Search This Blog


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.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Big week for global climate change! Article by Graham Readfern in the Guardian

From the web, 19th


Next stop Lima
The next major deal to limit greenhouse gas emissions is scheduled to be signed at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) meeting in Paris in December 2015. 
But to avoid the crashing failures of past negotiations (remember Copenhagen), negotiators and the UN will want to see major progress on that deal’s framework at COP20 in Lima, Peru, starting in two weeks time (I’ll be there for most of the second week).
During the last major meeting in Warsaw, Australia emerged with a new reputation for slowing the process down and lacking ambition, which Australian negotiators rejected.
The G20 Communiqué pointed to COP21 and said the G20 would “encourage” nations to confirm their targets for cutting emissions before March next year. 
The European Union has already said it will cut emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2030 but the deal is not considered to be watertight.
The US now has its target to cut emissions from where they were in 2005 by between 26 per cent and 28 per cent by 2025.
Pressure is now mounting on Australia to commit its targets to paper by March, although it could conceivably delay. 
This is a major stumbling block for Australia.
Most analysts say the government’s $2.5 billion Direct Action Policy will fall well short of the unconditional target of cutting emissions from their 2000 levels by five cent by the year 2020. 
Environment Minister Greg Hunt insists the scheme will deliver. Tony Abbott has said if it doesn’t he will not make any more money available.
But if Australia is to stand by its UN pledge to keep global warming below 2C then it will need to commit to targets soon. 
But currently there is a large blank space where a credible climate policy should be.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Drayton Forest School Volunteer Day November 16th plus Woodland walk and talk.

Forest Schools are a great way for children and parents to experience time spent amongst trees and their wildlife. Supervised and taught some skills. They often struggle to get funding to support their activities. Our Wildlife Group hopes to find a way to have a joint event.

You might even see this Brown Hairstreak seen rarely in our garden near an overgrown Blackthorn hedge.

Do come and join us on Sunday November 16th for a great day in the woods at Drayton, nr Langport
Come and help out in the morning from 10am:
  • shelter building,
  • bulb planting, 
  • timber sawing with a 2 'person' cross saw
  • bird box maintenance  
  • hearty soup & bread lunch cooked on the campfire
  • 2pm- Join us for  a Woodland Walk & Talk with Charles Hill- Tree enthusiast from Blackdown Hills, especially knowledgeable about fungi.
All tools provided 
Come for all day and join us for lunch, or just for Woodland Talk at 2pm 

PLEASE let me know if you can come

Hannah Aitken
WilderWoods Forest School, Drayton

Friday, October 31, 2014

Starlings in Somerset

At 16.30 this afternoon I watched thousands of Starlings flying over Curry Rivel heading towards the Avalon Marshes. The flock size covered the village from South East to North West filling the sky. When they meet up with flocks from other areas they will almost certainly create the kind of image shown on the RSPB web site for Ham Wall.

This is an extract from the RSPB web site. The telephone hot line recommends a dawn visit to avoid the crowds  of spectators and the traffic congestion.

Large flock of starlings congregating at dusk
Image: David Kjaer

For information on the roosting starlings please phone the Avalon Marshes Starling Hotline - 07866 554142. Please do not leave enquiries on this number, as it is an automated service and they cannot be answered.
You can also find out more about the location and receive an automated email, by emailing
The starlings use sites managed by three different organisations - the RSPB (Ham Wall), Natural England (Shapwick Heath) and Somerset Wildlife Trust (Westhay Moor). There is very little parking available at any of the sites, so avoiding the weekend rush will greatly improve your visit.
Whenever you come, please follow any parking instructions given and avoid stopping on narrow verges or blocking gateways. There is no parking for coaches other than at The Avalon Marshes Centre situated between Shapwick and Westhay villages. Parking for the western end of Shapwick Heath is also at The Avalon Marshes Centre.
Please take care not to disturb the wildlife or other visitors, by keeping noise to a minimum and obeying rules about dogs and restricted access.