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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.