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Shropshire Ornithological Society’s view on proposed Red Kite Feeding Station at Craven Arms Discovery Centre
The Society neither supports nor opposes the proposal to establish a red kite feeding station at the Discovery Centre in Craven Arms. We do not believe that there is a conservation case for providing red kites with supplementary food; the Shropshire red kite population is expanding naturally and breeding numbers have been increasing for several years. Having said this, we do not believe that it would have a detrimental effect on the local kite population and acknowledge that the project may bring a range of educational and economic benefits to the area, particularly through the opportunity to view exciting wildlife at close range.
We believe that established good practice relating to kite feeding stations should be strictly adhered to, both during the trial, and subsequently, should feeding be undertaken on a long-term basis. In addition, careful monitoring of all aspects of the project should be undertaken, including negative aspects such as the recording of any casualties caused by traffic on the A49.
SOS Management Committee
The 'County Channel'
The 'County Channel' is a local internet television channel being piloted in Shropshire.
Jim Almond has recently appeared in a wildlife series with Ben Waddams featuring footage filmed at Venus Pool. The short film 'Winter Visitors' can be watched here.
Mrs Mary (Molly) Donoghue - Deceased 8th March 2013
We are very sad to announce the death of Molly Donoghue at the age of 97. Molly was not quite a founder member but had been a member since 1st May 1956. Her membership was part of her long fascination and interest in all things comprising the natural world and was a continuation of her involvement with the Caradoc and Severn Field Club from which many of our founding members progressed. Molly had served (until her recent incapacity) on the Management Committee for longer than we are able to establish without recourse to the archives and was one of the original Custodial Trustees who took on the responsibility for acquiring Venus Pool. She was the voice of calm at the Committee Meetings and certainly represented the views of the general membership. Subsequently she was elected a Vice-President of the Society and was awarded life-membership. Although latterly a resident at The Isles Nursing Home she still visited Venus accompanied by her daughters Sheila and Carole who found her much more “alive” after the visit. Sadly Molly became increasingly frail, had difficulty with communication and literally faded away. Several members of the Committee with other members of the Society attended the funeral at Emstrey on Monday 18th March and the family are to be thanked for their kind gesture in making the Society the beneficiary of the amounts collected in Molly’s memory. Should any member wish to add to the sum raised then please forward your cheque to the Treasurer.
More than 30 Coot have been colour-ringed on the Mere at Ellesmere in the last three years, along with several hundred more in Lancashire and further afield. The main colour ringing scheme uses a white colour ring with three letters in black on the left leg, as shown in the images here. Other Coot ringing projects exist so it’s possible that you may see a bird wearing two or more colour rings, with or without lettering.
So far the only reported movement is a bird seen on the Mere that was originally ringed in east Cheshire, but Lancashire’s experience suggests that Coot move around the country far more readily than might be expected.
If you happen to see a colour-ringed Coot on the Mere or anywhere else it would be greatly appreciated if you could make a note or take a picture of the ring colour and letters (or the combination of colour rings on each leg if appropriate) and report it using the website www.ring.ac All reports will be acknowledged and the original date and place of ringing advised whenever possible.
We hope to colour ring more Coot on the Mere over the next few months and, if spring ever breaks, at least some of them may disperse within the county or further afield, so it will be interesting to see where they turn up. The sensible ones have probably flown south for a few weeks!
As a slightly more glamorous example of the sort of discovery that can be made by reporting colour rings, one of the Waxwings that were colour-ringed in Newtown before Christmas has been reported in Lewes (Sussex) and more recently near Geneva, the first ever UK ringed Waxwing to be reported from Switzerland! More info here.
Hearing Goldcrest song; update
A few weeks ago I asked people to let me know if they can hear Goldcrest song; it went out variously via the internet to British Birds, Shropshire Ornithological Society and Oxford Ornithological Society. So far I have only 112 responses. Suffice to say now that for men the ‘problem’ usually sets in during the 60s though some seem to escape it and in women it is later if at all. But I need more data, at least 100 more responses.
The request is due out in the May/June BTO News and I am hoping that will produce the replies I need, so there is a delay.
In the meantime please encourage responses to firstname.lastname@example.org - I need to know only gender, age and ‘can’ or ‘cannot’ and when I have sufficient responses I will issue the results.
Thank you, John Tucker
Caspian Gull Ringing Records
On 1st February 2013 there were three Caspian Gulls present at Candles Landfill in Telford: an adult that has been present on and off since 30th November, a 1st-winter that was first seen on 27th December, and a new adult. The latter was seen to possess a yellow ring, and a review of video footage taken at the time enabled the letters "PADZ" to be read. Photo
A prompt response from Poland revealed that it had been ringed as a pullus in a cachinnans colony to the west of Krakow in the south of the country in May 2009. This colony falls outside the proposed "hybrid zone" where Caspian and Herring Gulls interbreed as indicated in the ground-breaking British Birds article in December 2011. Map of movements.
This new adult brings the total number of Caspian Gulls recorded at Candles this winter to an impressive 10, and is thought to be the first ringed individual recorded in the county.
Please see here for an update from John Tucker on the 2008 rookeries survey.
Red Grouse Survey
Volunteers are sought to help with the 2013 Red Grouse population count on the Long Mynd. Counts will be held at dusk on six successive Thursdays in April and early May. Successful counts were carried out in 2011 and 2012, as many volunteers as possible as needed for the 2013 survey. Please see here for full details.
The Shropshire Bird Atlas
More helpers are needed, and we need all the people who have helped in previous years to make one last effort! Please read more about how you can contribute and the meeting to be held in March.
Shropshire’s Community Wildlife Groups
There are six Community Wildlife Groups, which between them cover most of the Shropshire Hills. All are doing bird surveys, and would welcome the involvement of other birdwatchers.
Community Wildlife Groups:-
• Bring together people interested in wildlife
• Encourage and enhance local interest
• Do surveys to establish the status of key birds and other animals, plants and habitats
• Actively promote conservation.
If you would like to help find and record wildlife sightings in your area, visit the Shropshire’s Community Wildlife Groups website at www.ShropsCWGs.org.uk
Lesser-spotted Woodpecker Ringing Records
Population decline, its small size and habit of spending much of its time high in tree tops, means the Lesser-spotted Woodpecker is rarely recorded in Shropshire. Only a handful are actually caught and ringed in the UK each year.
Pete Deans first caught this bird in his Shropshire garden on the 12/10/2010 as a first year female.
It was caught for a second time on the 15/08/2012.
Then caught again on 15/01/2013, when this photo was taken.
See the Gallery for a larger image.
New Website for the Church Stretton Branch of the SOS
For all the latest information on SOS activities in south-central Shropshire including field trips and the indoor meetings programme, see here.
Wetland Bird Survey: Volunteer Counters Requested
Please see for further details: Wetland Bird Survey
If anyone has found a tripod (Velbon Sherpa 200R), possibly at Venus Pool, please phone the owner Pete Jordan on 01952 407497. Thank you.
Ring found at Venus Pool
A ring was found by the information board in the car park at
Venus Pool on Saturday 3 November.
Please email if you've lost one.
Missing Parrot - Shrewsbury
A parrot 'Rocky' went missing on 09/09/2012 from the
Copthorne area of Shrewsbury. He is an orange bellied member of the Senegal
If you see or hear the bird, please email
Volunteer needed to write the 'Bird Notes'
We are looking for someone to write the quarterly 'Bird Notes' that accompany each edition of the SOS's magazine The Buzzard. The notes summarize notable bird sightings for the previous three months.
For further information on what is involved please contact Geoff Holmes.
Wild Birds Seized after Raids in Telford
Sixty-eight wild birds have been seized in Telford following a joint operation by police and the RSPCA. Warrants were executed at three addresses in Overdale, Ercall View and Shrubbery Road on the morning of Thursday 8 September.
The raids are a result of information received from members of the public and bird breeders about the illegal trapping of birds by local people. The birds were mainly Goldfinches, but Redpolls, Linnets and Bullfinches were also seized.Two of the birds had to be taken away for treatment due to the poor condition they were found in.
PC Craig Davies from Newport police station took part in the operation and said: "Under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, it is an offence to possess, trap or sell these wild birds. "People who commit these types of offences have often been involved in the trapping and sale of wild birds, often with other family members, for a considerable time. "As the legislation was not introduced until 1981, they often feel this is not an offence because it is something that has been done for generations - but it is cruel and they may find themselves in court as a result of their actions. "While trapped birds are regularly sold on and can be quite valuable, offenders will also use the birds for breeding as they value the wild birds brighter plumage and appealing birdsong.
West Mercia Police will continue to work alongside the RSPCA in investigating offences of this nature. No arrests have been made at this stage and the RSPCA will be in charge of any future prosecutions.
We are occasionally asked why we do not allow dogs at Venus Pool - evidence is now available that shows that the presence of dogs can reduce the number of birds present by 41% compared to the effect of walkers which reduced numbers by less tha 20% (that is without the use of hides). Birds see dogs as potential predators and leave the area - not a habit we want to encourage at Venus Pool. The news item can be found at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6978272.stm
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