I haven’t quite finished my Christmas shopping and yet the first Birdwatch magazine of 2015 has arrived through my letter box. And it’s a good one.
Chris Packham won the poll for Conservation Hero of the Year – quite rightly – for his actions on Malta, Hen Harriers and so much more. I’ve been lucky enough to spend some time with Chris over the year and he thoroughly deserves this recognition. Chris is the best example we have of a well-known personality who is putting his fame and media access to good use by speaking out for the nature he loves. And it’s not as though he doesn’t get a lot of stick from those who want to kill Badgers, Hen Harriers, anything that flies in Malta etc etc.
The Local Conservation Hero of the Year went to Findlay Wilde, who is pictured in the magazine with his dad (Nigel) and that enormous Hen Harrier of his on Hen Harrier Day. Well done Findlay!
And the Company of the Year award went to Lush Cosmetics for supporting a wide range of campaigns including that to protect Hen Harriers.
The Guano Award for Environmental Harm went to the former Defra Secretary of State, Owen Paterson.This award was probably not closely contested and the winner is a very worthy recipient.
Elsewhere in the magazine there is an article by the RSPB’s Mike Clarke on why we need to defend the EU nature directives and the usual mix of identification tips, news about rare birds and general bird-related news.
The letters pages have an outpouring of support for the RSPB despite Ian Botham’s misguided attack, praise for the article by a raptor worker in the December issue and one letter trying to give me a telling off (and my ‘not very contrite’ reply).
And who, do you think, would be the patron saint of grouse shooters? See my column, the political birder, for one suggestion.