If this unification occurs- then the power of the love of birds, of nature and of a better future is not only a match of strength to the power of greed and short term thinking but a submitting force. The money men need to be brought to their knees.

Sunday 15 March 2009

Beddington Farm

Been busy working on the Beddington Bird Book recently (keeping me out of the field!). Here is a bit of a snap shot of some of the images and pics that we will be using. All the work of local boys. Coming soon folks- I know- you can't wait...... sewage and birds, always a number one best seller.

Tuesday 10 March 2009

Parasites and vagrants

An interesting discussion recently on WP birds http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WestPalBirds/ about the association of vagrant birds and parasites. A vagrant Ivory Gull which was tracked between France and Ireland showed evidence of a parasite infestation. Perhaps this is a vagrant because the parasites weakened it and somehow managed to affect it in a way to wander outside it's range. This would imply an interesting example of how parasites can alter the behaviour of their host. In this case the vagrant bird could help the parasites spread outside it's range. This would be an example of co-evolution of species range between parasites and birds.

It is also possible that the infestation occurred as a result of the vagrant bird arriving in an area where parasites can quickly infest the birds as the host is not adapted to defend against the infestation.

Suggestions to investigate this area include: identifying the species of parasites involved (to see where their natural range is), look at control birds e.g. investigate the incidence of parasites on Ivory gulls within their range and also look at incidences of other vagrants which have been found to host parasite infestations.

Tuesday 3 March 2009

Ruddy Ducks

Ruddy Ducks seem to be pretty topical at the moment. Been some interesting debate around about the effectiveness of the attempt to eradicate the species from the UK and the wider EU.
Reminds me of this bird which appeared at Beddington in 2005. I think we decided it was some interesting variant rather than a Maccoa Duck. Maybe a hybrid (with a White-headed Duck???- God forbid).

Sunday 1 March 2009


Spent the day with Simon on the Essex marshes. 4 Whoopers Swans at Bower's was the highlight.