Black-winged stilts arrive at RSPB Cliffe Pools

Black-winged stilts arrive at RSPB Cliffe Pools

A mini influx of black-winged stilts has brought a touch of the Mediterranean to southern England, as two pairs of these exotic-looking wading birds are attempting to nest at RSPB sites in West Sussex and Kent.
It is thought that a dry spell in southern Spain has displaced these wetland birds to southern Britain. And it is believed that a changing climate may bring these birds to Britain more regularly in future. The only times black-winged stilts have bred successfully in the UK was in Norfolk in 1987 and Nottinghamshire in 1945.

One pair is nesting on the RSPB’s newest reserve in West Sussex, Medmerry, the other pair at the RSPB reserve at Cliffe Pools on the north Kent marshes.

“This is really exciting news and the first time we have had black-winged stilts breeding on the reserve here at Cliffe Pools,” said Warden Andy Daw. “They have visited before and a pair was seen about seven years ago on the reserve but they did not produce any young.

Yet another great reason to protect this special place for wildlife and say #jeThames  #noestuaryairport

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The Marsh Country

It was a great pleasure for us to spend time with author Julian Hoffman when he came to visit us here on the Hoo Peninsula ~ Ours IS the marsh country down by the river and we will fight with the utmost vigour to protect it ~ No Thames estuary airport ever!

Notes from Near and Far

“Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea.”

~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations, 1861

“Large terminals, operational buildings, offices, roads and car parks will interrupt the broad open scale of the marsh landscape… The network of ditches and creeks running through the marshes will be severely affected or destroyed…Existing open views out over the Estuary will be lost and replaced by terminal buildings, aircraft hangers and extensive areas of paving…The low hills of the Hoo Peninsula rising out of the surrounding marshland will be lost entirely.”

                                                                        ~ Foster + Partners, Thames Hub AirportProposal to the Airports Commission, 2013

The Marsh Country

The Greek…

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Urgent! Email the Airports Commission today and help us say NO Thames estuary airport ever

Urgent! Email the Airports Commission today and help us say NO Thames estuary airport ever

Saving special places Great Expectations and profound concerns

Saving special places Great Expectations and profound concerns.

Thanks go to RSPB Andre Farrar for posting this blog

Saving special places Great Expectations and profound concerns

A flavour of what it’s like to face the obliteration of your local landscape – with all its connections and heritage – not to mention internationally important wildlife.  Friends of North Kent Marshes was formed in the heat of battle ten years ago when last the airport planners came calling.

Please click on link below to read

 Saving special places Great Expectations and profound concerns

Our thanks go to RSPB Andre Farrar who started the RSPB Saving special places blog.

Read his bio below:

This blog is where you can read about the places we work to protect and the people on the front line.  The scope of this blog covers planning, the policies and legal framework that exists to protect the best places for wildlife and of, of course, the individual cases that are the daily work of staff across the UK.  We help BirdLife International partners overseas – and you will be able to read contributions from Europe and further afield.

Of course – probably of the best way to save a site is to a acquire it as a nature reserve – this blog will sometimes feature our reserves and the role they play in future of our wildlife, but the full story of the RSPBs network of nature reserves is told elsewhere: http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves

This blog features the contributions of many individuals – I will have the pleasure of holding the ring and acting as the narrator to this compelling story.  So a little about me; I’m Andre Farrar and my first active involvement with the RSPB was in the late 1970s as a volunteer with our Leeds Local Group http://www.rspb.org.uk/groups/leeds.

I was one of many who wrote to their MPs as part of the campaign to get the best outcome for what became the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981).  It wasn’t perfect but it was a good start.  Thirty years on, I’m still in the thick of it campaigning for our protected areas and special places for wildlife.  Are we winning?  Read on and find out, and see how you can help.

Mark Reckless MP launches NO Estuary Airport Petition

Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood has launched a No Estuary Airport Petition to make sure the voice of the people of the Hoo Peninsula is heard loud and clear in City Hall and Westminster.

Ours is the marsh country down by the river within as the river winds twenty miles of the sea…

Please add your voice to ours. If we all act together we can save this special place for wildlife for future generations to enjoy, and ensure that this shocking act of vandalism never goes ahead.

How can you help?

PLEASE sign Mark Reckless MP’s petition here

then

PLEASE Step up for nature and help us get the message across to the Secretary of State for Transport.

RSPB have prepared a template e-mail for you to send to the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP.
A copy will also be sent to your local MP.

NO estuary airport ever!

Plans for an airport in the Thames Estuary are unsustainable and threaten a world-class coastal wetland.

Once again the nightmare of a Thames estuary airport has reared its ugly head! Communities in the Thames estuary have been here before and every time it has been rejected. There is massive opposition to the construction of an airport anywhere in the Thames Estuary because of the immense damage it would cause to the area’s internationally important wildlife and the wider environment.The whole issue was exhaustively investigated in the run up to the publication of the previous Government’s Aviation White Paper (2003). All the key players, including the aviation industry, contributed, and the idea of an airport in the Thames Estuary was ruled out. In addition to the unprecedented environmental damage and the resulting legal implications, the investigation found that an estuary airport did not make economic sense, would not meet the requirements of the aviation industry and presented a significantly higher (up to 12 times greater) risk of ‘bird strike’ than at any other major airport in the UK. Recent statements and proposals by London Mayor, Boris Johnson, Norman Foster and others in favour of an estuary airport, do nothing to alter these findings. The threats and the risks remain the same. An airport in the Thames Estuary is unrealistic due to the ecological, environmental and economic impacts it would cause. As well as being hugely expensive,  an airport in the Thames Estuary would cause massive environmental damage, and there would be a significantly increased risk of birdstrike as the Thames Estuary is a hub for hundreds of thousands of migrant birds. Furthermore, a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary could have a very high carbon cost.

The RSPB fought its largest ever campaign against a proposal to site a new airport on Cliffe Marshes in 2003. These proposals, which were part of a Government review of airport capacity in the South East ahead of the White Paper, were eventually rejected.

To read the RSPB position statement please click here

Friends of the North Kent Marshes say No Estuary Airport here and on facebook also twitter
To watch the wonderful RSPB vimeo  ‘Keep the Thames full of life’ please click here

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