tag: conservation

Oh, to be a ground nester...

...now that spring is here... Well Spring has happened and the silaging has started, just as the ground nesting bird's chicks are hatching out. The meadows are full of Curlew, Lapwing, Pheasant and Partridge chicks amongst others and a week ago I saw my first young Pheasant flying.

There are still a few meadows around here cut later in the year for hay and DEFRA's basic Countryside Stewardship scheme prevents cutting of these grasslands between 1 April and 31 May to give these birds a chance, but silaging has a huge effect on these species.

However, that is not the only problem of course. There was a hell of a racket going on yesterday, with Curlews manfully trying to defend their chicks against marauding Crows. The Crows (probably 6 or so) were lined-up in a hawthorn hedge taking Curlew chicks out in the meadow. It seemed a well co-ordinated affair with one end of the line launching an attack, the parents defending there and immediately the other end of the line swooped in. It must have continued for at least 10 minutes, I watched from about 100m for a while then moved on, but the commotion was still going on as I moved out of earshot.

Last year the hawthorn blossom was very pink, seems very fresh and white this season. The same bush (with less blossom) for reference!



Saw the Kingfishers again yesterday, well to be more accurate they started to chee me loudly when I got close to their stretch of the river.

As I haven't seen them for a while, I'm guessing they do move further downstream or out towards the coast in winter, although it hasn't been that hard this year. With the changing climate, they may well be a species that benefits from a warmer winter, especially on the Scottish rivers.

I see that Britain is still behind on it's Kyoto targets, with the increase in coal electricity generation and in the Northern Hemisphere, January has been the warmest since records began more than 125 years ago. But are the two directly linked? The great debate rages on. With the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report last month finding global climate change to be "very likely" or at least 90% certain that human emissions of greenhouse gases rather than natural variations are warming the planet's surface, this latest bit of data does not point the finger directly at us humans, but at a moderate El NiƱo feeding the global trend.

There is still the occassional (and now regarded as controversial) theory about, that suggests our recent climate change has been caused by natural influences and not us, by comparing data from Mars missions. Could there be something in this? There are undeniable natural trends to our planets weather, but you get the feeling pumping out do many greenhouse gasses aint going to help the situation one bit.


Snow and Saiga

It's been blowing blizzards through all day here, following on from the wet of recent days, not good for the newly born lambs that are popping out now. On a nearby relation's farm, they've had quintuplets.

The site is pretty well up and running again, now all written using TextPattern but it actually started out as an uberdose Wordress theme called Zero. I just found it easier to create the extra pages and features needed in TxP.

Anyway, enough of that. I heard about another new animal today that is on the verge of extinction, the Saiga. Yes, I know there are probably literally millions of species that I haven't heard of (and some even that nobody knows of) that are on the verge of extinction, but this little fella is actually a reasonable size, big enough to eat in fact, and that's been half his problem.

Apparently there had been protection of little known species by the old USSR, but since it's collapse this protection ended and the combined ills of poverty and demand for Saiga horn in traditional Chinese medicine, has led to the state it finds itself in now having suffered a 96% crash in it's population.

Not the prettiest of creatures you may say, reminds me of some alien types from films (I'm sure they get their inspiration from nature, I know H.R. Gieger does) with this specially adapted flexible nose to filter dust in summer and warm air in winter. However, just because it doesn't have the high profile pull of Lion or Elephant, is not to say that it doesn't have an important part to lay within it's ecosystem and contribution to the wealth of the natural world.

Many creatures are in danger of slipping though the net and away from us altogether and that's why I support the FFI - where I heard about the Saiga - as they champion equally unglamorous or obscure species in accordance with the Convention on Biological Diversity. I think he deserves a bit of help.