Good news on Bitterns yesterday from the RSPB – 11 males in 1997, over 150 males in 2015 after years of conservation science, habitat management, habitat re-creation and partnership working. And this was, no-one would deny, led by the RSPB. We await the congratulatory press release from YFTB.
At Ham Wall, there are apparently 17 booming males (no wonder we saw and heard a few on our recent visit) and Somerset holds around 40 males. When I was a lad, there were none. When I was Head of Conservation Science at the RSPB there were none, or maybe an occasional one. Now there are 40+ in Somerset. Wow!
At Lakenheath in Suffolk, which I remember well as a carrot field in 1995, there are now six booming males. Wow! And Common Cranes too! Wow Wow!
At Ouse Fen in Cambridgeshire – which I remember as a gravel working – the first booming male was in 2012 (a year after I left the RSPB) and this year there are 10 booming males. Wow Wow Wow!
Over 59% of the booming males are on sites protected by the EU Birds and Habitat’s Directives. Look at this site to tell the EU that the nature directives are working, please.
Martin Harper, the RSPB Conservation Director, said: “These sites have been vital to the conservation of the bittern and other key species in the UK. However, the European Union is consulting on the future of the Birds and Habitats Directives. And we fear this may lead to a weakening of the directives, with potentially disastrous consequences for many threatened species.”