Scaly cricket in England, video

This video from England says about itself:

2 September 2015

Scaly Cricket, Pseudomogoplistes vicentae, Chesil Beach, Dorset, UK, September 2015.

This is a rare species in Britain, first recorded there in 1949.

Stop badger killing in England

This video shows a badger and a black roe deer, in the Veluwe region in the Netherlands.

By Jay Tiernan and Lesley Docksey in Britain:

Badgering for unfair culls

Wednesday 26th August 2015

Dorset farmers, aided by the NFU, are blaming wildlife for bovine TB despite their own mistakes, explain JAY TIERNAN and LESLEY DOCKSEY

THE unscientific badger culls will soon see a third year of killing in Somerset and Gloucestershire, with the government and the National Farmers Union (NFU) insisting it must be done because badgers infect cattle with bovine tuberculosis (bTB).

All farms with an outbreak of bTB are placed under restrictions including cattle movement controls. Coming on top of the costs and upset of TB testing, restrictions cost farmers money. They are unpopular, but they work.

Despite the failure of the 2013-14 culls, and ignoring majority scientific opinion that supports controls on cattle rather than wildlife, it seems that the culling will extend to Dorset, the NFU having announced it has submitted a formal request for licences to cull there.

On becoming chair of the Dorset branch of the NFU in 2012, farmer Paul Gould immediately called for a badger cull, based on exaggerated claims of the connection between badgers and bTB. His successor Trevor Cligg carried on the disinformation campaign to persuade Dorset how necessary a badger cull is.

Facts have been abandoned. In May Cligg said bTB was “rife” in Dorset. In July on Radio Solent he said that “there are significant levels of TB in Dorset’s badgers.” No studies have been done that support this.

Will farmers doubt him? Not if they believe what one farmer recently stated as a fact: that you know if there are infected badgers living in a sett because “their lavatories are outside.” But all occupied badger setts have their latrines close by.

Badgers are clean animals who won’t dirty their living space. Are humans judged diseased because we use lavatories?

Cligg also claimed that the rate of increase in bTB in Dorset is worse than anywhere else in the country. Clearly Defra’s statistics for Dorset are not good enough. They show that the number of bTB tests on cattle has almost doubled since 2008. They also show that between January 2012 and December 2014:

– New incidents of bTB have dropped by 12 per cent
– Herds under restriction have dropped by 13 per cent
– The number of bTB-infected cattle slaughtered dropped by 37.25 per cent, and
– Of the 31,733 infected cattle slaughtered last year, Dorset accounted for a tiny 2.3 per cent.

All this with no badger cull. Annual testing and cattle movement controls that prevent the disease spreading are working. Such methods almost eradicated bTB in the 1960s. It can be done again.

Those are the facts. Now for the false claims.

Cligg and Gould, assisted by NFU Chairman Meurig Raymond, have been ramping up the disinformation for some time. Local media have been full of sob stories about the bTB outbreak on Gould’s farm.

Gould is now in charge of organising the Dorset cull.

Having noticed the statements made by the NFU, Stop the Cull decided to test the facts behind Gould’s claims, made last year, about his infected cattle.

“These cows were grazing in a field that has no other cattle nearby,” said Gould. “But we have badgers on the farm.

There is a sett 50 yards that way [Gould pointed across the yard] and there is around 100 yards of badger sett in that hedge.”

His son Andrew said that as he rounded up the young heifers for their bTB test, two badgers were running around the cows’ feet.

This seems unlikely. Badgers are not known for running around cattle, in the daylight and in the presence of humans.

Raymond pitched in: “The terrible situation Paul finds himself in reinforces the need for action to be taken on all fronts to tackle bTB … This disease has come from one place — and one place only.”

Stop the Cull used the new bTB mapping website to see if Mr Gould was still struggling with bTB. What it found was surprising. Mr Gould’s herd tested clear of bTB just six months after having the infected cattle killed, and have remained disease-free.

So cattle controls do stop the reinfection of bTB.

But where did the disease come from? According to the NFU it could only be badgers. Further research showed that a neighbouring farm’s herd had gone down with the disease just months before (also now clear without badger culling). So should we blame badgers? Stop the Cull took a closer look at an aerial photograph and was surprised again.

The neighbouring farm’s breakdown was now significant. The fields that farm’s cattle use are only separated from Gould’s cattle by a hedge. A gap in the hedge line between the fields may be a water trough. The signs are that the neighbour’s cattle are going to that gap frequently. Whether the gap is a trough or a wire fence, it is a place where the two herds have face-to-face contact, the most common way of passing on tuberculosis.

Also, local information suggests that, despite the bTB outbreak, biosecurity measures are still lacking on Gould’s farm, and the neighbour’s beef cattle are currently in a field adjoining Gould’s dairy cattle.

The evidence does not support Gould and Raymond’s claims. As there was an obvious local non-badger source of infection, will the pair now concede that killing badgers is a waste of time? Or will they carry on hoping to convince people that it’s not down to bad farming practice but the fault of the badgers?

So there you have it. Total disregard for the scientific data and official statistics: at best, wild unsubstantiated claims; at worst, downright distortion; and all because blaming wildlife is easier than letting better farming practices, testing and cattle controls sort out the problem.

English little terns fly over 60,000 miles

This video from England is called Chesil Beach Little Terns June 2014. It shows a chick being fed.

From Wildlife Extra:

Little Tern‘s air miles equal two and a half times round the world

Wildlife conservationists studying rare Little Terns nesting on Chesil Beach in Dorset have discovered that two of them have notched up more than 60,000 miles each during their annual African migrations.

Given that the circumference of the earth is 24,860 miles, that means these small birds have travelled the equivalent of two and a half times round the world.

The discovery was made during the fitting of new colour rings to the Chesil Little Terns in conjunction with the EU LIFE Little Tern Project.

Thalassa McMurdo Hamilton, Little Tern Project Officer says; “Steve Hales, a local bird ringer, carried out the colour ringing with Luke Phillips of the RSPB.

“As the ringing got underway we noticed some of the adults were glinting silver on their legs – they already had a metal ring on – and luckily, we managed to catch a few of these.

“We excitedly wrote down the ring number and Steve went home to check the BTO [British Trust for Ornithology] records to see how old they were.

“A few hours later Steve revealed, incredibly, that he had ringed these birds at Chesil Beach in 1999 and 2000 – making these adults 15 and 16 years old!”

Steve Hales says “Handling a bird which I had ringed as a week-old chick on the same beach 16 years ago was very rewarding.

“It emphasised just what an age some of our smaller seabirds can reach. The next three years of colour ringing the Little Terns under the EU LIFE partnership will hopefully produce other exciting discoveries.”

The Chesil Beach Little Tern project is in its sixth year and, with the number of breeding pairs increasing, project staff were delighted to be included in the national ringing project.

Thalassa adds: “I was amazed to discover that these birds are returning here where they were first reared and that they are still breeding after 16 years.

“They are such small birds – an adult weighs the same as a tennis ball – and deal with lots of stress during chick rearing so I couldn’t believe they were so old.

“They are much tougher than we think, as these birds have travelled over 100,000km in their lifetime which is astounding.”

“Being able to identify individuals at a colony has huge benefits to this species, the second rarest breeding seabird in the UK.

“It allows conservationists to understand the movement of Little Terns between different colonies, how faithful they are to their breeding colonies and, moreover, we can learn more about adult and juvenile survival.

“These questions remain largely unanswered and so armed with this information we will be better able to conserve this species.

“We’ve made a great start in 2015 and we will hopefully ring many more over the next few years, and gain an insight into these tough Little Terns, at the only colony in the southwest of England.”

Marc Smith, Dorset Wildlife Trust Chesil Centre Officer says: “It is great to know that that these Little Terns are returning to Chesil Beach, even after such a long time.

“It just goes to show how important this area is for this rare little bird. The colony has been very successful over the last three years, with well over a hundred fledglings.

“Hopefully we will be seeing many of these return in the years to come.”

The Chesil Beach Little Tern Project is a partnership between RSPB, Natural England, Crown Estate, Portland Court Leet, Dorset Wildlife Trust and the Chesil and Fleet Nature Reserve.

Millions of painted ladies expected in Britain

This video from Texas in the USA says about itself:

Transformation of a Painted Lady Butterfly – The Butterly Life Cycle

29 July 2013

Watch the amazing transformation of caterpillar larvae to butterfly, as captured and documented by Scot Brinkley in affiliation with the EmilyAnn Theatre & Garden’s Butterfly Day – 2013.

From Wildlife Extra:

Large number of Painted Lady expected in UK

The UK is braced for a once in a decade occasion as an influx of Painted Ladies are expected to arrive in the UK at any moment after unusually high numbers of the orange and black butterflies have been amassing in southern Europe.

The butterfly is a common immigrant that migrates in varying numbers from the continent to the UK each summer, where its caterpillars feed on thistles. But around once every 10 years the UK experiences a Painted Lady ‘summer’ when millions of the butterflies arrive en masse.

The last mass immigration took place in 2009 when around 11 million Painted Ladies descended widely across the UK with the butterflies spreading into the most northerly parts of Scotland. Since then the UK has experienced five years with below average numbers but scientists are hopeful that 2015 could be very different.

Painted Ladies are experiencing their best year on the continent since 2009. The offspring of these butterflies could be UK bound imminently. Butterfly Conservation reported that some butterflies arrived during mid-May, but a spell of poor weather temporarily halted the immigration.

Recent warm sunny conditions have seen Painted Lady numbers soar once again with reports of large numbers of the butterflies seen at south coast sites – suggesting a large scale immigration may once again be about to take place.

Butterfly Conservation is asking for the public to record sightings of the butterfly to help chart the progress of any potential immigration during the summer.

Richard Fox, Butterfly Conservation Head of Recording explained: “The Painted Lady migration is one of the real wonders of the natural world. Travelling up to 1km in the sky and at speeds of up to 30 miles-per-hour these small fragile-seeming creatures migrate hundreds of miles to reach our shores each year, even though none of the individual butterflies has ever made the trip before.”

The Painted Lady undertakes a phenomenal 9,000 mile round trip from tropical Africa to the Arctic Circle each year – almost double the length of the famous migrations of the Monarch butterfly in North America.

Research using citizen science sightings from the 2009 migration revealed that the whole journey is not undertaken by individual butterflies but in a series of steps by up to six successive generations.

Radar studies revealed that after successfully breeding in the UK in 2009 more than 26 million Painted Ladies returned south in the autumn, many flying high in the sky out of the sight of human observers.

Painted Lady sightings can be recorded via Butterfly Conservation’s Migrant Watch scheme.

This video from England is called Painted Lady butterflies filmed at Butterfly Conservation’s Head Office in Lulworth, Dorset.