Evening viewers !!
If the saying 'Less Is More' is true then I have absolutely loads to report today :-)
So here we go ..
Edderthorpe Flash had a greenshank, 2 green sandpipers, 2 oystercatchers and 4 little ringed plovers ..
Old Moor had bullfinches, chaffinches, greenfinches, goldfinches, tree sparrows, reed buntings, great tits, blue tits and a great spotted woodpecker in the Bird Garden ..
On the Mere were 2 avocets still trying to catch their wayward chick, 2 Mediterranean gulls and 2 black-necked grebes .. 2 !! what happened to our growing collection !!
Thats it ... All done !!
Short and sweet ..
A bit like me !!
Night chaps ..
Today I have a call to arms and want to ask for your help.
Our countryside matters! It is full of special places and special wildlife. I grew up in rural Rutland, the son of a gamekeeper and with a godfather who still farms on the edge of the village where I grew up. The sound of Lapwings and yellowhammers was a backdrop to my childhood and corn bunting was relatively easy to find in the fields between home and my secondary school.
But not any more. Corn Buntings were gone by the early 1990's and I can't remember the last time I saw or heard a Lapwing near my parents house. And the sad fact is that these birds have gone from many areas because of modern intensive farming practices.
The RSPB often gets accused of being anti-farming or 'farmer bashing' and on the face of it, the above statement might sound like just that. But it isn't. We don't blame the farmers. Many are fantastic stewards of the land they farm. The problem lies not with them, but with the system within which they farm. If you are a farmer, wanting to make a living, you follow the system you are locked in to.
And that system pays for production whether it is needed or not, favours large scale farms and leaves little room for wildlife. It is run by Europe and is called the Common Agricultural Policy or CAP. And the RSPB has campaigned for years to get it changed to pay more for protecting the land and helping the wildlife that depends on it. We even bought a farm in Cambridgeshire to research ways to farm profitably whilst still helping Wildlife. The results have been dramatic and mean that we are not just campaigning for change, we are campaigning for change backed up by well researched solutions.
And there are elements of the farming support system that do pay farmers to help wildlife - in England administered by Natural England. There are two tiers of stewardship that farmers can enter into - entry and higher levels. Under both, a plan is made of the farm or land holding and you get paid to maintain or enhance the good bits. And in some cases, one off payments are made for additional specific improvements or habitat creation. The agreements last for 10 years and our evidence clearly shows that where land has been put into stewardship, birds like Lapwings have benefited.
So surely we need more stewardship, more money to help farmers grow crops and raise livestock profitably, whilst still helping wildlife? It's a no brainer. So an email this morning from Martin Harper, our new head of Conservation, telling staff that funding for wildlife-friendly farming could be scrapped
as part of the upcoming European Budget is a huge worry.
Such a change would remove a lifeline for some of our most threatened birds - Corn Buntings and Turtle Doves might both disappear from the UK completely without the help of stewardship agreements. We need more stewardship agreements, scrapping them would be madness!
So - here is the bit where you come in. You all pay taxes to Europe. You all have a right to a say in this decision. You can all play a part.
proposal is being considered by the President of the European
Commission, José Manuel Barroso, as he finalises his plans for the EU
Budget - expected to be announced on 29 June.
So please call on President Barroso to save this vital lifeline for wildlife! We have made it as easy as possible. Just follow this link and send him an email.
Take part in our quick and easy online action to send President Barroso an email.
And don't stop there. Why not pass this message on to as many people as you can... Email, facebook, twitter, placard, megaphone, banner..... whichever way you fancy.
And it will make a difference. Especially to those Corn Buntings
Hello chaps and chapesses !
Young Bertram at your service once more ..
Here is today's news from Old Moor and Edderthorpe ..
Old Moor first ..
The Bird Garden had plenty to see .. Greenfinches, goldfinches, chaffinches, bullfinches, tree sparrows, great tits, blue tits, reed buntings, woodpigeons and if you are lucky you may see Roland poking his head out of the orange drainpipe !!
The Mere still has the avocets in hot pursuit of their chick, the 3 black-necked grebes are still there and the 2 'Med' gulls are still also present ..
Wath Ings had 4 redshanks and there was a kestrel and a common tern reported from the Bittern Hide ..
The barn owl was also seen at the back of the reedbeds ...
Edderthorpe Flash had 8 ringed plovers, 2 little ringed plovers, 12 redshanks, 6 shelducks, a cuckoo and 2 green woodpeckers ..
That's all for tonight folks !!
Have a nice evening everyone ..
Hello readers ..
One down .. 3 and a half to go !! ..
Not too much in the Sacred Diary today but here is what was reported ..
There were tree sparrows seen in the Bird Garden and a water rail was reported from the Bittern Hide ..
The 3 black-necked grebes (they really should get washed) are still on the Mere along with the 2 Mediterranean gulls ..
While you are sitting in the Mere hide it will pay to take a close look at the artificial sand martin bank ... There are some 'wee faces' beginning to peek out of some of the holes !
My first one was the second hole from the left on the top row ..
Sand martin chicks !!
Have a good evening evryone ...
Bert xx Still with a 'B' ...
Our wonderful volunteer gardener, Margaret, has been joined by a new volunteer who you may have seen today in the garden areas at Old Moor. Cathy works from home in Sheffield and was dying to be released into the fresh air....
I've asked Cathy to keep us posted with what she's doing, so if you're not in a the same time as her, you can still have some pointers on how to keep your garden tidy, and excellent for wildlife at the same time. So, here we go...
On Thursday, Cathy cleared our herb garden of weeds. Jolly good. I know you can eat dandelions and stuff but I'd rather stick to peppermint in my tea! She also planted some rosemary and lemon balm, favoured by bees (and me!) Cathy understands the importance of colour and form in the garden, purely for pleasure, so she planted some petunias and marigolds - mmmm! Philip the pheasant kept an eye on her so I wasn't worried that she was lonely.
Today, Cathy grappled with some fairly hefty undergrowth, and demonstrated her patented technique for tackling nettles and brambles - snip the top first then tackle the base. She only got stung 25 times.... (note: we do like nettles, so we're keeping some, but we can add value for butterflies in other areas by planting up a rich aray of other things to compliment our nettle patches). We will be shopping for some nice bedding plants next week.
I asked Cathy what she noticed while she was outside. She said that on both days she had been passed by schoolchildren on their way out onto the reserve, and today one litle lad exclaimed how he loves it when the teachers bring him here because there is so much to see - aw bless!
So if you see Cathy or Margaret around, do stop for a chat. They're doing great stuff, prettifying the reserve and adding to it's biodiversity.