Friday, September 15, 2006

Birds in the media this week

Apparently some birders list species seen on non-wildlife television programs. Maybe they should get out more. I don’t watch much TV but it is surprising how often birds appear on screen and are never mentioned, mainly because they are just there to provide a brief interlude or to set a scene. Spotted this week (yes, sadly by me):

Ring-billed Gulls in The Path to 9/11.
Alpine Choughs in some program I’ve forgotten with Peaches Geldof living in a cave in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains.
Smooth or Groove-billed Ani in El Salvador in Shock Docs: America’s Deadliest Gang.

Big news in the bird world this week is the publication of a paper detailing the discovery of a new species by a professional astronomer. My first thoughts were (a) what planet was this on?, and (b) maybe I’ve been using the wrong telescope all this time. Seriously though, a new species of babbler, named the Bugun Liocichla (Liocichla bugunorum) has been found by Ramana Athreya in the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh in northeast India. Remarkably, he first saw it way back in 1995 but was never recorded again until recently. The known population is thought to number just 14 individuals and is already threatened by a busy road proposal.

Read more on:
Birdlife International: Bugun Liocichla: a sensational discovery in northeast India

Discoveries of a different nature…. Closer to home, I received a news clipping from a local newspaper in Ayrshire about the “host of new wildlife species” turning up on Scottish Wildlife Trust reserves in the county. Sounded intriguing. Reading on I was bemused to hear about Scotch Argus at Knockshinnoch Lagoons and Dark Green Fritillary and Emerald Damselfly at Gailes Marshes, all apparently turning up for the first time. Has the SWT actually surveyed any of these places in the last 15 years? I’ve been seeing these species here for years and I’m sure a few of you reading this will have too. Don’t they even liaise with other conservation organisations such as Butterfly Conservation? If SWT don’t even know what species are on the land they are supposed to be managing, then what hope is there for the wider countryside in Ayrshire?

While I was at University. I remember writing to the SWT in Ayrshire with the hope of doing some voluntary conservation work. I received no reply. Eventually I phoned them and after acknowledging that they had received my letter I was met with a response along the lines of… “well…uhm, there’s not really much to do here”. This attitude would seem to a reveal a problem underlying the information in their press release.

Spotted in a ‘Reduced to clear’ bin in a bargain bookshop in Camden this week…. How to Survive Bird Flu by Anne Rooney.

For something completely different, visit my other blog: Luminous Nature.


Anonymous said...

Birds in the media??
I thought the only birds the the media were Buffy and that girl from Scooby Doo...

Anonymous said...

That is, the only birds that you were interested in...