They have seen two firecrests as well.
This video from Britain is called FIRST 15 MINUTES OF THE SECRET LIFE OF THE SPARROWHAWK DVD.
By Peter Frost in Britain:
Lame excuses given for setting bird killer free
Friday 21st November 2014
PETER FROST believes England should look to Scotland for robust and effective measures to protect birds of prey
Allen Lambert, the gamekeeper convicted of the worst case of bird of prey poisoning ever recorded in England, has been given a 10-week suspended sentence. He walked free from the Norwich Magistrates Court pausing only to give a triumphant smug smile to protesters carrying “Only prison will do” placards.
So another gamekeeper — perhaps the thirtieth in the last three or so years — had avoided going to jail for the killing of protected birds of prey.
Actually no English gamekeeper has ever ended up behind bars despite numerous convictions for wildlife crimes.
Head of RSPB investigations Bob Elliot said the discovery of the carcasses at Lambert’s home was “truly dreadful.”
Sentencing him, district judge Peter Veits said that, like most gamekeepers, Lambert had been left largely to his own devices.
He added: “Those who employ gamekeepers have a strict duty to know what is being done in their name and on their property.
“They also have duty to ensure their gamekeepers are properly trained and capable of keeping abreast of complex laws relating to the use of poisons.
“In other industries employers as well as the employee could be facing prosecution in such cases and I hope therefore that this case can serve as a wake-up call to all who run estates as to their duties.”
The Stody Estate where a day’s shooting can cost several thousand pounds is now being investigated by the Rural Payments Agency which could withdraw tens of thousands of pounds of subsidy if the estate is found to have been negligent, prosecutors told the court.
The estate was owned by Ian MacNicol, a leading figure in the shooting world who died in 2006. Its slick PR operation issued stories about how well it treated wildlife — they were published in many so-called country sports magazines.
Some of these stories sang the praises of the estate’s gamekeeper for the last 20 years — Allen Lambert.
Today MacNicol’s widow, Adel Richmond-Watson, and her two sons run the shoot, house and grounds.
In a statement read to the court, the estate said it had considered Lambert a “valued and trusted member of staff.” The statement added: “Mr Lambert was not authorised, trained or asked to kill wildlife and we had no knowledge he possessed such items.”
In October Lambert was also found guilty of possessing pesticides and items used to prepare poison baits. He had pleaded guilty to five other charges, including the illegal use of pesticides.
District Judge Peter Veits said the offences had “crossed the custody threshold,” but said his sentence would be suspended.
Lambert’s 10-week jail sentence was suspended for a year and he was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £930.
Judge Veits said: “In other industries employers as well as the employee could be facing prosecution in such cases and I hope therefore that this case can serve as a wake-up call to all who run estates as to their duties.”
The RSPB is calling on the government to bring in stronger legislation to make sporting estates more accountable for the actions of their staff.
Wildlife detectives found the remains of several birds of prey in woodland and a feed bag containing nine dead buzzards in Lambert’s house. The birds had been poisoned and police found containers with poison in Lambert’s car and storeroom, as well as a syringe and needles.
In England a landowner is not responsible for his or her gamekeeper’s crimes. One of the owners of Stody Estate, Charles MacNicol, refused to tell BBC News whether he knew about or whether he condemned the killings.
The Scottish government has made shoot owners share the blame for gamekeepers’ misdemeanours. This has led to a significant drop in killings.
England has to follow suit but Defra says it needs more evidence and with so many rich shooters and indeed shoot owners on the Tory benches that evidence is unlikely to be found.
This video from England says about itself:
8 April 2014
A video to record the centenary events at the Burston Strike School in April 2014. The strike was the longest in history (1914-1939).
By Sue Turner in Britain:
Remembering the Burston strike
Thursday 21st August 2014
In the centenary year of the longest-running strike in British history, SUE TURNER looks back on how events unfolded
THE charm of the windmill, the bridge over the stream and the pink-washed cottages of Burston hid lives of grinding poverty.
Rural Norfolk was under the control of large landowners and the church, with agricultural labourers raising their families in squalid tied cottages on a weekly wage of 12s 6d.
Teachers Kitty and Tom Higdon had been removed from their previous school because of clashes with the authorities over Tom’s work organising for the Agricultural Labourers Union, and Kitty’s demands for better maintenance of the school.
Having transferred unwillingly to Burston in 1911, they faced the same problems and dealt with them in the same way.
Tom continued his union work and in 1913 encouraged labourers to stand for the parish council elections. The result was a landslide victory for them with Tom top of the poll and the rector at the bottom.
Kitty too fell foul of the rector, a bigot, who told her: “The place of the schoolmistress is in church and her children with her,” despite the fact that the school was not a church school, and Kitty, like most of her pupils, was a Methodist.
So, not Church of England, like the rector.
She failed to show the correct level of subservience to the gentry and put the needs of her pupils first.
For example, she would light fires without permission to dry the children’s clothes before their long walk home.
At that time education for working-class children meant indoctrinating them to accept their place in society as manual workers and to support church, king and country, but as Christian socialists the Higdons believed that education was a way of improving life for the next generation, and that children have individual talents to develop.
They took their pupils on rambles and taught them French, Spanish and esperanto.
They showed them how to use a typewriter and sewing machine and bought them clothes and regular treats.
This was all too radical and subversive to allow, so trumped-up charges were brought against the Higdons and they were sacked, amid campaigns and protests on their behalf.
The children, with their parents’ backing, decided to strike and the night before there was a rousing meeting on the village green chaired by one George Durbridge, fish-seller, poacher and Tory, who exhorted the crowd to stand firm with the Higdons with these unforgettable words: “Stick like bloody shit to a blanket!”
The next morning the children marched around the village with banners aloft and lessons were held on the green until a carpenter’s shop became available.
The year 1911 was a period of general industrial unrest, with dockers, miners and railwaymen fighting against wage reductions.
In this context a wave of school strikes had swept across Britain affecting over 60 towns and cities. Children abandoned their lessons and marched through the streets and held picket lines to protest against caning, homework and school fees so the children’s action in Burston was not so surprising.
The NUR, miners’ unions, trades councils and co-operative societies raised funds and a new Strike School was built.
Parents were fined 2s 6d for their children’s non-attendance at the council school but these costs were easily met by collections outside the court.
Families were evicted from their allotments to try to break the strike, but to no avail.
Only six pupils attended the council school with 66 in the Strike School.
Tom said: “The strike has come into tangible grip with all the petty tyrannies, oppressions, religious hypocrisies and class privileges which exist in country districts.”
The Strike School continued until his death in 1939. It had given the children of Burston the usual curriculum plus some unusual extras — trips to trade union rallies, May Day celebrations, protests against the execution of Italian anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti and the company of six Nottinghamshire miners’ children during the 1926 general strike.
The solidarity of the villagers and their supporters against the politically motivated dismissal of their teachers was impressive.
They challenged the old rural order — the authority of landowners, the Church of England and the judiciary.
The struggle continues today for trade union rights, meaningful education and international solidarity.
This year’s Burston strike school rally will be held on Sunday September 7 at 10.45am, Church Green, Burston, near Diss, Norfolk.
This is a great knot video.
From Wildlife Extra:
Extremely rare bird draws a huge crowd in Norfolk
Most of the latter sightings were so distant, however, that that bird was nicknamed the ‘great dot’.
Great knots breed in the tundra of Siberia and winter on the coasts of southern Asia and Australia, travelling between the two in large flocks. Somewhere on its migration, this bird strayed off course, lost its companions and ended up in East Anglia.
Like other calidrids, such as sandpipers, stints and dunlin, the great knot probes mudflats and beaches with its sensitive bill searching for mollusc prey. This specialised bill contains numerous nerve-endings known as Herbst corpuscles to enable the bird to sense the tiny movements of prey buried in the wet mud.
This particular great knot, oblivious to its legions of admirers behind rows of telescopes, enjoyed the delicacies of Norfolk coastal mud for a few days before moving on.
By Peter Frost in England:
The otter‘s welcome return
Saturday 5th April 2014
The tiny electric launch, the Electric Eel moved silently away from the jetty at How Hill on the river Ant in the heart of the Norfolk Broads National Park. We soon left the main river taking a tiny reed-fringed backwater.
The park ranger spotted it first – they always do – something slender, sleek and shiny swimming across the river. First guess was a mink, common enough to be a real pest in these waters.
It moved fast and looked bigger than a mink. As it scrambled on to the bank the whiskers and bright button nose made it plain this was that rarest of Broadland’s mammals – the wonderful otter (Lutra lutra).
After years of living on the brink of extinction in Britain, otters have made a dramatic comeback, and not just in the Broads.
Back in the 1970s, otters were nearly extinct. They have made an extraordinary comeback – and one linked to other improvements in our rivers, streams, canals and other water courses.
Otters are playful and affectionate with their young, they float on their backs with pups on their stomachs. You may be lucky and see one sitting on the river bank meticulously eating a fish. A large dog otter or a pregnant female might eat as much as four pounds (2kg) of fish a day.
Maxwell’s book, first published in 1960, was made into a popular film in 1969 when otters had almost disappeared from both English and Welsh rivers and were quite rare in the Scottish rivers where Maxwell had set his book and film. The film and book helped to win over public opinion in favour of the otter.
At this time the few surviving otters were still being hunted with packs of hounds. The murderous so-called sport was not made illegal until 1978.
Another major factor in the otters’ decline was the widespread use of DDT and other agricultural chemicals. They drained from farmland and poisoned waterways.
Those chemicals accumulated in fish and amphibians and poisoned the otter at the top of the riverbank food chain.
These chemicals, along with untreated sewage and industrial pollution, effectively killed our rivers.
The rivers too were being dredged and straightened, while banks were being tidied up and steel and concrete pilings were installed, replacing the soft otter-friendly reed fringes. It is hard to dig a holt in a concrete bank.
Those of us who wanted to see British otters had to journey north to Orkney, Shetland or the Highlands.
Banning DDT and the gradual improvement in river water quality started to make the news, although it was usually the return of fisherman’s salmon that made the headlines. But as the salmon returned, so did the otter.
Today even lucky city folk might see an otter on a early morning canal towpath walk.
European mink in the Netherlands: here.
In the Koegelwieck nature reserve, in central Terschelling, each night there is a massive concert by male natterjack toads. This is audible even on the beach and in Den Hoorn village, kilometres away.
Another good natterjack spot on Terschelling is the Groene strand beach in the west of the island.
You can hear a natterjack toad call here (click on “Roep” on the right side of the page).