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Episode 25

Saving Species, Series 1 Episode 25 of 40

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 19 October 2010

25/40. In the northern hemisphere autumn is upon the world and the skies are busy with air traffic of the feathered variety. Bird migration is one of the great natural wonders of the living planet and this is peak time for northern hemisphere birds to head south. And we're interested in the birds bound for Africa. Swifts and Swallows, Martins and Warblers, Cuckoos and Nightingales are some of the birds that head for sub-Sahara Africa to winter. Many have arrived and are living under African skies.

We'll be in London at one of the most historic bird observatories with a special "memories" piece reflecting on a time when London's skies were busy with south-bound avian migrants.

And we'll have a special piece from a sacred forest in Ethiopia, a unique wooded island refuge in a desert of over tilled land - a forest protected by a church and its followers. We hear from Claire Ozanne from Roehampton University as she and colleagues conduct the first ever wildlife survey of this refuge. The biologists discover a new bird for Ethiopia and involve the local children in their discoveries. And we take on the bigger picture; what contribution does religion make to nature conservation at a global level? We have Martin Palmer, CEO of The Alliance of Religion and Conservation (ARC) in the studio.

Presented by Brett Westwood
Produced by Mary Colwell
Series Editor Julian Hector.

  • Aerial view of Dedresena Church Forest, Bahar Dar, Ethiopia

    Aerial view of Dedresena Church Forest, Bahar Dar, Ethiopia

    Image by Dr Phil Wittman

  • Ian Wallace's bird migration observations in London in 1960 and 2010

    At this time of year autumn migration into Britain is hotting up. Winter visitors like redwing and fieldfare and are arriving from Scandinavia and Europe and can often be clearly seen flying in a visible migration during the day.

    Ian Wallace, a pioneer of ornithology in this country, has been watching this phenomenon since he was a young man and decided upon a unique experiment to observe daytime or visible migration over London. In the autumn of 1960 forty observers took on the task of counting the numbers and species of birds flying across the city.

    Last Friday, October 15th was one of the days Ian made his observations 50 years ago at Primrose Hill, just north of Regent’s Park. It was here that Sarah Pitt met him at 0730 to observe the day’s migration for one hour, just as Ian had done in 1960.

    Here are the numbers and species he saw in 1960:
    37 lapwing
    34 black headed gull
    4 common gull
    2 lesser black backed gull
    620 wood pigeon
    120 skylarks
    15 Meadow pipit
    3 linnet
    5 redpoll
    1 reed bunting
    6 house martin
    9 song thrush
    54 redwing
    4 mistle thrush
    1 blackbird
    71 chaffinch
    10 brambling
    2 greenfinch
    4 siskin

    Here are the numbers and species he saw in 2010:
    3 redwings
    1 fieldfare
    29 chaffinches
    10 starlings
    4 species of gulls including common gull.

  • View of Dedresena church forest

    Image by Dr Phil Wittnman
    See more at www.canopyquest.com

  • Approaching Dedresena church forest by road

    Approaching Dedresena church forest by road

    Image by Dr Phil Wittman
    For more see www.canopyquest.com

  • Ian Wallace on Primrose Hill

    Image by Sarah Pitt

  • Ian Wallace on Primrose Hill

    Image by Sarah Pitt

  • View of London skyline from Primrose Hill

    View of London skyline from Primrose Hill

    Image by Sarah Pitt


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