Sunday, 8 May 2011

Moorland Fires.

Twite. Phil Slade.

With the recent moorland wildfires - and the risk of more, especially if this dry weather continues - we're finding more and more open access areas closed in the attempt to minimise the risks. These fires will have undoubtedly affected many species including the Nightjar, Dartford Warbler, and Woodlark. Heathland in the South of England is important for these birds and fires in other parts of the UK will without doubt have affected lots of ground-nesting birds.

One bird to single out of all this is the Twite which could have seen a large percentage of this species affected in the North of England where nesting Twite are confined to the South Pennines, where around 100 pairs nest in small colonies. These birds used to occur much more widely in England, but for varying reasons they have declined, but have hung on to this area because of the abundance of hay meadows rich in seeds. It is thought that these recent fires could have affected more than a third of the English population, and this a bird seen as one of the most threatened species in the country even without these devastating fires.

We've been having some rain in the past couple of days, lets hope this has dampened down the tinder dry moorlands, grasslands, and heaths and that the breeding season can continue in the safety of fire free areas like these.

And finally....
Common Flameback. Kah Wai

A pretty smart looking woodpecker with a name which does the bird no justice in my opinion, seen on a recent visit by Kah Wai to Malim Nawar in Malaysia, with an excellent video below in which Kah Wai describes the bird seen nest excavating as 'cool' and quite rightly so. 


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