1963 – 2013: birding at Southill Park revisited

Conor Jameson’s British Birds feature provides food for thought on the changing status of species at Southill Park over the past 60 years. While doing some research for my book Silent Spring Revisited, I came across a 1963 issue of the Bedfordshire Naturalist journal that included an account by Bruce Campbell of a nesting bird survey that he and the (then) British Birds editor James Ferguson-Lees carried out that year. They were repeating a survey first conducted sixty years earlier. Campbell takes up the tale: ‘On June 4th, 1903, Jannion Steele-Elliott, the… Read More

Phantom

Conor Mark Jameson describes his meeting with the elusive Goshawk… Berlin. Late February. As chill, and still and drab as all the Cold War, spy thriller clichés. I am here with ‘Altenkamp!’. That’s how Rainer answers his hands-free, as we drive to the fourth and last of our destinations this afternoon, here in the east of the sprawling city. This is Rainer’s ‘precinct’. This is where he does his stake-outs, stalks his quarry, makes his notes. We aren’t looking for dissidents, however. Those days are gone. We are looking for goshawks. Improbably,… Read More

Bringing up baby

Guest blogger Conor Mark Jameson answers the cheerrp of nature… If you find a fledgling bird, you should leave it alone. That’s probably the most important thing to remember from what I’m about to relate. And yes I know you probably know it already, and have done ever since you first developed an interest in birds. I need to stress this point because each spring and summer the RSPB’s wildlife advisors field around 10,000 enquiries from people who have found – or, in many cases, ‘rescued’ – a ‘baby bird’. Picking it… Read More