Saturday, 10 December 2016

The End of Times



When all the arguments have been won
and the policies out number the suns
when all the energy has gone
then it will rise and this will end



When the birds and bees have been confined
to the wastelands the slopes and the heights
waiting patiently to re-colonise
then it will rise and this will end




When everybody's had their time of fame
and my friends are on the TV again
when celebrities outnumber all men 
then it will rise and this will end




When the billionaires have been cut to size
Except for a few of them that continue to rise
In a tower that grows higher in the sky



With all the world's wealth locked up inside
and an empty wasteland left outside


with the sick and the lost climbing the walls outside

and the sparks of love waiting to ignite

then it will rise and it will begin............................





Thursday, 8 December 2016

Around the Obs

Been playing with the trail camera on the feeders and also been baiting up an area for night camera trapping (still working out how to use the camera and messed up a load of pics last night but by the looks of it, it was very busy with what looks like small mammal action, foxes, cats and also some flying shapes). Will sort out the settings on the camera in the hope of finding out more.

Very quiet on the moth trapping front- just the odd Winter Moth and Feathered Thorn.

Got some more office equipment for the Obs office too as getting busier at work and making plans of creating a new work cell next year (will see). Certainly need to re-assess where to focus effort. Seems a waste of time putting any more effort into the community work and the Farmlands as without genuine commitment by Viridor, more interest from the locals, the conservation NGOs or support from the local authority/politicians its a very sad (also corrupt and deeply concerning situation) waste of effort. Also still no sign of any significant national socio-environmental counter movement agaisnt the rise of nationalist/capitalists threat. Certainly can't beat them locally without wider support and it gets to the point where no choice but to move forward in only directions possible. 

 Thinking on focusing more again on increasing our influence in the exclusive private area and also looking into a long term plan of land acquisition and private nature reserve development (already made some progress with this in Bulgaria but would really like to do something here). So will tweak a few things and prioritise differently but will certainly make sure things are still ticking over in the right direction round here where we can. We've got the community fund projects to apply for- will see if successful there and also still one or two campaigning options up the sleeve. 



Above (Camera trap results) 
 New kit for the Obs Office 
Winter Moth

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Acid Grassland Restoration at Mitcham Common

Currently working on an acid grassland restoration project on Mitcham Common. In contrast to the works that are going on in Beddington Park we are sensitively selectively felling areas of dense scrub to allow natural regeneration of the acid grassland which has declined due to scrub encroachment. Due to access and storage restrictions excess brush is being incinerated and all cord wood being processed.









Monday, 5 December 2016

Alfred Smee- turning in his grave? Beddington Park works.

 I would like to know what Alfred Smee (MY GARDEN) would think of the current works in Beddington Park ?

 Before 
After
Large scale felling of the former Herony and island woodlands. All looks pretty brutal. Click on facebook symbol (top right) below for some discussion and comments.





The plan . Seems strange that none of the mature trees have been preserved on the island considering the islands are due to be extended and re-planted at the end. Like most things in the local area I suspect that  large contractor pressure through the procurement and planning process has resulted in insensitive felling and un-necessary re-stocking to maximise contract value at the expense of ecological and heritage preservation (usual story basically). I've been in this game a long time and perhaps it comes as a comfort to some people that the men running a lot of these large companies will be spending the money that they make on this brutal style of green space management by buying massive houses and kitting them out with outside Jacuzzi, indoor gyms . outdoor kitchens , swimming pools and sorting out the inside with marbled kitchens and bathrooms while funding women with expensive tastes and breeding spoilt horrible brats.. Nice to know that our natural heritage is being processed into such worthy creations :-/
Male Mandarin on the lake (a local rarity)

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Weekend in Oxfordshire

Had the 20 week baby scan on Friday. Looks like Holly and I will be living between Oxford and London so I spent this weekend checking out the birding sites in the area to find a new local patch. Went to Farmoor Reservoir, a re-visit to Otmoor RSPB, a drive through Burnwood Forest (Muntjacs and Roe Deer), did a bit more on the Old Vicarage bioblitz and also explored the village. In the past I've checked out Ashton Rowant nature reserve on the Chilterns and there's still a few other hotspots in the area to check out.

Otmoor this morning was fantastic. Had Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Red Kites, Peregrine, Common Buzzards, Kestrel and thousands of winter thrushes. There was also Bittern, Short-eared Owl and White-fronted Geese that I didn't see. The drive through the countryside in this area is full of birds- certainly looks like the ravages of intensification have passed over this area. Flocks of Lapwings, Grey Partridge in the fields, thousands of winter Thrushes coming off the Hawthorn hedges, literally flocks of Red Kite, murmurating Starlings and we frequently see Roe Deer and Muntjacs in the fields. 

Hopefully living between Oxfordshire and here will be the perfect antidote to the challenges at Beddington Farmlands. 

 Grey Partridge 
 Redwings and Fieldfares- must have been at least 2000 this morning at and the on the way to Otmoor

 Fieldfare 
 Marsh Harrier over Otmoor 
 Some random guy let me try his 800 mm Sigma lens. Got this Reed Bunting. Been contemplating about upgrading my photography equipment. 

 Some fungi at the Old Vicarage to identify
 Farmoor Reservoir
 The Old Vicarage in winter 

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Meanwhile..........


......as the world descends into the abyss some people are just getting on making everything okay. Here's our local nature conservation volunteer group. 

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Barn Owls

Tomos and I collected some Barn Owl pellets to see what they've been eating. With three young raised there are clearly healthy local rodent populations. Here's some provisional ids on the skulls found in the pellets using this link: Owl Pellets- The Barn Owl Trust



 Brown Rat (approx. 2.5cm) 
 Field Vole (approx 1,5-2cm) 
Common Shrew (approx 1.5 cm)