Rewilding Making Strides Across Europe

Balkan chamois

Take a look at the following link concerning the Rewilding Europe organisation which was set up in 2011 to encourage rewilding in suitable areas across Europe, with much of the funding coming from the EU’s LIFE project.  Items in the attached link include: Rewilding of peatlands in Finland, making community forests in Portugal more wildlife friendly, the RSPB’s Wallasea Island project in Essex, the bio-diverse Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria (I have been there – fantastic!) and habitat restoration in the Oder Estuary in Germany.


July Sightings

July 4.  Flock of about 20 oystercatchers perched on one of the reefs that run out here and there along the beach at St.Leonards this afternoon.

July 8.  Trained to Brighton…  Beautiful show of hollyhocks at Berwick station, real cottage flowers!  Scrub is still being allowed to increase in area at a number of locations along the Firle Escarpment Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).  This is one of SE England’s major landscape features and if attitudes, government grants, and funding for Natural England staff do not change before too long, this majestic view will be lost to future generations.    In a field near Firle, saw windrows of straw from an early combined crop of cereal.    People who criticise on aesthetic grounds the Rampion wind farm some 10 miles seaward of Brighton, should turn their gaze 90 degrees and consider the factory chimney (aka i-360 attraction), parked on Brighton’s promenade!    Evening withdrawal of some evening train services meant I was stuck on Lewes station for about an hour from 8-45pm but I was rewarded by one of Nature’s spectacles.  I became aware of lots of jackdaw chatter emanating some 200m away in trees in Southover Road.  Over the next hour, wave upon wave of jackdaws came in low over the station from the south-east, many beginning to chatter on their final approach to their companions already settled amongst the crowns of the tall trees. I was left wondering how they all managed to fit into the the available space. Home at 22-45!

July 9.  Sensible dogs, and Englishmen go out in the midday sun!  Why sit on baking-hot pebbles when you can lay on cool, damp ones or even better, in the water!

July 14.  Buff-tailed bumble bees bottoms-up on artichokes on my allotment.

July 19.  during the evening, I counted some 20-24 swifts over the centre of St.Leonards.  Another couple of weeks and I guess they’ll have largely departed south.

May Sightings

And so the cool, dry spring continues without much prospect of change until towards the end of May…

May 6th and during the evening there was a group of 7 swifts hawking for insects in the cold easterly wind, high over St.Leonards old town.  Still numbers of turnstones along the beach.  May 8th and as I sat down to my breakfast, 6 swallows flew across the street at window height in that purposeful, determined flight behaviour that characterises swallows on migration, heading north-westwards.  I wished them well.

May 8th.  There’s still a reasonable population of english elms in the vicinity of the station at Pevensey.  Also nearby, are a number of trees (poplar?) with thriving plants of mistletoe high in their crowns; nice to see.

May 18th.  In the following pic, scrub-bashing with a difference!  These fellas are removing dense ivy from off the cliff face at Rock-A-nor at Hastings in order to attach steel mesh safety netting as can be seen above them.  They’re working from off ropes using pneumatically powered equipment.


On the same day in the evening, saw this amazing ‘barley-twist’ cloud formation.

May 24th.  There were 10 swifts over St.Leonards old town as I sat having breakfast. Went for a walk in Ham Street Woods National Nature Reserve in Kent, a lovely wood but unfortunately there appears to be not a lot of coppicing now going on – how this wood was traditionally managed.  Saw this tree which many years ago had suffered severe trauma, survived and prospered!

Nearby the entrance to the woods stands a row of four Victorian(?) cottages.  I thought they were very unusual in that the upper storey is clad all around the entire block with butt-jointed slates with strips fixed over the vertical joints.

On this jaunt I travelled by train and spotted just west of Winchelsea good and bad farming practice – the latter almost certainly contravening government/EU regulations by cultivating as close to a watercourse as physically possible.  The adjacent water must be receiving a very unhealthy cocktail of fertilizer and chemicals  First, good practice with 2 metre wide uncultivated headlands on a neighbouring farm and then the bad.  Apologies that the second doesn’t make the point very obvious but the train was going quite fast! Stile and post are on nearside of watercourse.

In the evening, saw my first painted lady butterfly; it was in beautiful condition and probably had not long arrived from across the Channel.  About 10 swifts screaming high overhead mid-evening.  I’m not religious but full marks to the Pope for giving Trump some serious reading matter today!

Dismantling in Eastbourne

Made a brief visit to Eastbourne this morning and took these pics of changes taking place within the town.  The first is the dismantling of a fine Wheatley variety of a street elm along Southfields Road due to a large cavity within it and also that it was dying from Dutch Elm Disease (DED), note the dead twigs at the extremities of its crown.  One of the tree surgeons told me that Eastbourne is fairing reasonably well with DED.

Elm trees seem to this spring have produced a very heavy crop of seed – though very little elm seed is viable, it mainly spreading by root suckers.

The second pic is of major demolition of redundant shops along Terminus Road opposite the railway station to make way for extending the Arndale Centre.  I just hope that when it comes to the interior design, they don’t replicate the boring interior of the present mall!

Magpies & Crows; Pigeons & Squirrels.

After a lot going on in my life during the past month or so including a bout of ‘flu from hell,’ I am going to try to get back into blogging, with hopefully more posts of an observational nature.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been observing a pair of magpies building their nest in the crown of a fairly large oak about 100m from my house.  But they had a problem.  The local pair of crows also thought what a good spot and hey, somebody has started the nest for us!

The magpies have persevered but with bouts of the crows landing on and around it, hounded by the clacking magpies but due to their differences in size, the magpies being wary of getting too close to the crows.  the crows appear to have now given up and as I look out the window, there is now a sizeable domed nest.

Several evening ago at about dusk, I was watching three wood pigeons foraging below bushes along the side of stream near my house.  What surprised me was that in the same small area was a grey squirrel also foraging.  I would have thought the pigeons would have been most cautious at being so close to a potential predator.

Week Ending Saturday, December 31st

On Thursday, I drove down to Seaford in the afternoon and sat in the car on the seafront for awhile. The memorable item of the day was the passage of about 100 dark-bellied brent geese flying easterly and low over the sea in two separate tight-knit formations at about 2-300m from off the busy promenade.  It was probably just a local movement as it’s far too early for them to be returning north to Siberia.  I found this both deeply symbolic and moving.

Friday, and while having breakfast, I couldn’t fail to be fascinated and enthralled by the capers of up to four grey squirrels in a large oak with an expansive crown to it a few yards beyond the garden. The way they could negotiate about this tree and the speed of their antics was almost incredible!  One came speeding down one of the main stems, actually leaping ahead at one point!  I hasten to add that i’m no great lover of grey squirrels.

Number of Trees Remaining on the Planet

October 2015 Newsletter The Latest News from International Tree Foundation.

 Humans and Trees.

A REPORT published last month by an international team of scientists contained the most detailed assessment yet of the number of trees on the planet. It estimates there are just over three trillion trees left on Earth. Since the onset of agriculture 12,000 years ago, humans have reduced the planet’s tree cover by 46%, and trees are now being cut down at the rate of 12 billion a year.

Depressing statistics – although the rate of deforestation is, at least, slowing down. But the report, based on a combination of satellite data and ground level measurements, also contains some fascinating insights into the number of trees in each all the world’s countries – and how this compares with their respective human populations. If the former is divided by the latter, a figure is arrived at which we could call the Tree Per Person Ratio, or TPPR. Considering that trees sustain life on Earth including humans, and humans are responsible for cutting them down, it seems like an important equation. According to the data the UK, with a population of 67.5 million has just over 3 billion trees which means it has a tree per person ratio (TPPR) of exactly 47. It turns out that four thousand miles or so to the south, Kenya, one of the least-forested countries in Africa, also has around 3 billion trees – but with a population of just 45.6 million, its TPPR is 67.

Britain and many other European countries lost most of their original forest cover centuries of years ago, and it could be argued that they now bear a responsibility to the rest of the world to bring more of their forests back. In Africa deforestation is a more recent phenomenon – one which, of course, is germane to ITF’s work. So we have compiled a list showing the TPPRs for all the African countries where we are supporting efforts to conserve and enhance forest cover.

COUNTRY         PEOPLE (million)         TREES (million)                TPPR

Cameroon           22.8                           19, 431                           852

Tanzania             50.7                           21, 000                           410

Malawi                16.8                             3, 000                           189

Ghana                 26.4                             4, 600                           172

Mali                    15.7                             3, 000                           166

Ethiopia              96.5                           14, 000                           143

Senegal              14.5                             1, 300                             90

Kenya                 45.6                             3, 000                             67

Uganda              38.8                              2, 000                            63

Nigeria              178.5                           10, 945                            61

Burkina Faso       17.5                             1, 000                            59


And the TPPR for planet Earth? According to the Yale study there are precisely 3,251,375,879,417 on the planet. At the time of writing, the human population (which is growing at the rate of about 75m per year) stood at 7,375, 354,750. This means there are trees 440.84 trees per person on Earth (or slightly less by the time you read this newsletter).