Saturday 27 June 2020

20200521 The Walsey Hills Hedge

RSPB Gamebird shooting survey results:

Is this Wildlife Crime? Or just Disturbance? 

A local wildlife notable who has spent decades working in conservation and wildlife crime has assessed the situation and appeals to the Cley Bird Club:

'I would welcome your views as this is one of the worst cases of habitat destruction I have seen in the Cley area since moving here 23 years ago and the CBC does have in its aims: have a voice on local issues affecting wildlife.'

The Norfolk Wildlife Trust and Norfolk Ornithologists Association should also voice concerns, as the hedge remains and fence abut their reserves.

The importance of hedgerows has featured several times on this years Springwatch.
 The remains of this one demonstrates the reality of todays countryside and its management.

20200521 Walsey Hills end.
5m on west side of hedge removed.
Removed in mid May...??
Making way for fencing, hunting and shooting...?
RSPB survey on game shooting; I guessed at 10 million gamebirds dumped in the British countryside each year...
Turns out its over 57 million?! Its rumoured 20% in TG04.

20200521 The Hangs end.
10m metres wide hedge removed leaving thin strip of Alexander.
How many Whitethroat nests were wiped out?
How has this helped our carbon footprint and re-wilding of the Cley Square?
Please view Mark Golley's twitter feed:

20140423 Walsey Hills from The Hangs
A lush and wide hedge in late April 2014 that runs for about 1.5Km down to Walsey Hills... now no more??
20130922 Red-backed Shrike
Frequented the hedge for several days in autumn of 2013.
Many birds first landfall in the Hills are relocated up this hedge line.
20181012 Redstart
Autumn migrant deep in the hedgerow.
20181012 Red-legged Partridge
Here is part of the issue, gamebirds on the footpath beside the hedgerow and avoiding the guns.
11 of 57million dumped in the countryside each autumn....
202000603 Fencing machine and fence.
Large part of perfectly good hedgerow removed here.

20200603 New Fence.
Why are public footpaths being fenced in over arable land?
20200603 New Fence.
From the lower end and stretching 1.5Km to The Hangs up the hill and through arable land...

Country diary: wildlife-sustaining bramble hedges need our protection

Claxton, Norfolk: A conservation group is calling for legal restrictions covering many hedgerow species to be extended to bramble, ivy and honeysuckle

Fruit in bramble
‘Bramble is probably the most important source of pollen, nectar and then ripe-fruit sugars for more species of insect than any other common British plant.’ Photograph: Mark Cocker

The full-flowing vigour of our bramble hedge may be on the ebb, but there’s still an enormous abundance of life at play in this essential garden plant. The fruits continue to run a gamut from sour red baubles right through to yeast-softened bags of sweetness, whose overripe drupes almost collapse on contact, disintegrating to grainy purple-stained juices at the merest touch.

The whole sun-dusted hedge is thickly entwined with a million spider threads, and for good reason. Bramble is probably the most important source of pollen, nectar and then ripe-fruit sugars for more species of insect than any other common British plant. I doubt there was a single invertebrate in our summer patch that didn’t have cells partly formed from bramble carbohydrates and proteins, and while I value our garden brambles for many reasons, I love them most for this indiscriminate summer-long generosity.

Thorns on bramble
‘For all their falcon-clawed defences, however, brambles may well now need protection from us.’ Photograph: Mark Cocker

For all their falcon-clawed defences, however, brambles may well now need protection from us. In the Norfolk coastal parish of Cley-next-the-Sea at the height of lockdown a farmer cleared a 1,200m-long section of soft hedgerow dominated by brambles. At that season it would have contained all those insect riches in embryo, but it surely housed at least 120 live birds’ nests (judging from our garden’s 10m stretch, I would suggest that my figure is hugely conservative).

One friend estimates that breeding dunnocks, blackbirds, wrens, linnets, long-tailed tits and lesser and common whitethroats were all thwarted by this action. Another reminds me how this same hedge supplies crucial fuel for migrants such as blackcaps, garden and willow warblers, and later for blackbirds, fieldfares and redwings all migrating here from northern Europe.

Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus) adult, foraging on Bramble (Rubus fruticosus) berries, Suffolk, England, september
A blue tit feeding on bramble berries. Photograph: FLPA/Alamy Stock Photo

Hedgerows are often now the only wildlife-friendly parts of East Anglia’s agricultural environment, and no farmer would dream of cutting hardwood hedge species at the height of the birds’ breeding season. A Cley conservation group is now asking that the legal restrictions, which cover most hedgerow species, be extended to bramble, ivy and honeysuckle, at least for the crucial months of nesting. They argue that it is time to stop this nonsensical destruction of the most important parts of our hedgerow environment.

Tuesday 9 June 2020

20200609 Blyth's Reed Warbler NWalsham Canal, 20200527 Walsey Hills & 20200613 Marsh Warbler

20200609 Blyth's Reed Warbler ID plate.

Title: Unprecedented number of Singing Blyth's Reed Warbler reach Britain in late spring of 2020

Top left Marsh Warbler A palustris, Centre Reed Warbler A scirpaceus, Bottom right Blyth's Reed Warbler A dumentorum. Walsy Hills May & June 2020.
  • Marsh Warbler in full flow, upright, rapid, loud and strident as bebop jazzer, many licks stollen from other songsters. Desperate to impress.
  • Yellow Ochre tones in base colour of plumage in Marsh. 
  • Slim but potbellied structure.

  • Reed stays within a technical chortle, as too late at night, a bit worse for wear, bill only half open through much of chorus. Infrequent nod to long gone licks.
  • Richer brown, burnt sienna tones to base colour of Reed's plumage.
  • Well-built and sturdy structure.

  • Blyth's more measured and intellectual delivery than Marsh, with many well-placed licks and delivered from a rather relaxed horizontal posture.
  • More Olive green and greyer base tone to plumage.
  • Slighter and weaker build with plainer and shorter wing than Reed.
  • Note closed bill shape variation on heads.

20200527 Walsey Hills bird
  • Mark Golley's recording. Bird found by Chris Goodie.
  •  Bird sang all day triggering the locals to reply, the Hills alive with song and calls this morning.
  • Repeated mimicked phrase, 3 or more times with Reed like 'tjrr' and 'taks' between. As good as Nightingale in most phrases? Quieter machinegun like, nasal, buzzing churrs also between mimicked phrases. Quieter arppegio rises infrequently used, are these diagnostic?
  •  Bird in loud and full song at head hight and 4m away in bushes, still could not be located. Seen to flit about 4 times, therefore no ID shots...
  • Fine weather for overnight flying, here one day only.
  • See also bird at Beer head, 1st June:
20200527 Reed Warbler
Bird in song at North Point Pools earlier in the morning.
If only the Blyth's had shown half as well...
Note the supercilium stops at the eye-ring and the flanks are a warm yellow ochre.

20200609 Blyth's Reed Warbler
NWalsham Canal near Pygney's Wood.
This individual showed well in a willow clump across a dyke, which kept would be flushers back.
Other 3 skulked, sang and flitted.

20200609 Blyth's Reed Warbler
Darker distal end of lower mandible shows better with bill closed.

 20200613 Marsh Warbler
In full song in full midday sun.

 20200613 Marsh Warbler
Pale edged and tipped remiges are striking on this well lit bird.
Pale legs and straw coloured feet.

20200613 Marsh Warbler
Lower mandible bright orangish yellow.
Yellow ochre in lower flanks.
Agile and aggressive singer, compared to Blyth's more relaxed delivery.

20200613 Marsh Warbler
Bill base shows as deep cadmium yellow.
Note Yellow ochre tint to lower flanks.

20200613 Marsh Warbler
Back lit with evening light.
2nd bite of the cherry always produces results.