Neonicotinoids still present in farmland birds despite the ban 

Neonicotinoids (commonly shortened to neonics) are a class of neuro-active insecticides, chemically similar to nicotine, developed in the 1980s. They are the most widely used insecticides worldwide and are considered to be of low risk to non-target organisms such as vertebrates. Further, they are reported to be rapidly excreted and metabolized, reducing their potential toxicity. There has long been concern that they are a contributing factor in the decline of bee colonies; but growing evidence of adverse effects on farmland bird species raises questions about the purported harmless nature of these … Read more

Best of Britain

Curlew sandpiper(Tom Mabbett)

Free online talk by Tom Mabbett, on Wednesday, 22 March 2023 – 19.30h

Surrey Bird Club members may be interested in the second online talk of the Crawley and Horsham RSPB local group, Tom Mabbett takes us on a Zoom tour of Britain and the best places for watching wildlife in the UK – from Ardamurchan to the Forest of Dean. For this talk, he draws on his extensive travels in search of wildlife, working for an environmental charity after gaining his degree in Biology from Exeter University, as a warden at WWT Slimbridge before joining the specialist tour company … Read more

Sandeel Review

Kittiwakes, puffins and razorbills are some of England’s most treasured seabirds that could benefit from proposed measures to ban sandeel fishing. The Defra announcement (Tuesday 7 March) comes ahead of a new BBC wildlife documentary Wild Isles, presented by Sir David Attenborough, that will explore how ecosystems and habitats support wildlife around the UK, including the importance of sandeels for our puffin population.

Sandeel is the common name for a considerable number of species of small fish. While they are not true eels, they are eel-like in their appearance and can grow up to 30cm. They are a vital food … Read more

Woodcock petition

Wild Justice petitioned Parliament that the opening of the Woodcock shooting season be pushed back to 1 December. Annually, 160,000 Woodcock are shot for sport across the UK whilst their population is declining. The Defra Secretary of State has powers to vary the shooting season. The petition received 107,916 signatures and the issue was debated in a committee room on 27 February (16:30 – 17:50). 9 MPs spoke, 4 generally in favour and 5 against, plus the Parliamentary Under Secretary.

The Parliamentary Under Secretary for Defra, Trudy Harrison said: The more abundant migratory woodcock population is unlikely to arrive in … Read more

Bird Flu

Following a meeting of more than 100 experts, a report into the continuing Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI or ‘bird flu’) outbreak has been published by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC).

HPAI has caused mass mortalities in the UK’s internationally important wild waterbirds and seabirds since the current outbreak began in October 2021. Across the UK, more than 60 species have been affected, and data collected by the governments’ conservation bodies, other organisations and volunteers indicates that many more than 20,000 wild birds have died. Especially badly affected species include wintering Barnacle Geese … Read more

March 2023

Friday 31st

Shelduck, Hogsmill SF (J Snell).
Shelduck, Hogsmill SF (J Snell).

Beddington Farmlands: 4 Ruff on Phase 3 Wet Grassland; also 4 Willow Warblers, Green Sandpiper, Swallow and 3 Little Ringed Plovers (G Jones/Z Pannifer).

Bisley: Willow Warbler (A Clifford).

Burpham: Shelduck pair at Burpham Court Farm (S Chastell).

Hogsmill SF: Shelduck pair (J Snell).

Island Barn Reservoir (permit only): Common Tern and Willow Warbler (A Harding/D Harris).

London Wetland Centre: White Wagtail on Main Lake; also 4 Willow Warblers, Goldeneye and 2 Swallows (A Wilkinson).

Shackleford: female Wheatear (P Osborn).

Southwark Park: Willow Warbler (J … Read more