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Wednesday 29 May 2013

Wild Boar (female) (Sus scrofa)

I  thought that it  would be a nice thing if I would leave you the pictures if the Wild Boar. So, cheers to everyone who looks at it.I will be back in about 10 days. Cheers, ciao, salute..................
By  the way, it's not good to feed the Wild Boar, as this one was, because there a people who want to kill them. And, it is not to be over friendly.
I won't be answering your comments, sorry.

 This is Callum, my son, who was lying down to be friendly.

And this with the Boar following him.

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Mandarin Duck (male) (Aix galericulata)

One more day and I'm off on holidays, with my bro, Pete. I am truly happy, because he helps me in lots of ways. I couldn't do the things on my own, travelling long way, and organise places that stay, in fact, he is a wizard. Thanks Pete.

Sunday 26 May 2013

Chiloé Wigeon (Anas sibilatrix),

The Chiloé Wigeon, also known as the southern wigeon, pato overo or pato real, is one of three extant species of wigeon in the Anas genus of dabbling ducks. This bird is indigenous to the southern part of South America. Wikipedia

Saturday 25 May 2013

Great Crested Grebe + 3 chicks

I had too show you this one. It was far away from me, with a lot of cutting, this is it. I'll be back there.....

Government approved cull of endangered birds on Duke of Westminster’s Estate

Tens of thousands of endangered  have been shot, trapped and poisoned on one of England’s largest shooting estates with the approval of the government agency responsible for protecting the species, a Guardian investigation has found.
The government has licensed an annual cull of lesser black-backed gulls on the Abbeystead estate on the Bowland Fells in Lancashire for decades, officially to stop water pollution. However, some experts believe the culling was also partly to protect  shooting interests.
‘Confusion’ over the legal protection status of the has allowed culling to continue, despite its population crashing in recent years. Photograph: Ellie Rothnie/Alamy
Abbeystead gull cull map
The regulator  now admits that, since a government-led bird  review occurred in 2001, “confusion” over the legal protection status of the species has allowed the culling to continue, despite its population crashing in recent years.
Chris Packham, the BBC Springwatch presenter and naturalist, has described the situation as a “travesty” and the RSPB is now calling for an urgent review.
The 23,500-acre Abbeystead estate was bought in 1980 by a trust “on behalf” of the Duke of Westminster, one of the UK’s richest landowners. The duke’s Grosvenor Estate manages the Abbeystead estate, which hosts  and grouse shoots.
The estate was first allowed to cull the gulls in the 1970s on the grounds that droppings were polluting the watercourse. The licence to cull was last renewed by NE in 1999. But a former Abbeystead gull surveyor has admitted that the culling has been conducted, in part, to protect the “economy of the shooting estates”. The species is known to eat grouse eggs.
Documents released to  under freedom of information laws show that techniques deployed over the years have included the use of a poison called alpha-chloralose, cannon-netting, gas guns, flag waving, falconry and shooting. Until 2003, 4,000-10,000 birds a year were being poisoned on the estate, according to one NE document. It is not known which culling techniques have been used since then.
The bird is a migratory gull with dark grey wings and distinctive yellow legs and bill. It has “amber” conservation status due to “serious concern about declines in many parts of its range”. The UK, which it visits to breed during the summer months before returning to Portugal and west Africa in the winter, is home to 40% of the European population and more than half of these are found at fewer than 10 sites.
NE surveys of the Abbeystead population obtained by the Guardian show that in 1998 the Bowland Fells site of special scientific interest had recorded a peak population of 13,776 pairs. In 2001, 18,080 nests with eggs were recorded.
The surveys concluded that a baseline of 6,768 breeding pairs – the average population from 1983-87 – should be maintained in Bowland, but that a “loss of more than 25% is unacceptable”. However, in 2012 the NE survey showed that pairs had fallen to the lowest level since records began in 1980, with just over 1,000 nests with eggs at Abbeystead/Tarnbrook. It warned that the “entire Bowland population is significantly below the level at the time of SSSI notification and is considered in unfavourable and declining condition”. The survey also reported “significant and widespread culling and disturbance measures” in the area in 2012.
In 2001, government adviser the Joint Nature Conservation Committee published a review of the UK’s Special Protection Areas, the sites classified in accordance with the European commission’s birds directive, which seeks to legally protect  and their habitats. It concluded that, alongside the  and the merlin, the gull was now a “qualifying species” within the Bowland SPA because it “supported a population of European importance”. However, 12 years later, the official SPA citation document for Bowland has still not been updated to reflect that the gull should be a qualifying species deserving of legal protection.
NE admitted to the Guardian that this “mismatch” was still causing confusion, and that the culling at Abbeystead is therefore continuing legally. It said: “That the species still does not officially appear on the domestic SPA citation for Bowland is one of a number of instances where the 2001 review recommendations have yet to be translated into domestic legal documentation. There are other, similar instances at 97 other UK SPAs. The SPA Ramsar scientific working group and the Natura 2000 & Ramsar steering committee are aware of these and working towards a resolution. In the meantime, work continues to ensure that all species, which should be protected as part of an SPA, are safeguarded accordingly.”
Juvenile lesser black-backed gulls. Photograph: Alamy
NE added that the reason why very few of the 2001 review’s recommendations had been formally adopted was “principally due to resource issues and a need to prioritise marine SPA work”. A new review was now under way, it stressed, which will “mop up many of the 2001 recommendations”.
NE said it has been in dialogue with the Abbeystead estate since at least 2011 in an attempt to “seek the cessation of the current regime of disturbance and culling of [the gull] at Bowland Fells”. It added: “These discussions are ongoing. Working through agreement remains Natural England’s preferred approach. At Bowland Fells, as elsewhere, we pursue any modifications to existing consents on a voluntary basis with the aim of achieving a negotiated position with owner occupiers. Natural England’s policy is to use enforcement as a last resort as, in most circumstances, it is a much lengthier and more costly process and can be subject to appeal.”
Martin Harper, the RSPB’s director of conservation, said: “The annual cull of lesser black-backed gulls in the Forest of Bowland should be halted. The gull’s population is in serious decline nationally and an urgent evidence-led review is required to determine, once and for all, if there are any grounds for it to continue.
“Historically, the RSPB has reluctantly accepted the need for the Bowland population to be reduced on public health grounds to protect the water supply. We no longer think that this is still justified. The parlous state of lesser black-backed gulls around the UK is of serious concern as colonies in Cumbria and Suffolk are also in decline for reasons that are not clear; in Bowland we believe the decline can be reversed by stopping the cull.”
Packham said he was “completely unaware of this travesty”. He added: “In these days of widespread decline and the accompanying need for increasingly effective conservation, this perverse anomaly strikes me as particularly inexcusable on any level. The fate of a species should not be imperilled by the murderous desires of a minority. Here is a perfect opportunity for the shooting fraternity to publicly put their house in order and I sincerely hope they do.”
The Grosvenor Estate said: “As we are involved in a dialogue with Natural England together with other land-owners, about the management of Bowland Fells, including the Abbeystead estate, we are not in a position to comment.”
This article was written by Leo Hickman for the Guardian UK.

Friday 24 May 2013

Andean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus andinus)

This one I took on my last trip to Argentine, laugh out  loud!!!!!!!!!

Government licensed secret buzzard egg destruction, documents reveal

Eggs and nests of protected raptors destroyed to protect pheasant shoot, according to FoI documents. A government agency has licensed the secret destruction of the eggs and nests of buzzards to protect a pheasant shoot, according to documents released under the Freedom of Information Act.
Raptors gained legal protection decades ago. This is the first time since that action has been licensed against any bird of prey to protect game shoots. Photograph: Ben Hall/RSPB
The action sets a historic precedent, being the first time such action has been licensed against any bird of prey to protect game shoots since raptors gained legal protection decades ago. Buzzards are recovering from near extinction and now number 40,000 breeding pairs, while 35m pheasants are bred each year for shoots.
It is also less than a year after the  minister, Richard Benyon, abandoned related plans citing “public concerns”. Benyon, whose family estate in Berkshire runs shoots, cancelled plans to spend £375,000 on testing control measures for buzzards around pheasant shoots after a public outcry in May 2012. “I will collaborate with all the organisations that have an interest in this issue and will bring forward new proposals,” he said at the time.
The destruction of the nests, which took place in the last few weeks, was only revealed after the event through a freedom of information request by the RSPB.
A man holds a dead pheasant shot during a pheasant hunt in Lewknor, England. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters 
“We were proceeding collaboratively and that is why we are so angry now,” said Martin Harper, the RSPB’s  director. “Most people would prefer to see buzzards soaring in the sky. They are big, majestic creatures in the wild and we don’t have many of them in the UK: they are England’s eagle. The fact the licence process takes place without public scrutiny is wrong.”
The licences were issued by the government’s licensing body, Natural England (NE) and permitted destruction of up to four nests and the eggs they held. “The law allows action to be taken against protected species to protect livestock, which includes any animal kept for the provision or improvement of shooting,” said a spokesman for NE. “We rigorously assessed the application [and] were satisfied the case met the criteria.”
The locations of the destroyed nests were not made public. NE stated the issue was “emotive and sensitive” and cited “public safety”. NE issued the licences despite its own expert reviewer stating: “There is no body of published evidence demonstrating that the presence of buzzards is likely to result in serious damage to a game shoot.” A related application to kill sparrowhawks was rejected.
The National Gamekeepers Organisation (NGO) was closely involved in winning the licences and had threatened NE with judicial review if they were not granted. “We believe the long-standing licensing process was correctly used in this case,” said a spokesman. “A few buzzards had been consistently killing a large number of pheasants. Most  of prey are now at or near record levels in the UK, so conflicts with game management and farming are bound to occur from time to time.”
Pheasants are not native to the UK and were introduced to stock shoots, but the biomass of the population makes it now the single biggest bird species in the countryside. The growing popularity of shoots in the Victorian era saw buzzards poisoned, shot and trapped until just 1,000 pairs were left, but protection in recent decades has led to a partial recovery.
Jeff Knott, the RSPB’s bird of prey expert, said: “The buzzard has full legal protection, so why are we undermining this when all the available evidence shows they are not a significant source of loss of pheasant chicks.” An independent study commissioned by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation found that, on average, 1-2% of pheasant poults released were taken by all birds of prey, Knott said, adding that a third of all pheasants are killed on the roads. The NGO spokesman said the buzzard control project was cancelled last year after the RSPB’s campaign would have provided evidence of predation: “They can’t have it both ways.”
A spokeswoman for the Department of , Food and , said: “After a thorough assessment, Natural England granted a licence for the removal of a small number of buzzard nests. Buzzard populations are thriving in the UK and this licensed action had no effect on their population.”
Labour’s environment secretary, Mary Creagh, said buzzards had recovered under the previous government: “This latest revelation blasts a hole in ministers’ empty words about protecting Britain’s iconic native species. It is astounding the government has granted licences after ministers were forced to U-turn last year.” She also criticised Benyon: “Who exactly do ministers think they are there to serve? ”
A key criteria for the granting of the licences was that all non-lethal control methods, such as creating places for pheasants to hide and diverting buzzards away by leaving food out, had been unsuccessfully tried. But the NE expert who reviewed the application reported: “Overall, there is a pattern of [non-lethal] methods being employed inconsistently.” The reviewer also noted that “the efficacy of [nest and egg destruction] is untested”. Harper said the RSPB was considering its legal options.
The government has previously been criticised for favouring grouse shooting in the Pennines, after NE abandoned plans to ban the burning of peat land on a grouse moor and withdrew from a related legal action against the Walshaw Moor estate.
This article was written by Damian Carrington for  UK.

Thursday 23 May 2013

Great Tit [Parus major]

A very windy today, and also there was a few bursts of rain, though you couldn't feel it, light rain.

Monday 20 May 2013

Chiffchaff [Phylloscopus collybita]

A small olive-brown warbler which actively flits through trees and shrubs, with a distinctive tail-wagging movement. Less bright than the similar willow warbler and readily distinguished by its song, from where it gets its name. Picks insects from trees and also flies out to snap them up in flight. (RSPB).

Sunday 19 May 2013

Female Wild Boar (Sus scrofa)

This a nice surprise today. The first one was taken with 500mm lens, which was too big, so I changed my camera to 5D with wide angle, not as good as 500mm, but it was able to get her in the full. Enjoy them.