Explored the north of the island today with the family. Drove along the Formentor peninsula which was a complete nightmare due to thousands of Lycra clad cyclists and in the afternoon we visited S'Albufera. Ebird list here. Highlights included a nice suite of Mediterranean water birds including Marbled Teals and Red-knobbed Coots, Nightingales singing everywhere and a Golden Eagle being mobbed by Marsh Harriers (although I did read that there was an escaped Golden Eagle in the area in recent years).
Marbled Teal (above and below)
View over the mountainous north of the island near Formentor
A productive morning at the nearby headland Punta de n'Amer Ebird list here with a nice suite of migrants including Redstart, Blue-headed and Grey-headed Wagtails, Short-toed Lark, Bee-eaters, Northern Wheatears, Turtle Dove, Willow Warblers,Woodchat Shrikes and flocks of Swifts moving in. Also at least five 'Spotted Flycatchers' and several also in the tourist district we are staying in- presumably both Mediterranean Flycatcher and Spotted Flycatcher are out here at the moment with Spotted Flycatchers still to move through towards northern destinations.
Spotted/Mediterranean Flycatcher (above and below) - the lightly streaked breast on this bird suggests a Mediterranean Flycatcher but presumably considering the other suite of migrants present these could also be birds heading north.
Woodchat Shrike- the white patch at the base of primaries suggests a nominate race. I did see 'Balearic Shrike' (badius) this morning with a male type bird with no white at the primary bases
Male Sardinian Warbler- I estimated about 30+ of these on the peninsula- really tightly packed territories
Thekla Lark- apparantely there are no Crested Larks on Mallorca which makes identification easy although this bird was giving a churning call very similar to Crested Lark so presumably the two species share that particular vocalisation- planning on doing some sound recording on Wednesday so hopefully will get some samples of the local sounds
Stone Curlew- the habitat looks perfect on the peninsula for them
Male Cirl Bunting
Habitat at Punta de n'Mer comprised of low junipers and ploughed small fields grazed by horses ascending to Pine and scrub on the high elevations of the promontory.
Actually our second day on Mallorca but didn't get out birding yesterday as decided to have a day off after a hectic and exhausting few weeks. This morning I checked out a nearby (we are based on the east coast at Calla Bona) headland Punta de n'Amer Ebird list here; the area was packed full of scratching Sardinian Warblers with Thekla Larks singing overhead, singing Stone Curlews and Tawny Pipits and migrants scattered across the headland with Bee-eaters going overhead and Balearic and Scopoli's Shearwater offshore with Shags and an Eleonora's Falcon high overhead.
Audouin's Gulls (above and two below)
Adult summer Yellow-legged Gull (above and portrait below)
As the focus of XR switches to political negotiation here's a few iconic images from the last week of what has widely been acknowledged by the world's media as 'The Tipping Point' in the fight back for the natural world. There's been a scramble across the political spectrum to co-opt XR and Greta Thunberg with the Times stating today that Green politics can now be seized from the left. Everyone wants a slice of this pie- a fundamental shift has occurred in the last seven days.
Locally XRSutton are currently writing our 'demands' to the Viridor/Pennon Corporation and the London Borough of Sutton. We had a 'lovely' meeting yesterday at the Amba Hotel outside the Marble Arch blockade before joining the blockade afterwards, went through the details of our press release for the local media and started drawing up our plans.
At long last, this is now kick off point and our local community is in the necessary position we need to be in to drive the Viridor-Council axis back and start moving forward together reconstructing our local environment.
The Police circling the Oxford Circus Pink Boat
The NHM die in
Westminster Bridge taken (from November 2018)
Glued On in Solidarity
Over 1000 arrests in what the Met Police have acknowledged as the biggest civil disobedience movement in modern British history
I've said it before but here it comes again, in the impact hierarchy of rebellious acts that anyone can do agaisnt excessive consumerism, over-civilisation and the decline of the environment- birding is at the top. For me the hierarchy goes.
1. Personal Behaviour/Activity and Consumer Choice
2. Engagement with the Political System- e.g. Voting and Consultations etc
3. Demonstrations and Protests
Interestingly the order is probably inverse to the noise given in society to each tier. Nonetheless each tier is essential as noise and impact although inversely related require each other to grow.
So I was on the rampage this bank holiday weekend in Oxfordshire. On Saturday I was at Staines Res on the way up - 48 Little Gull, 4 Black Tern, 8 Common Tern, 1 adult Med Gull, 1 male Scaup, 1 Common Sandpiper, and 1 Little Ringed Plover. Yesterday we went to Aston Rowant on a family walk enjoying the Red Kites and also had a Green Hairstreak, I had my first Whitethroat of the year at Bernwood Meadows and then this morning I've been at Otmoor- had an Otmoor tick, a Spotted Redshank on Greenaways and also 4 Grasshopper Warblers, 3 Cuckoo, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, Bittern, Marsh Harriers, 3 Curlew, 1 Little Ringed Plover and stacks of Reed and Sedge Warbler, Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and a couple of Willow Warblers. Very few hirundines at all the sites I've visited.
While birding was keeping up with the goings on in London and helping out in making plans - the communication networks for XR are pretty complex with various Whatsapp and Signal groups co-ordinating national and regional plans and responding to minute by minute developments. Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has described the protests as unprecedented, having never seen anything like this in London or the UK before. Nearly 800 people have now been arrested in mass civil disobedience and there are climate strikes and Extinction Rebellions spreading across the world. It certainly looks like this is the beginning of the brakes being put on the destruction of our natural world . I'm back in London on Tuesday for an XR planning meeting.
Male Scaup and Male Tufted Duck
Green Hairstreak at Aston Rowant
Red Kites over Aston Rowant
Spotted Redshank on Greenaways, Otmoor. Otmoor Ebird list HERE
Spending a lot of time on the phone at the moment!
So much to say about all this, most of it being said in the international press. If you want to see me getting lynched on social media click on this link (the f symbol in the video below) and then follow the shares to the comments. A few usual insults to environmentalists such as tree hugging soap dodgers, hypocrites, idiots but also a few new ones- testicles being my favourite and me personally being referred to as Mr Vagina- I couldn't stop laughing thinking about the fun someone would have with a name like that- booking restaurants, public introductions, interviews etc.
So much is happening its hard to keep up. Im trying to stay focused on why the fuck I got involved in all this in the first place, which was to try and get some more bird ticks on my local patch and make sure the restoration was done by Viridor/Pennon who were trying to use their £5.2 billion net worth and army of shareholders to default on their legal obligations and exploit my birding patch.
So on the central front- if XR can maintain a permanent occupied position in London and over the coming months start a strategy that opens a civil society communication channel with government and begins to target the main culprits of climate and ecological breakdown then our local community and XRSutton will effectively have access to a national citizen's assembly and an army of 30,000 protesters that could in theory literally shut down the Beddington Farmlands incinerator and begin to take bites out of the Viridor/Pennon monster.
Locally we really don't want it to come to that. This will be the beginning of the Hunger Games- Viridor/Pennon will bring in private security to bulk out the police and if things turn nasty and word gets out on the street that Viridor/Pennon are risking the health of local kids and exploiting the area the South London gangs and violent factions could get involved. We will have a full on violent revolution.
Need to avoid that at all costs as that will weaken the area and generate accelerated decline instead of the current slow bleed through managed decline. We are looking for a gentle revolution where eventually the Viridor/Pennon Corporation and the local community and the local authority form a genuine stakeholder community and together develop a flagship nature reserve for South London and roll out environmental and ecological improvement across the borough- a model that can be used anywhere.
The more the local community can bring to the table the better- organising public events, conservation volunteering, recording the wildlife etc. It's also important that we have accountability structures- auditing the scientific data and presenting key factors to public. The South London Air Quality Action Group will be presenting monthly reports on any illegal pollution produced by the incinerator and we will also have a community air quality monitoring network to monitor all local pollution and to try and tie in any incinerator pollution with local street level pollution.
The Green Party and the Localism Groups can deliver political structure and co-ordinate local projects via local ecological consultancies and local businesses that can assist in the corporate-council-community structure and now at long last we have a militant wing- XR who can use non-violent direct action as a last resort if further betrayal and exploitative attempts by Viridor/Pennon or the Council are made. We will also keep pushing with the formal complaint and legal challenge route (not the best route for us impoverished) and will continue to pay dutiful respect to the current pseudo-democracy framework e.g. petitions and public consultations, council committees etc that the council wipe their arses with the corporations flush down the toilet- but we can get our social licence by jumping through their silly hoops first like the good little puppies we are.
Absolutely magical day in London yesterday with 30,000 climate and ecological breakdown protesters bringing London to a standstill and the nation's attention to the need to declare a climate and ecological emergency.
Incredible organisation by the XR coordinators, real heroic acts by volunteers and total heroes getting themselves arrested to bring the legitimacy of the action to the courts.
We had an action today at the Wallington Farmers Market promoting the petition to Sutton Council to declare a climate and ecological emergency in the borough and commit to change to reduce green house gas emissions and complete the Beddington Farmlands Nature Reserve.
Viridor/Pennon Group have responded to Extinction Rebellion Sutton and the international movement that will mobilise across world cities next week by putting the incinerator on full security alert and have shut the site down so that the bird group no longer have key access but can still access the site through the security entrance. On speaking to the main communications person, the company are keen to build on local community cooperation to complete the nature reserve. Good to hear Extinction Rebellion are making a positive impact and directors of corporations are sitting up and listening.
XR Sutton with 'Nature's Graveyard' - tombstones of extinct species. We also had a local nature's graveyard featuring species that were extinct or near extinct in Sutton- the most significant case being the Beddington Tree Sparrows.
Local MP Tom Brake signing the petition and supporting the rebellion
Tom Brake agreed to sign the petition if we stopped fly postering his office
Nick Mattey- arch enemy of Liberal Democrat Tom Brake also supporting the petition - good to see something they agree on and rebellion bringing people together. Mattey has devoted his life to 'destroying the Sutton Lib Dems'
The Beddington Farmlands Tree Sparrow tombstone - numbers have dropped from 1000 birds in 2007 to only 2-3 pairs today
A bit of information on local extinctions
Jacob with the Human Tombstone- 'self extinction: date/future unknown '