Below is a different view from somewhere on the reserve at Hodbarrow. Any ideas? John has cleared the vegetation away from the wall here and it provides a very nice place to have a rest. I was surrounded by butterflies and the sun was shining.
Well I have been a little quiet on the blogging front lately. However Chris has been writting some really informative pieces which I'm sure you will agreed have made interesting reading.
Whilst working on the reserve this morning clearing some of the paths of vegetation I realised how quiet the scrub land is at Hodbarrow now the smaller birds are getting ready to move on. Having said that a large flock of our local Greylag Geese made an apperance over head and soon changed that.
Sightings - There seems to be a large number of redshank and lapwing on the island infront of the hide, Common Terns have moved from the near by ski bank to have an attempt at nesting on the reserve and several have scrapes although time will tell if this is a little late to produce any young. I have seen a juvenile Common on the islands. Little Tern are still seen regularly, often concentrating on the far shore of the main island. Whilst watching the terns I was alerted by the recognisable alarm call of the Common Tern to a Sparrowhawk moving through. Perhaps its the one seen regularly throughtout Millom and Haverigg having a go in people's gardens?
Finally I wanted to show a picture (a bit out of focus) of some of the blackberries on the reserve. Last year was rubbish for Blackberries however this year looks to be a bumper crop. Some are ripe now and I'm sure the birds won't mind a few missing as I have to say they might be too tempting!
.....wild flowers abound!
Walking round the reserve, I set myself a task. I would find a small area and see how many different wild flowers I could find. I chose a small, grassy clearing between gorse bushes and looked around. The beautiful orchids on our reserve are now over, or nearly so, but there is still an abundance of lovely flowers everywhere. Not counting the obvious ones such as bramble, dandelion and white clover, I found and photographed eleven other species in about five minutes. Once back at home I had to get out my flower books to name some of them - no easy talk when one flower was about 3mm across!
Clockwise from top left: smooth hawksbeard, wild thyme, a bee on common restharrow, fairy flax
Clockwise from top left: tormentil, common centaury, perforate St.John's-wort, rosebay willowherb
Clockwise from top left: eyebright, self-heal, common bird's-foot trefoil
So - a successful task and I learned a lot as well!
Further Delays to Safeguarding Sealife
Guest blogger: Clare Reed, RSPB Marine Conservation Officer (North West)
You may remember at the beginning of this year I asked you to write to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to ask that they designate a network of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) as soon as possible in order to protect England’s threatened marine wildlife and habitats.
Defra received over 40,000 responses between December and March 2013 during their public consultation on MCZs in English and Welsh offshore waters, including from the RSPB and other wildlife organizations that were keen to ensure that sites important for wildlife are designated asap. We also know that many RSPB supporters also responded – thank you for your help and support!
On Tuesday this week the UK Government published a summary of the responses to this consultation along with a statement to Parliament from Fisheries Minister, Richard Benyon.
Unfortunately the publications do not make encouraging reading!
Disappointingly, it has confirmed that the 31 sites being considered won’t be designated until sometime after September and there was no information on next steps for additional protected sites (for instance, the 96 that remain of the 127 recommended MCZs). Not the urgency or clarity that we were calling for following our joint-NGO hand-in to 10 Downing Street of over 350,000 pledges calling for urgent designation of MCZs and a commitment to a timetable for further sites.
Even more depressing is the news that MCZs for “mobile species” such as dolphins and basking sharks are still being rejected with an emphasis being put on protection via “sectoral measures” (such as fisheries management and protected species licensing). This is despite a report that clarified that protected sites do benefit mobile species in those places and times of the year when they congregate (e.g. key feeding, breeding and nursery grounds).
Specifically in the case of seabirds, MCZs are not going to be considered for nationally important populations of seabirds until all the sites of international importance (i.e. Special Protection Areas under the EU Birds Directive) have been identified and designated. There is no timescale mentioned for this and we feel this is both a poor excuse and a poor use of resources – the identification of sites of both national and international importance for seabirds would be much more efficient if done in parallel!
It looks as if we have a long road ahead of us before seabirds and other sealife get the protection they so badly need in English waters. Hopefully the forthcoming consultation on Marine Protected Areas in Scottish seas will be a better example of how governments should protect marine wildlife. Thank you again for your continued support.