'Common' Kestrel (Bill Black)
Trawling through my Facebook newsfeeds earlier today, I noticed that the London Wildlife Trust are encouraging Londoners to count Kestrels across the capital. Brilliant idea! It's all part of the Trust's 30th anniversary celebrations. They conducted a count 23 years ago that indicated the presence of around 400 nesting pairs around the metropolis. Since then it has been common knowledge that their populations have taken a plunge not only in London but across the nation.
I heard the other day that the humble Kestrel is Britian's only decreasing raptor and has been overtaken in terms of populations by the Common Buzzard and Sparrowhawk - facts that I find totally unbelievable. I think that I heard a figure of around 30% decrease in population being mooted, which is unthinkable. (Perhaps someone could let me know the official figure.) Also, their decline seems to be inexplicable. A drop in vole numbers?
I have noticed a sharp fall in the sightings of these lovely falcons in recent years. My Kestrels at The Scrubs have gone from being a daily occurrence to a once a month treat. Are there still many of these adorable 'motorway hawks' where you live?
Other news in The Urban Birder world included being a judge in the Observer Ethical Awards 2011 at the Guardian's plush offices in Kings Cross, London. It was great hanging out with my fellow judges, all of whom where great fun. I rubbed shoulders with people like Rob da Bank (founder of Bestival), Lily Cole (model), Ben Fogle, Deborah Meaden (businesswoman supreme), Sue Perkins and Gordon Roddick (co-founder of Bodyshop). The entire proceedings was chaired by my mate Lucy Siegle, the Green Goddess and The One Show presenter. The results of our debating will be announced in early June.
I think that's it. Oh and by the way, there's supposed to be a wedding going on in London somewhere.....