I apologise. I give in. I didn't mean it. SORRY!
When I said there are no starling murmurations in London anymore in an interview about the Big Garden Birdwatch on BBC London, what I meant was that you don't see those huge, dense clouds of starlings that London once enjoyed. Yes. I know there are still starlings and some of them do swirl about like a dervish at a drum and bass party, but not in the same numbers as pictured here on the right.
I know there's a small colony of starlings about two streets away from my house, but I have never yet seen nor knowingly heard a starling in my garden. I love them, I wish had some.
If I'm wrong, please let me know, cause I'd love to be able to share it with more people. I remember watching a mini-display at Chichester Rail Station as I waited on the platform for my train home. You can see them over the pier in Brighton and at our Ham Wall reserrve as pictured above.
What's amazed me about the Big Garden Birdwatch [BGBW] is the decline of the blackbird. These territorial and quiet garden dwellers are slipping away and we'd not really noticed. They're another species that rely on insects for food, Surely we can't have degraded London so much that it's now now bug-free?
This is why we must not crumble to the temptation of a quick economic fix to escape the financial crisis. We must make sure investment in development and jobs comes with the environment at its core, whether it's CAP reform for farmers producing our food or proposals for airports in the Thames Estuary. Protecting the soil, plants, bugs, birds and other wildlife that form the natural world is crucial to our survival.
I've been heartened by one result from your BGBW reports. Generaly speaking in London, house sparrows appear to be on a level and maybe even a slight upwards incline after years of decline, It's far too early to celebrate. We can't say the species is saved yet. Sometime in mid-June we'll be asking for your help to count sparrows in London as part of a study updating research conducted ten years ago. 2012 could be the year we all saved the cockney sparrow.