Defra: are pretty hopeless really aren’t they? I haven’t had a reply to my ex MP’s letter about Andrew Wood’s witness statement. I’m probably on a database as a pleb – but that’s better than being a patrician. (see previous blogs on Wuthering Moors).
Autumn: I saw a jay on my walk around Stanwick Lakes last weekend. I don’t see them there very often – in fact, thanks to the wonders of Birdtrack I can tell you it is my 5th record in 293 visits over 6+ years. Three of these have been September and October records and the other two were in February and April.
Fighting for Birds: was momentarily (!) Amazon’s 6th best-selling wildlife conservation book (after a book on rhinos (on the list twice), Douglas Adams’s and Mark Carwardine’s excellent Last Chance to See, EO Wilson’s Diversity of Life and Planet Earth- the photos). If you’ve read Fighting for Birds, and enjoyed it, then please consider putting a review on Amazon – there are five already.
Autumn: the buddleia in my garden is late-flowering and so attracts any butterflies still around. It’s nearly over now though. Recent sightings – beautiful red admirals, a tortoiseshell (now so much rarer) and large white.
Fighting for Birds: feedback out of the blue ‘a fascinating book, well done and some good jokes along the way, now write one for kids and politicians and x factor watchers, that’s where you need to be‘ and some more from a friend ‘As my contribution to your pension fund I bought your book. It’s very good and I enjoyed reading it. It took less than one weekend, so I must have been quite interested.’.
Autumn: used to be a time for me to attend all three political party conferences (yes, there are other political parties too). This year the first half of the Conservative Party Conference has just finished in Brighton, the Labour Conference is getting going in Manchester and the second half of the Conservative Party Conference will be held in Birmingham. Fashionable though it is to slag off all politicians and all of politics – I used to enjoy these events (after the first year or two finding one’s feet) and find most politicians to be well-meaning folk.
Badgers: the e-petition against a badger cull passed the magic 100,000 mark on Monday afternoon, and has now passed 135,000, but please keep signing.
Autumn: a chiffchaff was calling from the trees in Trinity Square Gardens by the Tower of London on Wednesday lunchtime.
Hooray for Henry!: I’m really pleased that Henry Edmunds has won the Nature of Farming Award this year. Thank you to all the readers of this blog who followed my advice and voted for this very wildlife-friendly farmer.
Autumn: the house martin nest, down the road, which I pass on my way to the postbox, fledged some time in the last 10 days. Sometimes they keep going into October.
Songs: these songs about birds by Ronnie Haar are different. Some of you will enjoy them a lot.
Autumn: there were about six apples on the apple tree in the garden this year and the blackberries are very red and rather poor in the hedgerows. And in any case, the Devil started spitting (or worse) on blackberries yesterday – as legend has it. Little blackberry and apple pie this year. I look with some envy across several back gardens to a pear tree laden with fruit.
Dead eagles: Why not email the Scottish Environment Minister, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, to express your outrage at the death of a young eagle in east Scotland (as suggested by Wendy Mattingley in a comment on this blog on Tuesday)? [email protected] See Monday’s blog.
Catfield Fen: I’m grateful to the Environment Agency for telling me that there were 84 responses and/or expressions of interest to the renewal of the abstraction licences near Catfield Fen. That’s an awful lot! And thank you to readers of this blog who are counted in that number. The EA is currently compiling a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to answer the common questions raised and will set up a dedicated page on their website where all the relevant documents can be held and viewed, including the FAQs, that we will be updated at key stages. Clearly, all those comments are making this particular case ‘an issue’ – quite right too. See previous blogs (here, here and here).
Autumn: it’s a very good year for hawthorn berries where I live – is it for you? I wonder how many will be left when I do my bit for the BTO winter thrush survey? I noticed this year that the May blossomed very late and the flowers here all turned pink (from creamy white) late in the season – much more so than usual.
My mum: is in her 80s and she told me yesterday evening that she had read the first chapter of Fighting for Birds but has read all of Fifty Shades of Grey and laughed all the way through it. She’s now moved on to Fifty Shades Darker. I must reconsider my writing strategy.