Monday, 31 March 2014

AZORES PELAGIC 2014- MONTERIO'S AND 'GRANT'S' PETREL, VAGRANT SEABIRDS AND OTHER MARINE LIFE

AUGUST 24th to 29th 2014

Cost £674 (not including flights) 

TARGET SPECIES: Monteiro's Petrel, 'Grant's Petrel', Wilson's Petrel, Barolo's Shearwater, Bulwers Petrel, vagrant seabirds and other marine life. Vagrant seabirds recorded in previous trips include Swinhoe's Petrel (3 out of 4 trips), Zino's Petrel, Deserta's/Cape Verde Petrel, Brown Booby, Sooty Tern and White-tailed Tropicbird. 

CETACEANS AND OTHER MARINE LIFE: Sperm Whale, Cuvier's Beaked Whale, Northern Bottlenose Whale, Sowerby's Beaked Whale, Common Dolphin, Spotted Dolphin, Risso's Dolphin, Loggerhead Turtle, Sunfish, Blue Shark 

TO BOOK A PLACE PLEASE EMAIL:  littleoakgroup@btinternet.com 

 Monteiro's Petrel (Rafael Armada) 
 Swinhoe's Petrel 
Zino's Petrel (Harro Muller)  
 Desertas/Cape Verde Petrel (Harro Muller) 
 Barolo's Shearwater 
 Wilson's Petrels 
 Spotted Dolphins (Vincent Legrand) 
 Blue Shark and Pilot Fish (Harro Muller) 
2011 Team
 2013 team (S. Pfützke / Green-Lens de)


Itinerary –(Terceira and Graciosa only)
Day 1
Sun 24th August 2014
Arrive Terceira
Transfers to hotel
Accommodation at Residencial Teresinha (meals B&B)
Day 2
Mon 25th August 2014
AM bird watching to Terceira
PM catch ferry to Graciosa
Accommodation at Residencial Ilha Graciosa (meals B&B)
Day 3
Tue 26th August 2014
Accommodation at Residencial Ilha Graciosa (meals B&B)
AM and PM pelagic trip
Day 4
Wed 27th August 2014
Accommodation at Residencial Ilha Graciosa (meals B&B)
AM and PM pelagic trip
Day 5
Thu 28th August 2014
Accommodation at Residencial Ilha Graciosa (meals B&B)
AM and PM pelagic trip
Day 6
Fri 29th August 2014
Trip ends



Graciosa and Terceira land only (5 nights)  (Max group size 12 clients)
TOTAL                                                                                                                    £674pp


The tour cost quoted above includes :
·      Accommodation as detailed above on a bed and breakfast basis in twin en-suite rooms throughout
·      1 day car hire (Model L – MPV or Mini bus) on Terceira including airport collection and airport drop off. Cost includes unlimited mileage, standard and CDW (collision damage waiver- subject to excess) insurance but not optional PAI (personal accident insurance) or fuel
·      Transfers on Graciosa
·      Guide / leader
·      Ferry Terceira to Graciosa
·      six half day boat trips on Graciosa (or 3 full day, depending on the weather)


Thursday, 27 March 2014

Back on the Front Line


Solicitors Deighton Pierce Glynn have issued a 'Letter before Claim' to Sutton Council ahead of judicial review proceedings regarding the Beddington Farmlands ERF. The letter claims that the decision is illegal and requests the defendant (Sutton Council) to withdraw the planning permission.

The Grounds for Legal Challenge are something like as follows (better to read the full letter linked below):

1) ILLEGALITY- Very special circumstances to over-ride Metropolitan Open Land status have not been demonstrated.
Beddington Farmlands is protected land safeguarded for development into a nature reserve as part of the Wandle Valley Regional Park as per conditions in previous planning applications and guided by policies within the London Plan, The National Policy Planning Framework and the Town and Country Planning Regulations. The special circumstances required to override this protection given were: the land being safe-guarded for waste management, no other available sites, meeting landfill obligations and local homes being supplied with heat -all these suggestions are claimed to be false by the claimant.

2) LEGITIMATE EXPECTATION- Local communities have been working towards the land being returned to the Wandle Valley Regional Park and a Nature Reserve in 2023 and have acted in reliance of that representation.
Basically local people have bought property in area, local communities have developed neighbourhood plans, community groups have been planting up green corridors to link to the new nature reserve,  our bird group have been busy with conservation work and public engagement in preparation for the nature reserve being developed as per previous planning conditions. The ERF blights those efforts.

3) FAILURE TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT RELEVANT CONSIDERATIONS- Environmental Effect of the combined heat and power (CHP) pipeline.
Basically the pipeline is probably a pipe dream but even if its not the proper environmental assessments have not been carried out (as the CHP network plan is only conceptual) . The planning report and associated documents wording is open ended with plenty of wriggle room for Viridor to once again default/defer on planning condition obligations. CHP networks are notoriously difficult to establish and there is the added problem of getting over the railway in our case. A CHP network promised as part of an incinerator in the London Borough of Southwark is still to materialise 20 years after it was promised.  To use this ambiguous sitatuion as a VSC (a very special circumstance) is also part of grounds for challenge 1.

4) FETTERING OF DISCRETION- it is claimed that in effect the council surrendered independent judgement to Viridor and the South Lodnon Waste Partnership

5) APPLICATION WAS ASSESSED AGAINST INCORRECT POLICY- Basically something technical about the application should have been assessed against WP5 not WP3.

The Council now have two weeks to reply.

LOCAL PAPER ARTICLE
Inside Croydon post here: INSIDE CROYDON
Full letter before claim here: BEDDINGTON FARMALNDS LETTER BEFORE CLAIM

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Regua, Brazil March 2014


Re-forested and re-stored wetland habitat at REGUA

REGUA website

Back from Brazil. Great trip. 252 species (without trying too hard)  in under two weeks, based at one lodge on one reserve (one excursion nearby)- trip report to follow. Great place and people. 

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Regua, Brazil

 Shrike-like Cotinga
 Spot-billed Toucanet
 The Black Witch
 Reforestation- year 1
View over Regua
 
Last full day at Regua. Finally got one of the star birds- Shrike-like Cotinga and spent the afternoon looking at the new restoration areas. Following rain the moth wall was very interesting with several species of very large moth.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Regua, Brazil

 

Rain day. Saw this snake by the veranda (Chironius bicarinatus).

Friday, 21 March 2014

Caledonia, Brazil

 View from Caledonia over montane Atlantic Forest and the city of Nova Friburgo
Can't remember name of this- nearly 250 ticks in last 10 days and this was another one (Rufous-tailed Antbird- cheers Lee)
 Plovercrest
Brassy-breasted Tanager
Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper
 Black-and-gold Cotinga
 Mouse-coloured Tapaculo

Went on a day excursion from Regua Lodge to Caledonia today. Regua Lodge is in lowland Atlantic forest and Caledonia, at nearly 2000m is montane Atlantic forest so a different ecosytem and different endemic birds (and other wildlife) . Here's a few of them.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Regua, Brazil, Day round the Lodge

 Moustached Wren
 Chestnut-backed Antshrike
 Capybara
 Anhinga
View from the canopy tower

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Regua, Brazil, The Grey Trail

Well structured forest with palm understorey
 Pale-browed Treehunter
 White-throated Spadebill
Spot-billed Toucanet
 
Usual routine- got up early before it gets too hot. Do a trail and then back to the lodge for swimming pool and cocktails. 

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Regua, Brazil, The Fragment

 The White Witch- one of the world's largest moths
 White-flanked Antwren
Hawkmoth caterpillar

Monday, 17 March 2014

Regua, Brazil

 Giant Snipe
 Paraque
 Brazilian Teal

View from canopy tower

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Regua, Brazil, Waldenoor Trail

 Channel-billed Toucan
 Giant Antshrike
Leaf-nosed Bat Carollia perspicillata
 Brown-throated three-toed Sloth