Thursday 29 December 2022

Surviving the ecological emergency part 3

We've done the background to this is part 1 HERE  and in part 2 HERE we did Get a stake in the game, Go birding and Build Resilience. In this final part of this sick bed ramble it's time for Connect to a Network/Affinity Group and Defence.
Having your own personal stake can only be optimised if you multiple it's impact by connecting into a network which is moving and growing in the same direction as you. There is an organic club/society out there, i.e. not one under a centralised banner or control like an NGO, the UN or political party etc but just the naturally evolving network of people that are into nature- a galaxy of groups, individuals and organisations. Engaging primarily with the organic network by-passes much of the power struggles, political agendas and inefficiencies of anything centralised and puts the power in the hands of the individual to amplify their personal stake by contributing into supporting and growing that organic network. The whole thing can be rather ego-less and collective, in fact anonymity/insignificance is a feature of contributing to a vast galaxy like network which is ironically very empowering- quietly contributing to building an immensely powerful network and not stressing over popularity contests or having constant applause for every micro-effort you do is liberating and deeply affirming.   

It would be difficult to list the individuals, groups and resources I link into on a daily basis because it is so vast but some of the big resources I network into include the new big data/ big information systems and their apps like Ebird, Birds of the World,  Irecord, I-Naturalist, Birdguides, Lepiforum, ResearchGate, GBIF, Wikipedia, countless blogs, spotify podcasts, websites and social media accounts and I still subscribe to good old fashioned periodicals such as Dutch Birding, Atropos, British Wildlife, British Birds, Ibis and Ardea and because I'm an old bastad I still even buy books and have an extensive birding and natural history library which I pour over regularly. It's an entire universe. 

In addition to all the natural history and science groups out there there is also the nature/environmental friendly business and producer network. How we spend out money has to be the single biggest impact any of us can have on contributing to building the survival network. Each pound spent is a vote for either a nature destroying producer/company or a nature friendly product/company. In terms of democratic power, every transaction made in the global economy is orders of magnitude more important to how we cast our once in every three or four year votes for political 'leaders'. Of course it also not just about how we spend our money but how we earn our money too. Basically it's pretty obvious but the values we support and link into in the world will determine our probability of survival and degrees of success in it.  

The creative global organic natural history community is a beautiful, dazzling and extremely complex community/network with so much mind blowing stuff going on and whole heartedly welcomes contributions, data, papers, photographs, content etc etc at any level ability.  Being part of that is surely anyone's greatest chance of surviving the ecological emergency.  

As everyone knows there is an entirely different network out there- the dark side of nature conservation and the dark green transition. Democracy has a dark side which is why elites always justify their crushing of the masses to keep them down. Indeed look no further than social media to prove the point of the Elites- it is full of toxicity,  gossip, trivia, mob lynching, talentless moron herders and the mass affirmation of low standards. Democracy really can be pure hell. Look no further than Beddington Farmlands to see this hell at a larger scale democratic process- two billionaire cousins through a chain of subsidiaries and shell companies, use the promise of ecological outcomes to exploit an area and destroy it's wildlife, an exploitation supported by hush money from groups like the RSPB and the Wildlife Trusts (In the Crane Country project, they have named one of the Cranes Viridor!) while their tracks are covered up by CIEEM Ecologists and Local Authority Ecologist (who also conspire to destroy local nature conservation effort) and the local community are bought off with doggy biscuits (a community fund) and the local birders and naturalists are trained to obey and keep quiet by threats of access denial. There is no better example of the Dark Green World than Beddington Farmlands but unfortunately this 'algorithm' is one going on everywhere that leads to over-development and exploitation. Its almost the standard planning process. 

Look closer and you can see even though this exploitative process is billionaire driven, people at every level of society are helping them do it- even the local bird group is helping these billionaires destroy their own patch. This is how Elites crush the masses- through manipulating them to destroy themselves and their resources. Making them feel part of something important and then eating them for breakfast. It's basically a livestock model of dealing with humans- pat them, feed them up and then eat them.  This network is the destructive network of the planet. Death and Life cycles are just the natural order and these are the algorithms/ systems where things die. These cycles wax and wane and few would disagree we are now at a time of global crisis where destruction/chaos is increasing.   

So how can anyone defend them self from this growing destructive network/process.  You can't stop it (I proved that at the farmlands- too many people are compelled to follow near-obsolete system orders). Knowing it and recognising it is the best defence. Disengaging from it and engaging in the survival network is key. If you want to live- get in the correct lane, get out of the way and let nature takes it course.  Death and destruction eats itself eventually. Our old systems will eventually be replaced with AI and global computer management systems, democracy will be digitised and growth indicators will become more complex. The giant systems of our time will die like the dinosaurs- cataclysmically and suddenly. Eventually chaos will lead to a new alignment/a new order.  As an old order dies and a new one forms it is possible to see that new order/network forming today in embryonic form. Being part of that, staking out your own ground, building resilience, connecting into the network and going birding seems like not a bad idea as the best way of defending yourself and nature, getting through the evolutionary bottleneck and surviving the ecological emergency.   

Tuesday 27 December 2022

Surviving the ecological emergency part 2

So here's part 2 of my sick bed ramble. Part 1 HERE. Basically I have no idea how anyone else is supposed to navigate through the self interest-infested waters of the climate and ecological emergency and the competing and conflicting narratives attempting to draw people into their control for better or worse. Like everything in this universe every poor wretched soul has to work out their own unique solution to thriving in the cosmic shit fest. The only advice I have to anyone is make sure you're full of your own bullshit and not some other fuckers', write your own narrative, specific to your unique and complex needs. 

So here's my bullshit. Here's how I'm trying to capitalise on this crisis. If anyone is genuinely passionate about nature the more naturalists capitalising from the crisis and building a new nature-centric system- the better.   

You've got to be in it to win it. As nature becomes a more threatened and declining resource it becomes more valuable. The capitalisation of nature through Natural Capital Accounting, Carbon Credits, Biodcredits (announced recently at COP15), Offsets, Net Gain Frameworks, net zero and net positive frameworks, public goods for public money incentives etc etc have all exploded onto the big finance scene over the last two or three years. Seems like the game is up for charity CEOs like Carter Roberts, the CEO of the World Wildlife Fund who famously earns over $1,000,000 a year from the subscriptions we all give that bastard as now everyone can see they can get rich off the back of the ecological emergency. Instead of (just) giving that money to bank roll these charity moguls, believe in yourself and get in there. 

I wouldn't recommend anyone from the bottom of society (like me) invests directly in these new financial instruments and organisations yet. It's the wild west out there and the whole thing is full of scammers and self imploding start ups. I've invested in green transition funds, renewable energy companies, nuclear, carbon credit tokenisation block chains and carbon credit trading and I've lost on everything (although these are supposed to be long term investments- yes right, no room for bullshitting there) . Trying to pick a winner (and there will be some winners) in this gold rush is probably impossible without being on the inside track. If you thought crypto was full of scams, the whole carbon and nature offset stuff is even worse.  However if you're stupid like me, it's a bit of fun and interesting to watch how this whole thing develops because out of the melee- something useful and important will emerge. 

So I would definitely not recommend  investing in any of this new stuff unless you enjoy a flutter but I would definitely recommend that you buy actual natural capital- ie. land. Land is an investment anyway and in the future there will be added value for ecologically important land. So buy, buy, buy. Land is not particularly expensive, about £8000 an acre for agricultural land and is even cheaper in other parts of the world. 

As we begin to re-define concepts of wealth in the transition from a fundamental capitalist financial system to an ecosocio-capitalist 'financial' system, status symbols associated with dominance hierarchies will change. Celebrities and corporations are already falling over themselves to re-identify as being nature positive or carbon neutral. Even former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell has a rewilding project going on here in Oxfordshire. This stuff will trickle down into middle and lower income society with a growing trend of people owning estates or houses with rewilded areas of land and natural capital. For some people the main appeal of a property could be not how many bedrooms the house has but how many acres of land for rewilding, carbon sequestration, carbon credits and offsets it has.  Millionaire nature conservation is already a big thing and the democratisation of that is one of the biggest sitting ducks in nature conservation that I can see. A lot of the start ups in green finance are to do with carbon rather than biodiversity so to me there appears to be a massive opportunity for any smart people to crack the democratisation of natural capital financing.  

Anyway, it's a growth area and owning natural capital is good anyway as a lifestyle choice and personal empowerment and private ecological husbandry. Add to that the potential of a speculation bomb and sustained gold rush and you cannot go wrong.     

If you want to know more of this sort of stuff than sign up for CarbonCredit.Com newsletter, InkCap Journal covers everything weekly going on in nature conservation including traditional and new stuff, listen to Financing Nature on Spotify (a United Nations podcast), Dieter Helm's podcast and Mongabay Podcast. Read, read, read, read everything constantly but act slowly and carefully .You won't get this stuff from the RSPB newsletter or the nature conservation establishment because it's all a potential threat to their self preservation societies and their charity mogul model.     

The defining feature of a post-capitalist world in an ecosocio-capitalist system (sustainable) is a slower, less rampantly consuming growth model with a wider multi-index value system. i.e a broader definition of capital e..g the concept of natural capital. 

Birders have known this for ever anyway. Instead of pursuing the dollar a lot of birders for years have been pursing the rarity or life list tick. This is an 'economy'  in it's own right. A life list is an extremely valuable commodity and each tick is a valuable currency. 

This idea will presumably be cemented further as biological recording and big data systems gain more power. Your birding data is valuable and at the moment most of us are slaves, building big data systems for free. Having a stake in the game, owning your own land/reserve and using these free to use platforms to monitor your own natural capital is a way of getting your investment back. Presumably in the future in order to mobilise a global reserve big enough to accurately monitor all the world's birds on a daily basis there will need to be incentives to using these platforms and maybe as eco-social credit systems are introduced, universal income will be linked to big data system use. This is a fascinating topic, as it appears birders will evolve from a pioneer/ odd ball community to a valued mainstream global citizen science community central to global ecosystem management.  

So wait for the wave, keep birding, keep building your big data system profile and combine that with your own stake in the game and happy days. 

I've got to go so will do this one quickly. The transitioning of our global financial system to a green one will be a total cluster fuck. There will be so many disastrous strategies and stupid ideas (although low-carbon birding has already set the floor in birding). So we are already getting used to this- sudden price rises, inflation, more taxes, lockdowns, insane rules to follow, spiritual leaders telling you slaughter yourself and your personal stake  etc etc. 

Basically during chaos it is critical to have a base camp that is stable and self sufficient. Like the whole of life you want to be in a position to tell anyone or anything to go fuck itself if it's asking you do something against your values and that's what resilience is.

So growing your own food, producing your own energy and having the capability to go off grid and be self sufficient means that no matter what happens out in the fucking mental world it doesn't really matter. If you need to go to ground and disappear and come up when the coast is clear then great.  No money- no problem. No food at the supermarkets- no worries. AI gate has refused you entry - no stress. Everyone is infected with  a real killer virus - time to make an omelet. Pronoun meltdown - top up the feeders. 

If your dependant on the system, which is becoming increasingly chaotic and psychotic as the old world dies and a new world evolves then you could get dragged into all kinds of knee jerk reactions and scams and shams (like the whole covid circus and there is plenty more of that shit coming). 

So build a self sufficient bunker and use that as HQ to coordinate missions from. 

Ok part 3- coming soon- building a network/affinity group and defence. 

Sunday 25 December 2022

Surviving the ecological emergency. part 1

I've got flu or covid at the moment with a temperature of over 100 F. Laying around in pain seems to send all kind of thoughts swimming to the surface so I thought I'd try and catch some of those and have a rant to take my mind off the discomfort- and share some of that discomfort :-) 

The ecological and climate emergency is becoming a defining narrative of our times and like all narratives will represent some underlying scientific facts and possible futures but more so will provide the driving force for new power struggles, transfers of wealth and the potential for power grabs, new opportunities, new markets, new oppression, new freedoms and new social groups and social structures. Like a journalist said recently about COP27- nobody there cares much about climate change but they all care a lot about making money out of it.  The actual unfolding of the ecological and climate breakdown may pose difficult challenges to e.g.the sustainability of agricultural systems, human societies in most vulnerable areas like flood plains and low lying areas and the sustainability of planetary life support systems but  those threats will pale into insignificance compared to the damage that can be caused by bodged politics and the politicisation and financing of science by nefarious/ exploitative/profiteering interests. 

Fundamentally I don't believe that the ecological and climate emergency can be 'solved' (that seems pretty obvious from the political and ideological division in society over the issues and the endless opportunities in the crisis to capitalise and scavenge from it). There are simply too many people on the way with predicted population growth and more significantly more and more people are expecting higher standards of living putting more demands on natural systems and there are constantly new people and groups rising and seeking power and wealth while whole continents and developing societies demand material and political equity and the pressure on nature that brings. Some of those rising will seek power in the green transition which could be a good thing or an absolutely awful thing (depressed standards of living, higher taxes, crippling price rises, lifestyle lockdowns and our green spaces covered in sterile biofuels, windfarms and solar farms is a green hell which we already seem to be sleep walking into). It's very likely attempts to solve the climate and ecological emergency will generate unimaginable hells in standard play seen in history where hijacking of science or ideology is used to drive oppression and seize power. 

 Fundamentally systems change when they start to eat themselves when they overshoot or overrun, 'divine intervention' comes as tipping points are passed and things start to collapse. That collapse is accelerated partly by 'solutions' to it (scavengers disguised as saviours).  It is from that collapse that the new system emerges. Political systems tend to be cyclical, the end of the cycle being represented by crisis and the seeds for both positive growth and also the next crisis (its redundancy) will be embedded in the new system. It's a simple life-death cycle.  A new system is in no way some kind of ethical ideal but it must be where positive forces out weigh negative ones so is overall positive but in no way perfect. It's simply a better algorithm/system for the new environment which has evolved as a result of societal evolution.  We seem to be moving from a fundamental capitalist cycle to a more eco-socio-capitalist cycle and appear to be in  the crisis stage now.  In that crisis its more the conflict, the resulting power shuffle and the victims and the survivors of that crisis that give rise to the next cycle. It's chaos that leads to change, necessity and despair being the engines of reinvention and not primarily carefully written policy, white papers, grey papers, think tanks, activists, politicians or engineers (most of which is replication, spam and scams, particularly at late stage when most output in the system is junk/noise) . Indeed all of those things if they can provide solutions will be pushed forward in the chaos but chaos is the primary driving force that applies immense natural selection pressures on the drivers of change that emerge from the background 'noise' under the right conditions.

So basically in a crisis/ chaos the threats to individuals is coming from all directions- which is what chaos is. There are threats coming to individuals from all characters in the narrative- from the actual effects of natural breakdown caused by the so called villains in the story e.g. oil companies and fossil fuel hedge fund managers but equally from the supposed heroes in the 'story', the green transition players with green washing, green financial scams, inefficient nature conservation organisations, overpaid NGO CEOs, extremists but more than anything the overpowering stench of bullshit which can be crippling to individuals. As the narrative becomes a global narrative every power house is scrambling around to re-write themselves as the hero in their version of the story from the Global Financial Institutions at COP27, the World Economic Forum Billionaires, Political 'World Leaders' or Extinction Rebellion activists while re-writing each other as the villains. Individuals can easily get caught up in this 'war' whether its becoming a devotee to one of the warring factions or getting stuck on the M25 while some Guardian reading activist glues themselves to Junction 11, getting caught in a global green financial scam , being subjected to green tax rises and price rises and re-conditioning to accept lower standards of living and losing freedom through the power of big data systems and AI and eco-social credit systems.  

So how can an individual not only survive but thrive through the ecological and climate emergency or more so survive the political impacts of the competing narratives of the ecological and climate emergency. Most importantly in the actual cluster fuck of all this how can an individual not only look after themselves and their network but also look after nature- which is likely to be the biggest victim in any global scale botched and bodged political circus of endless human dominance hierarchies and individuals all competing with each other to capitalise on the ecological and climate crisis.

I can't be bothered to write anymore now, I've bored myself too much so I'll do that in part 2 maybe sometime if I can be bothered. 

Happy Xmas! 

Thursday 22 December 2022

Corvo Birding on CNN

CNN have made this nice little documentary on Corvo birding. Features video of a few nice birds including the WP's first Prairie Warbler, short interviews with birders and local people and a bit of background to the whole phenomenon.  

Tuesday 20 December 2022

West Papua videos

 Keith has produced some videos of our West Papua trip. 

West Papua September 2022
 This film is from an expedition with Wise Birding Holidays to West Papua in September 2022.
Part 1 starts with a boat trip around Jakarta Bay, as we had a day on Java before flying to West Papua. It then covers the lowland forest of Nimbokrang and the start of our period in the Arfak Mountains.
These are the sites and order that the birds appear
 Jakarta Bay
Milky Stork
Javan Plover
Lesser Sand Plover
Pied Stilt
Sunda Coucal
White-breasted Waterhen
Great White Egret
Little Black Cormorant
White-bellied Sea-eagle
Christmas Island Frigatebird
Lesser Frigatebird
White-naped Tern
Great Crested Tern
Common Tern (ssp longipennis)
Small Blue Kingfisher
Grey Heron
Purple Heron
Journey from Jayapura to Nimbokrang
Lesser Black Coucal
A bug where the male protects their female
Grand Munia
Streak-headed Munia
Twelve-wired Bird-of-paradise
Pale-billed Sicklebill
Damselflies and Dragonflies
Black-browed triller
Long-tailed Honey-buzzard
Buff-faced Pygmy-parrot
Orange-bellied Fruit-dove
Red-cheeked Parrot female
Papuan Frogmouth
Channel-billed Cuckoo
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Magnificent Riflebird
Lesser Bird-of-paradise
Meyer's Friarbird
Golden Monarch
Blyth's Hornbill
Marbled Frogmouth
Arfak Mountains
Magnificent Bird-of-paradise
Arfak Honeyeater
Black-breasted Boatbill
Vogelkop Melidectes
Mountain Owlet-nightjar
Black-billed Cuckoo-dove
Part 2 continues our time in the Arfak Mountains, including the hike up to German Camp, then continues to the lowland forest at Malagufuk.
Arfak Mountains
Black Sicklebill female
Vogelkop Lophorina
Western Parotia including an immature dancing
Feline Owlet-nightjar
Long-tailed Paradigalla
Regent Whistler female
Black-throated Robin
Song of Lesser Ground-robin
Yellow-billed Lorikeet
Modest Tiger-parrot
Papuan Flycatcher
Spectacled Longbill
Longhorn beetle
Rhinocerous beetle
Grey Thornbill
Mountain Peltops
Masked Bowerbird
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Spangled Drongo
Black Cicadabird female
Brown-breasted Gerygone
Pinon's Imperial-pigeon
Jumping spider
Black Lory
King Bird-of-paradise
Wompoo Fruit-dove
Yellow-billed Kingfisher
Freshwater Crab
Wallace's Owlet-nightjar
Pinon's Imperial-pigeon
Hook-billed Kingfisher
Emperor Fairywren
Golden Myna
Red-breasted Paradise-kingfisher
The final part of the film covers Waigeo Island and the ferry trip there and back.
Ferry to Waigeo
Red-necked Phalarope
Red-footed Booby
Moustached Treeswift
Lesser Frigatebird
Wilson's Bird-of-paradise
Papuan Pitta
Beach Kingfisher
Glossy-mantled Manucode
Western Crowned-pigeon
Palm Cockatoo
Fruit Bat
Red Bird-of-paradise
Dusky Megapode
Northern Fantail
Frilled Monarch
Olive-backed Sunbird
Puff-backed Honeyeater
Island Whistler
White-breasted Woodswallow
Lesser Frigatebird
Fruit Bats leaving their roost
Beach Kingfisher
jumping fish
Longfin Batfish
Yellow-faced Myna
Pacific Swallow
Tree Sparrow
Short-finned Pilot Whale

Sunday 18 December 2022

End of the Cold Spell

It's been down to minus 10 here at the Old Vic during the week with temperatures below freezing for several days. Surprisingly not that much impact on the birds (as far as I know not that much in the way of vis mig i.e just the odd Golden Plover at Beddington). Perhaps as it's December (relatively early for hard weather movements) and also due to the surprising lack of wind,  birds overall seem to have either gone over high (its been clear skies) or held their ground somewhat.  

A couple of small groups of Lapwing and an increase in the approachability of winter thrushes was all I noticed in the garden.

Lapwings going over the garden
Fieldfare (above) and Redwings (below) 

The chickens not only survived the conditions but carried on laying eggs (literally frozen ones!). For a breed whose wild ancestor is a lowland tropical forest species from Asia (Red Jungle Fowl) they are incredibly adaptable. 
The mini-farm in December 
New mini-zoo project. I did the spreadsheet this weekend on the number of species we now have in totally closed/ controlled environments. Between the Paludarium (Jacob's bedroom rainforest), the Tropical Aquarium and the Gecko tank we now have 56 species. The target was to get 100 'pet' species. As things are getting crowded already we need to create a new nano ecosystem so this weekend we bought a nano marine coral reef tank and will populate this was corals and tropical marine animals over the next few months. There is quite a lot to creating marine environments so it should be a fun journey. After setting it up this weekend we now have to wait for up to one month to get the water chemistry right. 
A couple of scenic shots from a visit to Beddington Farmlands in the week. Good to see some of the Beddington gang there. 
Billionaires Henry and George/KKR/Viridor/Valencia are currently applying for permission from the Environment Agency to burn more waste in the incinerator. Sutton Council have written a letter of opposition (as have local community groups). Personally I can't see how anything can be challenged from KKR without immense public pressure and direct action (its the only sound that reaches the board of a global corporation who then might say a sentence or two about it to it's billionaire owners who might have some kind of ethical/value consideration on the matter) so presumably any solo challenges from Sutton Council or local community groups are just puppy barks in the abyss.  The EA are presumably constrained by technical details and criteria which if met over-ride any opinions (especially by low level local governors)  so the whole thing simply will presumably just be another demonstration of  the illusion of non-confrontational democracy e.g. the only thing that can get nurses and public sector workers a pay rise is the threat or use of strikes (disruption) and even then despite all the strikes going on at the moment it's unlikely they will still get what they want (but without the strikes they won't get anything at all). A monster can only be out-monstered, out smarted or over run by numbers- when predators are involved the negotiation table and collaborative democracy  is the butchers table for those predatory entities.  The timing of this planning application ahead of another application that will be submitted in early 2023 (related to the restoration and involving immense cost savings) could be more than just coincidence. A token win here by the EA/Council could be used to tee up a false sense of power in the larger win for Henry and George later? Who knows? What is for certain is the predatory billionaires will win without a full community united defence- which has for now completely disappeared from the game. 

Thursday 15 December 2022

The Year in Pictures, 2022

A very pleasant and memorable year with highlights including trips to West Papua and Azerbaijan and also visiting projects in Bulgaria and the Azores. Most of the time was working at the Old Vicarage, including expanding the mini-zoo and the moth trapping effort and also working in London. 

As always thanks to everyone in our network, all the people working at Little Oak Tree and Garden Care, friends and partners in projects and family and friends for making it another great year (out here on the outer rim of society lol ) 
Siskins and Blackcap were regular garden birds in January at the Old Vic

David published this article in British Birds which we contributed too

Highlight of a winter trip to the Azores was finally seeing a Belted Kingfisher in the WP

We also published the 2018 local report in February HERE
Caspian Tit. One of the year's highlights was a trip to Azerbaijan in search of 'Omid', the last Siberian Crane in the Western Palearctic. Unfortunately we missed Omid who decided to migrate after we left but the trip nonetheless was a great success. 
Little Bustards in Az- symbolic of Azerbaijan
Darryl found these Trumpeter Finches while I was standing next to him (he has a habit of that). A bit of an Az rarity. 
Finally caught up with Siberian Buff-bellied Pipit  in Az (Photo by Vince)
Goitered Gazelles in Az
Marbled Polecat in Az- was top of wish list for WP mammals so well pleased with this (Photo by Vince)

Bullfinch in the garden in an otherwise fairly quite March
Lead-coloured Drab at the Old Vic was the first moth lifer of the year

Reddish Whipsnake in Bulgaria (Late April/early May)
Blotched Snake, Bulgaria
Eastern Tree Frog, Bulgaria
Pied Wheatear, Bulgaria
White-tailed Lapwing- a Bulgarian mega 
Icterine Warbler, Bulgaria
Little Gulls (above) and White Pelicans (below) migrating, Bulgaria

This Schmidt's Quaker was an extremely good find in the project site moth trap (apparently, see here)
April at the mini-farm-planted up and ready to spring into life
A big success in 2022 was purchasing a buy to let property in Hackbridge, part of investment plan towards saving up for our private nature reserve hopefully by 2027 (when Jacob finishes primary school) 

Crops appearing at the mini-farm
Great Prominent was the highlight of the month's moth trapping
Twitched this Early Spider Orchid at Howell Hill in Surrey- an orchid lifer
Our biggest addition to the mini-zoo was this Paludarium which we planted up in May
Gone but not forgotten, via Thee Bryans project we produced a video to help get the right people in the local community at Beddington Farmlands elected into councillor positions which was a successful campaign See here, We are currently making large scale preparations to help out in the 2023 Beddington Farmlands campaign- the final showdown there.  

The Old Vic in June
Breeding Coal Tits (above) and Spotted Flycatchers was one of the breeding highlights
We moved up a gear in the mini-farm with out first home grown chickens (above and below) 

Small Black Arches was moth of the month at the Old Vic 
A few away days mothing (mainly at Steve's at Little Woodcote) produced a few lifers including Grey Arches 
First year trying the pheromone technique brought in most of the targeted species to the garden- the first one we recorded was Red-belted (above) 

Highlight of a trip to the project in Bulgaria was stumbling across a huge Rose-coloured Starling breeding colony (above and below) 

Juvenile Lesser Grey Shrike, Bulgaria
Did a bit of herping while in Bulgaria, Meadow Lizard (above) and Balkan Spadefoot (below)

Also did a bit of mothing. This moth The Adulatrix was a highlight. 
Dylan and Anton helped out with doing some conservation work at the project site
Back at the Old Vic, the mini-farm was peaking
The chicks grew so quick we had to extend the coop, and later extend it again 
We expanded some of the wildlife borders in the garden
Meanwhile back indoors in the mini-zoo the Paludarium planting was establishing well
Plenty of moths in July, this Raspberry Clearwing was only the 6th for the county 
A couple of visits to the troubled Beddington Farmlands produce a new butterfly site tick for me thanks to Zach Pannifer- a Brown Hairstreak
More away days in July in the campervan 

The first big harvests at the mini-farm
It was time to introduce the fish into the Paludarium 
Some really good garden mothing in August produced Pearly Underwing (above), Cream-bordered Green Pea(below) and Bordered Straw (below that) 

A nights moth trapping at Lee and Rachel's new private woodland in August was a highlight of the moth trapping year- hope to do more visits there in future

Twelve-wired Bird-of-Paradise (above) and Red Bird-of-Paradise (below)- seeing BOPs was not only a highlight for the year but a life time highlight too 

Mountain Owlet-Nightjar- got to be one of the 'best' birds in the world 
Black-billed Sicklebill, one of the less easy to score BOPs on the West Papua tour. 
Channel-billed Cuckoo- a contender for bird of the trip, watching this flying reptile like creature felt like being a time traveller
Blue Tiger, West Papua. Unfortunately didn't get a cracking shot of a Bird-wing Butterfly but arguably seeing Bird-wings (the ultimate butterflies) is just as impressive as BOPs
Over 90% of West Papua's forest are pristine (and largely inaccessible)
Back at the Old Vic, autumn moth migrant highlight included our first Convolvolus Hawkmoth (above) and Loxosteges Sticticalis (below)

The Beet moth invasion of 2022 reached the Old Vic too 

Pedro and the Portuguese Rarity Committee  knocked out this report by September HERE

Another October birding in the UK- a trip to Portland in late October produced a few specialities including Pallas's Warbler
A good October day in North Kent produced a nice hand of Poms (above) and Arctic Skuas and also a Sooty Shearwater (a Thames Estuary lifer)
This juvenile Red-footed Falcon at Elmley was a cool bird
Once again it was the moths that stole the show this autumn for me with Egyptian Bolloworm (above) and Crimson Speckled (below) at Portland 

Back at the Old Vic- this Cliftden Nonpariel appeared in October (only one or two this year)
One of the most exciting news items of October was our first egg- they were only chicks in June and paying their own way at 5 months old 
The Paludarium was ready by October for this female Panther Chameleon 

A trip to Bulgaria produced this Bulgarian mega- a Desert Wheatear, the 3rd for Bulgaria 
It was a big small mammal year in Bulgaria with hundreds of raptors, Marsh Harrier above with prey
Vagrant China-mark- a first for Bucks! Despite plenty of good moths and migrants through the autumn it was nice to finally score a county mega. 
This Oak Rustic was another highlight at the Old Vic. 
Laszlo our Light Sussex cockerel by November- shocking how fast these birds mature

Spent most of December in a parade of markets and fairs and entering the year's data into various recording schemes and digitising past notebooks. Isaac had his first birthday.