Poor old Gilbert is getting restless. Despite the fact that there is more interest in wildlife than ever before, it seems that most of the so-called conservation organisations are losing interest in species. Instead they prefer to babble on about landscape scale conservation and ecosystem services (whatever they are). Could this be because most of their staff don't have any knowledge about species if they don't have four legs?
This is my attempt to encourage an interest in good old-fashioned natural history.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Herald of Winter and a little gem

It's getting increasingly hard to write about things that I've seen so the blog runs the risk of going into hibernation. The alternative would be to have a bit more of a rant about various things. There are plenty of suitable topics. How about the fact that this awful government has decided to appoint a banker as the chair of Natural England? It's ok though because he likes gardening so he's ideally qualified to be in charge of our wildlife! Others have covered this topic in detail though so how about my favourite target; Surrey Wildlife Trust? Their latest inspired appeal for money is for woodland management (which seems only to consist of coppicing). Apparently if we give them £30k they'll be able to save the Pied Flycatcher (has never bred in Surrey) and the Wood Warbler (virtually extinct in the county and certainly would become so if they coppiced its habitat). But they really are a lost cause.

The latest fungus group meeting was not especially productive but I did see a few new species including the appropriately named Herald of Winter Hygrophorus hypothejus.

One interesting find was a batch of Vapourer moth eggs laid on the cocoon that the adult female had hatched from.

I wasn't expecting to see anything of interest today as I was stuck in the office but my colleague was doing some ringing nearby and caught a Firecrest. It's interesting that they are still around as the New Forest population is thought to have moved away by this stage of the winter (although no-one knows where to).

Never noticed before that they have such a stern look! 


  1. What a cracker - we had at least 3 and a Siberian type Chiffchaff in the wood with the Two-barred Greenish Warbler in Holland...

  2. I'm not a fan of the Surrey Wildlife Trust either - too many of their reserves are covered in fences with stupid amounts of 'planting' which grow to stop visitors seeing over the fencing and onto the habitat that they were visiting in the first place. Madness. I've voiced my concerns and have been 'black-balled' by one particular person for doing so.

  3. Steve G. I would treat that as a badge of honour!

  4. I'm a big fan of SWT. I like all those big shiny vehicles they have and I got a 'free' car sticker too!

  5. Ha ha Gibster. I got sent some piece of tat for being a long term member earlier this year. I can't even remember what it was! I'd much sooner they spent the money on conservation but I don't think they know what that is any more.