• Winds of change?

    The debate about windfarms is heating up again.   Earlier this year, 100 Tory MPs wrote to David Cameron calling for a cut in subsidies to onshore wind farms and last week Donald Trump appeared in front a Scottish Parliamentary Committee complaining that wind farms (not golf courses on SSSIs) will destroy Scotland.

    LIke the rain, this is a public policy debate that will just not go away.

    I remember soon after my arrival…

    • 30 Apr 2012
  • It rained and it rained and it rained and then...

    ...three house martins flew past my upstairs window.  Am going outside...

    • 29 Apr 2012
  • Mr Cameron's words

    In the end Mr Cameron spoke for seven minutes yesterday about renewable energy and the green economy.

    You can read (and watch) his speech here.

    What did I think?

    The first thing to say was that it was pleasing to hear Mr Cameron state the importance of action today to help protect the planet for future generations.  Inter-generational equity is at the heart of the sustainable development mission. 

    Yet, if you read/watch…

    • 27 Apr 2012
  • Help the Prime Minister find the right words (again)

    I had hoped to be writing a blog post today in anticipation of the Prime Minister's Energy speech.  I had hoped to be wondering whether he would recommit the Government to calling for a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (from 1990 levels) from the EU by 2020.

    It appears that either this speech will now not happen or it was a speech that never was.  I understand that he will be restricting himself to just a few…

    • 26 Apr 2012
  • Two bees, or not two bees?

    On my journey through the works of Shakespeare this week, as well as admiring his use of language, I'm learning to respect his knowledge of nature. His knowledge of birds is impressive and his references to plants read like a botanical encyclopedia. But I'm not convinced he was much of an entomologist. His knowledge of insects is pretty basic, even by modern standards, and he makes few attempts to distinguish individual…

    • 25 Apr 2012
  • Say it with flowers

    This week I am taking a  journey through the works of Shakespeare and looking out for nature on the way. Today I’ll take a look at plants, which figure even more prominently – and more symbolically -  in Shakespeare than birds.

    Here I must declare an interest.  In a former life I was Conservation Director of ">Plantlife " href="http://www.plantlife.org.uk/">Plantlife and long before that I played…

    • 24 Apr 2012
  • A Warwickshire Lad

    As well as being St George’s Day, 23 April is reputed to be Shakespeare’s birthday. It was certainly the date on which he died. Apparently his birth date is open to question but, well, why let the facts get in the way of a good story?

    Shakespeare was a Warwickshire lad and one imagines that he spent much of his early life outside in the woods and fields around Stratford-upon-Avon. There’s a lot of rural folklore…

    • 23 Apr 2012
  • You give, I run, the birds sing and you might win

    Is that a deal?

    I like running - it is part of my therapy.  So when I was asked if I'd like to run the Bupa 10K on the Olympic course in London on Sunday 27 May 2012 and raise money for the RSPB, I said yes, of course.

    But, I have called upon friends and family many times to raise money for my running adventures and so I thought, this time, I would do something different. 

    Here's how it works...

    You donate some…

    • 20 Apr 2012
  • Help the Prime Minister find the right words

    Thanks to Bill Oddie, I've been pondering the good side of human nature this week.  Here is how you can help the Prime Minister tap into his own good side.  Have a read of this extract from our excellent climate change blog

    "On 26th April, our Prime Minister, David Cameron will deliver an environmental speech (his first since the election) to global energy ministers at the Clean Energy Ministerial meeting in London…

    • 18 Apr 2012
  • Making it count for wildlife

    In yesterday's blog I referred to Bill Oddie's toast to the good side of human nature.  I've been pondering the ways we can tap into our good side.  Here's a suggestion. 

    While I was away, my colleague Richard Gregory blogged about the gap in our knowledge of how the UK's most vulnerable plans and animals were faring, and the concern that some of these priceless gems could slip away without us knowing. We…

    • 17 Apr 2012
  • Here's to the good side of human nature

    Wales was great.  Sunshine and showers but some big landscapes to explore.  I climbed Hay bluff with the boy in horizontal hail and before a predictable holiday cold kicked in I enjoyed a number of more sedate walks in the foothills of the Black Mountains.  The woodland birds were in fine voice, the hedgerows were full of colour and it was nice to see my first swallow and wheatear of the year.

    My Easter break ended in York…

    • 16 Apr 2012
  • More worrying news about neonicotinoid insecticides

    Whilst I'm still on holiday, today's guest blog comes from David Gibbons, RSPB's Head of Conservation Science. He will tell you about neonics and the impact they have on the domesticated honey bee and wild bumble bees.

    An awkwardly-named group of insecticides – the neonicotinoids, or neonics, for short – has been in the news recently, with increasing evidence of their damaging impact on domesticated honey bees and…

    • 13 Apr 2012
  • Are the crown jewels missing?

    I'm still on holiday but in my absence, I've asked Richard Gregory to share an insight into his world with you. Richard is Head of Species Monitoring and Research here at the RSPB.

    When you think about nature and what is important, it’s natural to think about blue whales, tigers and pandas, the rarest and the most threatened anywhere on earth, but we have our share of rare and threatened animals and plants in miniature…

    • 12 Apr 2012
  • Drought 2012: roles and responsibilities

    Today the hosepipe bans comes in for parts of eastern and southern England.  Yes, it is snowing or raining in many parts of the UK and it is doubtful that anyone will be reaching for their hose this weekend, but the ban is a symptom that we just have not had the right amount of rain.

    While not all of us are covered by the ban, we all have a role to play in both responding to the drought and in taking the necessary steps…

    • 5 Apr 2012
  • Coping with the drought: managing water for widlife

    The hosepipe ban comes in tomorrow, so I thought I would dedicate this week's blogs to the drought.  Today, I focus on what we are doing to manage water for wildlife on our land.

    As an aside, I spent yesterday at Hope Farm with John Godfrey, the chairman of the the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (and, so I found out, President of Scunthorpe United).  It is always good to share our experiences with key…

    • 4 Apr 2012
  • The countryside is drying

    On Thursday, a housepipe ban will be introduced to large parts of southern and eastern England.   Eight water companies have said they will impose water restrictions after two very dry winters have left reservoirs, aquifers and rivers below normal levels.  Across East Anglia - where I live - the last six months have been the driest since records began in 1921.

    While many of us do not use (or even have) a hosepipe, the introduction…

    • 3 Apr 2012
  • RSPB The Musical: auditions in three weeks

    We heard late on Friday that a West End producer is keen to stage a musical about the RSPB.  Details are currently a little sketchy but we do know that auditions will start in three weeks.  The hope is that the show will be aired in a regional theatre (perhaps the Cambridge Corn Exchange given its close proximity to Sandy) prior to a possible transfer to the West End stage.

    This is very exciting for us. 

    We understand…

    • 1 Apr 2012