Hyde Park Cemetery Bird Survey

http://www.fohpc.org.uk/The Group has been approached by Friends of Hyde Park Cemetery (FoHPC) to conduct a number of bird surveys to assess the impact of conservation work they are having done in the grounds of the cemetery.

For those of you that have not visited the cemetery, it was one of the first of its type to be set up away from a church, to accommodate the needs of a growing population back in the 19th century. It has a number of notable graves including a mayor, an actress, 2 chief constables, a train driver killed in a tragic accident and a prominent Railway Steam Engine Designer. It also has a number of important war graves.

Following on from an initial site visit to assess the requirements for the survey and establish the environment we were dealing with, a small number of our group members conducted a first full survey on March 24th. There is already evidence of conservation work that has already been carried out by FoHPC volunteers such as protecting existing trees, wildflower planting, setting up nest boxes and bug hotels. This will be a long-term project and regular bird surveys will hopefully see an increase in birds and wildlife on the site.

Potteric Carr and the selfish photographers

Yesterday 13 members of the group visited Potteric Carr. We had high expectations because 4 bitterns had been seen the day before. Sadly, our hopes were dashed. Not because the bitterns were not about (5 were reported that day) but because we couldn’t, like many visitors, get in the hide for selfish photographers. We tried twice and on the second time, we were told not to bother because they were all sat in there eating their sandwiches. We know for a fact that one photographer was in there over 4 hours and there was nothing more annoying than hearing him tell his tales in the café and showing his bittern photographs off. This is not just a problem for Potteric Carr but our very own RSPB Old Moor site, and others, also suffer from the problem when an interesting bird is about. Nature sites need to find a way around this problem. Anyway, we managed to cover about 95% of the site and still enjoyed seeing the more common birds. Amongst the birds seen were coal tit, lesser and great black-backed gulls, bullfinch, long-tailed tit and pochard. The highlight bird was the black-necked grebe although only a few members saw it.

Group Donation To The Regional Hen Harrier Nest Protection Project

Hen harriers are one of the most threatened species in the country due to human persecution. These birds have been shot, trapped and hunted down. Last year only seven young from three nests were successfully raised.

With two young satellite-tagged birds found shot in Cumbria and Northumberland in the last 9 months, this regional project wants to continue with protecting nests, satellite tagging young birds and ensuring that the Moorland Association and Defra aren’t given an easy ride on their plans for a brood management trial. The money raised will be used to fund nest cameras, payment for overnight protection staff and accommodation at youth hostels.

At the indoor meeting on March 14th, members of the group voted on which one of several projects they wished to make a group donation of £350. By a considerable margin, they voted to support the hen harrier project.