May, 2011

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South East

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  • I want one of those!

    A big smiley welcome to one female and two male peregrine chicks, now ringed and very visible on our re-aligned and cleaned webcam [Thank you Lyndon].

    They are so fluffy and cute.

    I defy anyone seeing them not to want to feel their fluffiness pressed up against your cheek - or maybe I'm just sad. It's hard to imagine these fragile looking balls of bounciness becoming the feared and fast predator that sends other birds darting for the undergrowth. That's nature.

    I wionder if Harry, Luke and Joe will see a peregrine on their weekend race to record a hundred different bird species within the M25 this weekend. Follow Harry on Twitter @earlybirders to find out how they're doing and cheer them on by donating; all money raised is being donated to the RSPB. If our website doesn't tell you enough about our work, visit the gull van on the southbank outside the Festival Hall and ask our staff, who'll be happy to tell you more.


  • Experience Harry and Luke's big bird adventure

    This weekend, Harry Boorman, his cousin Luke and mate (not in the biblical sense) Joe, are scouring the windy streets of London looking for birds. That sentence somehow feels a bit seedy but their endeavour is all above board and in a good cause.

    Hara started the race by betting Harry £100 he couldn't do it - he accepted and raised the ante by seeking sponsorship with all cash raised being donated to the RSPB to fund conservation work.Harry's girlfriend, Hara [pictured right], challenged him to spot 100 different bird species within the M25 over 48 hours. It's more than possible, especially at the moment with so many migrant species here for the summer.

    [Saturday Update: They're two thirds of the way there as of midday Saturday - it gets tougher from here on. Cheer them on via Harry's @earlybirder Twitter page]

    I wish them luck but also thank them for making so much noise about their escapades. Anyone can have a go and there is so much wildlife to see in London. Once you start looking, you'll find it hard not to stop.

    The great thing about looking for birds and other critters is that you suddenly start noticing other wonderful things in the Capital. Our streets, our historic and modern buildings are full of amazing detail and interest, but we rarely find time to actually look at it as we go about the daily business of our lives.

    Open your eyes and see what you can discover this weekend.

  • Get me an injunction!

    I'd like to talk to you about footballer Rxxx Xxxxx, but that's old news now.

    I want an injunction on sustainability, then maybe we'd see some interest from our news media in the shocking state (and decline) of our wildlife. I admit we're not talking sexy species like tigers and elephants, but vanishing grasses, bugs and yes even some birds is pretty bad news.

     In London, we're losing house sparrows, tree sparrows, swifts, black redstarts and many other common species. We know from research that there are some basic things that can be done quickly and cheaply, but our sense of urgency when talking to the media is dismissed as, "oh, that's just another bird ringing story (a BBC TV producer's comment on our tree sparrow project). Or. "I can't see the news angle in that," ( the opinion of an editor working for a well known London freesheet on our partnership project to support and track swifts).

    I appreciate that there's a global economic crisis, big foreign stories, visiting presidents and debates on privacy, but isn't there also room for stories on the way we're losing bits of our natural world? Bits of the natural world that, in one way or another, form part of the cycle of life that keeps us alive! 

    Slapping an injunction on the word sustainability would highlight next months National Ecosystems Assessment by the UK Government. We're trying to encourage Chancellor Osbourne to build sustainability in to policy and gagging the media would be a sure-fire way to get the S word on everyone's lips. It's a simple enough ask, ensuring that Government policy and spending put equal emphasis on economic, social and environmental outcomes.

    That way, the Olympic Park, High Speed Rail Two and other big projects would have to deliver benefits on all three areas.

    That surely is something we'd all like to shout about.