Crow politics

Ravens tumble over hills as I travel north for a novel workshop and south to Parliamentary meetings on biodiversity. The corvid family are well known opportunists. Optimistic even. Like the vision behind the ‘Understanding Predation’ workshops set up by Scotland’s Moorland Forum (29 organisations including RSPB, Scottish Wildlife) to ‘build a shared evidence base that critically … Continue reading Crow politics

Bunting’s hero

David Blake of Cranborne Chase AONB, Wiltshire shares his thoughts on how farmers can work together to help farmland birds and other wildlife. The South Wiltshire Farmland Bird Project (delivered by the Cranborne Chase AONB) started in 2009 designed specifically at reversing the decline of corn bunting (pic above), grey partridge, lapwing, tree sparrow, turtle … Continue reading Bunting’s hero

Martian spud

Whole countries, or even a whole planet if you’ve seen The Martian, have relied on the potato. It may have been corny. They may not have been a high grade Scottish seed potato. But the chips were down when Matt Damon, marooned on Mars, discovers his only of bag of spuds and manages to propagate a … Continue reading Martian spud

Nobel dung

Advances in vet and human medicines may have unintended consequences for the environment. A few years ago a pest controller told me that I was lucky to live in one of the UK’s most rural counties. He added that, due to the prevalence of livestock farming, worm parasites were a problem for not only cattle, … Continue reading Nobel dung

Game cuckoos

The Game Fair was a meeting place for all those interesting in the countryside. Not just in fieldsports, but in all conservation activities intrinsic to the countryside. Away from PR departments, media spinners, membership targets, HQ directives; people from conservation NGOs, farming, birding, walking, shooting, hunting, fishing, and a multitude of outdoor interests swapped anecdotal … Continue reading Game cuckoos

Nature with teeth

The excitement around rewilding must be harnessed by the widest cross-section of society if it is to find a place as a conservation ‘tool’. To be honest, I like the idea of a few unfettered landscapes with large predatory animals lurking in the undergrowth. Untamed countryside complete with deep growl, loud snort and piercing scream. … Continue reading Nature with teeth

Fair Game

I want a thriving uplands. Can you see my head? Just. An ‘iconic’ upland bird found only in heathery spots in the UK. Humans strive to manage habitat and control predators so that I produce good numbers to be flushed wild to the gun. Contrary to what you may hear, work is in progress on … Continue reading Fair Game

Raptor brutal

Extraordinary experiences with raptors make for deep thoughts. Fishing on a warm summer afternoon high in the Cambrian Mountains, I lie in a rowing boat drifting across the lake listening to the ‘plop’ of brown trout rising. Gazing up, my eyes focus on two dark spots getting larger and larger…within seconds they loom into view, … Continue reading Raptor brutal