Wake up. Celebrate
The wildlife we have
Before it is all
My first thoughts onto twitter on Friday morning.
Conservation and wildlife issues featured rarely in anyone’s manifesto. The democratic process in effect has supported the decline in Hen Harriers; the cull of Badgers; the impact of neonicotinoids; TTIP; HS2. I could go on but you may already be as affected by this as me.
Previously, I had begun to describe individual tetrads –Introducing tetrad b; X and Y birding. So in a tabloid style attention grabbing headline I thought I would just comment on some of this weeks birding.
It started really well with Eider found on the Tyne by @RossAhmed. It was a fascinating study on the number of crabs they could pull out and eat in a couple of hours floating and swimming between tetrad x and tetrad w – Eider down the Tyne.
Jesmond dene is too sanitised for my liking and in this year of urban birding I have much preferred the toughness in which most wildlife has to cope. The struggle of the trees in W as they create their own woodland without being grazed by deer is in contract to the large trees and more limited scrub layer of the Dene. On a showery windy day warblers still sang, but the joggers, dog walkers and pets in the corner are not compensated for by the small wildlife area. Outside the Dene T is dominated by suburbia. Some of the gardens aren’t just about ‘Pay and Display’ bedding plants and it is in these that House Sparrow’s hang on.
After my first visit in years, when the dog walkers and piles of dog messages made me question the whole idea of NZ26; remember this was on 3rd January, but this Tetrad has raced ahead in the number and variety of species. It has been helped in being one of the most diverse by way of habitats and also being close to home so is easy to get to. However, it now stands well clear on top of the league table with 73 species (67% of the 108 total). And this week has been a good one here adding 6 new species including 2 new for the year -Sand Martin and Reed Warbler. The second took two goes at. It was quite clearly an Acro ‘reed warbler’ when I heard it singing before work, but it would only sing for two seconds or so intermittently. As the reeds are so sparse here I could not rule out Sedge so had to go back, but found one at the East end and one at the West end with the drinkers. No, not the moths, but I guess an occupational hazard of birding on warm sunny evenings on Tyneside.
I am an optimist by birth and on today when there is little to be optimistic about I have finished listening to the Talking Naturally Podcast. If you have not heard of it before the premise was under the banner of conference calls Charlie Moores would talk to a number of prominent figures in birding and conservation movements about their work. These were inspired, opening the door on illegal hunting, marine conservation, there’s more to life than birds (literally) and the more humorous side of birding and twitching.
Well if you knew all this, these conversations have now been brought back by Rare Bird Alert. If you did not know about them RBA has a ‘new’ free product. I did worry that these would have been sanitised, but they pack the punch of an authentic voice of conservation. Treat yourself.