A pair of red-rumped swallows circled overhead, dancing amid wispy clouds before disappearing. A young male Chinese sparrowhawk emerged before he too becomes a shrinking dot in the blue sky.From Baekryeong-do, South Korea’s northernmost island, Nial Moores tracked the birds through his scope.“They’ll be in the DPRK in 15, 20 minutes,” he said.That would be the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or North Korea — across one of the most heavily fortified borders in the world. Guarded by hundreds of thousands of soldiers and untold artillery, the border means little to the millions of birds that soar over it each year as they travel along a major migration corridor between the Arctic Circle and East and Southeast Asia, and as far south as Australia and New Zealand.Moores, a 56-year-old British conservation scientist , has spent more than two decades observing, chronicling and advocating for birds in South Korea. In recent years, he’s made a … [Read more...] about Can birds help connect North Korea to the world?
Country bird holdings
SIR – The BBC’s Chris Packham has scrambled down from atop his bus shelter to pronounce another great victory – the revocation of the general licence to control pest bird species (report, April 25). As a result of years of care, our farm holds some of the highest populations of red-listed farmland birds in the county – possibly the country – for yellowhammers and linnets. Controlling magpies in April and May makes a significant contribution to our successful strategy. It is not unusual for us to take over 100 individuals a year on less than 200 acres in those critical two months. Whilst the polyphagous magpie will happily feed on the heaps of filth casually discarded by man for most of the... To continue reading this article Start your free trial of Premium Access all Premium articles Subscriber-only events Cancel any time Free for 30 days then only £2 per week Try Premium Access one Premium article … [Read more...] about Letters: Rare farmland birds put at risk by ban on shooting crows and magpies
Guinness has joined Carlsberg in scrapping plastic ring carriers, many of which end up in the oceans and endanger sea life. The brewer has promised that all multi-can packs will be sold in “sustainably sourced, recyclable and fully biodegradable cardboard” instead. Carlsberg was the first to ditch plastic last September, creating a special glue that holds cans together. Guinness said it will take time to phase in its changes though. It will start in Ireland in August before implementing them in the UK and around the rest of the world next year. And it won’t just be cans of the black stuff. Ring carriers and shrink wrap will be removed from multipacks of Harp and Smithwicks too. It is estimated that around eight million tons of plastic is dumped in the world’s oceans every year. Although beer ring carriers only represent a small fraction of the amount of this, they can be the most dangerous to sea life. Images of sea turtles unwitting ocean-dwellers trapped … [Read more...] about End of plastic rings as Guinness joins Carlsberg in getting rid of packaging that strangles birds and fish
Descending from the Rhinogydd, I rested against an outcrop on the promontory that juts into the exquisite water-lily lake of Llyn Tecwyn Isaf, and waited to see what was happening here. A grey heron soon came stalking round the shallow margins, aware of my presence, his suspicion allayed by my stillness. I wondered if he might be one of the nestlings I watched each day five years ago in the heronry among the larches in the shelter of Harlech Castle? To see (and hear – herons are very vocal birds) the whole process of their rearing at close quarters over several months was an enthralling experience. Those fledglings’ parents would surely have fished in this teeming pool before labouring back against the wind to disgorge the contents of their crops into the ramshackle, stinking nest while the young birds kept up their bizarre, cacophonous repertoire. That cycle’s beginning again right now, the heron fiercely intent on his fishing, to feed his sitting mate. As I watch, … [Read more...] about Country diary: fishing teamwork between a heron and a goosander
Forest and Bird is calling for a wider drop of 1080 this year, with the biggest 'megamast' in nearly half a century expected. Beech forests are expected to have their heaviest seeding season in 45 years thanks to climate change, which is welcome news for pests. "First of all you get an explosion of rat numbers then an explosion of stoat numbers; then when the fruit and the seeds dry up, those two predators then turn their sights on our native birds," said Forest and Bird chief executive Kevin Hague. A 'mast' year is when trees produce an "extremely heavy flowering and seeding", according to Forest and Bird. "Historically this would trigger an abundance of food for native wildlife to make up for lean years. But now mast events boost rodent numbers, and in turn stoat numbers." A 'megamast' is when podocarp forests join the heavy seeding at the same time. Forest and Bird says mast years happen when the average summer temperature is more than 1degC above the average of the previous summer. … [Read more...] about ‘Megamast’: Forest and Bird begs for extra funding to fight expected pest wave