Bittern’s Breakfast and Avocet’s Lunch

Ever wondered what Cley’s birds eat for brekkie and lunch ?

Find out by joining us at Cley Marshes on Thursday 17th September. On this full day workshop, we will be looking at what delicacies the bitterns, avocets and other waders, wildfowl and gulls dine on at Cley Marshes in restaurants such as saline pools, reedbed and mudflats, and how coastal ecology provides the menus.

After a morning classroom briefing on coastal ecology and birds, and some “here’s some we prepared earlier” tastings, we will be ‘grubbing’ about in the marshes in a “behind-the-scenes” practical session to look for delicacies on the menu for birds. We will test various sampling methods using nets, forks, spades, buckets and sieves.  Getting covered in mud optional – and sandwiches are available instead of eating the avocet’s lunch !

There will be an afternoon session to examine samples upclose in the lab for a gourmet –
session separating food into their main taxonomic groups and training in using keys to
identify as far as possible.

If you want to see the difference between a ragworm and a lugworm – and a goby and a blenny – and to know a bit more about what Cley’s bird eat, this is a course for you.

The workshop will be lead by Norfolk marine wildlife expert, Rob Spray, who is an enthusiastic and entertaining tutor, ably assisted by NWS invert expert Ben Christie.

STOP PRESS : Ben Moore will present a summary of his thesis on the changes to the marsh invert community due to the storm surge.

Workshop Tutors: Rob Spray, Ben Christie

Date and Time: Thursday 17th September 2015, 10:30 am – 4:00 pm

Location: Cley Nature Reserve

Cost: £75 plus V.A.T., or £45 plus V.A.T. for concessions, including lunch.

Booking: To book a place, contact Ben Christie at Norfolk Wildlife Services by emailing benc@norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk, or by telephoning 01603 625 540.

See also http://www.environmentjob.co.uk/courses_events

Christmas cheer for Robins – Natural England licences 2015

Robins have breathed a sigh of relief that new Natural England licencing proposals will not allow a fast track to their extermination should they cause a problem in supermarkets and garden centres over the Christmas period.

Earlier this year, Natural England  consulted the public on a controversial proposal as to whether robin, pied wagtail and starling should be added to a “General Licence”, which anyone could use without registering, to enable “quick action” where the birds caused genuine health and safety problems. However : “The Board determined that question 2b) should not be pursued further”

Instead a seperate class licence [ CL03 ], which will require prior registration, will allow for their trapping and removal from food premises, and where they threaten air craft safety [ CL12 ].

Natural England will also be issuing a new Class Licence for barn owl surveys where development is involved.

Other General and Class Licences, including GL04 “To kill or take certain wild birds to prevent serious damage or disease” [ which deals with pigeons, rooks etc ], will have minor wording updates for consistency in phrasing and better readability, so may differ in look from last year. They are available from 1 January 2015 and more information is available : General Licences with changes . Grey squirrel remain illegal to release back into the wild if caught.

There are in general, no changes to the conditions attached to licences. However I note that rather bizarrely though that if you accidentally capture any Capercaillie, Common crane or White-tailed eagle whilst attempting to remove the robin from the frozen food section, these  “must be released immediately upon discovery”. I should say so – walk away from any such tussle.