At the beginning of 2016 I wrote a post for the AFON blog where I talked about 2016 being the year I really got to know a site – a year of the patch. Well that year is now over so I thought I should look back and update you all on how it went.
I joined my first AFON meeting when we went to the wonderful Knepp, located in West Sussex. This is a site that used to be farmland, but field-by-field has been given over to a rewilding project. We were all staying in tents in the summery meadow though didn’t get much sleep as there was too much to do!
As I stood in the middle of Poole Harbour at dusk, the ‘churring’ began. It was the second time in as many nights I had heard this magical, almost alien sound reverberating across the otherwise tranquil heathland. Perhaps I should explain that this habitat had not simply erupted from the sea bed; I was listening to these wonderful nightjars of Brownsea Island.
Island sanctuary bringing birds back from the brink – Oliver Simms
All we often hear about in conservation is one bad news story after another as more habitats are destroyed and more species go extinct. Today, however, I am going to do something different and talk about a real conservation success.
Sophie May has had a passion for the natural world since early childhood. Now a writer and photographer of natural history and countryside subjects, living in a historic market town in the centre of the South Downs National Park, the countryside of West Sussex and surrounding counties provide much inspiration for Sophie May’s work. Sophie May is building a career in Conservation, currently working for the RSPB on a Heritage Lottery Funded Traineeship (ending September 2014), through which she is grateful to be able to share her passion for nature, experiencing wildlife and its conservation, with others. Photographing butterflies and flowers, gardens and animals, landscapes and wildlife, is something Sophie May particularly enjoys, whilst much of her writing is creative, descriptive and poetic, exploring the way words work and sound, and the power of imagery. To read more of Sophie’s writing visit her website (http://www.sophieco.co.uk), or you can follow her on Twitter (@SophiEcoWild).
Amy Robjohns is a second year Environmental Science student at the University of Southampton. She has been interested in nature from a young age, especially birds, but developed a greater interest in bird watching when she was 12. More recently, Amy realised that a career in conservation was what she wanted to do so has been a trainee bird ringer since 2012, and is working towards a C permit. She also began volunteering for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust in 2013 for 6 months as part one of the conservation work parties, something she plans to continue outside of term time.
Born and raised in Birmingham, until moving to Tamworth Ed was always surrounded by a bit of a concrete jungle. This is one of the main reasons why he has always taken such an interest in the natural world. He studied a BSc (Hons) degree in Zoology at the University of Nottingham, which saw him travel to Portugal, Ireland, and (more exotically) to Bolivia. His love of watching wildlife is what led him to pick up a camera roughly 5 years ago and to start taking pictures of the various natural wonders that he experienced, and his scientific background allowed him to further understand the images that he captured. He went on to hone his knowledge and passion for wildlife photography by gaining a Distinction in the MSc course in Biological Photography & Imaging, also from the University of Nottingham.
Albert’s Gullfest plus the Speed King. By Toby Carter.
Toby is 13 years of age and lives in a small rural village in Leicestershire. He loves birdwatching and has been doing it for 6 years; he mainly goes birding around his local patch or Rutland Water, and his favourite reserve is Cley Marsh in Norfolk. Recently, he has taken up Bird Ringing with the BTO, which he has found very helpful with identification and feels that you appreciate birds more in the hand. He has ringed Wigeon, Stock Dove, Little Owl, Kestrel and Jackdaw . He is also a wildlife photographer, and in 2011 his photograph of a Kittiwake at Scarborough was runner-up in the RSPB’s Wildpix under 12’s competition.