It is an undeniable fact that as a nation, or even across the globe, we are largely failing to look after the Natural World. With this in mind, here is a chance to engage in conversation about conservation. What do you believe to be the biggest reasons for the demise of many wildlife species*.
To kick things off, please would you be so kind to participate in a poll, as laid out below. Please vote for the options which you consider are the most relevant. You are allowed to supply multiple answers, should you wish. In turn, I will let you know my thoughts and will search for appropriate topics to comment on in the future of this blog.
Followers of this blog are aware my passion for Natural History “knows no bounds”, many other blogs, several of which are listed on My Favourite Blogssection, also share this overwhelming desire. However, since the inception of both naturestimeline and UKbirdingtimeline, my professional career has also evolved, as has my quest for knowledge on the State of Nature. See what I did there? Anyway, below I outline some of the changes you will notice as I intend to develop these pages.
Naturestimeline and UKbirdingtimeline will broadly stick to its original principles. However, I aim to make the place more engaging, scientific, informative and above all else, entertaining. As anyone who follows my Facebook page will know, I like to be kept “in the loop”, the place acts like a kind of newsfeed. So much so, that when it comes to the Natural World, I care, because you care!
Let’s bring impassioned debate on conservation and environmental issues to the table. Please interact and share your thoughts on how you would like to see the blog develop, it’s mine as much as it’s yours, the readers. What do you care about? Do you work in conservation? What kind of future do you think the UK’s and the wider world’s wildlife faces?
*I have no shortage of ideas myself, more about these in time. There is no hiding place, so Bee kind and we can bee in this together.
These are early figures covering 1 - 25 of April and not full month statistics, so are therefore very likely to change. Especially regarding ranking. Full month figures will not be available until provisionally Wednesday 2 May.
Figures for 1 - 25 April show the month so far has seen well above average rainfall across the UK, with 97 mm of rain recorded – this is 139% of the long-term monthly average (1971-2000).
No, you did not imagine it, it has been miserable for far too long so I haven't ventured out much. This is partly the reason for my lack of posts, alongside a busier working life. More news to come, honest!Tony Powell
*Should you decide to subscribe, please inform the recipients of my situation, as there is currently an offer in progress.
Some belated highlights of mine were further Brimstone Butterflies seen on the wing during the sunnier days. On the local downs, some gatherings of Northern Lapwings(Vanellus vanellus) hereby shown courtesy of Finn Holding’s thenaturephile. In addition,a couple of sightings of Grey Partridges(Perdix perdix) being very special as both of the aforementioned iconic bird species were frequenting potential breeding areas. Whilst undertaking my March WEBS survey, I also saw the amazing structure that is a Long-tailed Tit’s (Aegithalos caudatus) nest being built. You can see a typical Long-tailed Tit’s nest illustratedhere. Woodland Snowdropswhich were mentioned in a previous post of mine, are generally going over now but new plant and tree life is on its way. I will elaborate further on this, below.
As of 15th March, I observed my first Wood Anemones (Anemone_nemorosa) in flower. Intriguingly, the first instances of Wood Anemones were on this exact date last year.In 2010 they were a full two weeks later. The flowering Wood Anemones returns an average date of 14th March, based on a strong sample of 16 records. Of the trees, showing signs of springing to life on my countryside patrol were the Horse Chestnut(Aesculus_hippocastanum). One particular Horse Chestnut was in budburst and the more usual date for this to occur is the 21st March, based on 13 records. There have been reports of Ashes (Fraxinus), Oaks (Quercus) and other specimens of trees and shrubs being further forward than is normal for the time of year.Therefore, it does seem that many trees will unfortunately be budding earlier this year adding further stress to nature’s imbalance.
That is about all the news from me as the phenological year continues unabated.
The unseasonal autumn weather has left me feeling miserable, desperately waiting for some active weather and on top of that, I now have a cold. Looking back at autumn, here are the official UK statistics - UK has a warm autumn – Met Office
So, as we are now moving into meteorological winter, what is on the cards? Interestingly, the weather is cranking up a gear or two. During recent days, there have been several inches of snow in Scotland and on the northern hills. Next up, for tomorrow and in the forthcoming days, there will be a series of very active storms, see below for this very newsworthy story.
I’ve just been sent the latest wildlife headlines from around the world via the wonderful Wildlife Extra newsletter and one news item in particular, has caught my eye. See a fruitful year for more on this.
These trees are so valuable and I’ve heard it said that the UK possesses only 12% tree cover in terms of its overall land coverage so more needs to be done.
Well some conservation is taking place and the ideas coming from the Woodland Trust are really promising. Click on MoreTrees MoreGood for further information this positive news story.
Well that’s enough ranting from this environmentalist for one day.
In terms of my phenolgical tie-in, based on a small sample of 10 records, I return a mean of 31st October, for the first Autumn Air Frost. Who knows, what this might be telling us, in terms of the rest of Autumn and into the forthcoming Winter.
Defra have recently released the following news. If, like some, you are unaware of Defra, it stands for The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. They are a British Government department, whose main responsibility is looking after our precious environment. The current minister who represents them is my local MP, Richard Benyon. Being a keen naturalist and environmentalist, I am always keen to hear what he has to say. Below is a link to the latest Defra news release.
Well, just yesterday (9th October) a fair few Redwings and some Fieldfares had started to invade parts of the UK. These birds coming over from the more unusual direction of Germany and Belgium, due to suitable weather conditions both there and here. More tracking of the migrants can be undertaken via the Trektellen website.
Other news. Just the other day I read an enthralling post on hoslist, a forum to which I subscribe. The hos bit, signifying Hampshire Ornithological Society.
The post was from a chap called Michael. My fascination came from his account of raptors and their interactions with corvids. On many occasions, I, myself, have seen Kestrels, Red Kites, even Barn Owls, all coming under insistent bombardment from Magpies or Crows. However, as Michael suggests, if you take the viewpoint that the “nuisance” corvids are preventing the Birds of Prey (raptors) from hunting, then the prey on which they feed, are being spared from a near certain death. Apart from the aforementioned, certain raptors such as Kites, are on the whole, just wanton scavengers but there are some, such as Sparrowhawks or Goshawks who kill many individual bird species. However, if confirming Michael’s rather rose-tinted view (his words, not mine) then the episodes illustrated above, widely witnessed by us each and every day of every year, indicates yet another event of natural selection taking place.
I love life. I wish to fathom how and what it is, that makes our natural world tick. We need to understand it and cherish it. Amongst my many differing interests, I would include blogging, citizen science, ornithology, phenology, biodiversity, climate change processes and more. The list goes on.