Any bright ideas for next year’s field meetings?

I would have liked to have begun this by saying something along the lines of now summer’s drawing to a close, but I can’t remember when it was – 10.17 three weeks ago last Wednesday? Anyway, it’s that time of year when our thoughts turn to next year’s meeting programme.

We’ll shortly be starting the process of arranging next year’s field programme. If there are areas you think might be of interest to members and that we should visit, we’d like to hear your suggestions (including the best time to visit). Don’t worry – suggesting a site won’t necessarily mean you have to lead the outing!  We’d also be interested in suggestions for the annual August “away day”. Or any other ideas.

If you have ideas please leave them in the comments or email the Society at info (at)


Better laws for wildlife

Earlier this year we put a link on the website to an e-petition calling on the Government to adopt the vicarious liability offence in force in Scotland for England and Wales. This holds landowners and managers to account for wildlife crimes committed by their staff. If you want evidence of why this is important it looks as if this year only one pair of Hen Harriers have bred in England. The RSPB report that in 2010 they “… received 128 reports of poisoning incidents, 227 reports of shooting and destruction of birds of prey, 40 reported egg collecting incidents and 94 reports of illegal taking, possession or sale of wild birds”

The good news is that the  Law Commission is now looking at whether this and other improvements to the law should be introduced into England and Wales. A public consultation is likely to be introduced later this month. Bookmark the RSPB’s page if you are interested where there is more information on the issue and once the consultation is launched, on how to get involved.

Nightingales in the Cotswold Water Park

A good new story for once!

The Water Park has had a lot of bad press over the last couple of years (much of it misplaced and based on misunderstandings) regarding its management. One species that has been a particular focus of comment, especially since the regeneration work started at Swillbrook, is the Nightingale and the apparent reduction in numbers.

This year the population was surveyed as part of the BTO’s national census. Gareth Harris the Park’s Biodiversity Manager has now published a report of the findings. I think the findings will surprise many (including those of us who helped in the surveying): the numbers have held remarkably steady with the population more or less the same as ten years ago. What has happened, unfortunately for the majority of birders, is that new territories have been set up on private land. Still it’s good news for an iconic bird generally under threat.  Let’s hope the ‘publicly available’ population begins to increase as the habitat regenerates at Swillbrook.