English bird news today


This video from England is called Birdwatching at RSPB Titchwell Marsh.

From Chris Booth from England on Twitter today:

Titchwell RSPB this morning Spoonbill x 5 Spotshank x 4 Ruff x 4 Little Gull x 2 plus Knot, Ringed Plover, L[ittle] R[inged] P[lover] and Beardies [bearded tits]

Confederate flag scandal in Glastonbury, England


This video from the USA says about itself:

Whoopi Goldberg on The View Compares Confederate Flag to Nazi Swastika – ABC – June 22, 2015

In the events following the Charleston shooting, the discussion on racism has merged with a discussion of whether it is appropriate for the South Carolina Statehouse to continue flying the Confederate flag. Jeb Bush gave his opinion on the issue when he said that despite being a symbol of Southern heritage, the flag’s context is outdated and belongs only in Florida museums. While other GOP politicians have touched on the issue with varying conviction, Mike Huckabee called it a state matter that was not an issue for 2016 candidates, while Rick Santorum refused to take a side on the debate.

On Monday’s episode of The View, the side-stepping of the discussion did not sit well with the panelists. Whoopi Goldberg condemned the flying of the flag, saying that with how long the flag has been glorified in the South amid decades of controversy, the only way to argue against the flag’s defenders is to compare it to the flag of Nazi Germany.

“It would be like having the swastika flag flying on your next-door neighbor,” said Goldberg. “That is a part of history in Germany that they are struggling desperately to get away from.”

“If it continues to fly, the statement that’s being made … is that ‘We miss this really crappy part of history,’ and that is where the conversation has to begin.”

Goldberg also said that even though she acknowledged the flag’s historical relevance and status as a symbol of pride, placing the flag in a museum was the only way to take the “stink” out of the flag’s reputation. “None of us want the connotations that that flag gave to people. I think that America’s biggest human beings [should] at least have the conversation, and call racism racism when they see it.”

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Confederate flag flying at Glastonbury

Friday 26th June 2015

THE CONFEDERATE flag has been snapped flying over the fence at Glastonbury Festival — just days after major retailers and institutions in the US banned selling and displaying it.

This comes a week after white supremacist terrorist Dylann Roof, 21, had opened fire in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, South Carolina, killing nine people.

Mr Roof, who is in custody, is seen in photographs posing with the Confederate flag, which is a divisive symbol due to its links with the American civil war.

He was reported to have told friends that by shooting black people he had wanted to start another similar conflict.

Commentators on social media have stated that taking the Confederate flag to a major music event is insensitive, while others said it may have been done in “irony.”

British bitterns increasing


This video is about bitterns at their nest.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Bittern conservation programme flying high as birds boom again

Scientists tracking the shy heron species’ foghorn-like song have recorded more than 150 males across England and Wales, up from 11 in 1997

Caroline Davies

Thursday 18 June 2015 00.01 BST

The once beleaguered bittern is booming, literally and figuratively, with conservationists hailing the success of a project aimed at bringing the shy member of the heron family back from the brink.

Scientists tracking the bird’s foghorn-like booming song have recorded more then 150 different males across England and Wales – up from just 11 in 1997. Its recovery is attributed to the restoration and management of the sizeable tracts of wet reedbed required for its successful breeding.

Declared extinct in the UK at the turn of the 20th century, the bittern was absent as a breeding bird between the 1870s and 1911. Following concern over a possible second UK extinction in the 1990s, a concerted conservation programme was set up. And 2015 has been an exceptional year, with numbers not thought to have been seen since early in the 19th century.

According to the latest figures, Somerset is the top UK county for bitterns, despite the species only becoming re-established in in the region seven years ago. More than 40 booming males have been recorded there following the restoration and creation of large wetlands in the Avalon Marshes, in particular the RSPB’s Ham Wall reserve, Shapwick Heath – run by Natural England – and Westhay Moor, run by Somerset Wildlife Trust.

The East Anglia region has more than 80 booming males, and remains a stronghold for bitterns in the UK, particularly in traditional sites on the Suffolk coast, and in the Norfolk Broads, but also increasingly in a newly-created habitat in the Fens.

Of the recorded males, 59% are on sites protected under international law, namely the European Union birds and habitats directives – setting out special protection areas or special areas of conservation, collectively known as Natura 2000 sites.

Martin Harper, conservation director at the RSPB, said: “The bittern is a species which proves that conservation can be successful, especially when you can identify the reason behind its decline and bring in measures and funding to aid its recovery.”

He said the special sites have been “vital to the conservation of the bittern and other key species in the UK”. But he added: “The European Union is consulting on the future of the birds and habitats directives. And we fear this may lead to a weakening of the directives, with potentially disastrous consequences for many threatened species.”

Simon Wotton, a conservation scientist with the RSPB, said: “In the late 1990s, the bittern was heading towards a second extinction in the UK, largely because its preferred habitat – wet reedbed – was drying out and required intensive management, restoration and habitat recreations. But thanks to the efforts to improve the habitat, combined with significant funding from two projects under the European Union Life programme, the bittern was saved, and we’re delighted that its success keeps going from strength to strength.”

Of key sites contributing to the recovery, Ham Wall, which was created from old peat workings, saw the bittern first nest in 2008, with 17 boomers recorded this year. Lakenheath in Suffolk, where carrot fields were converted back to wetland, recorded six booming males, while Ouse Fen in Cambridgeshire, which saw wetland created from former mineral workings, had its first confirmed booming in 2012, with 10 recorded in 2015.

See also here. And here.