Bird news from England

This video from Britain is called Separating Short-eared and Long-eared Owls.

A report on Twitter from Flamborough in England says that today, they saw a short-eared owl; 27 whooper swans flying south; and two snow buntings.

English sculpture commemorates World War I

This video is called World War I “Celebration” (GRRRR).

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Tuesday 7th October 2014

THE tragedy of World War I is being commemorated in the Pennine town of Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire.

A sand sculpture of a woman clutching a telegram informing her of her husband’s death has been created in a paved area outside Hebden Bridge town hall to mark 100 years since the senseless slaughter.

The sculpture is the work of Jamie Wardley, who will be reworking the sculpture twice over coming months.

In the first re-working, now complete, the woman became middle aged. Later she will be elderly to signify that although people learn to cope with loss, the hurt felt through tragedy is eternal.

The sculpture is modelled on a local woman called Hannah Greenwood. Her family name dates back centuries, but as is the case with many people, some of her extended family is also German.

The work was commissioned by Labour-run Hebden Royd Town Council.

See also here.

English bird news update

This video from Israel is called Masked Shrike – Lanius nubicus.

From Spurn Bird Observatory in Yorkshire, England:

27th September 2014 – Saturday

Migration/Sea-watch 06:30-12:00 14:30-15:45 16:30-18:30. F1-2 SW-W some cloud in the morning soon cleared to leave a bright and warm day.

The MASKED SHRIKE was again present in Well Field until mid-afternoon when it flew across the road and stayed in Middle Hedge for the rest of the day. If coming tomorrow please remember to park only in Well Field.

A juvenile Common Rosefinch was found in the Heligoland Trap at the Warren where it was trapped and ringed then later seen in Church Field. Other grounded migrants included 2 Rock Pipit, 1 Redstart, 7 Whinchat, 3 Stonechat, 5 Wheatear, 2 Song Thrush, 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat, 5 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler, 3 Goldcrest, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Brambling.

Again some passage included 350 Pink-footed Geese, 1 Wigeon, 24 Teal, 48 Common Scoter, 39 Red-throated Diver, 40 Gannet, 1 Shag, 3 Grey Heron in off, 4 Sparrowhawk, 1 Snipe, 91 Little Gull, 17 Sandwich Tern, 4 Common Tern, 4 auk sp., 1 Puffin, 48 Swallow, 800 Meadow Pipit, 4 Rock Pipit in off, 4 Grey Wagtail, 2 Jackdaw, 4 House Sparrow, 65 Tree Sparrow, 15 Chaffinch, 20 Greenfinch, 1 Siskin, 47 Linnet, 4 Reed bunting.

Other birds present included 2 Greylag Geese, 12 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 77 Wigeon, 12 Teal, 1 Common Scoter, 6 Little Egret, 1 Common Buzzard, 4 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 3 Water Rail, 1 Little Stint on Kilnsea Wetlands, 4 Ruff, 2 Jack Snipe on Canal Scrape, 5 Greenshank, 1 Common Sandpiper.

Making your own wildlife reserve

This video from Britain is called Building Communities – Little Ouse Headwaters Project. It says about itself:

Lying on the border between Norfolk and Suffolk, the Little Ouse Headwaters project has worked tirelessly to re-establish a continuous corridor of wildlife habitat along the headwaters of the Little Ouse River.

The project was awarded £44,993 in Biffa Award funding. They scooped the Rebuilding Biodiversity prize at the Biffa Awards 2011.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

How to set up a nature reserve

Ever dreamed of running your own wildlife reserve? Denso Marston nature reserve is run by the local community; here are tips and advice from the experts about how to do it yourself

Katherine Purvis, Lucy Palmer

Monday 22 September 2014 14.31 BST

15. Denso Marston Nature Reserve

Age: 21 years old

Location: Baildon, West Yorkshire

How many people involved?

Warden Steve Warrillow manages the reserve and has 14 volunteers, who all live locally. On average the reserve has 5,500 visitors a year.

What happens?

The nature reserve hosts a range of events and activities including pond-dipping, moth nights and wildflower exploring, as well as a variety of guided walks to listen to the dawn and evening chorus, and to watch out for bats. Spider Club takes place on the last Saturday of the month and there are 20 people involved: 10 children and 10 adults.

Does the group get funding?

Denso Marston Nature Reserve is partly funded through membership, which costs £6 annually per household. The Friends of Denso Marston Nature Reserve group helps to fund activities, and the local parish council has also chipped. …

What would they like to do next?

“We’ve been cultivating a space behind the education centre for the Spider Club for a while now, putting in raised beds for wildflowers, veggies and fruit,” says Steve. “The beds are all built out of recyclable waste from the Denso factory – I think the only thing we had to buy were the nails, and even those some of the volunteers brought in for us. We even had an old bath donated which we are turning into a pond.” In the future, the reserve would like to carry out more documentation of the various species that live there, especially birds, spiders and other bugs.

What can you do to help?

Visitors are always welcome at the nature reserve ­– the best time to visit is at the weekend. Contact Steve about Spider Club:

Can I set something like this up in my area?

The Wildlife Trusts manage 2,300 nature reserves across the UK, Isle of Man and Alderney. Find a nature reserve near you using the interactive map here. You can also see the Trusts’ range of wildlife-orientated events around the country here.

Anna Guthrie, WT spokeswoman, says: “If you have an area where you can make the most of the land’s potential for wildlife, consider creating a new nature reserve and adding a bit more to our national network of places for wildlife. Size doesn’t matter: whether you have a window box or an entire estate, the principles are the same. By providing food, water, shelter and a place to breed we can help wildlife to thrive.” Some tips:

· Look at how your land links to the wider network of wildlife corridors and important sites for wildlife in the landscape, and consider how your land could function to expand this network.

· Seek expert advice! Your local Wildlife Trust would be a good place to start.

· Survey your site really thoroughly before you do anything to find out what lives there already and how wildlife is already using the site.

· Decide on what species can realistically be attracted to the site and what species already there could have their populations enhanced – they might be common or rare species but important locally.

· Draw up a long-term plan which includes maintaining the site and monitoring it. You might create new areas of habitat, restore existing habitats or perhaps leave some areas wild and untouched.

· Then raise or find the money you need to implement your plan.

· Seek help from volunteers in your community if needed and put your plans for nature into action. Start to have fun!

The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust welcomes volunteers at its nine visitor centres, at its Steart site in Somerset, and its headquarters at Slimbridge, Gloucestershire. Click here to find a volunteering opportunity in your area; you can also check out this map from the Conservation Volunteers.

For inspiration seek out the Little Ouse Headwaters Project, which lies between Blo’ Norton in Norfolk and Thelnetham in Suffolk. Run entirely by volunteers, the project has transformed two agriculturally derelict sites over the past 10 years to provide a safer habitat for many rare and localised species. The project has also created 800 metres of new footpaths and a footbridge, allowing the community access to enjoy the site.

The Amateur Entomologists’ Society runs The Bug Club for children interested in insects and creepy crawlies. Members receive a magazine, merchandise and the opportunity to sign up for events and field trips.

The Freshwater Habitats Trust has a variety of resources and factsheets on different kinds of habitats, as well as a comprehensive toolkit for creating your own wildlife pond.

Carboniferous fossil discoveries in England

This video is called The Carboniferous Period.

From Wildlife Extra:

Yorkshire‘s hidden fossil haven reveals an exotic past

A derelict mining tip in Doncaster has given up its 310-million-year-old secrets after a host of new fossils – including some fossilised plants and creatures that may even be new to science – were found. One of the most exciting finds was that of a fossilised shark egg case, hinting at Yorkshire’s more exotic history.

Also among the fossils were some horseshoe crabs and previously unrecorded seed pods, all of which were found in preserved rocks that formed within the coal and shale deposits in what is one of the few fossil locations of its kind left in the UK.

The tip, located in Edlington, southwest of Doncaster, has been identified as being the only tip in the borough where fossils could still potentially be collected. All others in the area have been landscaped, or turned into parks, leaving any fossils that may be lying beneath inaccessible.

Palaeontologist Dean Lomax, a visiting scientist at the University of Manchester’s School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, described what the fossils indicate Yorkshire might have been like hundreds of millions of years ago: “The fossils unlock a window into a long distant past, buried deep beneath residents’ feet. They are proof that parts of Yorkshire were once a tropical water-logged forest, teeming with life that may have looked something similar to today’s Amazon delta, a mix of dense forest, lakes, swamps and lagoons.

“The shark egg case is particularly rare and significant, because it’s soft bodied and an unusual object to find fossilised. We hope that future organised collecting of the site may reveal further rare discoveries, such as dragonflies, beetles, spiders and further evidence of vertebrates. And who knows, maybe we will even find the actual shark.”

It is hoped that further fossil specimens unearthed at the site will continue to be found. Speaking from Doncaster Heritage Services, Peter Robinson said: “We hope this important discovery will encourage ex-miners from the borough to bring forward and donate fossil specimens from the now defunct collieries, which were collected whilst extracting coal from the pit face. We have heard many stories of some of the wonderful fossils that have been found.”

The fossils are being safely stored at Doncaster Museum and have been integrated into the museum’s fossil collection.

Flamborough, England, rare marsh warbler nest

This video is about a marsh warbler singing in Sweden.

From the Flamborough Bird Observatory in England:

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

The Observatory is pleased to announce that a pair of Marsh Warblers took up territory in late May. The pair stayed and eventually were seen carrying food and extracting faecal sacs from a presumed nesting spot. Eventually at least one juvenile was seen to have fledged, although it was strongly suspected that there were more.

The site was vulnerable to disturbance and unable to be monitored. In consultation with RSPB staff the decision was made to keep disturbance to a minimum.

Marsh warblers are really rare in Britain.

When I was at Bempton Cliffs, not far from Flamborough head, on 5 July 2011, I was surprised to see a relative of the marsh marbler there: a sedge warbler. A lot more common in England than marsh warblers, but still surprising to see it near coastal cliffs, not in a marsh.