Watching the fledgling starlings every day is such a great way to observe their behaviour and how they mature. They’re definitely at teenager stage, so much shouting and posturing! They absolutely scream at the adults and I can’t help feeling a bit sorry for these hard working parents. There’s screaming to be fed, screaming when the adult is in the way, screaming when a sibling gets to the favourite feeder first. It’s just like any human household really! I’m just watching all the stages of adolescence at a much faster pace.
Beautiful adult starling
June is the month when many of us take on the 30DaysWild challenge from The Wildlife Trusts. They have recently launched a campaign for a Wilder Future, something I have always been passionate about. Latest statistics show that 1 in 7 species in the UK is at risk of extinction now. Starlings are an at-risk species. There has been about an 80% decline in the species since the 1980’s! Much of this is down to habitat loss. This is both in relation to loss of winter roosting sites and a loss of suitable nest sites. Our starlings nest in cavities under our roof tiles. I really am truly privileged to have them here and I would hate for future generations to miss out on the pleasure of watching these garrulous characters! Please do read the statement and join the campaign if you can!
Here’s a bit of the action from the starlings and other birds at our feeder this week. Enjoy!
The sight of red squirrels at The British Wildlife Centre in Surrey instantaneously turns me into a small, exciteable child! That’s a good thing. I think we should all embrace our inner-child and revel in the simple delights of the World around us far more often! Especially when it comes to wildlife and nature. It’s the best therapy ever! Supporting places like the British Wildlife Centre is also the ideal way to help secure a future for our precious British wildlife, as well as providing a fantastic educational resource for schools. I hope this dear little squizzle will bring a big smile to everyone who follows my blog and more smiles over at Wex Photo Video, as this is my entry for this week’s Wex Mondays challenge.
It’s very hard for researchers to know the exact number of these amazing cats left wild in Scotland, as they have hybridised with feral domestic-cat populations over the years. It is estimated that there are now perhaps only thirty five true wildcats left and they are at imminent threat of extinction. It breaks my heart! This beautiful female and her three kittens live at the British Wildlife Centre, near Godstone, in Surrey. Such a great place! I visited last week with my friend Nikki and godchildren, Rosie and James. Rosie loves all cats and the wildcats hold a special place in her heart too. It was wonderful to explore our native wildlife with them, whilst giving young James another photography tutorial! I have a few images of some of the other residents, but the wildcat topped my Twitter poll for what people wanted to see for today’s Wex Mondays challenge. I’m very glad to share a bit of their story with you, but for more information please visit the British Wildlife Centre wildcat page here. The centre does some wonderful work in conservation, rescue & rehabilitation and in education. It’s well worth a visit and I would really encourage everybody to support the amazing work that they do!
I was so entranced by beautiful Robyn, the Hooded Vulture, that I was inspired to create this piece of digital art AND write a new poem! The plight of these incredible birds is not one that makes the headlines. They’re not as cute and fluffy as some other critically endangered species! You can read more about this in my earlier Blue Monday post. To raise awareness of the decline of the Hooded Vulture, I’m sharing this image for Wex Mondays this week.
Dark angels Navigating stormy skies Scanning the vast landscape With steely eyes Seeking out the Earthly remains Of departed souls Laid out upon the plains
Angels descend A winged canopy Encloses the carcass Last rites in ancient ceremony Feathered funeral cortege Gathers without Regret or remorse Guardians of the dead Carry away the corpse
Angels ascend Rising on broad wings Circling above the expanse The wind sings Of their passing Above the clouds Dark and heavy with rain That shrouds Their dispersal amongst The heavens
This is Robyn, a beautiful hooded vulture belonging to the fantastic Xtreme Falconry team from Dorset. Xtreme have been putting on Bird Of Prey events at RHS Wisley Gardens for many years now and always draw a crowd. Many, like myself, return time after time to see these wonderful birds! This is my Blue Monday post for that startling ring of blue around Robyn’s eye that is distinctive of this species. Hooded vultures come from Africa where they are currently declining in numbers at an alarming rate. They are now listed as a critically endangered species. Much of the decline is from poisoning. Trappers, hunters, poachers and misinformed farmers are all gunning for these shy carrion birds. This is tragic in more ways than the obvious! Vultures are not the only creatures that will be drawn to a carcass that has been poisoned. Lions, hyenas, leopard, cheetah and hunting dogs will all feed on carrion if they are hungry and haven’t got a fresh catch. Not only that, vultures and other carrion feeders are responsible for clearing away the dead animals that when left can rot and spread disease among both local animal and human populations. There is so very much to love about vultures, if you didn’t already find them beautiful and fascinating, I hope you do now!
I’ve put a lot of time and care into processing my image for this week’s challenge. The original photo was taken several years ago at London Zoo. I’ve only ever seen tigers in zoos. I doubt that I will ever get to see a tiger in the wild! As individuals, groups, nations and citizens of Earth we need to take more care of our environment and our precious wildlife. There are more tigers in captivity, including as peoples pets, than exist in the wild. Tigers are still being hunted and poached for the rich elite, who hold onto arcane beliefs of medicinal benefits from parts of this beautiful animal. In the next century it is entirely possible that all that remains of the tiger will be images in books and online; perhaps a few stuffed exhibits in museums.
We must do all that we can to protect the world’s most endangered species but we also need to look to our own local wildlife and their diminishing habitats. In the UK the RSPB are running a campaign to Give Nature A Home. There are twenty different and simple things that you can do in your garden or neighbourhood to give our wildlife a helping hand. With Winter approaching this is especially important! All over the World there are National and Regional charities and organisations that you can contact to find out how to help your local wildlife. If you don’t have a garden you can get involved with volunteer projects in the countryside or you can donate money to help these organisations achieve their goals.
My image is called Tigers of Memory, named after a truly beautiful song by Celia Barrett. Please do follow the link and listen to the song, it’s very poignant! Time is running out for much of our wildlife, not just the tigers. Please try to do something to help protect them and ensure that they don’t fade from the World of Life, to exist only in our memories.