Resources

Birding and nature conservation organisations

Norfolk Ornithologists Association – (NOA)
The NOA aims to further the study of ornithology, especially migration, to conserve valuable wildlife habitats and to disseminate environmental and natural history knowledge through its reserves, newsletters and reports.

British Trust for Ornithology – (BTO)
The British Trust for Ornithology promotes bird conservation through volunteer-based surveys.

Norfolk Birdline (Birdline East Anglia)
The latest news on what’s about by phone, or monthly reports online.

Hawk and Owl Trust
Today, we are the only British charity working to conserve all wild birds of prey, including owls, in the face of mounting human pressures.

Natural England
– Natural England brings together English Nature, The Countryside Agency & Rural Development Service.

Norfolk Wildlife Trust – (NWT)
Our job is to protect and enhance Norfolk’s wildlife and wild places for you to enjoy.

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds – (RSPB)
The RSPB is a UK charity working to secure a healthy environment for birds and other wildlife, helping to create a better world for us all.

The Broads Authority
The Broads Authority was set up in 1989, with responsibility for conservation, planning, recreation and waterways.

Pensthorpe
Pensthorpe, a multi award-winning attraction for all those who love nature, wildlife and the outdoors.  During the winter the birds show off their mating plumage making this is a great time for birdwatching and identification.  The bare trees open up beautiful new vistas and a brisk walk offers great opportunities to see migratory and resident species.

Save The Albatross
100,000 albatrosses die each year on fishing hooks. They are being killed in such vast numbers that they can’t breed fast enough to keep up. This is putting them in real danger of extinction…

Reviews

www.birdguides.com    Review Alan Hughes March 2018

This is an internet-based birding newsletter (so apologies to those members that do not have access to a computer) which I receive every week or so, and contains a wide range of well written, and often superbly illustrated articles on a whole range of birding subjects, many of which are very topical. For example, the latest edition included pieces on the following subjects:-?

  • Rare bird sightings in the Isles of Scilly in Autumn 2017. ?
  • Significant reductions in the illegal killing of songbirds on a British military base on Cyprus. ?
  • Another Hen Harrier goes missing in Teesdale. ?
  • The RSPB asks its membership to increase its garden bird feeding during the recent bad weather. ?
  • Record winter flocks of farm birds recorded at RSPB Hope Farm in Cambridgeshire. ?
  • Book reviews and ideas for birding holidays abroad. ?
  • Adelie Penguin “supercolony” discovered in Antarctica.

I hope that this gives you a flavour of this useful and enjoyable resource. Obviously there are some advertisements to help fund this site, but these are not intrusive or too many in number. I think it is certainly worth signing up to this free resource.

Hugh’s Wild West Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall BBC2  Review Alan Hughes April 2018
In this television series, first broadcast earlier this year (and currently available on i-Player) HF-W clearly demonstrates his love for the West Country, where he lives, and for its wildlife. In each of the 12 episodes he teams up with a number of the region’s naturalists, and presents an engaging but informative account of several aspects of the wildlife. It is beautifully filmed and well written, and I personally really enjoy HF-W’s presentation style – he does not pretend to be an expert, just an intelligent and interested amateur, clearly eccentric and sometimes a bit fluffy, but he avoids the “Blue Peter” style that I find so irritating on Springwatch. Each episode has an interesting mixture of subjects: For example, in Episode 4, he visits the Dorset-Devon border and investigates efforts to reintroduce the beaver, he witnesses the biannual Mute Swan round-up at Abbotsbury Swannery, and meets a local bat enthusiast who has transformed a former mansion into a roost for Greater Horseshoe Bats.
I would thoroughly recommend this series, and hopefully it will remain available on some catch-up service or other.

www.xeno-canto.org and avesvoxapp.com Review Alan Hughes April 2018

Xeno-canto is a “citizen-science” project in which volunteers record, upload and annotate recordings of bird calls and bird songs. It is supported by a number of academic and birdwatching institutions, as well as crowdfunding, mainly in the Netherlands. It is a vast open-access online resource, with currently almost 400,000 recordings, from 9800 species, contributed by 4300 recordists (see – I wasn’t joking!). Their stated aim is to build a collection of all bird sounds representing all species, their complete repertoire, all geographic variability and at all stages of development, thereby creating the ultimate bird sound guide with 2 million recordings. This project started in 2005, and is likely to take at least another 10 years to complete. This website lives as an icon on my desktop pc but would work equally well on a laptop or tablet.
Aves vox is a free app – Android or iOS – (a “Pro version is also available for £2.99) based on the very comprehensive online resource of the website xeno-cante described above. It provides access to more than 30,000 bird vocalisations (at least one for over 80% of all bird species worldwide) and has the great advantage of being available offline – any recording that has already been played in the app is downloaded to the same device, allowing it to be listened to again even when there is no internet connection. On opening the app there is a simple “search species” box that allows the user to search by English or scientific name. Many of the birds have a large number of recordings, and once the individual species has been loaded, you can filter on the specific type of vocalisation required – song, flight call, alarm call etc. It is simple, functional and works well. I carry this app on my smartphone for use when out.
Alan Hughes

 Injured Birds – Useful contacts

The RSPCA accepts sick and injured birds at their East Winch Wildlife Centre. They can be found at Station Road, East
Winch PE32 1NR. Tel 0300 123 0709. Email:  eastwinch@rspca.org.uk. The Manager is Alison Charles.

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