Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Birds of Lancashire (and North Merseyside)

As these things usually go - it's late! It was due to be out now, but it will eventually be published in Feb 2008. What is out now is the pre-publication offer. The RRP is £40 but, if ordered before 1st Feb 2008 it will be £30 + £1.50 p&p.
It will be 196mm x 264mm, 460 pages (>300,000 words), with 311 original photos, 105 original line drawings, 133 graphs tables and figures and 106 maps. The book gives a detailed account of all 348 native and naturalised species recorded in Lancs and Nth Merseyside up to the end of 2005.
Orders can be made on-line at: www.wildlifebooks.com or by phone at 0870 010 9700. The print run is restricted to 1000 so be sure to order early if you want to get this reference work - the modern Avifauna of Lancashire since Oakes in 1953 (and Mitchell in 1885, 1892).

RAPTOR

Regional Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Owls and Raptors

In Budapest, May 2003, the VI World Working Group on Birds of Prey and Owls (WWGBP) adopted a resolution that urged the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) to consider establishing a multi-lateral agreement on the conservation of migratory raptors in the African-Eurasian region. The CMS, Nairobi 2005, called for action to tackle the threats faced by these birds via Recommendation 8.12 and Resolution 8.5.

To this end the Governments of the United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates are co-leading an initiative to explore the development of a new agreement to help conserve migratory birds of prey and owls in the Africa-Eurasian region. Over 50% of raptor species have poor conservation status or are in short or long-term declines, and currently there is no international cooperative framework dedicated to the conservation of (these) migratory birds of prey.

The initiative – a meeting to be held in Loch Lomond, Scotland, from 22-25 October 2007 - will discover the level of interest in Range-State governments for a new cooperative agreement; to be drawn up under the auspices of CMS. If interest is sufficiently strong, the UK and UAE Governments will work with CMS and the interested Range States to develop and conclude the agreement.
See for further information:

http://www.cms.int/species/raptors/index.htm

http://www.jncc.gov.uk/page-4161

Geesepeace 2007

Advice on how to deal with problem numbers of Canada Geese is being shared at an international conference being held in Stratford-upon-Avon. Fifty delegates from around the world are sharing their experiences on how to humanely deal with the rising problem of Canada Geese - which are increasing at an alarming rate.

Stratford has managed to decrease its geese numbers from 700 to 100 within three years (and also do away with the half a ton of excrement deposited daily). Using egg dipping as a means of bird control, the discouragement of feeding by the public, and herding techniques using dogs should they start to wander from their designated areas, they have managed to control the problem as humanely as possible.

Their concluding advice will be made available to all other authorities who are experiencing problems with this species who, during the breeding season, can become very territorial and aggressive - even to humans.

Original article appeared on the BBC News website.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

NW Bird Fair

Was at the Bird Fair this weekend. Thanks to all of you who came and said hello: it helped to pass the time - for the change of date made it a reasonably quiet affair. (Saturday was only made busy by all the twitchers who came to see the Great Grey Shrike). Thanks too to all of you who signed up to take on a tetrad for the Atlas - makes my job easier.
On Sunday managed to get out and about in the grounds. I resisted the urge to see the beavers but did go and get close up to the Long-Tailed Ducks. Also witnessed the colour-ringed Ruff, as did those in the hide next to me - wonder how many of us bothered to report it? I did although I didn't with the darvic'd NeNe (much better name than Hawaii Goose).
For those of you that didn't manage to make the weekend one thing I should tell you about - the pre-publication offer on the Birds of Lancashire (£30 instead of £40). I'll post details later - all the stuff is still in the boot of the car.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Another Millenium Dome?

So, another self-appointed government quango has come up with a plan to save the world - or at least generate 5% of our total electricity requirements. A, probably, multi-billion pound project that will double its budget (no-doubt) has been proposed by way of the Severn-barrage. If it's going to cost billions and will only then generate 5% of our needs how many decades will be required before it is actually working to a profit?
The commission has stated that any proposal must address 'strict' environmental restrictions as part of the planning process. A joke, if the government decides its will be good for the country i.e. their next term in office, it will be built whatever the cost economically and environmentally.
The environmental backlash to this, I hope, will be large but, I'm not a luddite and I see that the whole economic /environmental balance has to be one from both sides. So, accepting that something needs to be done I hope the commission will strongly consider tidal lagoons as a means of reaching a compromise. A lagoon is a smaller barraged area with turbines being driven on tidal movement that will still generate electricity without preventing tidal flow to the whole estuary.
Beware the Mersey or the Dee may be included in next phase of barrage building.

Good news x2

ISRAELI jets were scrambled on two nights last week after radar tracking stations mistook clouds of migrating birds for enemy aircraft. Radar operators feared the dark images on screen were an attack by Syrian forces, with whom Israel is technically still at war. The birds, flying in tight formation in their tens of thousands and fleeing the harsh Siberian winter, almost caused a major international incident. It was only when the F-16 fighters had “eyeball” contact with the fast-moving shapes over the Syrian border that the suspicious dots were correctly identified. One world war averted then?!
Last night, ornithologists (what, not twitchers?) said the vast flocks of birds were thrushes, finches and other northern forest birds, heading to Britain, southern Europe and the Middle East to escape dwindling food supplies and the biting cold in Russia and Scandinavia. Which means, hurrah, loads of birds over here for the winter.