About 1870, ravens became extinct in Limburg. Recently, they started nesting there again.
This is a crocus flower photo from today, at the cemetery.
Great tits. Jays. Magpies. Wood pigeons.
A great spotted woodpecker on a big tree.
A brimstone butterfly flies around.
A young greenfinch in a tree.
Blue wood squill flowers on a grave.
This video from Ireland says about itself:
A video on the carnivorous plants that can be found at the IPCC headquarters, the Bog of Allen Nature Centre, Lullymore, Rathangan, Co. Kildare. Visit the centre to experience our greenhouse full of venus flytraps, pitcher plants, sundew, butterwort and cobra lillies.
Our uplands: a burning desire for action
7 March 2014 6:23 AM
I live and work in the flatlands of Eastern England but I love walking in the hills. I have walked large stretches of the long distance footpaths of England, and in recent years, I have been lucky to go and see some of the work that we do in the uplands – working with others such as United Utilities to restore fabulous places like Dove Stone in the Peak District and with our tenant farmer at Geltsdale in the North Pennines. For me, alongside the inspiration that comes from being in wild places, it has always been the wildlife associated with the spongy wonders of peat bogs that hold me in thrall. Getting up close and personal with Sphagnum mosses and carnivorous sundews should not be limited to those that visit botanic gardens.
The walkers amongst you will know that our peatlands are not in great condition. You can see for yourself the scale and extent of damage to peatlands from afforestation, drainage, overgrazing and burning. This was documented by the Adaptation Sub-Committee last year (see Figure 4.5 here). And, as I wrote in my first blog of the year (here), just 10.5% of the 162,000 ha of blanket bog designated as SSSI are in favourable condition in England.
In the late 1990s, the RSPB with many others successfully campaigned to end the extraction of peat from lowland raised bog SSSIs and to get trees off the internationally important bogs in the Flow Country. Today, we should be applying the same urgency to restore internationally important peatlands in the hills. This would not only help wildlife, but also fulfil our legal obligations to restore these sites whilst safeguarding nature’s free services that well-managed peatlands provide – such as locking up carbon, providing clear drinking water, and keeping water for longer on the hill to prevent downstream flooding.
But restoration will not happen if we keep burning our peatlands. In May 2013, Natural England completed its review of evidence of the impact of upland management practices including burning (see here). In short, they concluded that burning vegetation on deep peat soils is preventing the recovery of the habitat and the species our protected sites are intended to look after. For those communities, like those at Hebden Bridge, living in the foothills of intensively managed moors there are more pressing reasons why they cry “Ban the Burn“.
Today, we reveal the scale of burning on our internationally protected peatlands (see here). There are at least 127 separate historic agreements or consents allowing burning of blanket bog on sites internationally important for birds and deep peatland habitats. Defra has confirmed that all of these consents take place on grouse moors where burning is designed to provide optimum conditions for red grouse. We have compiled this information following our investigation into the management agreement that was struck between Natural England and Walshaw Moor Estate in 2012 (which I first aired here).
We have decided to put this information into the public domain for three reasons…
…first, we are encouraging Natural England to act on their evidence review and produce guidelines which bring an end to burning on our protected upland peatlands
…second, any public money that flows up the hill to support land management in the hills (especially finite agri-environment money) must be made to work harder for wildlife and protect nature’s free services. Future agri-environment agreements which allow burning on deep peat would be a waste of tax-payers’ money
…third, we want to invite all landowners to end burning on deep peat and contribute to a national campaign for peatland restoration
We have also, this week, contacted Natural England for an update on any restoration that has taken place at Walshaw since the management agreement was struck in 2012. I think it is in all our interests, especially those taxpayers that walk through Walshaw Moor on the Pennine Way, to find out what progress has been made to block drains and improve the habitat on this internationally protected site.
If you would like to find out more about the detail of the Walshaw case and the wider concerns about burning on peatlands, please do visit our dedicated web pages here.
And do let me know what you think about the continued burning on peatland protected sites.
It would be great to hear your views.
A comment on this blog post, by ‘redkite’, says:
Absolutely right Martin. For too long owners of big tracks of uplands, especially grouse moors have had things too much their way. It is high time our upland peatlands are no longer subjected to burning, plantation forestry and other detrimental management just for the sake of a few more grouse to shoot.The value to the general public, yes in money terms, because of the ability of these peatlands to absorb large amounts of rain water, to provide much better quality drinking water and to “lock up” vast amounts of carbon, all free of charge, must, far, far out weigh the value of a few extra grouse for the shooters.
When in good condition, peatlands are also, of course, marvellous havens for wildlife including hen harriers when they are not illegally shot out the sky. Sound and sensible economics now needs to be applied to our uplands on behalf of everyone, and not for a few parties with particular interests, and to let nature heal the damage done. The general public and nature has been taken for “a bit of a ride” for a long time now and this now needs to be stopped.
Burning heather on a rotation of 7-20 years is part of the industrialisation of the upland landscape of parts of the UK. The main reason for doing it is to produce totally unnaturally high densities of Red Grouse which can then be shot in autumn for sport. It’s a quaint, particularly British, tradition: here.
This video from the USA is called Birds of New York, Central Park.
From the New York City Rare Bird Alert in the USA:
Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, March 7th 2014 at 7pm. The highlights of today’s tape are PINK-FOOTED GOOSE, ROSS’S GOOSE, BARNACLE GOOSE, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, CACKLING GOOSE, TUNDRA SWAN, BARROW’S GOLDENEYE, Eurasian form of GREEN-WINGED TEAL, THICK-BILLED MURRE, NORTHERN SHRIKE and more plus a petition needing your signature.
A nice collection of geese on eastern Long Island last weekend included two PINK-FOOTEDS seen together in a large Canada flock spread over fields east of Roanoke Avenue and north of Reeves Avenue near the Buffalo Farm north of Riverhead. The presence of two PINK-FOOTEDS had been suspected earlier but was confirmed on Saturday and those gathering at these fields were also treated to single ROSS’S and GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE as well as a couple of CACKLING GEESE.
As more and more fields opened up during the week in that area the goose flocks became more spread out and the PINK-FOOTEDS and ROSS’S both eluded searchers from Monday on. One of the PINK-FOOTEDS though was again on Merritt’s Pond in Riverhead today. Also on Saturday a BARNACLE GOOSE was found in fields off Daniel’s Lane in Sagaponack where it was joined by two GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE these were not reported after Saturday. Continuing with the waterfowl, HARLEQUIN DUCKS were around the Jones Beach West End jetty today, a female KING EIDER was in Fire Island inlet Wednesday across from Robert Moses State Park field 2, the drake BARROW’S GOLDENEYE was still present Thursday morning at the south end of Lake Montauk spotted in the southwest corner of the lake best viewed from South Lake Drive and two TUNDRA SWANS continue on Hook Pond in East Hampton. A drake COMMON TEAL, the Eurasian sub-species of GREEN-WINGED TEAL (at least considered so in our country), was uncovered among American GREEN-WINGEDS Saturday at Brookville Park in Queens this north of 147th Avenue and west of Brookville Boulevard. The EURASIAN WIGEON was still around Coney Island Creek last weekend.
A THICK-BILLED MURRE found on a boat and released in New York Bay on Wednesday was presumably the one noted from Veteran’s Memorial Pier in Bay Ridge Brooklyn that afternoon.
The NORTHERN SHRIKE at Jones Beach West End was still present this week seen west of the swale off the West End 2 parking lot.
SNOWY OWLS also continue at selected locations with 5 noted at Jones Beach West End on Wednesday.
A good number of RED-NECKED GREBES remain in the area with 9 counted in Brooklyn Wednesday and 4 in Hempstead Harbor off Port Washington last Sunday these among 8 noted in that area.
Single SHORT-EARED OWLS were at [Staley] Beach in Bayville last Sunday and Floyd Bennett Field on Saturday.
RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS continue at Green-wood Cemetery and Dyker Beach Park in Brooklyn and Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx where 3 were noted last Sunday.
In Central Park the 2 BALTIMORE ORIOLES and a PINE WARBLER remain in the Ramble near the feeders and other park visitors have included WOOD DUCK, AMERICAN WOODCOCK and RUSTY BLACKBIRD.
If you have not yet signed a petition on the Internet to restore the West Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge to its pre Sandy condition please do so. This will help. A link to the petition is as follows. We do appreciate your involvement.
To phone in reports on Long Island, call Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126, but during the day except Sunday call Tom Burke at (212) 372-1483.
This video from England says about itself:
21 August 2013
From Wildlife Extra:
Lost cuckoo makes dramatic reappearance
March 2014: One of the migrating cuckoos being tracked by the British Trust for Ornithology on its migration to and from sub-Saharan Africa has been located after a three-month silence. Tor, the cuckoo that was fitted with its tracking device in Dartmoor National Park last May had ‘gone dark’ and was feared dead.
Tor’s satellite signal, that transmits for 10 hours every couple of days to reveal the location of the bird and, occasionally, its body heat measurement, was last received on 4 December, at which time he was on the Gabon/Congo border. It is not unknown for the transmitters’ batteries to degrade or for the birds to be under dense cover for extended periods which prevents the devices’ solar panels from charging them up, but usually there is only a period of a week or two before they spring into life again.
In this case, Tor stayed under the radar for an unprecedented amount of time until he resurfaced in early March in the Central African Republic.
The BTO has been satellite-tracking cuckoos on their migration since 2011 in order to find out their important stop-over sites and wintering destinations to and from Africa and so discover why we have lost more than half of our breeding cuckoos in the past 25 years. Last spring 15 cuckoos were tagged, most of which are now on their way back to the UK. Information from the project will help to form conservation strategies and initiate action.
To find out more about the project and follow the progress of this year’s cuckoos as they return to the UK, visit here.
You can also sponsor a cuckoo and help finance the research here.
Thids is a black-tailed godwit video from England.
Yesterday, 7 March 2014, again to the “Baillon’s crake reserve”.
Two great cormorants resting on the windmill’s sails.
In the next canal, a tufted duck group. A male teal. A coot. Mallards.
In the southern lake, a great crested grebe.
In the northern lake, on the island, a lesser black-backed gull. Scores of northern lapwings.
Two shelducks and scores of shovelers swimming.
From Wildlife Extra:
World’s highest hummingbird feeding place bought
March 2014: At 5,704 metres the purchase of Hacienda Antisanilla on the west slope of the Antisana Volcano in Ecuador is a crucial step in the restoration of high altitude habitats in the Andes and maintaining a valuable food source for the Chimborazo Hillstar (Oreotrochilus chimborazo), the highest living of all hummingbirds.
Also known as the Ecuadorian hillstar, its diet includes the orange flowered chuquiragua, which thrives at high altitudes and is found growing on under-grazed land at the newly purchased site, Antisanilla.
Antisanilla was acquired by Fundación Jocotoco (FJ), one of World Land Trust’s (WLT) four conservation partners in Ecuador, and together with the adjacent Hacienda Sunfuhuaico, which was purchased by FJ in 2011, the two properties cover nearly 12,500 acres (5,000 hectares) of high Andean páramo.
This area has been heavily grazed by cattle for a very long time, and much of the land is now entirely dominated by stipa grass. However, some patches of stony ground that have been less grazed by cattle retain a much richer flora. With a variety of small trees, shrubs and flowers, these areas are likely to resemble the region’s original vegetation.
“Antisanilla, and the adjacent Sunfuhuaico will be an exciting challenge for restoration of the páramo to its original diversity of grasses, flowers, and shrubs,” said Nigel Simpson, Trustee of both FJ and WLT. “Some 5 to 10 per cent of the property is high diversity habitat, which will provide the raw material for a long term restoration programme in conjunction with a change of grazing practices, including eventually the reintroduction of previously native camelids.”
This video says about itself:
Black Crowned Night Herons – Nycticorax nycticorax
REGUA Brazil, September 2011. Juvenile bird followed by adults. A couple of Snowy Egrets as well.
From the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center in the USA, with map there:
Posted by Leah Culp and Amy Scarpignato on March 4, 2014
Every spring, approximately 100 breeding pairs of black-crowned night-herons arrive at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. The herons have been nesting here since before the zoo was established in 1889, yet we still do not know where they spend the winter.
Last August, the Smithsonian’s Migratory Bird Center and the Bird House began a pilot study to unravel this mystery. Three adult herons from the rookery were fitted with satellite transmitters. The satellite transmitters emit signals for 2 hours, daily during migratory periods and every other day the remaining months.
Signals from the transmitters are picked up by satellites passing overhead and relayed to processing centers where the data is collected and processed to provide coordinates of the bird’s location.
Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether the current locations of these birds are temporary stops or final destinations. One thing is certain, we know more now than we did last summer!
JoGayle (in green) left the breeding site on August 13 but remained in the D.C. area, near the Georgetown waterfront. Unfortunately, as of December 22, for unknown reasons, the transmitter stopped receiving locations.
Russ (in red) left the breeding site on September 22. Over the next 6 days, it made its way to Charlotte County, FL, a distance of 1400 km. It remained there since December 30, after which it travelled another 150 km to the Dade-Collier Training and Transition Airport. This transmitter also stopped receiving locations as of January 14, 2014.
Clive (in blue) left the breeding site on August 15 but remained in the D.C. area for another two months. On October 16 it started to move: first going to the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay and staying for about three weeks, then heading south on November 6. It has been in northern Florida, 20 km southwest of Jacksonville, FL since November 20. For unknown reasons, this transmitter also stopped receiving locations as of December 22.