UK Bird News May 2012

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Been there... Done that....Got the App !!!!

Been there... Done that....Got the App !!!!

Or should that be the other way round !

As mentioned previously,we at Birdersmarket like to have an annual escape for a few days and this year we visited Norfolk.I must point out from the outset that none of us are 'twitchers' as we just don't have the time these days.
However, I decided to download the free Rare Bird Alert App for iphone - Bird Alert Pro and used it for the 24 hour trial.I was so impressed with it that I opted for a one month upgrade to the 'Alerts' option (push notifications service) to see how this would perform using both wi-fi and, (in the field) 3G.This is not the FULL version which also gives all the National news in detail.This can be found online if you are an RBA subsciber - which I am.The 'Full' version would probably be a better option if you were seriously into twitching'.
Our trip was to take in Paxton pits, a quick detour to London on business, back to Fen Drayton Lakes then on to our hotel in Thetford.I set the bird news alerts for Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk (Alert users get National news in brief ,but Full detail if using the Full version) and you can even select alerts by 'species' if you require by scrolling through an alphabetical list).
Checking the latest 3G coverage maps before departure (I have O2 as the carrier) didn't look that promising, but throughout the first day the alerts came through thick and fast.

Alerts

Alerts

Alerts started coming through via 3G as soon as we hit the motorway.Clicking on the specific Alert gives the species, (with a stunning gallery of photographs if required), and full location information.Using a the further 'Site' option, the user is taken to a screen which gives other bird sightings for the location and uses Google maps to locate the site. If you have 'location services' enabled you can also 'Get directions' again using GPS maps with suggested routes, journey time and distance.

3G and Wi-fi

The next day we set off for Santon Downham, Weeting heath and Lakenheath. We were lucky to have a great days birding but 'dipped' on any cranes at Lakenheath.The decision was taken to go back to Santon Downham where we'd had superb views of crossbill earlier in the day to see if we could locate any more. Glad we did as although we couldn't find any more crossbill, we were treated to a stunning view of a Rough-legged buzzard being mobbed by rooks. It was at this point that my 02 service let me down as I was unable to use the App's 'Submit news' feature (again easy to use) and had to wait until we were back at the Hotel to send in my report via Wi-fi.
(I should mention that there is a sightings telephone option here aswell, but I had no service at all at Santon Downham).

North Norfolk Coast

North Norfolk Coast

Although my o2 coverage was 'patchy' (this is no fault of the App),overall the alerts were still received as we took in Cley, Holkham and other areas, but the icing on the cake was an alert that came in that evening informing of two Crane seen at Blakeney which could be viewed from Friary hills (right).This is when the App comes in very useful as an update was received at breakfast the following morning, informing us that the cranes were still showing, along with 2 ring ouzel, whimbrel and bar-tailed godwit.
Knowing (via the App) that these 'other' species were present made us all look much harder over the entire landscape (something, that if we were honest, wouldn't of done without it).The rewards of both the App's information and our increased efforts were instant with stunning views of the cranes flying, the ouzels, godwit and whimbrel and we picked up on 4 wonderful yellow wagtails feeding around cattle.

Conclusion

Overall we would say that this is a simply Stunning App that adds so much more enjoyment to the hobby of birding.The photographs are superb, the layout is a joy and, in our opinion, the various options offer excellent value for money.It's crowning glory has to be the subscription variables - 1 year, 1 month, 7 days, 3 days or even 1 day !.
This makes it an absolute MUST for any birding trip you have planned or to simply get a 'feel' and insight into bird movements accross the UK.
This App seriously increases your birding knowledge.
100% recommended.
Further details can be found at the RBA website by clicking here

Mike
Birdersmarket

#SUNDAY SPECIAL'S on Twitter

#SUNDAY SPECIAL'S on Twitter

Our #SUNDAY SPECIAL's went well last weekend 29th April, with one offer of Helm's Wrens,Dippers and Thrashers being sold for an incredible bargain price of just £5.99 in less than 5 minutes of it being advertised.

Follow us on Twitter @birdersmarket for all the latest bargains and offers.You can set the 'push notifications' to favourites or people you follow to receive the latest bargains direct to your smart phone.

Great White Egret breed in Somerset

Great White Egret breed in Somerset

31 May 2012

Natural England announced last week that great white egrets had nested in Britain for the first time and confirmed that at least one chick has been seen on the nest.

The nest has been under constant watch since it was first confirmed in early April. On Tuesday evening volunteers on the monitoring team spotted one chick and had glimpses of what may have been a second. The presence of at least one chick was then confirmed on Wednesday morning by Natural England’s Great White Egret project officer Kevin Anderson who said; ?

?“We’ve definitely seen one chick stretching a wing just before the adult arrived and also after it left and we continue to monitor for more. The eggs of the Great White Egret can hatch over a period of a few days so it may be that if there are other young on the nest they will be less developed and won’t be visible yet”. ?

??This is what we had all been waiting for,” added Simon Clarke, Senior Reserve Manager at Shapwick Heath. “We are all delighted that we have Britain’s first breeding record for great white egrets at this special site. We now look forward to watching its first tentative steps and flights out over the reed bed.” ?

Tony Whitehead speaking for the RSPB said: "This is brilliant news. It’s been a great team effort - but all credit to Natural England for taking the lead and ensuring that the UK now has a new species of breeding bird. And what a bird to add to the list!"
??
The great white egret is more usually found in mainland Europe, but in recent years, there have been increased sightings of these elegant birds in England, a small number of which have been visiting the reedbeds and wetlands of the Avalon Marshes. Until now, none of these visitors have nested and there is growing excitement that this summer could see the beginning of a growing trend. ?Over the past few years, conservation work on a landscape scale has been carried out by Natural England and others across the Avalon marshes to restore old peat mining works and create a haven for wildlife – work that has also seen bitterns, otters and marsh harriers thrive again in the area.
??
Local birdwatchers spotted nesting activity on the Shapwick Heath Reserve in early April this year and alerted the Somerset Ornithological Society, Natural England and the RSPB. The three organisations immediately established a 24 hour nest watch operation with volunteers, who have currently clocked up over 1000 hours of nest-watching time. This ensured the birds were not disturbed whilst they completed their nest, concealed deep in the reed beds. ?

?This species tends to return to the same nest site each year, so it is hoped that this pair will be pioneers and that a colony of great white egrets will become established on the Avalon Marshes.?

??RSPB and Natural England have set up a recorded information line for people to keep up to date with the birds progress and details on visiting the reserve to view the birds. The number is 07866 554142. ?

?Visitors to Shapwick Heath are welcome but parking is very limited. Therefore, in order to avoid disturbance to local residents, visitors are asked to park at the Avalon Marshes Centre, Westhay, BA6 9TT, where you will find directions to the Great Egret Watch.?

Buzzard trapping plan abandoned as government U-turns again

Buzzard trapping plan abandoned as government U-turns again

Defra's controversial scheme to destroy protected species' nests to protect pheasant shoots dropped after public outcry.
The Guardian Wednesday 30 May 2012

A controversial plan to trap buzzards and destroy their nests to protect pheasant shoots has been abandoned by the government, the latest in a series of U-turns.

"In the light of the public concerns expressed in recent days, I have decided to look at developing new research proposals on buzzards," said Richard Benyon, the wildlife minister.

The climbdown is the fourth change of policy this week following about-turns on the "pasty tax" – VAT on hot snacks such as pasties and sausage rolls – and a big cut to the proposed rate of VAT on static caravans, a policy which is thought to have provoked the biggest rebellion by government MPs in this parliament; ministers have also scaled back their ambitions to expand the use of secret courts for security-risk cases, though the white paper on this is still deeply unpopular with lawyers and rights activists.

The Department for the Environment (Defra) had planned to spend £375,000 on testing control measures for buzzards, after complaints that a surge in numbers of the protected bird of prey was leading to too many pheasant chicks being killed. But the proposal caused uproar among conservationists, who pointed out that the government's own documents acknowledged the number of pheasant chicks taken by buzzards was unknown, with only anecdotal evidence available.

"The minister has made a strong decision, reflecting the strength of the nation's desire to see government protecting precious wildlife," said Martin Harper, the RSPB's conservation director.

However, Tim Bonner, campaign director for the Countryside Alliance, criticised the U-turn. "That the government has chosen to ignore rural people in favour of a large and vocal special-interest group shows ministers are now willing to give in to whoever shouts the loudest," he said.

Labour has criticised the recent spate of U-turns, saying they are evidence of a wider "omnishambles". However government officials point out many of the proposals were made to be consulted on, and significantly altering or abandoning an idea is evidence that they are "listening" to expert and public views. "We're damned if we do, and damned if we don't," said one senior Liberal Democrat source.

The 2010 British Breeding Bird Survey shows the breeding population of buzzards rose by 146% from 1995-2009. Benyon said: "The success of conservation measures has seen large increases in the numbers of buzzards and other birds of prey <Actinic:Variable Name = 'and'/> I celebrate that. At the same time it is right that we make decisions on the basis of sound evidence and we do need to understand better the whole relationship between raptors, game birds and other livestock. I will collaborate with all the organisations that have an interest in this issue and will bring forward new proposals."

A Defra official acknowledged the RSPB's campaign had been compelling. She said the new research would aim to establish the impact of birds of prey on pheasants first, before considering control measures. There is no timetable for the new terms of reference.

The RSPB had pointed to previous research that found few pheasant chicks were killed by any bird of prey. An independent study by Adas and commissioned by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation found that, on average, 1-2% of pheasant poults released were taken by all birds of prey, the RSPB said.

Labour's Mary Creagh, shadow environment secretary, said: "I am delighted this out-of-touch government has dropped its stupid plans. This was the latest environmental blunder from a government that has long forgotten its pre-election green ambitions with the forests sell-off and badger cull."

The government has also been criticised for favouring grouse shooting in the Pennines, after its wildlife agency Natural England abandoned plans to ban the burning of peat land on a grouse moor and withdrew from an unprecedented legal action against the Walshaw Moor estate that sought to ban burning completely.Common Buzzard.Pic Neil Fifer

The Birder's Market | Resource | Bird news for Britain / Rest of the World | UK Bird News | Bird News for United Kingdom 2012 |  UK Bird News May 2012

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