Monthly Archives: September 2013

Abundance London’s Fruit Day

Brentford Recycling Action Group

Friends of the Earth have a stall for the Bee Cause at Abundance London’s annual Fruit Day. SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5th 11-3pm at St Michaels & All Angels, Bedford Park (nearest tube station, Turnham Green).

Abundance is a project to harvest the seasonal glut of local fruit (apples, pears, plums, quinces, cherries, grapes…) and make use of it while educating. You can bring your own fruit to add to the fun.

Abundance Fruit Fair

View original post

House sparrow numbers stabilise

Country Diary : Two male house sparrows

Pic: Alamy / The Guardian

There was some good news last week when new figures from the BTO Garden BirdWatch survey revealed that the decline in house sparrow numbers appears to have levelled off.

Populations of house sparrows across the UK have fallen from about 12 million pairs in the 1970s to between 6 and 7 million pairs today, with a greater reduction in urban and rural areas than in suburban ones.

But the latest data from the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) Garden BirdWatch, a citizen science survey in which birdwatchers and householders monitor gardens across the country throughout the year, suggests that the decline in gardens has stabilised since 2009.

Figures from the trust show that in 1995, the proportion of gardens reporting one or more house sparrows was about 80%. This fell steadily to 60% in 2009, and has remained at the same rate since.

“It’s too soon to say that they are increasing but the decline has definitely levelled off since 2009 and hopefully this means they’ll start to increase again,” said Clare Simm, BTO’s Garden BirdWatch development officer.

The house sparrow is a “red-listed”conservation species which has been in long-term decline, particularly in urban environments. Its populations across Britain have been hit by a loss of nesting sites and food sources, especially insects to feed their young.

In rural areas, changes in farming practices are thought to have affected house sparrows. But in urban and suburban areas the causes have been more complex, with everything from cats to air pollution and pesticides being blamed.

The BTO has recommended five simple measures for gardeners to encourage house sparrows:

• Let an area of your garden go wild to encourage insects.

• Plants like hawthorn and ivy provide thick vegetation for sparrows to hide in.

• Provide them with a home, using either a house sparrow terrace or nest boxes near the eaves of your property.

• Feed them with a suitable seed mix that includes large grains.

• Regularly clean your feeding stations to prevent disease.

No, There Is No “Pause” In Global Warming, And Here’s Why

The Bee Cause petition

Cuckfield Local

Feel like stepping up to add your name to a petition to help bees? Friends of the Earth need your help to persuade government to develop a Bee Action Plan. You can read more about it here on the FOE Bee Cause website

View original post

Extremely Rare Beaked Whale Spotted Off Kerry’s Coast

Ann Novek( Luure)--With the Sky as the Ceiling and the Heart Outdoors

Sightings made by Irish Whale and Dolphin Group from deck of ‘Celtic Mist’

True’s beaked whale, which was ‘almost certainly’ spotted off the Kerry coast. Image: Getty Images/Dorling Kindersley True’s beaked whale, which was ‘almost certainly’ spotted off the Kerry coast. Image: Getty Images/Dorling Kindersley

Lorna Siggins

Sightings of some of the most rarely seen whales on the planet have been recorded from the deck of the yacht the Celtic Mist off the southwest coast.The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has photographed three beaked whales on the Porcupine Bight, about 120km southwest of Kerry.

The whales are “almost certainly” what are known as True’s beaked whales, which have only been spotted alive twice before – in the Bay of Biscay and off the Canaries – according to IWDG marine mammal observer and co-ordinator Patrick Lyne.

The whales are named after Frederick K True, a former curator of the national museum in the US, now the Smithsonian. The first such live sighting…

View original post 235 more words

Badger Cull a Shambles – well there’s a surprise!

New early warning system to protect trees


Tree health experts have secured nearly a million pounds of EU funding over four years to develop the  LIFE+ ObservaTREE, an early warning system of pest and disease threats to the UK’s trees.

Led by the research agency of the Forestry Commission, the project will help to identify tree health problems earlier, and enable members of the public and voluntary bodies to play a greater role in protecting woodland health by reporting incidents.

The UK has seen an increase in the incidence of new tree pests and diseases over the past decade, partly due to the expansion and globalisation of trade in live plants and wood products. Trade routes can act as pathways for the introduction of new pests and diseases, and ObservaTREE will enable vigilance for new threats to be stepped up. The project’s partners include the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), the Woodland Trust and the National Trust.

The Woodland Trust’s Dr Kate Lewthwaite said: “We are delighted to be part of this project and will recruit and train a network of volunteers and tree health ‘champions’ from a wide spectrum of backgrounds – from ordinary citizens to those already working in forestry, horticulture and arboriculture.

“These volunteers and champions will support Forest Research scientists by acting as a first line of response to reports of tree pests and diseases sent in by the public from their localities. They will do this by responding to, screening and helping to investigate reports of suspected pest and disease threats.”

WILDLIFE : British water vole population slumps by more than one-fifth, survey finds


A wildlife friend of mine – Allen Beechey – in the spotlight for ‘fighting the good fight! 

From the Guardian : The crystal-clear water races over the stones, a heron cries and the smell of wild mint rises on the warm air.

But there is one thing missing from this bucolic scene: the telltale swish of the reeds or sudden liquid plop that betrays a water vole.

The creature immortalised as Ratty in The Wind in the Willows is vanishing from the British countryside, with the population slumping by more than one–fifth, according to a new five-year survey.

On the banks of the River Chess in the Chilterns, Allen Beechey of the Chiltern Conservation Board has no doubt about the culprit: American mink – escapees from fur farms with a voracious appetite for water voles.

“I saw a mink in broad daylight last month trying to scrag a couple…

View original post 749 more words