Over the next few weeks of the #SaveLodgeHill campaign, we'll be bringing you a series of blogs about Lodge Hill, about 'Sites of Special Scientific Interest', and why protected sites matter and shouldn't be considered targets for destruction. Today's blog is by Adrian Thomas, Project Manager for the campaign, sharing a little bit about Nightingales themselves, the bird at the heart of the issue.

I was lucky as a boy in that my dad in his spare time was the volunteer warden looking after a nature reserve called Trench Wood in Worcestershire. It had a few pairs of Nightingales - maybe six or seven if we were lucky -  and he and his team worked hard to keep the habitat right for them.

Crowds would come to the guided walks on May evenings to hear them sing.

And, boy, what a song! Powerful, resonant, confident.

You'd rarely see them, and some say that that's fine because they look boring. But as this photo by Sandra Palme shows (donated free for the campaign - thanks, Sandra!), I think they're fab - understated, yes, but simple in rufous!

But what we've seen over the last few decades is this steady, worrying, creeping decline in Britain's Nightingale population. We've created a simple map, based on the British Trust for Ornithology's surveys, showing where they were and where they are now. They are long gone from Trench Wood, and much of the rest of their former range. A 90% decline in just 50 years.

You can see that Lodge Hill is right in their heartland. Here, numbers are holding up. 85 singing males in 2012. Can you imagine that? No wonder we're saying #SaveLodgeHill.

Adrian Thomas, #SaveLodgeHill

How can you help?

We need as many people to stand up for Lodge Hill as possible by 10 April latest.

Respond to the consultation: Complete the easy online action. But if at all possible, please write a fuller response to the consultation instead. You can find useful information on how to do this here.

On social media: Follow #SaveLodgeHill on Twitter and Facebook. Every retweet, share and new account you tag helps us to reach as many people as possible before the consultation closes on 10th April.

In person: Medway Council are holding a number of open meetings where people can attend to ask questions and raise concerns. The next meeting is Saturday 28 January 2017, 10am to 12noon at Jubilee Hall, Pottery Road, Hoo, ME3 9BS.

Anonymous