Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Autumn Migrants

Spent this morning doing a census across the usual circuit. The highlight was a Coal Tit in the conifers near Bedzed, a Barn Owl and good numbers of common migrants. Here's a picture summary.

 Male Stonechat- two present. There were up to 10 mid-month.
 Male Reed Bunting- at least 8 along the east side of the lake. 
 About 50 Stock Dove also on the east side of the lake . Only about 20 Woodpigeons about at the moment but expecting the big autumn movements soon. 
 Snipe- only a few today. A week or two ago there were 14 Jack Snipe on site. I couldn't find any today. 
 Second-winter Yellow-legged Gull. Large numbers of gulls are now building. Probably 7-8,000 large gulls around, 100+ Black-headed Gulls, a few Lesser and Greater Black-backs and less than 10 Common Gulls.
 Male Pheasant- we often get Pheasants appearing this time of year- presumably local migrants
 20+ Goldfinch, 50+ Linnet, 10 Chaffinch and 5 Greenfinch today 
 Skylarks- a few flying around. 4-5 in total today.
 Plenty of migrant Blackbirds (20+), also 15+ Redwing , 20+ Robin and Dunnocks. Wrens are getting in the ruderal habitat now. 
 Jays are still collecting acorns- been at it since the beginning of the month 
 An influx of Pied Wagtails- about 15 around 
Red Kite from a couple of days ago, also had a cracking Barn Owl today that landed on a dead tree briefly before it noticed me and disappeared before I got a chance to get a photo. Also a Buzzard today. 

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

The Natural Eye 2016

Got invited today to the invite only prestigious The Natural Eye 2016 Awards Ceremony hosted by The Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA). The venue was the Mall Galleries, the driveway to her Majesty's at Buckingham Palace. The president of the SWLA described us all in the crowd as being anybody who is anybody in wildlife.

Blimey!!!, a sign of the desperate times in conservation to be inviting scrotes like me! I knew things were bad but not this bad. It's got me seriously worried :-) 

One of my favourite artists- Szabi (Szabolcs Kokay) 
 Some great pieces of work. My award goes to Chris Rose's Long-eared Owl and David Hunt's Away from the Rain. (The former was £10K and the later £2K- I bought a cup of coffee- outside from Starbucks and noshed up the free canapes and drinks inside- god bless you lords and ladies!)

 Hope came in the form of seeing mainstream celebrity Bill Bailey's posters all over the London Underground advertising his new book which hopefully is an attempt into breaking into the mass market for birding- mass mobilisation is exactly what we need, not blinking £10,000 paintings! :-) 
I did actually do something useful today- this morning Gillian and I did all the autumn work on the wildlife gardens in Bedzed, trimming them all up and making them look beautiful. Still hoping we get more takers to create more of these. Planning on launching a local campaign next year but because the locals are so tight or poor will probably need some subsidies/incentives. I might ask the SWLA?? 

Sunday, 23 October 2016



If you are interested in being a participant of the 2017 Azores pelagic please email

Itineraries will be similar to this years SEE HERE  but dates to be confirmed.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Back to the patch

 Still good numbers of wildfowl around 
 Juvenile Pintail- a local oddity 
Reasonable visible migration today: 150+ Redwing, 100+ Fieldfare, 10+ Chaffinch, 30+ Meadow Pipt, 10+ Skylark and 15 Lapwing, Glenn had a Lap Bunting go over, also 4 Stonechat about and the first couple of flocks of Woodpigeons 
The incinerator coming along nicely. Still no sign of the wet grassland habitat coming along - they said will start in September and then October. If they don't start by 31st October its back to Plan A- PLAN A

Friday, 21 October 2016



Better quality on I-Player

Thursday, 20 October 2016

The Alliance for Nature ?

Anyone involved in community projects will be very familiar with the frustrations expressed in this ironic visual (click on facebook symbol). 

Certainly a need in conservation to organise and avoid falling into collective chaos, to develop a national master plan, with clear objectives and an action plan and important that everybody realises the absolute essential need for a collective vision and the absolute need for a master plan and implementation plan. Organisation begins with a blueprint, a central code that replicates and the more that code reflects  a consensus the more accurate and effective it will be in spreading and challenging traditional financial dominated power. Without that respect for consensus and the understanding of the essential requirement for a clear vision and plan which can unleash collective movement, it is true there is nothing but nothingness and despair for the future for the people and nature movement. We need leaders and for people to respect that leadership but the leadership should be the blueprint, a collective vision with primary advocates distributing the code, the values of that blueprint. Literally a lot of people do not know their place and over-value their own personal opinions and perspectives, perspectives which alone are limited, narrow, a kind of blindness. Hopefully falling into despair will help them realise the need for social organisation, respect for the spectrum of perspectives and the need for alignment of those perspectives. Good leadership from primary advocates is a service, a type of slavery, often thankless and unreceived - its is nothing to covert! Collective movements without vision fizzle out, movement and structure need to align. Following instructions from managers following a good vision is a bloody good idea! Its following instructions from a bad vision is the problem and by de-fault going along with things is basically following instructions whether you like it or not. 

Another problem is heads of environmental organisations may be anything but good leaders and well be doing their best to preserve personal interests at the expense of a collective vision; their pay packets and pension schemes, hanging in there as longs as possible to guard their middle class estate and pay for the kids universities degrees and frightened to upset the funding streams they get from the capitalists VIRIDOR AND THE CONSERVATION ORGANISATIONS. However being capitalist lap dogs is not the solution to the crisis we are in.  Environmentalism and Capitalism in fundamental forms are eachother's nemesis. There is a need for balance of power. A need for genuine co-operation. Having treacherous elements within is not particularly useful. 

It is essential that the environmental/ecological collectives develop the same degree of organisation as the capitalists/industrialists/technocrats but the organisation of passionate and caring people that do not hunger for power for personal ego driven gain is something that although organises naturally  unfortunately does not organise easily. It takes time (all the great things do) but time is running out and there is a need to organise more quickly and also a need to understand the need for that organisation.

More on the Alliance HERE