Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The 0.0174069% of Earth we call home is glorious.

I think this is a good thing – even though it’s an American at the wheel!

Bill Bryson, takes over today as president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England. I have extracted from part of his acceptance speech the bit I find most poignant:

“To me, the mathematics of the British landscape are wonderfully simple and compelling. Britain has about 60 million acres of land and about 60 million people. That's one acre for each of us. Every time you give up 10 acres of greenfield site to build a superstore, in effect 10 people lose their acres. To enjoy the countryside they must go and use other people's acres. By developing countryside you force more and more people to share less and less space. Trying to limit the growth of development in the countryside isn't nimbyism, it's common sense.”

He has three main aims in office: stamp out fly-tipping, bury all overhead power cables, and plant more trees.

It will be interesting to monitor how he gets on.


Saturday, July 07, 2007

A new image

For those of you that have received The Ringers Bulletin (usually only ringers) or Bird Table (Garden Birdwatch) you'll have realised that BTO publications are undergoing a revamp. Today I have just received, hot off the Press, (being on Council does have a few perks) the restyled BTO News. You should all be receiving this in the next few days or so. With the wonders of technology I share the cover with you, what is inside, and whether you think it's an improvement you can tell me in due course. Also, any suggestions on how it could be made better would be appreciated.

Friday, July 06, 2007

In colour...

We knew it already - it's been the wettest June since, oh, before Noah was a lad. Well here it is in glorious technicolour - as if proof were needed. Not only will residents of Sheffield and Hull be counting the cost but so will all the ground-nesting birds who have had breeding attempts washed out, or young washed away. Conversations with wardens and others have included words like disaster, total failure and horrendous. We'll have to wait for the final outcome with figures, reports and counts but it's not looking good.

Monday, July 02, 2007


After last weekend's creditable 440 pulli ringed, with a very low mortality rate, it was going to be an interesting visit this Sunday (to the third island) given the tremendous wet weather we have had over the last couple of days. Even before we set off we had to wait for an annoying shower to pass over. So, with seven in the boat, we rowed over to the island. Forty-five minutes later, on our way back, we calculated 154 ringed, and (no typo error) 154 dead. A 50% mortality rate for that island and, given the low mortality for the previous week, we can only assume that the wet weather was instrumental in causing death. The next visit is for two weeks time when we'll see how the weather has affected the other islands in that time.

The picture shows one chick of about 2-3 days old (surviving the weather well) and a second only just hatched.