31 January 2011

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch #BGBW

A lovely hour on Sunday afternoon, listening to Radio 4's GQT whilst watching intently out of the window with recording pad to hand, a big mug of tea in the other and a slab of fresh fruitcake in the vicinity. Our results are: Chaffinches we lost count after 20 (they just won't sit still long enough!); Greenfinch - 9; Goldfinch - 7; Blue Tit - 3; Coal Tit - 4; Great Tit - 3; House Sparrows - 3; Dunnock - 1; Blackbird - 2; Siskin - 8; Starling - 2; Wood Pigeon - 1; Collared Dove - 2; Song Thrush - 1. Notable absences, Nuthatch, Long-tailed Tit, Tree Sparrow and Brambling. Most surprising though is that none of our Robins showed up and the numbers of House Sparrows and Dunnocks were significantly lower than only a hour or so before. Perhaps the rampage of Labradors at 15minutes in had something to do with it!

28 January 2011

Who stole January?

I can't believe that this is the blog post to tell you all that the last edition of January is now online - just where did the month go? And will whoever stole it please give it back? Well back to business - the 31 January edition has gone press, this week's it's 9 pages containing 46 new paid posts, 36 of which came direct to CJS. It's been a busy week on the news front, starting on Monday with the Save the Forest's campaign making all the running, then on Thursday DEFRA released the consultation document (website here) about the "future ownership and management of the public forest estate", since then it's been a flurry of responses from assorted organisations, a DEFRA myth-busters riposte and plenty of comment (both informed and some not so). You can read the whole saga on our news pages. You'll find this week here and for instant updates follow@CountrysideNews on twitter.
This weekend is of course the RSPBs Big Garden Birdwatch and we're looking forwards to a nice sit down with a pot of tea, fresh cake, a recording sheet and a garden full of birds. Results to follow next week. The garden has been particularly busy these last few days as the temperatures dropped once again - snow last night and hovering around zero all day.

25 January 2011

Imagine our surprise

When opening up the internet and finding this:

I suppose it's coming round to that time of year again - well the first gathering anyway.
Find out more about our gothic gatherings, and the reasons why Whitby is so popular with the dark ones by viewing the report on the BBC here.

21 January 2011

Spring maybe or perhaps still winter.

Another busy week, plenty of job adverts on the website and lots of news headlines, some good, some not so good. It seems to have been a bit of a birdy week, with the release of a report on bird numbers from defra (not good reading), people talking about the run up to the RSPB big garden birdwatch next weekend, and today we've received reports from Wiltshire and Humberside about the effect of the extreme winter weather on barn owls - which are not coping well or even tolerably at all. We'd love to see a barnie at any time although to record one in the birdwatch would be rather specatular, what we don't want to see is the squirrel which is turning into a too frequent visitor to the bird feeders. We've received reports of tree creepers in the village this week, hanging upside down on some very slender branches and edging further along until the branch bends quite alarmingly at which point they either carefully reverse or drop off on the one below. The garden is showing plenty of signs of spring with lots of crocuses appearing, no flowers yet but in time. And also the big willow, which was supposed to felled (very heavy coppicing) last autumn, is smothered in little pussy willows. Despite the springlike garden the weather has remained firmly wintery these last couple of days with the frost not lifting from the lawns all day and the outside water (water butts and bird baths) remaining frozen solid.
Back to the office - CJS Weekly 24 January edition is printing and the digital editions are already online and available. This week it's 10 pages with 77 new paid posts of which 67 came direct to CJS.

14 January 2011

January rush

is here.
It's very nice that you all want to talk to us and send us lots of lovely jobs but could you co-ordinate your messages so that we might have 10 minutes to catch up? Thanks ever so!

Well in between hundreds of emails and phone messages we've put together this week's edition which is an enormous 16 pages including three pages of training course information - this is the largest edition since last February. You'll find 87 new paid posts of which 66 came direct to CJS, there are also plenty of voluntary placements.

Today has been so warm we even had the office window open for an hour or so this afternoon, the heating is off although the wood stove is still lit - most strange, we're just not used to this. In the garden the noses of lots of bulbs are just showing in the areas liberated from the snow, some patches are still blanketed. We're focussing on the bulbs and not looking at the damage done to the rest - well not yet anyway.

13 January 2011

The first all digital edition CJS Monthly published today

January edition of CJS Monthly now available online

Jobs advertised in this Month's edition:

14 Seasonal Rangers and 2 Seasonal Ecologists, National Trust for Scotland

Wild Oceans Project Officer, High Fell Project Officer both Cumbria Wildlife Trust

Ecologist, Powys County Council

Grazing manager, Norfolk Wildlife Trust

Seasonal Assistant Summer Warden Weeting Heath, Norfolk Wildlife Trust

Seasonal visitor Centre Coordinators, Norfolk Wildlife Trust

Seasonal Broads Education Coordinator, Norfolk Wildlife Trust

2 Conservation Trainees for the Biodiversity Team, Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust

Temporary Countryside Ranger (Itchen Valley Country Park), Eastleigh Borough Council

Development Green Talent Traineeships x 8, Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust

Greensand Reserves Ecology Officer, The Wildlife Trust for Beds, Cambs & Northants

Education Ranger, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham

Top headlines from the past month:

Week Beginning: Monday 6 December

Do trees on the streets make people happy? By Vanessa Barford BBC News

Butterfly makes gains across the moors Success for the Marsh Fritillary - Butterfly Conservation

Mistletoe could vanish within 20 years, says National Trust - Guardian

Demise of apple orchards spells danger for Christmas plant

Swallow named top UK bird in RSPB farm survey. - A pioneering project that twins bird lovers with land owners to survey farmland birds has released its end of year results, and they include a few surprises.

Replantable Christmas trees are festive success story, says Guardian Potted and replantable Christmas trees have proved to be a 'surprise hit' say retailers

BASC report: Cold weather brings legal restrictions on shooting in Scotland. -

The shooting of ducks, geese and waders is to be suspended in Scotland for the second time this year because of severe weather.

The Forestry Commission reports Butterfly in decline across UK finds solace in the Highlands

Week Beginning: Monday 13 December

On a wing and a prayer: British birds under threat, Independent. What do the Bittern, the Tree Pipit and the Wood Warbler have in common? They are all British bird species that are under threat.

Planning for the future of the natural environment - The Wildlife Trusts set out targets for the Localism Bill

Non-native species cost 'British economy £1.7bn' BBC: Invasive non-native species such as the grey squirrel and Japanese knotweed cost the British economy £1.7bn a year, a report has suggested.

Snow fun for barn owls as numbers reported dying this winter grows - RSPB - The RSPB is receiving a growing number of calls from members of the public who have discovered dead barn owls in recent days.

SNH adapts to reduced budget - Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has outlined a range of measures across its operations in order to cope with increased responsibilities and reductions in its budget from next year.

Big fat no for birds - RSPB, Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat - but that fat isn’t suitable for everyone.

Week Beginning: Monday 20 December

Murky waters: Why are beavers being sent to the zoo? - The Independent. Beavers are thriving in Scotland. So why are they being rounded up and sent to the zoo?

Mersey barrage plan barracked - Wildlife Extra. Wildlife Trusts back concerns over Mersey barrage

CJS Office closed 21/12/10 - 4/1/11

Week Beginning: Tuesday 4 January

Good progress made for Sites of Special Scientific Interest, by Hannah Jordan, Horticulture Week

More than 95% of England's finest wildlife and geological sites, covering more than one million hectares of countryside, are now in "favourable or recovering condition", environment secretary Caroline Spelman announced today.

Kittiwakes’ trans-Atlantic winter odyssey linked to breeding success CEH

One of Britain's best known seabirds winters on opposite sides of the Atlantic depending on whether its breeding attempt has been successful according to new research published today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

After 40 years helping Rangers in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Voluntary Warden Rick Spicer has decided to hang up his boots.

Telegraph announces wildlife friendly farming award partnership with RSPB - The Telegraph and the RSPB have joined forces to recognise the efforts of the country’s most dedicated wildlife friendly farmers.

Sustainable fish customers 'duped' by Marine Stewardship Council reports the Guardian. Certification granted to controversial fisheries has prompted severe criticism of the sustainable fisheries organisation

Last gasp for the rare Rapunzel flower - Plantlife. A new survey in 2010 found even fewer sites than expected for the rare wild flower spiked rampion.

National Parks are Beacons for Biodiversity - Dartmoor National Park

England’s National Park Authorities published a new report in December 2010 that demonstrates how National Parks are central to efforts to halt biodiversity loss.

Training Calendar for February is 3 pages

Last call for Women and Work funding. New Year, time to re train. Angela Kimberley Ltd will assist with funding from Lantra’s Women and Work programme. You must be working within one of the Land based or Environmental Sectors and be able to complete your training by the 11th February 2011. This is the last of a four year contract for Women and Work funding and unlikely to be available again. So if you can use £450 to support your training costs act today.

And we're asking for your opinion on which dates we use in the monthly calendar. We're aware that events happening in the next few week's may be too close for you to attend and that places may already be fully booked. So we're giving you the option to vote on which time scale you think we should use.

07 January 2011

A hive of activity

Two weeks work (almost) in four days. The computers are being seriously overworked, not to mention the staff! Coffee jar nearly empty and the biscuit barrel succumbed quite a while ago, time for a refill.
The first CJS Weekly of 2011 is now printing and will shortly be stuffed into envelopes ready for dispatch. The digital edition is already online. There are 10 jam packed pages with 155 new paid posts of which 142 came direct to CJS, quite a few to be getting on with. Now back to the avalanche that is an in-tray and somewhere from under the heaps of paper I will excavate a desk...

04 January 2011

Postal Puzzle

We received this envelope in the post.

It's postmarked Teeside and dated Christmas Eve, unfortunately it wasn't sealed and consequently whatever was in it has fallen out. If you sent it please contact us &/or resend.

Happy New Year

The CJS Office is open again. We're currently wading through our overflowing in-boxes, sorting the mountain of post, generally catching up (you don't want to see my in tray, more like an in mountain - soon to avalanche across the desk and onto the floor...) and getting back up to speed. If you've emailed us and don't receive a reply by Wednesday morning please contact us again, it may have gone astray or been overlooked. Website will be updated from tomorrow as usual.