• Wildfire at Dove Stone

    Given the fact that a fire has been raging over Saddleworth moor this week, I thought it would be good to host a guest blog from my colleague Pat Thompson (the RSPB's senior upland policy officer) to offer our perspective on what has happened and what our local team has been doing to help.

    You will have seen on the news over recent days, catastrophic images of fire sweeping across the hills near Saddleworth moor…

    • 29 Jun 2018
  • Good news for a Friday: growing solidarity and ambition for nature-friendly farming

    Whatever your views on Brexit, it can be easy to get ground down by the current uncertainty. For farming and wildlife in particular, the future is far from clear. It is at times like this then that we need to top up our reserves of hope and optimism in order to keep our eyes on the end goal of a countryside richer in nature, alongside profitable and productive farming.

    After attending the Greener UK and Wildlife & Countryside…

    • 29 Jun 2018
  • The conservationist's dilemma: an update on the science, policy and practice of the impact of predators on wild birds (5)

    Recently, I had the pleasure of paying my first visit to our Loch of Strathbeg reserve in Aberdeenshire. The office window has one of the best views in the whole of the RSPB as it looks directly onto a tern island which, thanks to the installation of a predator fence, creates a cacophony.

    Loch of Stratbeg (Andy Hay, rspb-images.com)

    Built over the winter of 2013-14 to exclude otters which were feasting on eggs,…

    • 28 Jun 2018
  • A response to news that licenses have been granted to shoot ravens in England

    Yesterday, an article in the Sunday Times stated “Michael Gove, the environment secretary, has issued licences for farmers to shoot the birds [ravens] in Derbyshire, Lancashire, Berkshire, Wiltshire and Dorset.” This comes hot on the heels of the concern in Scotland over the research licence granted by Scottish Natural Heritage to local estates to cull over 60 non breeding ravens per annum over 5 years.

    • 19 Jun 2018
  • This week it's all about swifts

    This week is the first ever UK Swift Awareness Week, a brilliant initiative which aims to highlight the plight of these amazing birds. 

    When I look up at swifts screaming through the skies over my house in Cambridge, it seems that they live in an altogether different world to our own. They have an almost exclusively airborne existence, coming in to land only to nest. Swifts eat, sleep, drink, feed, bathe and mate on the wing…

    • 18 Jun 2018
  • Good news for a Friday: collaborating across borders for biodiversity

    I have been out and about a bit over the past couple of weeks catching up with colleagues in Scotland and Northern Ireland while seeing the impact of the work we are doing. I visited our Abernethy, Loch of Strathbeg and Fowlsheugh nature reserves last week and I enjoyed my first visit to the Garron Plateau in the Antrim Hills yesterday.

    Reflecting on these and other recent visits, I am proud that it is becoming routine…

    • 15 Jun 2018
  • A few more teeth for the Westminster Government’s green poodle?

    Our natural environment depends on strong laws, properly enforced. When the UK leaves the EU we also leave all of the governance mechanisms that have enforced our environmental laws during our time in the EU, leaving our natural environment vulnerable to exploitation. This is why we, and our partners, are so concerned about this ‘governance gap’ and how our governments intend to fill it.

    Gannet by Danny…

    • 12 Jun 2018
  • The emotional politics of curlew conservation

    Before chairing our event on curlews at the Hay Festival on Friday, I went to a lecture given by Karin Wahl-Jorgensen about “the emotional politics of Trump and the rise of angry populism”.  It seemed like a good way to warm up for our event and it was a sobering reminder of how anger has infected politics across the world with potentially dangerous consequences.  

    During her talk, Karin quoted Immanuel Kant…

    • 4 Jun 2018