This video is about cattle egrets following a tractor.
From the Rare Bird Network in Britain, on Twitter:
11:11 PM – 27 Oct 2014
This video is called Sand Martin Nest Building.
According to a Twitter message by the British Trust for Ornithology, David Norman from England ringed a sand martin in Cheshire. Mr Norman recaught the same bird 8 months later in Senegal in West Africa.
This is a grey-breasted parakeet video.
From Wildlife Extra:
Three of the rarest parrots in the world have hatched at Chester Zoo.
October 2013. It’s only the second time grey-breasted parakeets have ever been bred in a UK zoo – with both breeding successes being at Chester.
Just 250 birds left alive
As few as 250 grey-breasted parakeets, which are native to Ceará in northeast Brazil, are believed to remain in the wild. Habitat loss and the illegal pet trade are blamed for their devastating decline. However the new arrivals have given conservationists fresh hope in the fight to haul the species back from the brink.
“These little additions are very significant indeed,” said Andy Woolham, Chester Zoo’s team manager of parrots and penguins. “Chester is the only zoo that works with grey-breasted parakeets in the UK and we’re absolutely thrilled that we’ve been able to breed them, not least because there is real concern about the long-term future of the species in the wild.
“Just 13% of their original habitat now remains as it has been cut down to make way for coffee plantations. That, coupled with what is thought to be their main threat, the illegal trade in captured individuals, has resulted in a dramatic reduction in their numbers. Sadly, they really are being pushed towards the very edge of extinction. However these hatchings give us hope and the challenge now for us is to replicate our breeding successes; try and establish a safety net population of these birds and help make sure that the future of this wonderful species is safeguarded.”
The diminutive grey-breasted parakeet (Latin name Pyrrhura griseipectus), which is listed by Birdlife International as being critically endangered, grow to around 22cm tall and reach just 50g in weight.
Mr Woolham added: “When our chicks first hatched they were the size of 50 pence pieces. For the first 11 weeks they remained in their nest box where they were well looked after by their parents until they started feeding themselves, just as they would in the wild. But now we’ve finally been able to get a closer look at them.
“We’ve also been able to take a tail feather from each of the chicks, which will now be sent off for DNA sexing. It’s vitally important that we know their genders so that we can work out who to pair with who in the future. These birds are extremely important and hopefully both will one day go on to have chicks of their own.”
The chicks hatched just six weeks after a new purpose-built breeding facility for rare parrots was opened at the zoo. The zoo also supports a project which is working to protect the species in the wild.
The grey-breasted parakeet is considered the most critically endangered parakeet species in Brazil. Once regarded as a sub-species of the white eared parakeets (Pyrrhura leucotis) they were recently given full species status. The chicks hatched on July 22.
This video is called White-Faced Darter Mating.
From Wildlife Extra:
Rare dragonflies reintroduced into Cheshire
White-faced darter dragonfly back in Cheshire’s Delamere Forest
June 2013. One of the first stages of an ambitious five-year plan to reintroduce one of the UK’s rarest dragonflies back into the region – after a decade of absence – has been successfully completed.
The white-faced darter dragonfly was last seen in the wild in Cheshire over the pools of Delamere Forest in 2003. The Cheshire Wildlife Trust project team has now announced that in recent days they have seen adult white-faced darters flying, and recorded evidence of a number of other individuals emerging from the water in a specially selected pool where they were translocated earlier in the summer.
The return of the dragonflies comes after several years of dedicated work to reinstate and improve lost habitats in partnership with the Forestry Commission, Cheshire West & Chester Council and a meticulous translocation process and carefully planned reintroduction. Such a scheme has only been attempted twice before in the UK, again with white-faced darters in Cumbria and with the southern damselfly in Devon.
It’s hoped the combined approach of creating suitable areas for the dragonflies to survive in pools within the forest, coupled with annual translocations and careful monitoring will see a self-sustaining population of white-faced darters back in the region within ten years.
The species is thought to have disappeared from the Delamere area following changes to the delicate water quality and levels of the pools they bred in during the late 1990s, but they would have been a common sight in the meres and mosses landscape of the North West in centuries gone by.
The project follows the successful reintroduction of the species in Cumbria, where Cheshire Wildlife Trust staff have been observing the techniques needed to achieve the ground-breaking move.
“We’re extremely excited after months of preparation to see this iconic dragonfly species back where it belongs”, said Dr. Vicky Nall who has been heavily involved in the extensive research behind the project.
“Our first challenge was to collect the amazingly colourful ‘highlighter pen’ green larvae – just a few millimetres long – from sites where Natural England has generously allowed us access at Fenn’s & Whixall and Chartley mosses, both National Nature Reserves.
“The work done by partners including the Forestry Commission meant that we were confident in making the translocation now, safe in the knowledge that the habitat is as good as it can be to receive the dragonflies.”
Once the dragonflies begin to emerge, researchers will monitor their numbers through tracking flying adults and also by counting the empty larval cases the dragonflies leave behind on vegetation emerging from the water.
See also here.
Pictures of damselflies and dragonflies: here.
From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
Undercover film reveals abuse at horse abattoir
Sunday 20 January 2013
Two slaughtermen have had their licences withdrawn after being identified in shocking undercover footage showing appalling animal welfare conditions at a horse abattoir.
The film recorded during an eight-week investigation by the Hillside Animal Sanctuary group also showed horses crammed into slaughter pens in pairs before being illegally stunned together.
Under the Welfare of Animals Regulations 1995, horses should not be slaughtered in sight of one another because of the distress it causes.
The FSA withdrew the licences of the two men after viewing the footage, which means they cannot continue to slaughter animals, and is considering prosecuting.
See also here.
From Wildlife Extra:
Red squirrel sighted in Cheshire for the first time since 1980s
Has a Lancashire squirrel gone wandering?
December 2012. A red squirrel has been sighted in Cheshire for the first time since 1980s. Cheshire Wildlife Trust has described the sighting of a wild red squirrel in a Daresbury garden between Runcorn and Warrington as ‘extremely exciting’.
The rare mammal, which is mostly confined to Scotland and small populations scattered elsewhere across the UK, was last seen in the Cheshire region during the 1980s. The sighting was confirmed by members of the Warrington Conservation Forum and Cheshire Mammal Group, after a video was captured of the furry visitor making the most of local bird feeders.
A captive population of red squirrels is kept at Walton Gardens, but the nearest wild population is on the Sefton Coast, Lancashire. This group of red squirrels suffered a devastating recent drop in numbers after the squirrels succumbed to an infection of pox.
Expert Paul Hill of the local Mammal Group said that it was typical for young squirrels to explore beyond their usual territories during the autumn and winter, however the footage appeared to show an adult which was particularly interesting.
Special nut feeders
A team has now installed specialised nut feeders in the area which allow red squirrels to feed, but exclude the larger grey squirrel. Motion detection cameras will also be inspected over the coming weeks to see if the red squirrels return and to determine if there may be more than one.
Tom Marshall from Cheshire Wildlife Trust said: “This is a fantastic good news story and we really hope this visiting red squirrel is not alone. Our colleagues at Lancashire Wildlife Trust have worked hard on the recovery of red squirrels on the Sefton Coast, and to know that the squirrels are potentially exploring beyond this territory could be amazing for the Cheshire region.”
Red squirrels are continuing to suffer from the intrusion of their larger, non-native American cousins into their historical haunts in northern Britain. Bolder and more aggressive, grey squirrels are also able to exploit many nuts earlier in the season, reducing supplies for red squirrels.
Recent conservation strategies have included culling the non-native greys across a ‘firewall’ in parts of Scotland and northern England to try and minimise the northern spread in efforts to safeguard remaining populations of red squirrels.
If you think you have seen a red squirrel please try and capture a photograph or video to aid identification and share it via the Facebook pages of Cheshire Wildlife Trust or Warrington Conservation Forum. You can also e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
This video from Britain is called Project to Vaccinate Badger – One Show 22 Aug 2011.
From Wildlife Extra:
12 badgers vaccinated
October 2012. Cheshire Wildlife Trust has described its first badger bovine tuberculosis (bTB) vaccination deployment as ‘extremely successful’ after a two-day programme was undertaken at its Bickley Hall Farm headquarters.
A total of 19 badgers were captured in ‘live traps’ across two separate dawn sessions, with 12 badgers vaccinated with the BCG vaccine and the remaining 7 badgers recorded as ‘re-captures’ on the second morning.
The five-year vaccination strategy taken on by the charity will initially focus on Trust-managed sites and will expand to other private land in the area over the next four years.
Speaking after the final badger had been released, Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s Richard Gardner said: “We’re delighted with the result over the last 48 hours, most importantly with our trapping and re-capture rates.
“The overall total of a dozen individuals treated and the seven re-captures suggests we’ve hit our target of around 75% of the badger population on this location. This will, of course, be bolstered by a continuing year-on-year vaccination for another four years which, in spring may include badger cubs too.”
The deployment of the vaccine, supported by Chester Zoo and undertaken in partnership with Shropshire Wildlife Trust and volunteers from the Wirral & Cheshire Badger Group, is the most northerly programme of badger bTB vaccination to date.
The scheme follows the announcement by Defra week to issue a second ‘free-shoot’ culling licence in the south west of England, where bTB in cattle is most prevalent.
The strategy involves in-depth monitoring of badger setts and ‘runs’ across each site, and a two-week preparatory period of ‘pre-baiting’ to allow badgers to become accustomed to the trapping equipment.
In contrast to the Government’s present culling trial in the south west, the Wildlife Trusts believe that a natural barrier of ‘herd immunity’ in local badger populations can be created, forming a firewall to potentially stop a northerly spread of bTB.
Richard Gardner added: “As someone who works with farmers daily, the scepticism over capture rates and effectiveness was high on the list of my own concerns, however this initial deployment has shown that with hard work and careful research we can achieve the necessary numbers.
“We’re already aware of a number of local farmers who would like to see vaccination take place on their land in 2013, and we’ll be working hard to make sure that happens over the coming months.”
Sarah Bird, Biodiversity Officer from Chester Zoo, who have backed the scheme with £6,000 worth of equipment and expertise said: “Chester Zoo supports wildlife conservation programmes all around the world, working on human-wildlife conflict in many places.
“In India we are working to protect crops from elephants and in South America we are studying jaguar predation on cattle. Here in the UK, while we acknowledge the problem of bTB and that wildlife plays a role, by supporting this project we’re encouraging development of disease control techniques that protect badgers.”
Along with increased bio-security and improvements to cattle movement monitoring, the Wildlife Trusts say that vaccination offers an alternative to culling as a method of tackling bTB as the scheme minimises movements between badger populations, a process that has been proven to occur with culling – the so-called ‘perturbation’ effect.
Badgers receiving the BCG vaccine are trapped overnight with a small quantity of peanuts, before receiving an injection at sunrise. All badgers are released within 3 hours of first light to minimise time within the trapping equipment. Any vaccinated badgers are marked with a spray and given a small fur clip to ensure they are not vaccinated again on the second day. Vaccination does not take place between November-May, when badger movements are at a minimum and cubs are being born. Traps are set specifically with badger release mechanisms to ensure other wildlife is not captured. The number of traps deployed at each site is based on an assessment of likely badger numbers given the number of setts and average occupancy.
Humane Society International/UK Report: Badger Cull Cruelty In The Killing Fields: here.