New British hawfinch longevity record


This video from Britain is called Hawfinch at Sizergh Castle.

From the BTO Bird Ringing ‘Demog Blog’ in Britain:

10 July 2014

Hawfinch longevity on the up

The longevity record for a British ringed Hawfinch has stood for many decades at 6 years, 9 months and 4 days: not surprising really as so few had been ringed, and even fewer recaught or found.

BTO ringer Jerry Lewis spends most of April each year catching (and more importantly recatching) and colour-ringing birds at feeding sites in the Forest of Dean. In 2012, he caught three birds that he had previously been ringed six years earlier, and began to think that a new longevity record was perhaps in sight. He didn’t have to wait long, as soon after this he caught another two birds that had been ringed in 2005: NW21506 was the older of the two, at 6 years, 11 months and 24 days. Fast forward to 2013 and another two seven-year-olds were recorded, but photographed this time allowing their colour rings to be read. This gave an impressive selection of old birds, and a better indication of the actual age that Hawfinch can regularly reach.

However, in April this year, local birder Phil Mugridge photographed a bird with a red colour ring over a metal right on its left leg, a combination only used on 17 birds ringed in April 2006, so an even older bird at eight years.

LBR,M in April 2014

The next few years are likely to see further captures and sightings of birds originally ringed in 2005, 2006 or 2007, so no doubt the longevity record will continue to be pushed even higher.

Knitting against nuclear weapons


This video from Britain says about itself:

2 April 2013

Jaine Rose of Wool Against Weapons talks about plans to create a seven mile long knitted peace scarf to stretch between Atomic Weapons Establishment sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield, Berkshire, where UK nuclear weapons are made.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

ATOMIC WEAPONS: “Radical knitters” will gather in Leeds on Friday to contribute to a seven-mile long scarf for an anti-nuclear protest.

Campaigners across Britain are staging “knit-ins” to add sections of the scarf — organised by Wool Against Weapons — which will be unravelled between the nuclear weapons factories at Burghfield and Aldermaston in Berkshire on August 9, the anniversary of the 1945 nuclear attack on Nagasaki.

The Leeds event starts at 12pm outside City Art Gallery.

Birds in Slimbridge, England today


This video from England is called SlimbridgeWildfowl & Wetlands Trust.

From Twitter today:

South Lake- adult breeding plumage Mediterranean Gull, 2 pairs Common Tern, 6 Avocet, 2 Green Sandpiper, 48 Black-tailed Godwit, 68 Redshank.

English Merseyside sand lizards get help


This video is called Hundreds of rare [sand] lizards released in the UK.

From Wildlife Extra:

Rare Merseyside lizards get a helping hand with egg laying

North Merseyside Amphibian and Reptile Group (NMARG) is celebrating the successful creation of egg-laying sites especially for the Merseyside sand lizard, a unique form of this rare and strictly protected species which has very specific egg-laying requirements.

Volunteers from the Amphibian and Reptile Group network have been spearheading emergency habitat restoration for the sand lizard on the Sefton Coast over the winter months.

They have created over 150 sand patches among the dunes of the Sefton Coast for the animals.

Now they can report that initial indications are that the sand lizards have adopted these egg-laying sites.

At one location where the species had formerly been in decline, NMARG found 11 female lizards, many investigating the newly managed sand patches where they will soon lay eggs.

Mike Brown, Chairman of NMARG said: “This clearly shows that habitat and species monitoring, combined with targeted habitat management, can have positive results in a very short space of time.”

With funding from the British Herpetological Society and ARG UK, volunteers from several ARG groups linked forces with conservation professionals from The Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust and Sefton Council to remove vegetation shading the sand lizard habitat.

Monitoring of both site habitat condition and the species, carried out by NMARG, has allowed prioritisation of management activities, and the work goes on.

“In spite of the success of the habitat management work, there is a great deal more to do, especially tree and scrub removal and sand patch creation, to ensure the local sand lizard survives and increases in numbers,” said Brown.

For more information, and to find out how you can help, visit www.arc-trust.org.

Black-winged stilt chicks hatch in England for first time in decades


This video is called Nesting of Black-winged Stilt in Hong Kong Wetland Park.

From Wildlife Extra:

Black-winged stilt chicks hatch in southern England for first time in 27 years

The Mediterranean wading bird, the black-winged stilt, has hatched its first chicks safely on English soil for the first time in nearly 30 years.

Black-winged stilts are large black-and-white waders that are usually found in the Mediterranean, but it is thought that a dry spell in southern Spain brought the birds to southern Britain.

The last successful British breeding attempt by black-winged stilts was in Norfolk in 1987.

To protect the nest this year the RSPB organised a 24-hour watch with the help of a rota of volunteers.

“It’s very exciting that the chicks are beginning to hatch,” said RSPB Cliffe Pools warden Andy Daw. “We managed to protect the eggs, but there are still challenges ahead because the chicks will become more vulnerable to predation.

Cliffe Pools has 10 per cent of the UK’s saline lagoons, a very rare habitat which gives the black-winged stilts what they need to breed and raise chicks.

“In terms of people viewing the birds, at the moment they are on an island but the water is too deep for feeding so they will probably swim the chicks across so they can feed in shallower waters around the coastguard flats, which may make them a bit more difficult to see.”