This year is shaping up to look very good. The soggy state of the country aside, keeping most of us indoors, I'm looking forward to this spring and summer with the idea of traveling more widely. In the time since my last post I've become involved with The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) and this has developed into volunteering regularly for the majority of last summer two days a week and continuing to date. I also spent an amazing two weeks during July 2013 volunteering with the RSPB at their South Stack reserve on Anglesey, Wales. The volunteer accommodation was a two minute walk from the cliffs and wildlife highlights included seeing and hearing Chough every day, Peregrines, a few thousand of sea birds and a good list of butterfly species like Silver-studded Blue, Greyling and Dark Green Fritillary. During November I spent another two week placement at RSPB's Blacktoft Sands reserve on the Humber Estuary near Goole, North East Yorkshire. The reserve is an intertidal reed bed, with the main highlight in winter being the raptor roost of Hen and Marsh Harrier every night. Starlings did not roost in the reserve reed bed, with roost sites in the area being unpredictable according to the reserve warden. I hope to see a murmuration this winter. I had an enjoyable two weeks among the reeds carrying out habitat management.
I ask myself where last year went, yet looking back my involvement in conservation work party's feature heavily. I have involved myself with the Avon Wildlife Trust and the Bristol Natural History Consortium during their Bioblitz last summer. I find myself compelled to make a difference on the ground as well as continuing wildlife photography as a medium of communication about the natural world. Education forms part of the answer but without those acting to preserve wildlife through habitat restoration species will continue to decline. If we are to reverse current steady declines in overall biodiversity resulting from pressures like habitat loss it will be the sharp end of conservation, conservationists on the ground, that make a strong force for change, among other things such as changing attitudes in society. Thinking behind the value of current habitat management ideas are under question and changing in favor of re-wilding and larger scale approaches to the way we see conservation in light of the overwhelming need to find solutions to reverse declines in wildlife.
I appreciate for a photographic blog there is a distinct lack of images in recent posts. I will endeavor, all being well, to post more frequently this year! Some of my images can be found by following TCV Bristol on Twitter where I have started using my photography to hopefully recruit new volunteers and promote the charity's work.
This year should be excellent with possible trips to Ireland, Scotland and Dartmoor on the cards as well as South Stack in the hope of seeing adders! I can't wait!