Forthcoming events

Our field trip to Portland yesterday yielded some very interesting birds including winchat, wryneck and rosy starling, with kestrel providing some great aerial displays singly or in groups.  Trip report will follow shortly.

The next field trip, which is the first on the new programme, will be on Saturday           8 October 2016 at Keyhaven.  Meet at 10.00 am in the Gun Inn car park, or if you want to park and stay on the sea wall we will find you as we set off.  Recent sightings in the area include ruff, spotted redshank, little stint and white wagtail and, hopefully, there should still be some passage migrants around on 8 October as well as some returning winter visitors.

The next indoor meeting at 7.30 pm on Wednesday 12 October 2016 at Lyndhurst Community Centre welcomes Keith Betton, Hampshire County Bird Recorder and BTO committee member, back to our group to talk about “The State of the Nation’s Birds“.  A timely talk coming just a month after the publication of the second State of Nature report.  Admission fees are £2.00 for members and £3.50 for non-members of the local group.

Portand Bill

Our next field trip on Wednesday 28 September 2016 will be to Portland Bill.  This is the last trip on the 2015/16 programme. Recent sightings include melodious/icterine warbler, rosy starling, wryneck, merlin, blackcap, balearic shearwater, great and arctic skua, purple sandpiper, chiffchaff and yellow-browed warbler.

If you need a lift let us know via the CONTACT US form.

Message from Mike Clarke

Dear Colleagues,

Last week was a good week for the work of the RSPB.

Last Wednesday, in collaboration with more than 50 other organisations, we successfully completed the first phase of launching the State of Nature 2016 reports.

The reports set out how species are faring, the main factors affecting populations and some of the great work conservation organisations are already involved in.  Through State of Nature we are setting the political agenda for nature conservation, now in the face of the challenges arising from the proposed departure of the UK from the EU.

The RSPB has played the leading role in a partnership of more than 50 research and conservation organisations to produce and launch these reports. I cannot emphasise enough what a terrific collective effort across our organisation this has been.

In Edinburgh 125 guests, including MSPs, civil servants, agency staff, land managers and NGOs heard Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, re-commit the Scottish Government to actions aimed at meeting the 2020 Aichi targets. I was equally pleased to hear that there was a compelling call from two young Scots on the importance to young people of protecting and enhancing biodiversity and the value of connections to nature.

In London, we were reminded by Sir David Attenborough of the importance of our global commitments for nature, and that the natural environment is the most valuable thing that we have in this country. Trevor Dines from Plantlife inspired us with a compelling case from improving agriculture policy.  Andrea Leadsom MP, Secretary of State for the Environment welcomed the report as a reminder that there is still much to do.  At the end of a lively debate on the future of nature conservation post EU referendum, Orlagh McLaughlin from the Northern Ireland Young Campaigners made the whole audience sit up and take notice by quoting Seamus Heaney and urging us to campaign more effectively.

State of Nature has received widespread media coverage including national radio, TV and press.  In the spirit of partnership, interviews were shared among the State of Nature partners. Rarely has such a large group of conservation groups come together – more than twice as many as for the first State of Nature. It’s very notable that the feedback from across the partnership has been excellent – a credit to all the hard, often unseen, work which goes into making coalition working successful.

The UK State of Nature 2016 includes the UK Overseas Territories and it is great news that the UK and several UK Overseas Territory Governments have jointly announced that more than two million square kilometres of British waters will be protected for future generations. This vast area of sea includes coral reefs, some of most pristine tropical marine systems, and critical oceanic islands such as Ascension, Gough and Henderson that are the focus of RSPB action. This far-reaching announcement is another example that even in these challenging times, we go far beyond documenting declines and can help deliver real progress for saving nature.

Our own response to the State of Nature has to be to redouble our hope, determination and commitment. Our task has never been easy – but the passion, energy and dedication shown by all of you tells me that we can, and we will, do it!

Best wishes,

Mike Clarke
Chief Executive
UK Headquarters The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2DL

State of Nature in England

The report on the State of Nature in England, produced by more than 50 wildlife organisations across the country, can now be downloaded.  It documents increases in some groups of fauna and flora as well as decreases in numbers and biodiversity, with some 12% of species in England at threat of extinction by IUCN Red List criteria. Particularly worrying declines are still occurring in farmland and woodland species.

The partnership produced a series of reports, the main State of Nature 2016 report covers the whole of the UK and its overseas territories while there is also a specific report for Scotland, one containing Supplementary Material, which gives information on and links to the various monitoring schemes and datasets that were used in compiling the report and finally one containing the Tables used in the report, which is convenient for extracting them for a presentation..

State of Nature

The State of Nature report will be launched on Wednesday 14 September 2016 by 50
wildlife organisations, including the RSPB, and will show 120 British wildlife species
are at risk of extinction.  For a sneak preview, tune into Countryfile on BBC One on Sunday 11 September 2016.

Further details, from Wednesday 14 September 2016 at RSPB.

Volunteering Opportunity

  • Do you know your coastal birds?
  • Do you have a good pair of binoculars?
  • Can you drive and map read (not at the same time!)?
  • If the answer to these questions is yes, then read on!

RSPB is looking for birders to help carry out movement surveys of birds on the Solent. It is working in partnership to better understand how the SPA birds use non-designated, supporting habitat – such as arable fields, grazing marsh in the Solent. We need to know which terrestrial sites are preferred to identify which sites we must protect and encourage positive conservation management, and which sites are less important. So RSPB is teaming up with the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership, Wildlife Trust, Natural England, Hampshire County Council and others to find out.

The partnership is looking for birders to join a wider survey team to carry out vantage point surveys – some survey points will be fixed, and others will be roaming. All the surveyors will be working together, spread out over a survey area with walkie-talkies, so together they can track where the birds have come from, their direction of travel and where they land.

There will be two surveys per month (6 hours each) for 6 months (October to March) starting this October.

Surveyors would need very good familiarity with all species likely to be encountered on the British south coast. Need to be able to ID all species in flight and on ground and be familiar with differences in plumage (to determine age, sex etc.). You would also need good quality optical equipment, be able to drive and map read.

If you are interested please contact Trevor Codlin and Debbie Whitfield ideally by 16 September, stating how many days you can commit (minimum 1 day).

Also if you know of anyone else with good birding skills outside of the RSPB who may be interested in helping out, please pass on the information.