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Friday, December 14, 2012

7:00AM GMT 13 Dec 2012

You can read this article by clicking on the link above.

"Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, is considering merging the work of Natural England and the Environment Agency as part of the “bonfire of the quangos”.
The Wildlife Trusts fear this will lead to a cut in staff and budgets, threatening key programmes to protect rare species.
Even more seriously, the review suggests that Natural England should “support and contribute to the Government's aims and priorities as effectively as possible".
But legal advice commissioned by the RSPB points out that this clashes with NE’s original purpose, that is "to ensure that the natural environment is conserved.”
Mike Clarke, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said the review threatened the independence of NE and therefore its ability to stand up to the Government on controversial planning decisions."

Just seen this news item. I must do some more research on it!

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Doha Climate Talks

There is plenty to read about these talks. I haven't heard much if anything on the BBC News about the importance of Global agreement on climate change. The Guardian as usual is a good place to see what is going on or not!!

Apparently Lord Monkton was escorted  / thrown out of the talks for impersonating a Burmese delegate.

Climate change talks deadlocked on final day of UN summit

Talks on a new climate deal ground on through Friday night in Qatar, as countries failed to agree on key issues including: rescuing the Kyoto protocol, finance and compensation for poor countries suffering the effects of climate change, and how to structure a proposed new global climate change agreement.
The negotiations, which have gone on for more than a fortnight, looked set to last for most of Saturday. But the marathon session left many delegates hopeful of rescuing a deal amid the frustration and confusion of the night.
"We have worked without a break and people realise we need to go home with something," said one delegate.
The EU is understood to have proposed a deadline of 3pm Saturday (12pm GMT) for adopting final amendments, but every deadline that has been set so far in the last days of talks has been breached.
Ed Davey, the UK energy and climate secretary, worked through the night, meeting with ministers from developed and developing countries in an attempt to secure a deal.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Bees and the Rachel Carson legacy

Insects and Insecticides

Written evidence submitted by The Wildlife Trusts
The Wildlife Trusts welcome the opportunity to submit evidence to the Environment Audit Committee (EAC) regarding insects and insecticides.
Our evidence focuses on neonicotinoid insecticides, in particular:
· The impacts of neonicotinoids on insect pollinators (honeybees, bumblebees, hoverflies, butterflies and moths)
· Half-life in soil; routes of exposure and contamination of non- target vegetation (such as that found along field margins)
· Impacts on ecosystems in the agricultural landscape
· Inadequacy of risk assessment for these types of insecticides
The Wildlife Trusts’ position
1. There is a growing body of evidence that shows that neonicotinoids have a detrimental effect at sub-lethal doses on insect pollinators. For this reason, The Wildlife Trusts believe that until it can be categorically proven that neonicotinoids are not adversely impacting pollinator populations, and by extension ecosystem health, Government should adopt the precautionary principle and place a moratorium on their use on all outdoor crops.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mark Avery

I just wanted to bring this writer and Blogger to your notice. More later

The story about a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo in Australia.

Anyone using the Internet gets a lot of emails , some from friends and some not so friendly.
I often ignore them and just delete even from friends because I just don't have time to look at everything.

But if I do look I often try to find out more about the content because they often don't have the name of the originator or any reference and I have just done so to find out where this story came from.

I'm telling you all this because the email does contain a series of lovely photos showing an injured female cockatoo , rescued after a road accident,  wing amputated, kept in a cage but still attracted a passing wild male bird and eventually with the helpful rescuer raised a couple of offspring! To find out the source of the story use the link below.   You'll see there is even a book about the story!

I don't know how to share the email with you but this is one of the pictures it contained. I might just add one photo with every post over the next few weeks.

It makes a good interlude after all the ongoing gloom and doom.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

World Bank Report on the effects of Climate Change

Here are some extracts from Transition Langport Newsletter.
These two items caught my attention and are worth posting here for anyone interested in the future of wildlife in our beautiful Somerset.

South Somerset Climate Action campaigns for sustainable - and better - communities which will involve: reliable food supplies; protection and careful use of our biological heritage, forests, fresh water & oceans, fuels and minerals; renewable energy generation; waste limitation and pollution control.

Hello All,

I only came across the World Bank's recent report 'Turn down the Heat' by accident when I was reading through the Guardian's 'Climate Change' articles. Since the World Bank is hardly one of those left-wing organisations that the UK media love to deride, you might have thought that we would have heard about the report before now. However, I could not, for example, find any reference to it in the BBC's news and current affairs coverage - but then I guess that avoiding 4 degrees C of global warming is too trivial a matter to be placed before the British public. Anyway here is the link to the World Bank's report:

Even if it is not considered sufficiently important by the BBC, Sky News and newspapers other than the Guardian, perhaps you know of ways to get the report in front of more people than it would otherwise reach?

Best wishes,

Peter R

The report Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided is a result of contributions from a wide range of experts from across the globe. We thank everyone who contributed to its richness and multidisciplinary outlook.

It is my hope that this report shocks us into action. Even for those of us already committed to fighting climate change, I hope it causes us to work with much more urgency.
This report spells out what the world would be like if it warmed by 4 degrees Celsius, which is what scientists are nearly unanimously predicting by the end of the century, without serious policy changes.
The 4°C scenarios are devastating: the inundation of coastal cities; increasing risks for food production potentially leading to higher malnutrition rates; many dry regions becoming dryer, wet regions wetter; unprecedented heat waves in many regions, especially in the tropics; substantially exacerbated water scarcity in many regions; increased frequency of high-intensity tropical cyclones; and irreversible loss of biodiversity, including coral reef systems.
And most importantly, a 4°C world is so different from the current one that it comes with high uncertainty and new risks that threaten our ability to anticipate and plan for future adaptation needs.
The lack of action on climate change not only risks putting prosperity out of reach of millions of people in the developing world, it threatens to roll back decades of sustainable development.
It is clear that we already know a great deal about the threat before us. The science is unequivocal that humans are the cause of global warming, and major changes are already being observed: global mean warming is 0.8°C above pre industrial levels; oceans have warmed by 0.09°C since the 1950s and are acidifying; sea levels rose by about 20 cm since pre-industrial times and are now rising at 3.2 cm per decade; an exceptional number of extreme heat waves occurred in the last decade; major food crop growing areas are increasingly affected by drought.
Despite the global community’s best intentions to keep global warming below a 2°C increase above pre-industrial climate, higher levels of warming are increasingly likely. Scientists agree that countries’ cur- rent United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change emission pledges and commitments would most likely result in 3.5 to 4°C warming. And the longer those pledges remain unmet, the more likely a 4°C world becomes.
Data and evidence drive the work of the World Bank Group. Science reports, including those produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, informed our decision to ramp up work on these issues, leading to, a World Development Report on climate change designed to improve our understanding of the implications of a warming planet; a Strategic Framework on Development and Climate Change, and a report on Inclusive Green Growth. The World Bank is a leading advocate for ambitious action on climate change, not only because it is a moral imperative, but because it makes good economic sense.
But what if we fail to ramp up efforts on mitigation? What are the implications of a 4°C world? We commissioned this report from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics to help us understand the state of the science and the potential impact on development in such a world. 

Oaken Wood is at risk, you can help us save it - The Woodland Trust

Oaken Wood is at risk, you can help us save it - The Woodland Trust

The Kent Wildlife Trust is working with the Woodland Trust to save this Wood. Here is a quote from the Woodland Trust web site:

Over 32 hectares of ancient woodland in Kent under threat from plans to quarry into Oaken Wood.
Over 6,500 of you helped us to convince Secretary of State Eric Pickles to ‘call in’ the planning application for a public inquiry. Now we have the chance to ensure that the plans are examined in detail.
The public inquiry is due to start 27th November 2012. The Woodland Trust, along with Kent Wildlife Trust, is taking part and we are currently preparing our evidence to present to the Planning Inspector.

Public meeting, Talk tonight 22nd Nov

Due to very bad weather with high winds, recent flooding and heavy rain due in the next hour or so we have had to cancel our public meeting on the history and folklore of herbs and how they relate to todays usage.

Apologies for late cancellation. We hope to rearrange the talk at a later date.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Nick Baker on Westhay nature reserve.

If you don't follow the Somerset Wildlife Trust on Facebook you are missing a treat.  Here is a very recent posting with a video clip describing a nature reserve not far from where I live and which I only occasionally visit. Time and other interests make it difficult to keep in touch with the natural world around us but it's a shame if we don't try.  Thanks to Jane for bringing it to our attention!

Viewing this video with Nick Baker taking us on a walk on the reserve is very well put together and gives us an insight into our own local natural world.

Here are links to the Trusts Facebook page and to the video clip

Did you see Nick Baker watching dragonflies being caught by sundews on our Westhay Moor Nature Reserve the other night, on BBC's Inside Out? Don't worry if you missed it, you can watch it again here. Enjoy! It's really great footage! Jane
Like ·  ·  · about an hour ago · 

Friday, November 09, 2012

Recipes for Disaster. George Monbiot

Recipes for Disaster

Once again George spotlights a serious issue. This time it's the way responsible people promote the eating of fish that are on the unsustainable list. Use the link to see the article.

Incidentally a member of the audience for Question Time last night actually challenged the panel on the subject of economic growth. As she rightly said it is irresponsible to continue to talk about restoring wealth and the economy as if it can continue without limit for ever.

I've written before about the book "Only one Earth--The Care and Maintenance of a Small Planet" written in 1972 and still very few people and Governments act on its advice and warning.
George is commenting on a similar blind spot in our understanding of the reality of living on a small planet!

Friday, November 02, 2012

Eco- therapy! Richard Mabey explains.

There is an interesting comparison between this post and my last. In this post the message is the value of getting involved with nature. In my last post it was all about human beings being totally disconnected from nature in the pursuit of wealth, power and denigration of fellow human beings who dared to say no.

I am rapidly becoming a Richard Mabey fan. Although I've read some of his many books and articles and admired his literary skills nothing has connected with me as much as listening to a BBC video of a programme on BBC World Service.

A friend sent me this photo taken in their garden. Its a common spider which can change its colour to suit its location.

If you are interested in nature or the conservation of wildlife in any way at all then I hope that listening to this programme you will find as I have done a new value, purpose and benefit  in the pursuit of your interest.

Here is a link to the BBC programme recording :

or use this URL

I have in the last year or two attended a workshop arranged by Somerset Wildlife Trust with MIND on the subject of mental health but I dont recall it as being as relevant as this programme on Eco Therapy.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Donald Trump and Neighbourhood Planning.

I've just watched a programme about how Donald Trump has moved heaven and earth  ( and half of Scotland's most valuable coastal sand dunes) to start building a new housing estate and two golf courses  despite informed opposition.  I see it as a classic case of wealthy developers finding a way round the normal rules. Its shows how the interests of a global property developer can override environmental considerations and local opposition on the basis of doubtful estimates of economic gain and as a result, obtain planning permission.
Here is a link to view the BBC2 programme:

Click here:

or use this URL

You can get further information from here:      here  or use this URL:

Monday, October 22, 2012

Jersey Tiger moth. Euplagia quadripunctaria.

Apologies for the break in posting on this Blog, all down to the usual excuses, too many to list!

However today I received my regular email from Somerset Wildlife Trust giving me a selection of recent photos of nature subjects. One in particular caught my attention and the URL below is a link to the SWT Flickr account. Its shows a moth but taken from an unusual angle which made me doubt the identification until I had worked out what I was seeing.

For comparison I have added my own view of the moth seen flying during the day in our very small wildlife garden.  Looks a bit worn !

Jersey Tiger  Euplagia quadripunctaria.

And here is another link to the SWT collection showing a better looking specimen:

Thursday, September 13, 2012


I've copied this from an email and its lost some format but I'll leave it here and see if I can do something about it!

Some extracts from our SWT e letter 

September News

Liz for vol ebulletin
Liz Francis - Volunteering Administrator, Somerset Wildlife Trust

It's been a busy couple of months!

Thanks to all those of you who have supported the Trust's surveys
and events over the summer.  Despite the weather's best efforts
at sabotage our volunteers have yet again shown they won't be beaten!
Those of you who fulfil key volunteer roles for SWT will be receiving
a letter from us in the next couple of months with a key volunteer
agreement to sign and return.  If you have any questions about this
please speak to your main contact at SWT or contact Janet Keeble,
Community and Volunteering Manager, who we have recently welcomed
back from maternity leave:  
In this edition of the volunteer e-newsletter we've got some great updates
from various volunteer groups throughout the county. 
If you are thinking of getting involved with a group but haven't yet
taken the first step we've got a number of ways you can start. 
What are you waiting for?

Help us protect important habitats within Somerset 

The Sedgemoor Conservation Volunteers are an established group who

 carry out practical tasks on a wide range of nature reserves.

They have a couple of dates coming up on SWT reserves; Sunday 23rd September at Great Breach Wood where they will be clearing glades of cut grass, and Sunday 7th October at Westhay Moor where they will be removing scrub. 

 Details of how to get involved are here.  

 SCVs 2012
 The Sedgemoor Conservation Volunteers

The East Poldens Conservation Volunteers are a small friendly group who are keen to expand and welcome new faces No experience needed, just
enthusiasm and a desire to help SWT on their nature reserves.
For more information and to book please contact Mark: or 01823 652408.  

Mark Green
Mark Green, Reserve Manager


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Marine Life in Lyme Bay.

Our next public meeting is on thursday September 20th in Somerton at 7.30 pm till about 9 .00 pm
United Reform Church Hall.


Marine Life in Lyme Bay.

Peter Glanville shares some of his images of and observations on the marine life in this area.

Tea and coffee available.

All welcome;

£2.50 contribution to cost of hire of the hall.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Meadow crisis over!

Update on my previous post.

A bit of luck led us to a farmer who has the right size of equipment and has  now already cut our field last Thursday, back yesterday to turn the grass over and so it should be baled and removed soon.
Not many butterflies flying now!! Scabious cut down still in flower but many had already seeded. They always come back and even spread.
Took some photos of berries on new hedge for the Somerset Hedge Group photography competition but not expecting to show in the winners list!

The photos below show the baling in progress.

 After turning to dry out the grass it was then turned a second time to pile it into ridges ready for baling

This seems to be a Slow Worm caught out in the open  during the hay cutting or the subsequent  turning. It appeared undamaged but also seems quite dead. Also found a dead shrew.

 About a quarter of the field had less grass than the rest.

This is the relatively small tractor and baler.

Hay now baled. For comparison he collected 20 bales on the adjacent field owned by the local Council and 18 on our slightly smaller field. All done in dry weather in four days.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Meadow crisis

Meadow crisis.

Problems with getting the hay cut!

Have just finished pulling Ragwort.

Contractors who do hay cutting are using such large machines , year by year getting bigger that our 4 acre meadow is now too small to be worth while.
Our gate onto a small lane is not big enough for the machine to get in the field or to get a trailer in to take away the bales.
Probably because we have encouraged Yellow Rattle, in some parts of the field the grass is described as just weeds !  ( weeds indeed!)
Maybe it could be better used for silage?
What about topping it. I think that means just cutting but not baling and removing.
Possibly because we have had a wet summer grasses everywhere have been growing strongly so our small field is not very appealing for hay making.

Now looking for a plan B or C.

Will keep you posted.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Bat enquiries, questions, conservation.

When I check the stats provided for my Blog the subject of Bats comes up as a top ten reason for visits,
Especially people searching with Google. I'm not well informed on the subject so a good way to help local residents in Somerset is to suggest they visit the specialist Group shown below.

Use this link to visit:   

I recommend anyone interested in Bats to join their Bat Group
Lou is also the Chair of the SWT Yeovil Area Group

Somerset Bat Group was formed in 1985 to help protect bats in Somerset
We are affiliated to the Bat Conservation Trust (the national organisation for bat protection) and Somerset Wildlife Trust
Somerset has 15 of the 16 species of British Bats and we still haven’t given up on the 16th. Some species are more common than others and some are endangered. The Bat Group is actively engaged in varied activities to help preserve these fascinating creatures.
Several of our members run Bat Walks in the Summer. We give talks to local groups, install and check bat boxes and during the Winter hold workshops and courses in Bat Care, Analysing Bat Sound, and Bat Identification.
If you are interested in joining us the please contact secretary 
phone 01935 862468, or send £5 subs to Lou at 3 Odcombe Hollow, East Chinnock, Yeovil, Somerset BA22 9DW.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wildlife Friendly Gardening

I've just managed to find all six parts of the RHS series, published in their magazine called The Garden, which they call Living Gardens. Published every month since April 2012. The RHS is part of a group of organisations with a common interest in wild life but covering a wide range of interests.  The leading group is Natural England and you can find out more by using the link below.

Natural England - Getting involved

The key words are :   getting involved.  In Somerset the Wildlife Trust will help you.

Wildlife Gardening Forum

Natural England is a leading member of the forum, which includes over 150 conservation organisations, agencies, horticultural organisations and media with an interest in wildlife gardening. Individual gardeners are welcome to join too.
Hummingbird Hawk-moth
Hummingbird Hawk-moth
The forum’s objectives are to:
  • Cultivate a responsible attitude to the natural environment among gardeners and the garden industry.
  • Gather evidence about the benefits to people and biodiversity of wildlife gardening.
  • Pass on information helping people make well-informed choices about their gardening activities.
  • Help link people and nature through gardens, to encourage a deeper appreciation of biodiversity and sustainability.
The Forum Manifesto: (2.1mb)pdf document sets out the main issues for wildlife gardening we are tackling. Organisations joining are asked to sign up to the manifesto.
We have produced Bringing your Garden to Life: (5.35mb)pdf document which sets out ten simple gardening practises to make your garden alive with wildlife.
Members of the forum have worked to produce The Big Wildlife Gardenexternal link, a fantastic resource for everything you need to know about wildlife gardening and join friends doing it too.
You could help in one of the forum’s working groups. These include research needs, developers and planning, human health and well being, and training and education. The Plants for Bugs Project at RHS Wisleyexternal link, is a forum research project looking at the importance of native and non-native garden plants for supporting biodiversity.
We hold conferences and produces newsletters about new findings, case studies and member’s work and events. Visit the how to join page if you would like to be a forum member as an individual or as an organisation. There is no charge to be a member.