Monday, 29 November 2021

Severe weather events do have a benefit!

The climate emergency is increasingly being characterised by severe weather events but maybe this isn't the worst? 

BBC News - Storm Arwen: Customers set to spend third night at Britain's highest pub

Stuck in the pub 😀

Dozens of customers at Britain's highest pub, the Tan Hill Inn situated at 1732 feet in the Yorkshire Dales, have been trapped by heavy snowfall.


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Stay safe, stay well, stay strong, stay connected with nature

Saturday, 27 November 2021

I have just had some coffee delivered

This is not particularly noteworthy in itself but over the last year or so I have been buying solely Bird & Wild ground and instant coffee.


Bird & Wild coffee has impeccable environmental and ethical credentials and it is the top-rated coffee brand by Ethical Consumer.

Bird & Wild coffee is the UK's leading shade-grown and bird-friendly certified coffee, as well as being Fairtrade and organic certified. The environment, wildlife and local communities and economies are all positively supported and sustained by this means of coffee production. 

In addition, Bird & Wild donates 6% of sales to the RSPB thereby protecting wildlife at home and abroad with every purchase.

And if all that wasn't enough to recommend it, it is exceptionally good coffee to drink.

What's not to like?

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Stay safe, stay well, stay strong, stay connected with nature

Birdfair – the end of an era

The Birdfair, an annual event held every August since 1989 at Rutland Water nature reserve, has come to an end.

For over 30 years, Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, supported by staff, volunteers and members, has run Birdfair, the foremost and internationally-renowned birdwatching, wildlife and conservation event. During this time, it has raised more than £5 million for overseas projects run via Birdlife International, the largest international Partnership for nature conservation.

After careful consideration of a number of key factors, Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust has taken the difficult decision to stop running Birdfair. One of the primary reasons is concerns over the climate emergency given the impact of Birdfair in attracting visitors and exhibitors from around the world.

Leicestershire and Rutland WildlifeTrust regret to announce that they will no longer run the annual Rutland WaterBirdfair

I attended the 3-day Birdfair on many occasions over the years, the last time being in August 2019 since the Covid-19 pandemic forced cancellation in 2020 and 2021. It was always a thoroughly enjoyable event with the opportunity to listen to a large number of interesting campaigners, speakers and authors (Chris Packham, Iolo Williams, Gordon Buchanan, Steve Backshall, Mark Avery, Bill Oddie, Simon King, Mark Carwardine, Roy Dennis plus so many others) as well as browse all the credit card busting offers in the exhibitor marquees and catch up with friends and acquaintances from my UK and European trips

It is very disappointing that Birdfair is no more but, on balance, I think that the right decision has been made. Whether a virtual online Birdfair is organised, as in the last 2 years, remains to be seen.

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Stay safe, stay well, stay strong, stay connected with nature

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Visit to St. Nicholas Church and surrounding areas – 25th November 2021

Date: 25th November 2021

Time: from 8:15 a.m.

Weather: dry, sunny, moderate wind, 3°C to 4°C

It was a very similar morning to my last visit 4 days ago .... sunny and very cold given the significant wind chill. It is getting close to the point where the woolly hat and gloves come out of hibernation!

I had another good encounter with the Red Foxes this morning and I was able to take several photos.

Having accessed the site via the track from Larkins Tyres, I initially spent some time watching the field, scrub, hedges and trees at the north of the site. I didn’t have long to wait for a Red Fox to emerge from the hedge at the far side of the field and make its way slowly along the edge. It then disappeared in to the hedge again before re-emerging much further along and closer to me where it sat for several minutes.

On my way back home, I decided to take a look from the same location again. The same or possibly another Red Fox appeared suddenly over to the far right of the field. It continued to walk slowly in to the field before turning round and walking off out of sight.

I again recorded a low number of bird species (15) but there were some notable records.

As soon as I arrived on site by Larkins Tyres, I was alerted to calling Carrion Crows and looking up I saw 2 of these birds harassing and mobbing a Common Buzzard.

Whilst watching the Red Foxes, I saw a female Sparrowhawk slowly flying through in a north westerly direction. From the same location, I also heard a Goldcrest continually calling for around 10 minutes close by although unfortunately I failed to see it. This was my first Goldcrest record for the autumn/winter and large numbers of this tiny bird arrive in the UK from October. In addition from this location, I saw 3 small thrushes flying through very distantly which were probably Redwings.

As on my last visit, there was a group of very active and noisy Starlings in the scrub area and hedges behind Larkins Tyres and the number seems to have increased to around c.75. 

Finally, I saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker flying through the eastern section of the cemetery, beyond the church and out of sight. However, a few minutes later, I did see a Great Spotted Woodpecker perched at the top of a dead tree in the western section of the cemetery which I assume was the same bird.

Species recorded during this visit were as follows (heard only records in italics):

Blue Tit
Great Tit
Redwing (possible)
House Sparrow
Common Buzzard
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Carrion Crow
Herring Gull

Red Fox

Here are some photos from my visit:

Photo: Red Fox

Photo: Red Fox

Photo: Red Fox

Photo: Red Fox

Photo: Red Fox

Photo: Red Fox

Photo: Red Fox

Photo: Great Tit

Photo: Carrion Crow

Photo: Carrion Crow

Site totals to date (2021 totals in brackets):

Birds = 54  (43)
Mammals = 6  (5)
Butterflies = 21  (14)
Dragonflies and damselflies = 7  (2)
Reptiles = 1  (0)
Amphibians = 0  (0)

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Stay safe, stay well, stay strong, stay connected with nature

Climate emergency increases divorces

I have no idea if the climate emergency is increasing divorces amongst the human population, possibly so if there is a "believer" and a "denier" living in the same household!

However, scientific research in the Falkland Islands over a 15 year period has suggested that the climate emergency is leading to an increase in divorces amongst albatross couples which usually mate for life and live in very loyal and monogamous pairs.

Warmer oceans are resulting in albatrosses having to travel much further to find food leading to increased stress triggering relationship breakdowns.

The Guardian - Climate crisis pushes albatross "divorce" rates higher

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Increasing levels of wildlife crime during the Covid-19 pandemic

A new report published today by Wildlife and Countryside Link and Wales Environment Link has revealed a worrying increase of 35% to 90% in the reporting of wildlife crimes against Badgers, fish, birds of prey and marine mammals during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. 

During the same period, convictions on wildlife crime decreased by over 50%.

See here and here for more information.

Nature experts and conservationists are calling for several key actions to better tackle wildlife crime:

Make wildlife crimes recordable – A shortlist of wildlife offences (compiled by the National Wildlife Crime Unit) is being considered by the Home Office for notifiable status. This must be approved in 2022 to bridge the crippling wildlife crime data gap and help target resources effectively.

Ensure effective police and prosecutor action – Staff with expert training on wildlife crimes are critical to effectively building and prosecuting a case against these criminals. Also key is early coordination between the CPS and police on cases and ensuring prosecutors have adequate preparation time for cases. Ensuring police and CPS training and process reflects this is vital.

Produce sentencing guidelines – Unlike most other crimes, the Sentencing Council provides no sentencing guidelines for wildlife crimes. This must be rectified to ensure sentencing consistently reflects the seriousness of these crimes and acts as a deterrent to criminal activity.

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Stay safe, stay well, stay strong, stay connected with nature

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Scottish Government makes U-turn on Beaver shooting and now supports translocations

Following the successful judicial review by Trees for Life who challenged the shooting of Beavers, the Scottish Government has made a complete U-turn and has confirmed that it now supports translocation over lethal control.

Trees for Life - Breakthrough for Scotland’s Beavers a win for nature, climate and farmers

This is a massive and very welcome result for all those campaigners who have spent considerable time and effort to force the Scottish Government to change its policy.

Beavers are remarkable animals. These habitat-creating, biodiversity-boosting, flood-preventing eco-system engineers bring so many benefits to the environment, other wildlife and ourselves …. See SS15 wildlife watching: Beavers United? and SS15 wildlife watching: Beavers to make "cautious" return to England

Scottish Government announcement …. Protecting Scotland’s Beaver population - (

Now we just need the Westminster Government after so much time waiting and waiting to at last confirm the return of Beavers to England.

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Stay safe, stay well, stay strong, stay connected with nature

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

NHS to give therapy for depression before medication under new guidelines

According to the first new NHS guidelines in more than a decade, millions of people with mild depression in England should be offered therapy, exercise, mindfulness or meditation before anti-depressants.

Under draft guidance, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends the “menu of treatment options” be offered to patients by health professionals before medication is considered.

The Guardian - NHS to give therapy fordepression before medication under new guidelines

This sounds like a very positive development but unfortunately, amongst the "menu of treatment options", there appears to be no reference to the benefits provided by nature in improving both physical and mental health. 

SS15 wildlife watching: Can nature help with our physical and mental health?

💚🦆 🦉🦋🐝🦊🦡🌼 🌳💚
Stay safe, stay well, stay strong, stay connected with nature