Friday 27 February 2015

Incinerator Update

Click for latest: INCINERATOR LATEST

Basically at moment looking like instead of stopping the incinerator we've got two monsters coming (an earlier application was resurrected once the new application was granted) and also the bigger of the two looks like it might even be bigger and dirtier than expected.

In short this is capitalism consuming  nature protected land via the democratic and planning process, a process which basically is used to dissipate resistance by grinding the environmental/social sector down and effectively projecting profit-focused objectives, all in the name of democracy, freedom and fairness .

The appeal is still in play- waiting to hear about that (could be prohibitively costly- not forsaking the lack of grounds- sparse enough for the first legal team to abandon ship - and one of them to give up environmental law altogether!) and then its to the barricades!


Wednesday 25 February 2015

5. Songs of Praise: WASP

Next instalment of the people and nature musical story for children : Songs of Praise 

He met up with his friends and they all went out for a drink to talk about their different adventures.

This is a song about a rather common reaction between people and wildlife- to destroy it if it gets in the way. Follow this song to the end for an apocalyptic musical showdown between people and nature. 

Tuesday 24 February 2015

Azores Winter Trip

 First-winter Ring-billed Gull 
 Juvenile first-winter Glaucous Gull (one of five at Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel) 

 Juvenile/first-winter Glaucous Gull (note feather lice on face)
 Presumed American Herring Gull ?
 The lack of a squared off tongue on p10 means its not possible to clinch the identification. The heavy head markings and pale yellow bill are good indicators as is the p5 band and sub-terminal band on p10.
 Ring-billed Gulls at Praia da Vitoria, Terceira- 15 at this traditional wintering site
 Bonaparte's and Black-headed Gull in Praia da Vitoria Bay, Terceira
 Great Scaup, Tufted Duck, Lesser Scaup and Ring-necked Duck at Praia Pools, Terceira
 American Wigeons (and Eurasian Wigeon) at Praia Pools, Terceira
 Melanistic Blackcap- the hooded type found across Macronesia (not Cape Verde). First time I've seen this form. 
 Sofia at Praia Pools
Chris Gibhins, Peter Adriaens and Darryl Spittle 

Spent the last week on the Azores doing some work on Azores Gull and having a look round. Here's a summary of some of the interesting sightings:

2 Bonaparte's Gull, 15 Ring-billed Gull, 2 adult presumed American Herring Gull (also a 3rd cycle bird and a confirmed adult seen by Peter Adriaens), 16 American Wigeon, 3 Lesser Scaup, 1 Greater Scaup, 2 Blue-winged Teal, 12 Great Northern Diver, 2 Semipalmated Plover, 1 Hudsonian Whimbrel, 1 Short-billed Dowticher, 

Sao Miguel:
5 Glaucous Gull, 5 Mediterranean Gull, 7 Ring-billed Gull, 1 Pied-billed Grebe, Azores Bullfinches

Saturday 14 February 2015

Desolation Row

How to protect green space # 2

Following on from this How to Protect Green Space, I had an after thought.

The possibility of independent individuals or local groups actually having the money, time, energy and capability to actually defend green space and nature is rather low.

In fact I suspect that until a centralised network for conservation evolves it's more than likely a journey further into the abyss. Systemic change is needed and I don't mean (just) through the political party system and the introduction of new policy (such as a nature and wellbeing act). An independent network that connects e.g. ecological consultants, planning experts, lawyers, media and publicity experts to local groups/community members is required I would say. A network that provides advice and co-ordination on how to defend green spaces a the local/ specific level. In essence a kind of HQ from where local groups can be coordinated and go to for assistance. That way when it comes to getting people together for e.g. demonstration, petition signing or even occupation there could be an assembled pool of people to draw support from and give support too. Basically for things to change for nature conservation it will take more than policy changes it will take an effective conservation 'army' which is centralised and well coordinated. 

Thursday 12 February 2015

Wednesday 11 February 2015

Ringing Day with Sid

 Reed Bunting

Water Rail

Spent the day with Sid on Sunday doing some ringing with the Beddington Ringers. Caught a few birds and the Water Rail was showing well. 

How to defend green space

Do a Bioblitz, record all the species of conservation concern , build a case for protection (ref to existing policies-), form alliance with local community groups who share interest in protecting site, get attention via local media/social networking to build support, , feed the protection case into public consultation stage of the developers planning application, meet with the planning officer directly (he/she is the one with the real power, the planning report generally dictates what will occur not the decision of the councillors) encourage conservation NGOs and other groups, individuals to comment on application and then present case at development control committee (mainly for cosmetic and publicity purposes). If you're lucky the planning officer will recommend that they put a little wildlife corner within the scheme, a wildflower strip, some bird boxes and call it something like Barn Owl Estate. The DCC will go for that and wave it through (you might get lucky and have someone influential within the local authority who opposes the development) . If no such luck and you want to stop it altogether then you'll need to take it further-about 30K minimum (quite achievable to raise via group funding/sponsors/ wealthy interested parties etc) ,get lucky with a sympathetic judge to permit the legal challenge (or one who wants the legal sector get their pound of flesh from the development), a good legal team (to scrutinise the planning officers report for technical errors and then build a judicial review against the planning decision). You'll also need a court protection order from the Aarhus convention (to limit your liability but expose the developer to potentially crippling costs defending themselves)and a group of eco-warriors to occupy the site over a sustained period if that fails. By dragging the developer into the legal and direct action route could incur crippling costs on the developer/local authority that make the project collapse. Basically whoever runs out of money and/or will first loses. Simples.

Friday 6 February 2015

Back to work

 Was in Romania yesterday looking for these! 
 London Wetland Centre
 Toby at work 

 Smew in the collection 
 Bewick's Swan in the collection

Back to work today, doing some tree work at the London Wetland Centre. It was colder than in Romania and better views of the sought after geese (in the collection) - 30 mins from home.
Good to see the centre so busy with birders, meetings and school visits even on a freezing winters day. We've got the the pre-feasibility study for a Beddington Farmlands centre which is due to be completed by the end of March. Various groups are being consulted including the WWT. Beddington is a larger site (4 x the size), with established habitats etc within a diverse demographic and social environment so will provide different opportunities and exciting possibilities.

Bulgaria and Romania Short-trip

Red-breasted and White-fronted Geese
 Red-breasted Geese
 Caspian, Yellow-legged and Black-headed Gull 
 Little Gull
 Caspian Gull
 Long-eared Owl
 Steppe Lake in Romania

Popped over to the east for a few days. Highlights included Red-breasted Geese, Caspian Gull colony, Long-eared Owl roosts (30 odd birds), Smew, Long-tailed Duck Grey-headed, Green, Great-spotted, Syrian, Lesser Spot and Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Hen Harriers (lots), Rough-legged and Long-legged Buzzard, Eagle Owl, Sombre Tit, Hawfinches, Brambling etc. 100 species in all (hit the trip target on the nose with 5 minutes to spare).
Thanks to Dimiter from Neophron, Jaffa and Cliff for good times.