The Urban Birder in the Falklands


© David Lindo | On the Falkland Islands wearing a Páramo Halcon Jacket

I regularly traverse the four corners of the globe ostensibly on the search for urban birds which often leads me to the least likely of urban spots. When I got an invitation from the Falkland Islands Tourism Board to visit the islands I just could not resist. Every now and again you have to leave the ‘urban’ behind!

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From Big Cats to Silver Voles in Mongolia

I’ve been wearing Páramo gear for several years now and it has seen me through lots of different situations. Working as a wildlife camera operator, you’re exposed to all the elements, so the flexibility and choice in the Páramo range has been really helpful. I’m often working at either end of the day, starting out before sunrise and finishing after sunset. Even in warmer countries these times of day can be pretty brutal, so I’m a big fan of layering! The Páramo gear easily allows this.

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Beetles, flies, bugs, bees, wasps and ants!

Here’s a bit about myself and how my passion for insects developed. My interest was sparked more than 60 years ago at primary school. Our house in Uckfield backed on to a flowery meadow occasionally cut by hand for hay. I was aged about 10 when I noticed the variety of insects present, including many different butterflies and, with the aid of an Observer’s book, I soon learnt to recognise them.  During my first year at secondary school, I met a boy in my class with similar interests. His father worked in the office at a Decca Navigation station, located in the centre of a forest about 5 miles away, and we had permission to wander freely in the heath and woodland surrounding the radio mast. The area turned out to be an amazingly rich habitat for all kinds of insects, although at the time we were not aware that the forest hosted the only known British colony of the Lewes Wave moth. Unfortunately, it became extinct after the site was destroyed around 1960, so this was a lost opportunity to see something really special.

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Spectacled Bears protected in the Páramo

Páramo’s long-term carbon-balancing and conservation partner, World Land Trust (WLT), has announced that the Ministry of Environment of Peru has recognised a private conservation area (ACP) that will protect a large Páramo vegetation zone of the South American Andes. The community of San Juan de Sallique has pledged to protect approximately 8,650 acres (3,500 hectares) of Montane Forest and Páramo.

This reflects three years of work by the communities and WLT’s partner Naturaleza y Cultura Peru (NCP), securing the protection of this important habitat in perpetuity – an important step for wildlife such as Spectacled Bears and endangered Mountain Tapirs, but also a triumph for the communities dedicated to preserving their water sources through conservation and sustainable agricultural practices. Continue reading

Madagascar’s ‘Silk’ Route

I’ve been visiting Madagascar for over 20 years: in fact I’ve returned each year since 1991. Back then it captivated me like no place had done before, or since, and my enthusiasm has yet to diminish. Since my first visit in 1998, one place on the island has been my favourite – Marojejy National Park in the far north east. It is one of Madagascar’s wildest places.

I initially visited the park with just one aim – to get photos of the incredibly rare silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus). After considerable effort, I managed to get something, but of course this was in the days of film and by today’s standards the pictures were very poor. In more recent years, I’ve returned to Marojejy several times to try and improve on those images and to document more of the park’s diverse wildlife.

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Do you record wildlife? Read on…..

Nominations have opened for the 2017 UK Awards for Biological Recording and Information Sharing!

Developed in 2015 by the National Biodiversity Network, the National Forum for Biological Recording and the Biological Records Centre, these annual Awards celebrate the individuals, the newcomers and the groups of people or organisations that are making outstanding contributions to biological recording and improving our understanding of the natural world in the UK. Continue reading

Searching for Snow Leopards

The snow leopard is the epitome of remote, rugged wilderness and has for so long been regarded as a mythical ghost of the mountains: a creature that lives unseen amongst the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas and Central Asia. Continue reading

Owling in Páramo

Now that we’re into April, this breeding season’s owling is well into its swing. Owling is the name our group gives to the activity of putting up nest boxes and monitoring them for these magnificent birds. In the UK, Barn Owls, Little Owls and Tawny Owls breed inside pre-existing cavities, such as tree hollows and outbuildings, but all will breed in nest boxes. Short-eared Owls are ground nesters and Long-eared Owls prefer to breed in old Magpie and Crow nests.

I started owling in 2006 and have been hooked ever since. I get immense joy seeing owls up close, but am predominantly driven by a desire to provide additional nest sites for them, to ring any chicks, and to contribute to the BTO’s nest record scheme. Whilst ideally we’d like all owls to breed in natural cavities, research has shown that a shortage of suitable nest sites can limit owl numbers. Furthermore, at some sites, especially in modern farm buildings, nest boxes can provide a more secure nest site compared with semi-exposed sites without vegetation.

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