Friday, October 26, 2007

Feed The Birds Day - 27th October 2007

This Saturday is the RSPB National Feed The Birds Day.

Scrub off the bird table, clean out and fill the feeders with a variety of seeds, nuts and fat snacks. Make sure that you're not also setting up a tasty snack for the local cats and provide cover for the birds.

Don't forget to give the bird bath a scrub and keep it filled with clean water. If you don't have a bird bath a large plant saucer will do or an upturned dustbin lid partially filled with a couple of bricks or pebbles so that it's not to deep for drinking and bathing.

Clean out the bird boxes too as they may be used by roosting birds over the winter or for hibernating ladybirds and lacewings.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Putting Out The Feeders

As it's now getting colder I've stocked up the bird feeders and got in the winter's supply to make sure that neighbourhood birds are well fed. Hopefully attracting slightly more that the starlings and sparrows - although with both these bird species being on the red list, we should treat them as welcome visitors.

Also, now having an arch in the garden, I've got a whole new source of places to hang things from. I've put out some peanuts and fat balls which the starlings didn't take long to find but the blue tits soon appeared as did several chaffinches.

So much for birds being early risers. Between 7.30 - 8.00 am there was no one visiting the feeders. Come 9 o'clock they're all there. Starlings, tits and sparrows.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

First Scrub Bash Of The Year

Exhausted, covered in scratches, smelling of smoke - yep, it's that time of the year again. Back into volunteering and scrub-bashing. Not only have I now joined up with the Friends of Telscombe Tye but I'm still working with the Sussex Wildlife Trust and the Lewes group started with the first of the winter tasks this weekend.

Back up on Malling Down and continuing to clear the area we started on last year. It's amazing and slightly disheartening to see how much has grown back where we cleared. The ground elder has sprouted up with a vengeance and the nettles have also spread so you'd hardly know that we'd been there.

Never mind - moving further along the patch to clear more hawthorn, ground elder and brambles. There was a good turnout for the first weekend, although people were turning up throughout the day. Another lovely day out on the hill, warm in the sunshine and after a few minutes of sawing and slashing.

The bonfire didn't get going until just before lunch-time but once started we then spent a couple of hours dragging all the scrub that we'd cut in the morning and piling it onto the fire which had turned into a raging inferno. I left a few minutes early as we'd done all the cutting for the day and the fire just needed to left to burn what was on it.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Blackbird and Berries

The pyracantha outside the front window is covered in berries.

I have a pair of blackbirds who've now become regular visitors - at least while the berries are there. Turning up throughout the day to swallow down a couple of berries and then darting off again. Slightly cautious as they can either see me moving around inside or their own reflection but hunger seems to be the better part of valour.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Save The Severn

While I'm all for renewable energy, I really don't think that placing a ten-mile barrier of concrete across the Severn estuary is the way to go. Never mind the fact that once built it will generate 6% of the electricity requirements for England and Wales (we could save that by just reducing our existing usage) and cost over £15bn - it will destroy a unique wildlife habitat and generate huge amounts of CO2 in its construction.

The river severn is a truely unique wildlife habitat of world wide significance. Building a severn barrage will destroy much of this. What is the point of creating "green" energy if the price we pay is environmental vandalism and destruction of important eco systems.

Sign the petition against the barrage on the government website:

Read more about it on the following sites:

The Severn barrage or tidal lagoons - a briefing paper by Friends of the Earth (PDF)

No Green light for severn barrage - RSPB news briefing.

Environment Agency Wales - our view

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Red Kites on the M40

Driving up the M40 past High Wycombe and I spotted three red kites and one buzzard. Not a particular high total for that stretch of road, I have seen at least 20 kites circling over the town on one journey down but then I was driving this time, so I was concentrating on the road ahead!

It's a lovely sight to see these magnificent birds soaring up in the sky, searching for carrion or circling in large groups. It made me think, that if they can successfully breed in such large numbers in the Chilterns - there's no reason why they can't be introduced or spread to other areas of the UK. Although there are still people who will steal their eggs and poison them, there are now over 600 breeding pairs in Wales where the red kite hung on, having been exterminated from the rest of the country by the end of the 18th Century and about 250 pairs in the Chilterns

I remember seeing my first one in the wild, in the UK (they're a more common site in mainland Europe), driving up the M40 again and not realising at the time that they'd been released in the Chilterns and were established and breeding. That was over 18 years ago. They have been sighted in Sussex, so I shall look forward to seeing one flying over the Downs in the years to come.

Red Kites Feeding