Monday, 26 September 2022

Another Quiet September Morning in the Reedbed

I met Alice and John at first light yesterday morning at the Nature Park to carry out a ringing session. The weather conditions rang some alarm bells, as it was cold and clear, a 'clear out' type of night, and any vis would be high, too high for the MP3 players to have any effect. So, we didn't expect much, and it was a good job that we didn't, but as I am always fond of saying it is autumn!
At first, the wind was south-easterly, but by the time we had put the three nets up, it had dropped off completely, so at least that was a bonus. We ringed 12 birds as follows:
Robin - 2
Cetti's Warbler - 1
Chaffinch - 2
Greenfinch - 7
There must have been some Greenfinches on the move for us to ring seven birds, but any other vis was limited to a handful of Meadow Pipits, a Grey Wagtail and 362 Pink-footed Geese, all heading south. And nothing else really featured in my notebook. 
Contrast this to a reedbed on the south coast. I have a good friend who lives in East Sussex, and he was ringing in a reedbed down there the day before with two fellow ringers, where they managed to ring an amazing 440 birds in a morning. To quote Graeme, it was a crazy morning today at the reedbed. Blackcaps were simply streaming into the site from first light, accompanied by a nice selection of other species, resulting in a session the like of which none of us have been previously involved with. The 440 birds consisted of:
Kingfisher - 1
Spotted Flycatcher - 2
Wren - 1
Blue Tit - 2
Goldcrest - 1
Meadow Pipit - 3
Great Tit - 1
Whitethroat - 6
Linnet - 1
Sedge Warbler - 6
Lesser Whitethroat - 1
Reed Warbler - 38
Dunnock - 1
Chiffchaff - 72
Blackcap - 304
Compare that to our reedbed up here in the northwest. In fact, there is no comparison. It just shows how migrant birds gather on the south coast before crossing the Channel. Superb stuff!
The big environmental news as I type this, is that of the Conservative government showing its' true colours and demonstrating how un-green they are, and how they care little about the biodiversity of the UK.
There was a major overhaul of farm subsidies in progress, and it was progressing well, that rewarded landowners in England for their environmental work, and this is now in doubt after the government signalled a review over weekend. 
Environmental groups are rightly concerned, that the government could water down, or even scrap the new Environmental Land Management Schemes (ELMS) that were proposed to be launched in full in 2024, with a great deal of time, effort and money already being spent on the trials. ELMS is designed to replace the agri-environment element of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and apparently the government has confirmed that it is reviewing its plans.

I don't intend to say any more at the moment, as this is on-going and more details will emerge as the week progresses. However, all I will say is that it is a very sad state of affairs, and it is a huge backwards step as far as the environment and farming is concerned. I fear that some very dark days for nature conservation in the UK beckon under this new un-elected government that we have the misfortune to have.

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