Voice of the countryside - Wildfowl, nature walks and the return of an extinct bee species
PUBLISHED: 01:50 26 June 2012 | UPDATED: 10:36 21 February 2013
Graham Downing is a countryman, living on his own small arable farm that is managed for wildlife and conservation. He enjoys keeping sheep and has a passion for shooting sports. Read more of this articles here...
Wildfowl & the RSPB
Place a bunch of keen hunters in a room with a few passionate bird protectionists, and you might expect to see sparks fly. That was the case when Gwynn Williams, Head of Reserves for the RSPB, stepped into the lions den at a recent BASC Wildfowling Conference. Both wildfowlers and the RSPB have an interest in waterfowl and the wetlands in which they live but, around the coast, fowlers have seen their shooting rights vanish as the RSPB has bought up land to add to its reserves. No surprise that wildfowling clubs regard the RSPB as an arch-competitor. And yet both the RSPB and the wildfowlers are ultimately seeking the same thing better waterfowl habitat and more waterfowl. Indeed, the same is true for all genuine hunters, for without wild places thereis no wild quarry to hunt. Gwyn Williams struck a particular chord with me when he spoke of his determination to redress the appalling habitat destruction of the1970s and 1980s. I remember it well, and I recall the pain I felt as I saw the countryside in which I shot and hunted changing around me. Old grazing marshes were ploughed, hedgerows grubbed upand spinneys felled before me. I vowed that I would do my small bit to reverse the destruction. That is why, when I was lucky enough to buy my own small farm, I turned the clock back by planting hedges and trees, restoring ponds and creating a new meadow.
Be at one with nature on a walk
A nature reserve which is usually closed to the public will be open for visitors to enjoy aspecial walk.Wildlife expert, Dave Thomas, will take members of Cornwall Wildlife Trust through Penhale Army Training Area, at Restormel, north of Lostwithiel. There will be wildflowers, birds, butterflies and reptiles to see along the way. It will be held on May 26 from 10am until 1pm.
Extinct bee back in uk
The return of a bumblebee speciesextinct in the UK for nearly a quarter ofa century has moved a big step forward.A team of conservationists went toSweden on a mission to collect up to100 short-haired bumblebee queensbefore releasing them at the RSPBsDungeness reserve in Kent later thisspring.The project to return the bumblebee(Bombus subterraneus) to the UK is apartnership between Natural England,the RSPB, Hymettus and theBumblebee Conservation Trust andforms part of the wider Natural Englandfunded Species Recovery Programme.The short-haired bumblebee was lastrecorded in the UK in 1988 nearDungeness. It has suffered declinesduring the last 60 years as a result ofhabitat loss.