News archive

April 2016

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Latest news re: Saving the Nightingales at Lodge Hill

Latest news re: Saving the Nightingales at Lodge Hill

Changes to the developer's team, requests for updated information and other delays mean that despite us working hard, this inquiry will not take place until 2017! The good news is that we've confirmed the RSPB will be one of the parties allowed to present our evidence at the public inquiry. Lodge Hill isn't only important for nightingales, and throughout our campaigning, we've worked alongside other conservation organisations. We'll therefore be standing alongside Kent Wildlife Trust and Medway Countryside Forum in the inquiry to give all the wildlife that Lodge Hill protects a voice in the proceedings.

The eagle-eyed amongst you may have seen that Rampisham Down in Dorset, another site that could set the same precedent for damage to our nationally protected areas, was called in not long after Lodge Hill. We're expecting that public inquiry to start much sooner that the Lodge Hill one, in the Autumn this year, and it will examine many of the same issues.

Meanwhile, Lodge Hill's nightingales have nested, reared their chicks, migrated to Africa for the winter and are returning to Kent once more, where the future of their home still hangs in the balance of the developer and the Council's ambitions. As the nightingales prepare to return to Africa once more this Autumn, we expect Medway Council to launch a further consultation on their Local Plan for housing. Their last Local Plan was rejected by the Government's Inspector because they included Lodge Hill, a protected site, as one of the key developments. We fully, but sadly, expect it to be central to this forthcoming draft Local Plan as well.

We'll need your help in the months ahead to keep fighting for both Lodge Hill's nightingales and the principles of protection from development from special sites like this.

Enjoy their singing throughout the spring

But for now, our nightingales are returning to mate and nest, and the males are singing their hearts out. By early June they'll have gone silent, disappearing elusively into the scrubland to rear their chicks. Whilst it lasts, head to Northward Hill, Cliffe Pools and Blean Woods (all in Kent), Minsmere in Suffolk, Highnam Woods in Gloucestershire, Garston Wood in Dorset or Pulborough Brooks in West Sussex or one of these Wildlife Trusts reserves.

You can ready the full story of our fight to save Lodge Hill over on our Lodge Hill casework page by clicking on the url link below.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch - Results now in!

RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch - Results now in!

To explore the regional and national results in more detail please click on the link below. Thank you to everyone that took part.

Friday, 1 April 2016

April 'Bird of the Month' - Little Ringed Plover

April 'Bird of the Month' - Little Ringed Plover

Bird of the Month for April is Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius). The dainty and diminutive LRP is one of the earliest summer migrants to arrive and quickly establishes a territory on inland freshwater habitats or the margins of flooded gravel pits and other man-made sites. The European and North African populations migrate across the Sahara Desert between late-July and early-September (leaving their breeding grounds in June to mid-July) to reach wintering grounds in tropical Africa from late-August onwards. These birds then return to their breeding grounds from mid-March, where they breed April-June (Europe) or March-May (North Africa) which is when we hope to see them next.

Slightly smaller and more delicate than the Ringed Plover, the LRP can be told apart in flight by the lack of wing bars and if seen well on the ground, by its diagnostic yellow eye rings. Sexes are similar and the call is a loud whistled 'pee-oo'.

A good chance of connecting with this species is to come along to our walk on Sunday 17th April at KWT Sevenoaks, or failing that try KWT Oare Marshes.

For a more detailed ID guide check out http://www.birdfieldguide.co.uk/Little_Ringed_Plover.html

To see a video of the Little Ringed Plover please click on the link below.