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Lack of RSPB Reserves in North East England

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Old Friday 13th May 2011, 07:32   #1
IAN JAMES THOMPSON
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Lack of RSPB Reserves in North East England

I've been an RSPB member on and off over the years and i've just rejoined as a Life Fellow. What i find percular is the lack of RSPB reserves in North East England and until they got Saltholme in Teeside they just had Coquet Ireland, which you arn't allowed to land on at all. Compare that that to all the RSPB reserves in East Anglia and other parts of England. And i've often wondered why that is. Anyone got any views about this.
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Old Friday 13th May 2011, 16:47   #2
John Fleet
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I agree that it's disappointing, in fact I refused to join until Saltholme opened for that very reason. I guess it's to do with population density etc etc.
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Old Friday 13th May 2011, 17:06   #3
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Depends how you define the north-east! Yorkshire has some great RSPB reserves from Bempton inland to Blacktoft Sands, Fairburn Ings and Old Moor.
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Old Friday 13th May 2011, 17:09   #4
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I believe in the early days of the RSPB the bulk of its members were living in the South of England and so it made sense to buy land to turn into reserves down there.
However there is the industrial aspect to consider, at the turn of the 19th/ 20th century there was an awful lot of heavy industry in the North of England. So probably land wasn't available for reserves up here.
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Old Friday 13th May 2011, 17:18   #5
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Originally Posted by Tom Lawson View Post
Depends how you define the north-east! Yorkshire has some great RSPB reserves from Bempton inland to Blacktoft Sands, Fairburn Ings and Old Moor.
Tom Lawson.
That's 4 reserves for the largest county in England approx 12,000 sq Km, yet look at Suffolk with 8 reserves in only 4,00 sq Km whilst Kent has 7 in 3,500 sq Km.
Hardly proportional is it?
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Old Friday 13th May 2011, 17:34   #6
Adam W
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Lawson View Post
Yorkshire has some great RSPB reserves .
Thats down south that man
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Old Friday 13th May 2011, 18:04   #7
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I for one would love to see rspb take over one of the coastal ponds in northumberland....and spend some time and money raising it to its potential. Instead of them drifting sideways, from lack of expert management.
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Old Friday 13th May 2011, 19:26   #8
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Their are alot of good bird watching areas in the North East Of England, for example ponds, top class coastal areas in Northumberland, yet apart from Coquet Island they seem to have ignored that county.
Ian.
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Old Friday 13th May 2011, 21:51   #9
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The RSPB did have the insight to purchase and manage Geltsdale a refuge surrounded by shooting interests and various projects centred around this area, top marks to that.

Though I do agree they seem to have overlooked many of the coastal sites which could do with professional management.
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Old Tuesday 17th May 2011, 20:59   #10
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Northumberland

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stewart J. View Post
The RSPB did have the insight to purchase and manage Geltsdale a refuge surrounded by shooting interests and various projects centred around this area, top marks to that.

Though I do agree they seem to have overlooked many of the coastal sites which could do with professional management.
Yes Saltholme and maybe (hopefully) future surrounding areas to the existing site,Cowpen Marsh,Dormans Pool etc had been crying out for years to be under the control of the RSPB,Northumberlands coastal fine sites are more dispersed, can anyone think of a way to join some of them together ?

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Old Tuesday 17th May 2011, 21:04   #11
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I always understood that the RSPB would not purchase areas for reserves under a certain acerage but not sure if that is correct or just a rumour but it may explain why local trusts manage smaller sites.
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Old Tuesday 17th May 2011, 21:18   #12
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Originally Posted by IAN JAMES THOMPSON View Post
until they got Saltholme in Teeside they just had Coquet Ireland, which you arn't allowed to land on at all
that's the point, isn't it ?

the 'P' is for 'Protection'

nowhere in RSPB is there a 'W' for 'Watching'

what should they be protecting in the North East that they're not protecting elsewhere ?

genuine question. Not messing about for once...
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Old Thursday 2nd June 2011, 12:45   #13
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Originally Posted by The_Partridge View Post
that's the point, isn't it ?

the 'P' is for 'Protection'

nowhere in RSPB is there a 'W' for 'Watching'

what should they be protecting in the North East that they're not protecting elsewhere ?

genuine question. Not messing about for once...

With the greatest of respect thats a bit of an ill southern bias comment you just splurted out. What should they be protecting up here?!?!

We have Avocets starting to now breed in Durham regularly as well as in Northumberland. Should we not be striving to protect these birds?

How about managing sites to try and increase the number of Roseate Terns that breed. Currently all birds apart from a couple of pairs are on Coquet Island but they will almost certainly breed in boxes on the mainland if they were to be provided. Hopeful with the increase in population you could attract them to a mainland nature reserve where boxes are placed on island etc. Ofcourse the egger's might have a field day so there would need to be egg watch no doubt.

Also where do you know where you can go and sit in a hide and watch Black Grouse or even see Red Grouse for that matter? The RSPB could build a reserve for Black and Red Grouse for the southerners to come and look in awe. But more importantly to help the population of Black Grouse as they are still persecuted on the inglorious 12th.

Peace,
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Old Friday 3rd June 2011, 07:15   #14
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With the exception of Otmoor there are no RSPB reserves in central England, likewise the south west has very few, perhaps it is more to do with protecting areas that need protecting?

In areas like Kent and East anglia there are vast areas of wetland/marsh that would be threatened by drainage for farming or development if it were not for the nature reserves, is there the same risk to habitat loss in other areas?
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Old Saturday 4th June 2011, 12:24   #15
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This is a major issue with me - has been for bloody years.

That there are seven times more RSPB reserves in Kent than in all of Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Durham, Cleveland and North Yorkshire put together, disgusts me.

To put it another way, one RSPB reserve (I'm ignoring Coquet Island, which is a "preserve" really, and out of bounds to mere peasants) between the Scottish borders and Bempton Cliffs.

And let's be clear, the one reserve accessible to the public - Saltholme - is a joke: 2,000,000 for a theme park. The area was already an established, safe-from-development bird habitat - it didn't need "saving" by the RSPB - and the RSPB's "contribution" is nothing more than a honking big visitor's centre.

The argument that there's more to save in the South is - to be frank - self-fulfilling bullshit (no offence, Ashley - that's not aimed at you). The reason there's less up here in the first place is in no small part, down to years of the RSPB neglecting the North East as a matter of policy: massive amounts of now-lost habitat up here needed protection, but the RSPB quite deliberately focused its attentions elsewhere.

A couple of years back a similar thread came up on a bird photography site I used to frequent: one contributor from Northants found it hard to believe some of the things I said about the RSPB so - as a member - contacted them to ask about the North East.

The RSPB was unequivocal that the North East is simply not a priority to them - they said this:

Quote:
"Land is usually acquired by the society within the frame work of our Reserves Conservation Strategy. This takes full account of the "birds of conservation strategy" that may be present on the land available for purchase as well as the quality of and the ease and cost of recreating or restoring habitats.

We do seek to purchase land in areas where there are gaps in current RSPB reserve coverage, but as yet, nothing suitable has become available in the areas you mentioned.

The selection of priorities for acquisition is largely governed by their relative importance for key species and habitats in need of conservation action."
Which boils down to "we're not interested". Of course there are viable potential locations up here, with "key species", that should be of interest to the RSPB, and there's simply no doubt that elsewhere the "barriers" quoted in this response would not stand in the way of the RSPB getting involved in order to save habitat.

And surely it's part of the RSPB's remit to improve things? Well the North East has plenty of opportunities for it there...

He cancelled his RSPB membership as a result of this reply, and its an organisation which will never get a penny out of me. That might be parochial, but it's hard to get enthusiastic about the RSPB's efforts to save birds 5,000 miles away when they're happily ignoring the concreting-over of every last bit of greenery in North East England.

Stuff 'em.
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Old Saturday 4th June 2011, 12:33   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Partridge View Post
that's the point, isn't it ?

the 'P' is for 'Protection'
How many RSPB reserves in Norfolk are you prevented from actually visiting?

None that I'm aware of...
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Old Saturday 4th June 2011, 14:30   #17
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Originally Posted by FoghornKinghorn View Post
But more importantly to help the population of Black Grouse as they are still persecuted on the inglorious 12th.
I see sneak the shooting comments in when you know i'm away on my hols

Seriuosly though I'm happy to be corrected if anyone knows for certain otherwise but i would have thought there were very few (actually i'd be a bit suprised if any) Black Grouse are shot in Durham and i certainly wouldnt have thought that was causing a problem for Black Grouse in the region. Also just to be awkward(you know me) i'll point out that the Glorious 12th only refers to Red Grouse as the Black Grouse seaon doesnt actually start until 20th August.


You are of course quite right to point out the many wonderful species we are lucky enough to have that do in general need protection but as you also point out perhaps drawing attention to them when they are already doing quite well anyway might not be the best idea either.

Not really sure how i feel on this one really, it has always bugged me a bit that the north east seems to be ignored but that said i've got to kind of agree with Keith and say that spending massive amounts of money making family friendly visitor attractions out of what are already perfectly good places for birds doesnt really appeal to me but i guess you could say thats the best way to get people involved and interested in wildlife in the first place so it can work both ways.
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Old Saturday 4th June 2011, 17:38   #18
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Think how much habitat that 4,000,000 plus (not 2,000,000 as I'd originally remembered) would have bought and protected, Adam.

But then the RSPB wouldn't have been able to get Kate Humble in front of a camera to gush about "the fantastic work the RSPB does..." for the evening news.
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Old Saturday 4th June 2011, 17:54   #19
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I'm a member of the RSPB and i would'nt leave because of the lack of reserves in the North East of England where i live. But East Anglia, particularly Norfolk and Suffolk have such a huge amount of land bought bought by the RSPB and i've always found it very curious that the North East of England has practically been ignored despite been an excellent area for Bird Watching.
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Old Saturday 4th June 2011, 17:55   #20
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Originally Posted by Keith Reeder View Post
Think how much habitat that 4,000,000 plus (not 2,000,000 as I'd originally remembered) would have bought and protected, Adam.

But then the RSPB wouldn't have been able to get Kate Humble in front of a camera to gush about "the fantastic work the RSPB does..." for the evening news.
Got to say i agree with you totally there, that said I am an RSPB member and have been for many years but there are occasions when for various reasons i wonder if i should be.
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Old Saturday 4th June 2011, 17:56   #21
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Stuff 'em.
Whilst they may not have the density of reserves you desire in the north-east, the contribution they make to the UK, to which you are also a resident, I feel deserves a degree more consideration than a mere 'stuff em' comment. Live in a country beyond the U.K and all too soon, you'd get to appreciate the amazing conservation bodies the UK has, be it the RSPB, WWT, county trusts or even National Trust.

Sure there'll always be things they do that will not be to everybody's liking all the time, but were they to not exist, the UK would be the poorer for it, far poorer.
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Old Saturday 4th June 2011, 17:58   #22
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I am an RSPB member and have been for many years but there are occasions when for various reasons i wonder if i should be.
I think you should be
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Old Saturday 4th June 2011, 18:00   #23
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I think you should be
Thought you might say that and all things considered i think you are probably right.
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Old Saturday 4th June 2011, 18:57   #24
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Whilst they may not have the density of reserves you desire in the north-east, the contribution they make to the UK, to which you are also a resident, I feel deserves a degree more consideration than a mere 'stuff em' comment.
You're entitled to that view Jos, but it doesn't change my experience of the RSPB one iota. It's not about the reserves, that's just a symptom. It's about the fact that the RSPB has turned a blind eye to every single development up here, regardless of the damage that it caused to the environment, in the near thirty years that I've been watching.

Time after time, when local wildlife groups have looked to the RSPB for help in fighting off some heinous, unnecessary, deeply damaging development, the RSPB has turned its back.

As an aside, it's partly the lack of a critical eye cast on the RSPB that has resulted in them turning into something more akin to a bloody PR company than a charity whose stated aim is to:
Quote:
speak out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment
"Our" in that sentence apparently excluding the North East...

Aye, stuff 'em.
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Old Saturday 4th June 2011, 19:17   #25
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Two things come to mind for me. The first is availability of land and I suspect that most of the area you describe is owned by large scale landowners who would have no wish to sell it. Secondly it is about relevant protection not just buying land anywhere. Avocets breeding in Durham, good, but that doesnt mean that the RSPB has to step in, the birds have done it by themselves in that area. I would like to know what the Wildlife Trusts, WWT, Woodland Trust and others cover already, this is about a national approach to habitat protection not one charity trying to outcompete another.
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