2015 in the Birdwatch readers’ Blog of the year 2015 – July-Dec

This is the review of the second half of 2015 through the writings of this blog (for Jan-June) – click here for first half of year.

July: The Committee on Climate Change criticise the intensive management of grouse moors because of carbon emissions (see here and here). NGOs across the EU rally together to defend the Habitat and Birds Directives. Iceland start selling Red Grouse – or try to.  RSPB published a new study showing that management of moors for grouse shooting has become more intensive. I publish two books: Inglorious – conflict in the uplands and Behind the Binoculars (with Keith Betton). My e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting is launched on the Westminster parliament website and passes 5000 signatures inside a week. Birdwatch magazine features Hen Harrier Day and puts a ringtail Hen Harrier on its cover for August (out in July).  Henry and I went with some friends to the CLA Game Fair and spread so much goodwill that the event was cancelled for future years .

August: Inglorious spent the whole of August selling well and being, amusingly, the #1 bestseller in the category ‘target shooting’ on UK Amazon (hee hee hee!).  The Telegraph published an error-strewn version of the Hen Harrier breeding season based on a press release by that unbiased group, YFTB, funded by the British grouse industry (and billionaire businessman Crispin Odell). M&S say they will not sell Red Grouse again in its stores this year. A Hen Harrier eve cultural evening was a great success in Buxton and was followed by a rally on Hen Harrier Day in the Goyt Valley. Across England and Scotland Hen Harrier Day was celebrated at special events by hundreds of people.  LUSH produce Skydancer bath bombs to help fund satellite tags for Hen Harriers.  The e-petition passes 14,000 signatures and much of the support comes from rural constituencies (and here).  The Bird Fair was brilliant, as always. Away from Hen Harriers I went batty in Devon.

September: a poll organised by Rare Bird Alert ( a great bunch) showed that brood meddling, still advocated by the Hawk and Owl Trust was even more unpopular amongst birders these days. The findings of the Lead Ammunition Group call for a ban on lead ammunition. A film about egg collectors – watch it if you get the chance. The Countryside Alliance want the BBC to sack Chris Packham – the rest of the world does not. My vote helped to elect Jeremy Corbyn as  leader of the Labour Party – interesting times ahead.  Findlay Wilde outspeaks everyone else, including the Defra minister.  Chris Packham thanks all who supported him against the Countryside Alliance and suggests they join LACS and RSPB, support BAWC and read Inglorious. A complaint about the Telegraph (YFTB) coverage of the Hen Harrier breeding season secures corrections and an apology in the paper and online.

October: our e-petition passes 23,000 signatures. LACS publish a report on grouse moor intensification written by two experts, Andy Wightman and Ruth Tingay.  Wildlife NGOs throw down a fluffy gauntlet to Defra (here and here – where Josie Hewitt was the star speaker). ‘TB’, Ruth Tingay, a vet and I get some shot game X-rayed to demonstrate the tiny fragments of lead in them (see here)  I saw a Pallas’s Warbler at Spurn.

November: Rob Sheldon published an e-petition calling for the a ban on lead ammunition. Bradford Council votes against heather burning on Ilkley Moor.  Farmland birds are in trouble – not news. Turtle Dove now a globally threatened species – hardly news. Wildlife NGOs are tested for performance-non-enhancing drugs. A long-running subject of this blog (and for others out there too), the Stody Estate case, is resolved with a massive fineLabour supports a ban on toxic lead ammunition. Fluffy gauntlet doesn’t leave a mark. Our e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting passes 24,000 signatures.  My local Wildlife Trust gets in a muddle over Hen Harriers. The WWT and RSPB say they support Rob Sheldon’s e-petition on lead ammunition. There is a climate march in London ahead of the Paris talks.

December isn’t over yet but…: Forest Enterprise England signal switch away from toxic lead ammunition. The government is attacking your right to environmental justice. Floods in northern England – let’s look at land use. WWT asks its supporters to support Rob Sheldon’s e-petition to ban toxic lead ammunition  – and they do (RSPB hasn’t as yet).  The world says the right things about climate change – a good start. Inglorious mentioned in nature books of 2015 lists in The Times, Guardian, Independent, Mail on Sunday and Country Life. E-petition to ban driven grouse shooting passes 25,000 signatures and enters its last month.