• Celebrating the amazing... Thames estuary

    As it's a European parliamentary election, we have to wait until Sunday before the results start coming in.  So, rather than speculate wildly on the outcome, I thought I'd put a spotlight on our obsession with airports and to let you know about an initiative to celebrate one of our most treasured landscapes.

    Building an airport in the same location as hundreds of thousands of birds has always been a silly idea…

    • 23 May 2014
  • More reasons why it pays to invest in nature

    It has been a mixed week: a great trip to Orkney, my football team won the FA Cup, but the RSPB lost two legal challenges (see here and here) leaving us feeling bitterly disappointed.  But we'll pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and go again.

    Rather than dwell on what has just happened, here is a more positive thought for you before you go to the polls today to vote in the European parliamentary elections...

    • 22 May 2014
  • RSPB statement in response to judgment on its challenge to the Ribble Gull Cull decision

    An application by aerospace company BAE Systems to cull 1100 lesser black-backed gulls in Lancashire has been the subject of a High Court appeal. Judgement was received this morning and the RSPB's challenge was unsuccessful. Here is our response to Mr Justice Mitting’s judgment on the RSPB’s Ribble Gull Cull challenge:

    This judgement is deeply worrying as we believe it fundamentally misinterprets the law…

    • 21 May 2014
  • Saving the amazing

    I have now been to Orkney and seen our endemic Scottish primrose ( see yesterday's blog), but I bet I never get to many, if any, of the UK's overseas territories like Pitcairn, Ascension or Henderson islands.

    Today, the RSPB publishes a new stock-take of the natural wealth of these extraordinary places.  It is quite a read.

    Penguin nation. The UK is responsible for more penguins than any other country on…
    • 20 May 2014
  • Stories from Orkney

    The RSPB has a tradition of organising annual Council weekends: opportunities for trustees and their spouses to visit a part of the UK to find out more about our work, get to know staff, explore some of the issues and compete with one another to predict the number of birds we see over a weekend (the result of this year's competition is at the end of this blog).

    RSPB directors participate in these trips and since…

    • 20 May 2014
  • Verdict of the Lydd Airport High Court appeal

    Disappointing news today on our challenge to the Lydd Airport expansion. Here's our statement on this case: 

    An application by London Ashford Airport Limited to expand its Lydd Airport in Kent has been the subject of a High Court challenge by the RSPB. The RSPB has opposed the expansion of the Airport since it was first put forward in 2006. Judgment was received on this morning and the RSPB’s challenge was unsuccessful…

    • 16 May 2014
  • Tackling both the hard and tough conservation problems

    There are some hard conservation problems and there are some tough conservation problems.

    Neither are easy, but I think we're pretty good at dealing with hard problems but we need to get better at dealing with tough ones.

    What's the difference?

    It may be a bit of a false distinction, but for me, a hard conservation problem is one where wildlife is in trouble as a perverse and inadvertent consequence of human…

    • 14 May 2014
  • Another May, another spray....

    This time last year, we found out that the Forestry Commission England intended to spray bacterial toxin from a helicopter onto oak woodland designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. They were trying to eradicate oak processionary moth from the area.  This invasive species damages oak trees and produces an irritant that can cause rashes and other medical problems if people come into contact with it. The RSPB joined forces…

    • 12 May 2014
  • From Eurovision to Euro-elections: five things to remember before the 22 May poll

    With six little girls hogging the telly last night, I was resorted to snatching little moments of Graham Norton and Eurovision via the Ipad.  While my vote went for Holland, I was happy to see Conchita win for Austria and for bearded ladies everywhere.  

    The last time I was in Austria for the European Birdlife partnership meeting (here), I didn't meet any bearded ladies.  But I did help plot our strategy for collaboration…

    • 11 May 2014
  • Spring on and off the BBC

    Two bits of good news.

    First, I am delighted that the BBC is setting up camp at Minsmere for this year's Springwatch.  The production crew, presenters and viewers are in for a treat.  As demonstrated by my boy this weekend, it will put a smile on everyone's face.

    Second, although we do not yet know if the BBC will rise to Chris Rose's challenge to resurrect the live recording of nightingales on 18 May, we thought…

    • 8 May 2014
  • Flashback to the floods

    Standing in our West Sedgemoor reserve in Somerset yesterday, it was difficult to imagine that just a few weeks ago this whole landscape had been turned into a lake five feet deep.  The fields are now full of marsh marigold and cuckoo flower with lapwings displaying and hobbies hunting.  Spring is demonstrably in full swing.   Apart from some debris in hawthorn bushes, there is little sign of the deluge that afflicted the…

    • 7 May 2014
  • The promise of return: a guest blog from Simon Tonkin, Conservation Manager of Conservation Grade

    This week I continue to focus on the challenges facing migratory birds such as turtle dove. I've covered hunting on the flyway and threats from disease.  Today, I welcome a guest blog from former colleague Simon Tonkin who now works for Conservation Grade.  Simon explains what we are doing together with farmers, Pensthorpe Conservation Trust and Natural England through Operation Turtle Dove to create suitable breeding…

    • 2 May 2014