Insect Asides

“The European Food Safety Authority (Efsa) assessment [of neonicotinoid pesticides] includes bumblebees and solitary bees for the first time.”

Solitary bees were previously reluctant to take part.

“A spokesman for Syngenta, a neonicotinoid manufacturer, said: “Efsa sadly continues to rely on a [bee risk guidance] document that is overly conservative, extremely impractical and would lead to a ban of most if not all insecticides, including organic products.””

If organic produce is now classified as an insecticide, then chemical pesticides are no more effective than hurling rotten fruit at insects.



“Marine plastic litter can already be controlled through the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS); the London Convention; the MARPOL Convention; the Basel Convention; Customary Law, and many other regional agreements.
Article 194 of UNCLOS, for instance, requires states to ‘prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment from any source.
Measures shall include, inter alia, those designed to minimize to the fullest possible extent… the release of toxic, harmful or noxious substances, especially those which are persistent, from land-based sources… [and] shall include those necessary to protect and preserve rare or fragile ecosystems as well as the habitat of depleted, threatened or endangered species and other forms of marine life.'”

If only the legal profession was as persistent.


“The first time in 40 years that a gannet had flown in to roost but, instead of bringing a partner, Nigel quickly became infatuated with one of the 80 decoys designed to lure the real thing to the island.
So taken was he with his concrete love that he built it a nest out of seaweed and sticks, and was seen by volunteers apparently trying to woo it.”

Relationship success needs more than love, and something concrete isn’t enough either.



“Despite their popularity, hedgehogs are now something of a rare sight in British gardens – and are in fact disappearing at the same rate as tigers worldwide”

Hedgehogs, the tiger’s preferred food…or deadliest foe…


Slow Seas-on

“After more than five years of negotiations, UN members are poised to agree to draw up a new rulebook by 2020, which could establish conservation areas, catch quotas and scientific monitoring.”

After five years…poised to agree to draw up in three years, something that could…?

Like Apple, the UN insists that this slowdown feature is not an example of planned obfuscation, and instead is designed to protect bureaucracy and prolong the life of committees. (



“The world’s most widely used insecticide may cause migrating songbirds to lose their sense of direction and suffer drastic weight loss, according to new research.”

Scientists are close to linking this effect to recent behaviour in the UK government cabinet.


Calluna Calling

“‘Calluna’, a female harrier, was tagged this summer at a nest on the National Trust for Scotland’s Mar Lodge estate, near Braemar. We were monitoring her transmitter’s data which showed that she fledged from the nest in July. She left the area in early August, and gradually headed east over the Deeside moors. However, while the tag data showed it to be working perfectly, transmissions abruptly ended on 12th August, with no further data transmitted. Calluna’s last recorded position was on a grouse moor a few miles north of Ballater, in the Cairngorms National Park.”

Representatives of the shooting lobby have already stated the ridiculous. My work is done.

Response of Scottish Land & Estates – “Estates in the area have welcomed a number of hen harriers to the area during August and only today one moor reported three harriers. Local land managers reject the inference that the loss of signal from this tag is connected to grouse moor management and are now offering every assistance in searching the area where the last transmission was recorded.“

Response of Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association – “The SGA would urge anyone who saw the bird or knows anything about it to contact Police Scotland. This is the first we have heard of this. Obviously any news like this is very disappointing. The SGA condemns raptor persecution and if any of our members are convicted of a wildlife crime they are removed from our organisation. We have learned from those monitoring tags that birds can move some distance away from where they were last recorded so it is important that, if people know anything, they alert the Police immediately.”

Response of Scottish Association for Country Sports – “We would remind the RSPB that tag technology can fail for a number of reasons, and that raptors are susceptible to natural causes of death as well as to illegal persecution.“