Thought Provoking Blog About UK Nature Conservation Worth A Read 29 December 2020

RSPB Conwy digger Oct 2015

RSPB Conwy a managed Nature Reserve but are there other ways to restore our wildlife?

Thanks to the power of Social Media we can see huge amounts of “stuff” these days and while scrolling through masses of pictures of cats in various glass objects, rants about Brexit, adverts for all sorts of things we never need you come across “stuff” that makes you stop, read and think. One such thing I found today was a guest blog on Mark Avery’s brilliant blog and it made for a really good read and got me thinking. You can read the full blog about one man’s take on UK Nature Conservation here…

It really is worth reading and it won’t take long, maybe not bother with all the comments some of which are just well plain stupid but don’t let these distract from what you have read in Alick Simmons blog. I nearly let myself be distracted but stopped myself thinking no it is the blog I should be thinking about!

Nature Reserves, like RSPB Conwy, are a great place for folks to be inspired by birds and nature.

In a former life I worked for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds AKA RSPB a wonderful charity despite itself but that’s another blog or ten. When I was RSPB Site Manager at Conwy Nature Reserve I oversaw a small reserve of just 49 hectares but with a massive number of visitors so a pretty complex site and I wore many hats – one of the many attractions of the post huge variety. But Alick’s blog got me thinking about those days and how the site was managed particularly the Nature Reserve side of the job, those 49 hectares. A lot of the area was water so not a lot to do there just maintain water levels optimum for birds and wildlife though even that can prove tricky. But the rest of the reserve was basically a now unused industrial site left over from the construction of the A55 Euro-route road tunnel under the Conwy Estuary to allow the town of Conwy to be bypassed. So not a wilderness or even anywhere close to one but it did provide some habitat for birds and wildlife so a chance to enhance this once industrial area. Most of the work had been done by two previous site managers before me so my role was to maintain and enhance the site if possible. A lot of “tinkering” was done almost constantly on the reserve digging holes, filling in holes, planting trees, cutting trees down, building islands, clearing islands of vegetation and so on. Now this all creates lots of work for RSPB staff and an army of willing volunteers but is it right? Tinkering with habitats is that what nature conservation is and or should be about? In my opinion at a reserve like Conwy, a former industrial site, well yes it works RSPB created habitats and guess what? Wildlife moved in instantly and some 45 species of bird breed and over 200 species have been recorded on this small area an amazing success in anyone’s book surly?

Hen Harrier is a species that would benifit from landscape re-wilding photo by Frank Wildman.

But, and a big but, should we all be doing so much more than “tinkering”? I really think we should. Landscape conservation is the way forward not “tinkering” with tiny areas but allowing nature to run wild in huge areas and allow natural order to sort out the bio-diversity and habitats. This might sound like pie in the sky to some but it could happen here in the UK if we had the will to do it. Imagine our National Parks actually being havens for wildlife instead of shooting estates and intensively farmed? Snowdonia National Park is roughly the same size as the wildlife paradise of The Serengeti National Park in Kenya! Compare and contrast the land given over to wildlife in these two similar sized areas and the number of wild animals in each! Huge areas of our uplands in the UK are set aside for intensive Driven Grouse Moors and these could become huge re-wildling projects and rich in wildlife and on a landscape scale, areas such as the Somerset Levels could be declared a real National Park and big enough to sustain amazing wildlife. This could be a brave new world for nature and nature conservation, think big act big! Projects like these would be relatively low cost and enhance the land not only for nature but for people too. Tourist industry would benefit as would service industries for these visitors providing much needed rural jobs and economic recovery. Now we just need to make it happen!

Come and join us for a “Tour for Two” – very small group just two guests with two guides, tailor made itinerary, low risk in these COVID-19 times and of course lots of birds and an excellent chance of enjoying them all. Do drop us a line and we can make all the arrangements be it a day trip, two days, three day or as long a tour as you wish. Our recent Tours for Two have visited the Highlands of Scotland, North Wales, Norfolk and the Yorkshire coast and we are planning many more! Let us know where you would like to go and we can put together a proposal perfect for you.

We are so lucky to have so many species and habitats within easy reach here in North Wales we would love you to join us for one of our Best of North Wales Birdwatching Trips days out. We expect to enjoy a lot of birds during these relaxed pace tours and we can tailor make the day to suit you.

We would love you to join us on our Birdwatching Trips in the future just drop us a line to arrange a custom tour and please see our tours pages for set departure trips. If you have any questions at all please fire away here….

We look forward to enjoying wonderful birds in beautiful places with you soon!

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