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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Local wildlife news, wild orchids

We haven't heard from our nightingale for a couple of weeks now. and we don't know what has happened to it.

Early this morning about 5am noticed a fox out in the nearby field. Looked as if he was trying to find some food, even chasing after birds on the ground but unsuccessful. The usual group of rabbits was nowhere to be seen.

Mowing our front lawn I was looking out for signs of wild orchids and just in time I spotted one. See photo below. We found one last year also but in a different location. You can see in the photo that its leaves have been cut a little. That must have happened when I did an early cut on the lawn. The flower spike is intact and should be opening as a pyramidal orchid soon.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Nightingale interrupts live coverage of the UK election count!

I've edited this earlier post to bring our news up to date.

Whilst enjoying the all night TV coverage of the UK election I dragged myself away from the TV and went into the garden to listen for bird song. I was not disappointed. At 1am and again at 2am I found our local nightingale in full song and apparently much closer than previously. It was a  very satisfying experience and long may it continue.

I don't know anyone locally who has seen this bird but here is a summary of times we have heard it singing.

16.4.15 First report.
19.4.15 Night time walk at 2300 hrs confirms location.

Then heard daily until:

27.4.15 no reports then for nearly two weeks  till 7.5.15. Weather was cold and wet  during this time.
New report on 7.5.15 Election day!
Then heard daily up to present 11.5.15
We have made our own recording of the song using a mobile phone and last night using an iPad so we have a very clear and good record.  Using an App on the iPad we can compare the two recordings.

Links for more information:

On this site you can see a photo of a Nightingale and hopefully hear the bird song, if the link works!

Somerset Wildlife Trust. may_2012

We would be pleased if you would visit our new blog for the Heart of the Levels Wildlife local area group. The Groups official blog for information about our activities.:

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Another report of our Curry Rivel nightingale!

I had an email from a neighbour this morning saying they had just heard our nightingale again early this morning.They confirmed they hadn't heard it for two weeks which is my experience too. It seems its still alive and well and living in Curry Rivel!
I shall redouble my efforts to try to confirm this report.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Nightingale in Curry Rivel. The Phantom of the Opera.

Our special visitor arrived about mid April, sang every night for a couple of weeks but then the weather changed to wet and cold nights and the singing stopped. We haven't heard it for the last two weeks now. So did it move on, to somewhere more sheltered and warmer? Perhaps if it was looking for a mate and failed and  decided to go elsewhere?
We miss its cheerful bright song, all the more because it was remarkable to be out in the field , under the stars and with no traffic noise or aircraft and with a tiny bird to entertain us!
We never saw it in the dark and hidden in the top of an overgrown blackthorn hedge.
The Phantom of the Opera!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Mark Lynas and the Climate change debate

Here is an extract from any article written by Mark Lynas in the Guardian Newspaper recently. He highlights  some important problems which are preventing world governments from taking urgent action on this issue which is hardly getting a mention in the current political election mania.
"Alarmists and deniers need to climb out of their parallel trenches, engage with the developing world and work together to end the crisis 
Depressingly, all this confirms what social psychologists have long insisted: that most people accept only scientific “facts” that are compatible with or which reinforce their political identities and world views.
Forget the political myths: here’s the hard reality. The emergence from poverty of the developing world is non-negotiable. Humanity will therefore double or triple energy consumption overall by 2050. Our challenge is to develop and deploy the technology to deliver this energy in as low-carbon a way as possible, probably using some combination of efficiency, renewables, next-generation nuclear and carbon capture. We need to pour vastly more resources into R&D, and put a significant international price on carbon.
But to make any of this happen we will need to recapture the climate debate from the political extremes. We must then work to come up with inclusive proposals that can form the basis of a social consensus that must last decades if it is to have any meaningful effect on the climate change crisis that faces us."

Friday, April 24, 2015

Nightingale still singing every night.

The earliest local report this year of hearing a Nightingale singing at night here in Curry Rivel was Thursday 16th April. Maybe a single bird but it has been heard every night since and once in the morning in daylight. Just been listening from home at 2300 hrs.
As a summer visitor I am hoping to find out more about where it may have come from?
In its migration does it fly at night?
Now it's here why does it sing at night as well as in daylight?
Is it likely to be a male bird hoping to attract a female?

The planned walk being organised by our local Heart of the Levels Wildlife Area Group has had to be cancelled so maybe I can help out!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Nightingale update. Luscinia megarhynchos

Our night time walk was very successful and a rewarding experience. I was joined by one other neighbour and we easily located the singing bird at around 11 pm in the top branches of an old overgrown hedge, mainly Blackthorn.We didn't try to see it directly but it didn't take any notice of us within about 10 metres  away. It was singing again last night at midnight. Other local reports say it was first heard last thursday , 16th April.

Here is  some information from the RSPB web site. Next question: where did this bird spend the winter?

It seems that in the middle of Somerset we are on the normal western end of their summer visits.

Luscinia megarhynchos

Where to see them

A secretive bird which likes nothing better than hiding in the middle of an impenetrable bush or thicket. In the UK they breed mostly south of the Severn-Wash line and east from Dorset to Kent. The highest densities are found in the south east: Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Kent and Sussex.

When to see them

They arrive in April and sing until late May and early June. They leave again from July to September. They can be heard singing throughout the day, as well as at night.

What they eat



EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-6,700 males--

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Nightingale song

Not spent a lot of time watching birds  but when a neighbour emailed me yesterday to say she had heard a nightingale singing around 11 pm two nights ago I did my own walk about this evening and sure enough at least one bird was singing at about  the same time. Will try again tomorrow and try to pin down its location. Could be near our local nature reserve and wild flower meadow, which incidentally is showing a very impressive number of cowslips this year. To crown the day I saw an Orange Tip butterfly in the garden this afternoon. Not the first one this year . Have seen one or two over the last week.

My wife has an app on her iPad which gives identification details and songs for birds which is very useful.

Friday, April 03, 2015

BBC Spring Watch, activities we can all join in.

Watched the BBC Easter Spring Watch programme this evening and would like to encourage more people in my local area to join in to look for the early signs of spring. You can find more information on the BBC web site.

Tips on how to identify the Big Spring Watch species:

By Dr Kate Lewthwaite, Woodland Trust Citizen Science Manager
Here at the Woodland Trust we have been recording signs of spring (and autumn!) for 15 years. This is a mere blink of the eye compared to the records which date back nearly three centuries to when Robert Marsham began recording spring species and events back in 1736 on his family estate near Norwich.
In partnership with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Cambridge we have been able to analyse over two and a half million pieces of data, historic and modern, recorded by the public across the length and breadth of the UK. This information has provided a real insight into how plants and animals are responding to climate change. We have already discovered how both spring and autumn are arriving earlier than before; up to two weeks in the case of certain species, and that the seasons in themselves are also much less distinct. In some years ‘winter’ seems to hardly make an appearance at all.
We know that some species are dependant on one another and so the relationship between when they appear is important. If leafing and caterpillar hatching are happening earlier, for instance, birds will need to be able to respond to this so they don’t miss the peak availability of spring food for their nestlings.
What we have yet to really understand is how and why these events occur geographically across the country and what influences may play a part on their arrival. So theoretically we know that spring should begin in the South West and work its way up the country to Scotland. What is less clear is how quickly certain species will make an appearance across the country from south to north.
With the help of Springwatch viewers we hope to piece together the speed at which five seasonal events are first seen across the country from south to north; seven-spot ladybird, oak leafing, hawthorn flowering, orange-tip butterfly and the swallow returning from Africa.
By analysing the records we hope to find out if there is a uniform direction that spring progresses in, whether particular species react differently and even if it speeds up or slows down as it arrives.
Better understanding of seasonal timings means we may be able to help species that appear less able to react to climate change. For example analysis of our records shows that frogs are so locally adapted they may struggle to keep up with even modest change.
We all know that our precious wildlife habitats are under threat and it’s important we do what we can to protect and link up existing habitats, create new habitats and manage the natural environment for the benefit for as diverse an array of wildlife as possible.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Lima report!

No apologies for following this drama.!! Anything we do now for wildlife conservation will be affected be climate change in the long run.

I tend to check up through the Guardian Newspaper web site and they have this report from Nicholas Stern on this link:

Here is the start of it:

Governments took a step back from chaos in the climate change discussions in Lima and found a way forward on Sunday, albeit with some fudges and compromises, giving themselves just 12 months to finalise a crucial international agreement to avoid dangerous levels of global warming.
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Peru’s environment minister, who had skilfully presided over more than two weeks of fraught negotiations, announced that a deal had been struck by more than 190 countries.
The five pages of text, dubbed the Lima Call for Climate Action, outline a way forward on hotly contested issues, including the process for countries to set out their pledges to cut annual emissions of greenhouse gases after 2020.
The overall aim remains the creation of an international agreement on climate change which is due to be settled at the next UN summit, COP21, to be held in Paris in December 2015.