Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Odds and ends and news from Malta

UPDATE 20th April: Chris Packham is frustrated by the fact that no UK TV company or channel will either make or broadcast what goes on in Malta each spring (and autumn) as thousands of migrant birds get blasted out of the skies. Everything from robins to hoopoes, bee eaters to swallows, ospreys to honey buzzards and cranes to storks are targeted....and many die a slow painful death from their injuries.
Raptors are blasted from the Maltese skies.....

So Chris is funding his own initiative and has taken a camera crew out there to record what goes on.
Starting tomorrow, Monday 21st., Chris will post video diaries of the day’s events on You Tube at 9pm each evening through to 26th:    http://www.chrispackham.co.uk/ 
Watch them if you dare.......
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Now about a week into incubation, there's time to post about a few other peregrine-related things:
First, a reminder for teachers that the free resources boxes are now available for schools in both the county and the city. For full details please scroll down this blog to the entry for 21st March.
Contents of a resource box displayed

Second, a new book on peregrines; 'Top Gun of the Sky' is available direct from us.
The book, by Martin Bradley, has few words but wonderful paintings and is mainly aimed at children. Martin works at Fawley Refinery near the New Forest in Hampshire. The refinery has a pair of peregrines nesting on it - and Martin has become fascinated with them.
Book cover

To obtain a copy including postage of £1.50 within the UK, either send a cheque for £6.50 payable to DWT to East Mill, Belper, Derbyshire DE56 1XH or ring the office (01773 881188) and pay by credit/debit card. Should anyone want a copy send overseas please ring the office for a price to include overseas postage. We have a limited number of copies in stock but can obtain more as required. The project gets £2 for each copy. Should you wish to make a donation in addition to the basic £6.50 we would naturally be delighted!
Third, while our urban peregrines are pretty much safe, peregrines in the north of the county are not, especially if they try to nest on moorland in the Peak District National Park which is managed for red grouse shooting. Despite being protected by law (and receiving the highest level of protection under 'Schedule One'), peregrines and other raptors keep 'disappearing' from the moors and nest sites are left empty.
One nest site which has failed to rear any young for years, has recently been occupied by a new pair of falcons and in an attempt to ensure these birds survive, the nest site has been made public and a hide for watching them has been erected by the National Trust which now seeks volunteers to take part in a round the clock rota watching the birds.
Upland Peregrine by Noel Cusa
Simon Barnes, wildlife writer for The Times, visited the site last week and has written about the shameful situation regarding peregrines and other raptors in the Peak District in his column last Saturday (12th). Unfortunately, Simon's excellent article is unavailable online unless you take out a trial subscription to the paper for a month (cost £1).
Nick B (DWT)

34 comments:

Lorraine said...

Interesting update, especially about the falcon's plight in the Peak District, of which I had absolutely no idea. Exposure of such news, as found in the update, is so important in stamping out any blatant disregard of creatures protected by law. It's the medium that oils the wheels of any good plan of action. Covert observation due to widespread awareness, is ultimately the undoing of all such greedy perpetrators, so I for one will be spreading the news at every opportunity.

nick said...

The situation is very bad Lorraine, as indeed it is on all grouse moors. Nothing with a hooked beak is tolerated....even vole-eating short eared owls are routinely 'taken out'. See: http://raptorpolitics.org.uk/2014/04/12/pair-of-hen-harrier-confirmed-resident-in-derbyshire/
Nick

nick said...

Watch this blog for more about the massacre of birds coming soon - this time, those migrating over Malta.
Chris Packham is taking a very strong stance.....and his daily video diaries will go live from tomorrow evening.....
Nick

Caroline said...

A few years ago the peregrine chicks were taken from the scrape on Beeston Castle here in Cheshire - completely illegal of course! They have a Watch there now but that takes a lot of volunteer time. Thank goodness for people like Chris Packham and projects like this and the group at Beeston for raising awareness and doing what they can for raptors. The Derby work in schools is so important. Congrats to Martin Bradley on his book too. I have ordered it and made a separate donation to the Derby project so that it can include gift aid. That is the little way in which I can help.

Anonymous said...

Chris Packham spoke to John Humphrys live from Malta on the Today programme at around 7 a.m. today (22nd), see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-27109838. The head of Malta's Wild Birds Regulation Unit claimed that enforcement officers had "dramatically" reduced the practice of shooting wild birds. Both Humphrys and Packham (of course) argued against this claim.

Lorraine said...

Thanks - was able to access the bbc radio link - (Chris Packham interview approx 1/3rd into show)

Shame the interview was so rushed, but heartened to hear the passion in Chris Packham's voice - he's not about to give up or give in without a fight. He's literally putting his money where his mouth is and not about to shut up any time soon! BIG cheer for Chris.

I've yet to access his video posts on You Tube ( may be dodgy for softy's like me - but value their worth nevertheless ) and understand they are at 9pm each evening from 21st to 26th via -

http://www.chrispackham.co.uk/



Jean said...

I've emailed my MEPs. It's quite easy if you follow the link from Chris's site but make sure you put it in your own words as they state they will not read 'form letters'.

Nick B (DWT) said...

Thanks Jean and Lorraine: the more people who write (and donate) the better.
Lorraine - if you click on the You Tube link on Chris Packham's website you can watch the videos with no worries at all.
Incidentally if you want to see what happened to Malta's only peregrines go to: http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/malta-peregrine.html#cr
Nick

Lorraine said...

Glad of the prompt Nick - it enabled me to view, learn more, and then gladly support with a donation. Will now follow progress of the video posts.

Ian Bradley aka superbrad said...

Nottingham Have a Ckick

Ian Bradley aka superbrad said...

or even a Chick
I musthave a dislexic keyboard

Lorraine said...

Make that THREE chicks for Nott's Mum - changeover just taken place and tiercel can only just cover them! Very close images of the nest box shows awesome details of the parents beaks, especially the female, and all three chicks look just dandy!

Haven't seen our own Derby tiercel for many days now ( though this could be due to the present Cam hitches, so could merely be out of view for the time being ) but all seems to be on track.

Kate said...

Lorraine he was on the tray at 4.43 photo on flikr.
Kate

Lorraine said...

Ta Kate, it's good to know someone has seen him ! :)

jenniffer said...

The head of Malta's Wild Birds Regulation Unit claimed that enforcement officers had "dramatically" reduced the practice of shooting wild birds.

nick b said...

Hi Jenniffer: they may say that but there is no proper record keeping across the whole island so I don't know how such claims can be substantiated. And if you watched Chris Packham's fouth video diary last night in which he was moved to tears holding a montagu's harrier which had to be put to sleep following being shot, I think you'll see that even if the numbers being shot is reduced, it is still entirely unacceptable that rare birds like that (and common birds too - like swallows) should be gunned down injured and left to die a slow and painful death - and for what?
Do watch the video if you can.....
Nick

Nikki said...

Looked like four chicks being fed by the Nottingham peregrines this morning at 7.25 am.

kate said...

Hmm!!!! I wondered if we have a chick, she was very fidgety this morning and when she quickly stood up
two eggs were neatly at the front, but couldnt get a good view..

Am I 'clutching at eggs'?CHOL:):)
Kate

Caroline said...

Good idea to write to one's MEP about Malta - thanks. Sounds like we could do with writing to the Derbyshire MP about the Peak District too? I don't live in that area but certainly visit it frequently from the NW. We owe campaigners like Chris Packham a lot. He came near here to film the sparrowhawks and was very generous to everyone.

I think Stream 2 is stuck this morning? But of course we still have a great choice with the other cams.

Lastly, hello Ian. I remember your fabulous photos well.

Anonymous said...

Hi all
I'm doing some mods inside Derby Cathedral today, so streams 2 and 3 may be unreliable until the new equipment has been installed.
Streams 1 and 4 should be fine.
Nick M
Peregrine Project Team

Christine H said...

Any news on the egg at Aylesbury ? I daren't click on the link as it froze my computer last time, are we expecting hatching at Derby any time soon ?

Nick B said...

Hi Christine H: hatching in Derby is unlikely before May....so sometime within the first week of that month.
Nick B
Ps Chris Packham was taken in for questioning by the Maltese police yesterday and released 4 hours later.....they clearly don't like the publicity he's generating. His diary in which he watches as a montagu's harrier is put to sleep having been shot is harrowing.

Lorraine said...

Hi Christine, I expect Sue Peregrino will soon bring news of Aylesbury, it being one of her fave interests. So, mindful of your tip off, I'm going to await her next post and won't risk the link for the time being. I couldn't bear my laptop playing up so close to curtain up on the Derby stage!

Thanks to the gentle warning from Nick B, I've spared myself the anguish of watching Chris's Packham's harrowing experience with the montagu's harrier. How difficult it must have been for him to endure. I have high hopes for the cause and have now spread the word to many people, who previously unaware, are now following it's progress under their own passion.

I see our home falcons both appear to be relaxed and on track, with a well practiced changeover having just taken place. Lets hope the many extra children now set to tune in, will become inspired by watching one of the most beautiful creatures that inhabit our world. Some of them may even become our future planetary caretakers. At school, in my day, we only had a tankful of stick insects to represent our knowledge of wildlife!

Helen said...

Hi Lorraine, whilst I agree that Chris Packham's experience with the montagu's harrier is very difficult to watch I think that it is still vitally important to see what is happening. It certainly does help to spread the word, just as you have done. Hopefully the more people that know and care about what is happening to the birds in Malta the more likely we are to change things.
The tiercel was taking his turn incubating the eggs earlier today. With a bit of luck it shouldn't be too long before we see some chicks!

John B (not the sloop) said...

There is some pertinent discussion of the appalling Malta situation over on Mark Avery's blog http://markavery.info/blog/ too. It's a great pity that the UK's grip on the moral high ground over illegal hunting is so thin given our track record with raptor persecution.

Linda Emmans said...

Nothing happening at Aylesbury, Mum or Dad is still incubating but on their blog they say it looks like the egg is infertile. Sheffield had one hatch last night and another about 15 minutes ago. Watched and Mum ate the shell. And of course Nottingham have 4 little beauties. So nice to see these little chicks. hope ours in Derby arrive safely soon

Linda Emmans said...

And another right now at Sheffield. One egg to go. Mum off the nest too right now.

Caroline said...

@ John B - many thanks, I read Mark Avery's blog with interest and you're so right about raptor persecution here as there have been problems in the NW too.

On a different note, I was in Derby today for something else but took my binoculars and saw the tiercel on Jury's Inn. I wonder if he was watching the human beings flying on the fun fair ride?

Nick B (DWT) said...

Hi Caroline: he could well have been...unless he was eyeing up the Deans and Provosts from cathedrals all over the UK who gathered in Derby today for their annual meeting?
Nick B

Sue Peregrino said...

Sorry to be off topic but bursting to share ....... our peculiar single egg at Aylesbury that I've written off so many times has only been and blooming HATCHED!!!!! That's day 39 of incubation, crazy but wonderful.

Phoebe said...

Wow Sue, I've been waiting to hear from you. I tried the webcam several times but it doesn't show. I am so pleased for you!

Linda Emmans said...

They're are talking about the situation with hunting birds in Malta on BBC right now.

nick said...

Linda - which channel/programme please?
nick
email peregrines@derbyshirewt.co.uk if you prefer.

Linda said...

Hi Nick, BBC1 at the time I posted. Hope you can find it on the IPlayer.