Archive for the 'moths' Category

05
Oct
22

The Eroding of Wildlife Protection within the UK

Like many others I was appalled at some of the press articles last week outlining changes the government were proposing. I was prompted to write the following letter to my MP Duncan Baker. Duncan has helped Tania and I out on a couple of occasions previously and has forced through decisions and prompted action which have helped us personally. His reply is also published below which makes for an interesting read.

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Dear Mr Baker,

You have helped me in the past and I am once again looking to you to help me again.

I am a Wildlife Tour operator based in your constituency in Norfolk. I am writing to express my concerns over recent government announcements that I believe, as do many environmental organisations, will significantly reverse the UK’s ambitions for nature recovery over the coming decade.

Our wild flora and fauna are in a perilous state, as a result of decades of agricultural intensification, increased development (houses, roads, railways, extractive industries) and more insidious threats such as air and water pollution, unsustainable land use practices in the uplands (over-grazing, burning, plantation forestry), the spread of invasive non-native species and, in recent decades, climate change.

The government’s plans to revoke hundreds of laws that protect wild places and standards for water quality, pollution and the use of pesticides will make matters worse, as will the implementation of new planning infrastructure which threatens to weaken vital protections for habitats and wildlife. I am also concerned that the proposed review of the long-awaited Environmental Land Management schemes – which would reward farmers for restoring nature, preventing pollution and climate-proofing their business – will lead to reduced ambition and consequently financial support for activities that help combat both the nature and climate crises.

As well as meeting hundreds of like minded people during my employment I also work for and am active as a trustee within several charities; most notably the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists’ Society.  Through scientific surveys the Society is able to provide decision-makers (conservationists, land managers, policy-makers) and academics with the evidence they need to make sensible decisions about our county’s wildlife – without a healthy wild flora many species dependent on wild plants will suffer. The current trends for much of our flora and fauna amounts to nothing less than a doomsday prediction.

If we are to reverse these declines then we will need a government that is committed to protecting and enhancing our nation’s wildlife, not one that is prepared to relax laws that protect wildlife and remove funding of schemes that will help restore and recover what we have lost. I strongly recommend that the government sticks to its original commitments to reverse biodiversity loss and recover nature for future generations to enjoy.

You must recognise Duncan that the restoration of a thriving wildlife infrastructure within our county and country is paramount to the continuance of life as we know it for us all.

Please be a voice to act against the proposed changes.

Best regards

Carl Chapman

Wildlife Tours and Education

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Dear Carl, 

Thank you for taking the time to contact me about protecting the environment. I’m so sorry this is not a fully bespoke response. I have been so busy last week with final preparations for the London Marathon which I completed on Sunday, that I am just getting round to read all the emails I’ve received and provide a response.

It has been a real privilege to again raise well over £30,000 for 26 local charities and nearly £75,000 over two years for 40 different local charities from what all started as a hobby in lockdown. Once more I’ve been able to donate £1000 for each mile I completed and £5000 on mile 26 to help refugees in Norfolk still unable to return home. Indeed, today is the 6 month anniversary of the Ukrainian family arriving, Anna and Sviatik who are still happily living with my family.

As you likely know, protecting the environment, especially our wonderful wildlife and beautiful countryside here in North Norfolk, is incredibly important to me.

I want to entirely reassure your concerns. Claims that this government is rowing back on our commitments to farming reform or nature are wholly untrue. As you may be aware, I am a huge advocate for the environment. I currently sit on the Environmental Audit Select Committee and as such always champion the environment, as this is a matter that I feel incredibly strongly about.

The statement from DEFRA making this very clear is here:

https://deframedia.blog.gov.uk/2022/09/26/government-reiterates-commitment-to-environmental-protections/

I have brought forward many inquiries into embodied carbon for buildings, plastic pollution and the upkeep of biodiversity through my select committee work. In addition, no one in Parliament has done more to stop the trenching through our countryside from the cable corridors from the wind turbines. All in order to protect nature.
I have also discussed throughout the Environment Bill in 2021 the importance of putting the environment at the heart of the government’s decision making, with legally binding targets on biodiversity, air quality and waste efficiency.

It’s clear to me you also care deeply about the environment, and I note you raise several important topics in your email. I will happily discuss them with you and cover the questions you ask.

Firstly, to be absolutely clear, I do not want to see any backtracking on key environmental protections. We have made great progress over the past few years, as well as delivered ambitious commitments and targets. Rest assured I am determined we continue this trajectory and have seen nothing to date that makes me think we won’t.

I appreciate that you have concerns over the possible impact investment zones will have on the environment. However, I have to say, I see no immediate cause for unease. Investment zones will promote growth and unlock housing by lowering taxes and liberalising our planning frameworks to foster rapid development and investment across the UK. It is not an either/or in my mind – we can achieve growth without harming the environment – we will work towards both.

Secondly, regarding the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS), I understand and appreciate your concern here. I also appreciate the Government is having to find a balance between some very big and complex issues – namely, boosting the environment, supporting farmers, and furthering domestic food security. As a result, I have heard the Government is reviewing our farming regulations and will comment on this in due course. We of course need food security whilst enabling our farmers continue to be custodians for our countryside. This is all the review appears to be.

Naturally, like you, I will be playing close attention, and will voice my views when appropriate. In the meantime, I will certainly endeavour to convey your strength of feeling and resolute support for ELMS to ministerial colleagues at DEFRA. I hope this can reassure you somewhat.

Thirdly, I certainly will do everything I can to protect and enhance nature at home. I hope my actions and commitments I’ve made thus far can reassure you of this. From sitting on the Environmental Audit Select Committee and the Net-Zero APPG, to working on legislation to increase biodiversity, I have consistently sought to create a better greener country. It is an essential part of my being MP for North Norfolk and will not stop.

COP15 will provide a fantastic opportunity to further not just a greener country but a greener world. I am therefore pleased to see the Government has already committed to playing a leading role in developing an ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework to be adopted at COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Rest assured, the UK will continue to push for global ambitious targets.

Many thanks again for taking the time to contact me. I do hope my response is useful and adequately answers your questions. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if I can clarify anything.

Yours sincerely,

Duncan Baker MP
Member of Parliament for North Norfolk

05
Sep
22

Wild Ken Hill

One of the best places in the county to see Grey Partridge is Wild Ken Hill between Snettisham and Heacham in the West of Norfolk. Book yourself on a ‘Big Picture Tour’ for a trip around the estate and learn what good work the WKH team are doing on the farm and in the rewilding area to look after our wildlife and produce our food sustainably.

24
Jun
22

Broad Sweep

Broad bordered Bee-Hawkmoths were around the Valerian the other week. We had three hovering around one plant all at once. So fast these things. We decided to give them honorary bird status!

05
May
22

Emperor

When my daughter came down to Norfolk last month we took her up onto the local heath to show her adders. During the time we were looking I hung up a pheromone to attract an Emperor Moth. I placed it on the front of the vehicle but nothing came to the lure.

Later that week I took a group to Scotland. One of the regular places we visit for various birds is the head of the Findhorn Valley. A wonderfully evocative place of steep valley sides and craggy mountains.

We’d not been there longer than 30 minutes when an Emperor Moth started flirting with the front of the vehicle. Given the car had been washed since the beginning of the week and the lure was over 5 years old I was amazed. I still had the lure in the car. When I opened it up we had five or six of these beautiful moths flying around. Before we knew where we were we were surrounded by photographers! One landed and I managed to get a shot of it.

23
Jul
21

Odds and Sods

A few photos from this spring and summer, taken on tours around the county and country, that I haven’t had time to post previously …

25
Dec
20

2020 – my best year yet.

I’ve been receiving cards over Christmas from family, friends, neighbours and customers and they all have had something in common. The wording has been different in each, but the sentiment has been the same … ‘better year in 2021’ … ‘hopeful for change’ … ‘can’t wait until restrictions eased’. You get the drift.

Well, Tania and I must have been on a different planet. We’ve had a great year.

We went on holiday to Florida, we got married, we’ve had the longest honeymoon in history and Tania got a visa to stay and work in the UK and got a Job in the middle of a pandemic. What’s to hate?

Sure, to be wrapped up in ourselves and completely insulated to the misery that is cruelly thwarting the world would be wrong. However, we have managed by careful and thoughtful practice to avoid crowds, be mindful of others and from day one wore gloves and masks when shopping and stayed at home when appropriate. These are OUR rules, not those of some twat in Westminster that can’t even comb his hair. We haven’t extended our liabilities up to the limits of recommendations. We’ve always worked within them. Long before Christmas restrictions my daughter and I decided that she wouldn’t join us this year. Because it was the sensible thing to do. Distance. Distance. Distance. If anyone decided otherwise then they are doomed to disappointment.

So, the best moment of 2020? There have been a few. I’ll cover some in a future post but one moment springs to mind where we shared an evening with a calling Barred Owl. Disappointingly it never did emerge from its hole in a large tree. We were within Mahogany Hammock in the Everglades. As darkness crept through the trees and shapes turned into imaginations a lightshow emerged. A million diamonds flashing in the dark. Fireflies, here there and everywhere. It was like being in a scene from Avatar. I was spellbound.

In reality, the best part of the year has to be spending so much time with Tani. I would guess you would think I have to say that, but to be honest who could not think the world of someone who takes with her a bit of grated cheese or muesli every morning. Just to feed the Robin that greets her in the dark on the platform of West Runton Station. A little Antipodean with a big heart.

Merry Christmas to one and all.

12
Aug
20

The Camera Doesn’t Lie

The Camera doesn’t lie. However, we all know it does. The wings on the Broad Bordered Bee Hawkmoth we saw feeding on tour the other week were nothing but a blur in reality. It was the fast shutter speed of the camera that froze the detail.

31
Dec
19

Goodbye 2019

Well, we’re nearly there. A new year. A new future. A new start.

As we stride forward over the threshold drinking our ‘cup of kindness’ it’s hard not  to look back. For Tania and I it has been a year of paperwork, patience and facetime. That’s now over. For good. 2020 will cement our future… together.

On the wildlife front 2019 was again full of sightings. The Bay of Biscay trip sits high on the list of favourites; how can a rare petrel and a cast of whales not be up there. Lots of highlights on the tours and day trips. Two trips to Australia were also up there. A place I’ve become to regard as my second home. However, the trip Tania and I did to the South coast of Victoria in July around Warrnambool sits atop the pile. Just the variety of birds, wildlife, locations and photo opportunities was just fantastic.

So what of 2020. Florida is on the agenda, the Forest of Dean. Oh! … and a Wedding! The round the UK mammal tour will run as will Central Scotland and the East Coast Seabird Tour. Cornwall, Scillies, and Cumbria are also all booked and will run. Whatever, 2020 brings it’s set to be exciting, different and interesting. I couldn’t ask anything more from life.

The photo is a Black shouldered Kite that we spend a pleasant evening photographing on Victoria’s south coast. Happy New Year!

06
Sep
19

New Tours

Upcoming Tours for 2019/2020


Sat 5th Oct 2019 Norfolk Coast Migration: A search of hotspots along the coast for migrant birds – meet in West Runton or on route £49
To book email carl@wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk



Sun 20th Oct 2019 Minsmere Migration: Migration will be well underway by October – meet in West Runton or on route £55 or £49 if meeting there. To book email carl@wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk


 


Sat 15th Feb 2020 Goshawk & other Breckland Specialities: Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Hawfinch and Woodlark among others – meet West Runton or on route £55 To book email carl@wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk



20th February to 24th February 2020 Southern Scotland Tour 5 Days visiting Lancashire and southern Scotland hot spots for winter birding. £698 More Details and booking instructions Here



13th to 15th March 2020 Norfolk’s Speciality Birds Long Weekend 3 Days visiting the Brecks, the North Norfolk coast and the Broads in search of all Norfolk’s speciality birds including Bittern, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Crossbill, Hawfinch, Lesser Spotted Wood Pecker, Woodlark etc Staying in a lovely Norfolk Hotel £466 More Details and booking instructions Here



Sat 21st Mar 2020 Minsmere Specialities: Dartford Warbler, early spring migrants, Black Redstart among others – meet in West Runton or on route £55 or £49 if meeting there To book email carl@wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk



16th to 20th April 2020 Scottish Birders Special Tour . A concentrated tour seeking birds unique to the Highland Region. £799 More Details and booking instructions Here


 


Sat 25th Apr 2020 Essex Birding Day: Abberton Reservoir and surrounding area for early spring and very late winter migrants £59 or £49 if meeting there To book email carl@wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk



Sat 2nd May 2020 Minsmere Migration: Bird migration will be well underway by the beginning of May – meet in West Runton or on route £59 or £55 if meeting there.To book email carl@wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk



8th to 14th May 2020 Birders Tour to Mull A 7 day day tour exploring the Isle of Mull off the Scottish West coast calling in at Yorkshire and Lancashire birding hotspots. £1680 More Details and booking instructions Here


 


Sun 24th May 2020 Hertfordshire Butterflies: In search of the Duke of Burgundy, Small Blue and Dingy Skipper butterflies – meet in West Runton or pick up enroute £65 To book email carl@wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk



27th May to 4th June 2020 UK Mammal Tour A 9 day tour covering the north of the British Isles searching out some infrequently seen mammals. Taking in Northumberland, East and Northern Scotland as well as the island off Mull £1867 More Details and booking instructions Here


Sat 6th Jun 2020 Badger Evening: An evening at a Badger Sett – No meal just hot drinks included – meet at a prearranged central Norfolk site £30 To book email carl@wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk


Sun 7th Jun 2020 Norfolk Orchids Photography Workshop: A day concentrating on photographing Norfolk’s beautiful rarer orchids – meet in West Runton £55 To book email carl@wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk


 

Mon 8th Jun 2020 Marsh Fritillary Day: A day trip to Lincolnshire to see one of our most beautiful butterflies – meet in West Runton or pick up en-route £59 To book email carl@wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk



12th to 14th June 2020 East Coast Seabird Weekend watching and photographing the seabirds of Yorkshire, the Farne Islands and Northumberland. £462 More Details and booking instructions Here


 

Sat 20th Jun 2020 Black Hairstreaks and Wood Whites: A day in Northamptonshire to see one of the UK’s rarest butterflies and others on the wing – meet in West Runton or pick-up on route £59 To book email carl@wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk


Sun 21st Jun 2020 Norfolk Hawker and Swallowtails: A day seeking out Norfolk’s two most iconic insects: meet in West Runton. £55
To book email carl@wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk


Sat 27th Jun 2020 Nightjar Evening: Meet in West Runton for an evening watching Woodcock and Nightjars £35
To book email carl@wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk


Sun 28th Jun 2020 Photographing Suffolk Orchids: A day concentrating on photographing Suffolk’s beautiful rarer orchids – meet in West Runton in Suffolk or on route £55 or £49 if meeting in Suffolk. To book email carl@wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk



2nd to 6th July 2020 Birds and Wildlife of the Jurassic Coast on the Isle of Purbeck and the Dorset coast looking at birds of heaths and cliffs as well as Dragonflies and butterflies. £998 More Details and booking instructions Here


Sat 11th Jul 2020 Large Blue Butterflies: A day trip to Gloucestershire to see the largest of British blue butterflies – meet at West Runton or on route £69 To book email carl@wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk


Sun 12th Jul 2020 Purple Emperors: A trip to Northamptonshire to see this most dazzling of British Butterflies – meet at West Runton or on route £59 To book email carl@wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk


Sat 18th Jul 2020 Norfolk Butterfly Day: A quest to see half of the UK’s butterfly species on just one day – meet in West Runton £55
To book email carl@wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk


Sat 1st August 2020 Norfolk Wader Day: A tour of the Norfolk coastline searching for waders returning south after breeding in the arctic – meet in West Runton £49 To book email carl@wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk


Sun 16th Aug 2020 Brown Hairstreak Day: A tour to Suffolk in search of the most elusive of butterflies: the Brown Hairstreak – meet in West Runton or pick up enroute £55 To book email carl@wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk


Sat 3rd and Sun 4th October 2020 Norfolk Migration Weekend: A weekend along the coast looking for migrants – meet in West Runton: one day £49 both days £90 To book email carl@wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk



8th to 16th October 2020 Bird Watching on the Isles of Scilly 8 days during searching for and watching migrating birds on the beautiful Isles of Scilly. £1749 More Details and booking instructions Here


Sat 17th Oct 2020 Minsmere Migration: Autumn bird migration will be at its peak meet in West Runton or on route £59 or £55 if meeting there.
To book email carl@wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk


 

Sat 31st Oct and Sun 1st November 2020 Norfolk Migration Weekend: A weekend along the coast looking for migrants – meet in West Runton: one day £49 both days £90 To book email carl@wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk



7th & 8th November 2020 A Photographic Weekend in Wales:2 days in Wales Looking for the country’s special wildlife. Kites, Bottlenose Dolphins, leaping Salmon, Chough etc £289 More Details and booking instructions Here


 

13
Jul
19

Wildcatch Photography

Just a reminder that my photos are published on the ‘Wildcatch Photography’ site. The the ones from this year can be seen within the latest section at https://wildcatchphotography.zenfolio.com/p34814967

 




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