TN78 The Conference Calls 18 Dec 11 with Simon Tonkin


The one with Simon Tonkin, the RSPB’s Senior Farmland Conservation Officer, where we discuss egg-collectors, skylarks, the CAP, the dire and urgent situation facing Turtle Doves, and Simon gives me a rather succinct answer when I ask him whether or not he knows of any species breeding in his ‘patch’ (East Anglia) that the rest of us don’t…

NB: All opinions and views expressed by an individual panel member and/or guest during a Conference Calls podcast are those of the individual speaker alone, and are not to be taken as being held by or representative of any other individual, organisation, or sponsor unless specifically identified as such during the recording of that podcast.


Show Notes

And your Panel today consists of…

  • Charlie Moores, a freelance writer and podcaster (and now sadly intermittent birder) who either lives in a warm little cottage in north Wiltshire with his family or in a cold ‘podding shed’ editing an endless series of podcasts that more and more people appear to now be listening to.
  • Tristan Reid, aka ‘binocularface’, a conservationist and well-known member of the Brit birding and twitching scene (to quote from Tristan’s binocularface blog “Some may call me obsessive; but I love to see rare and scarce birds and will travel anywhere within the UK and Ireland to see them!”) who lives in Cumbria.
  • John Hague, a birding psychiatric nurse from Barnsley who now lives in Leicester where he’s a prominent member of the Leicester and Rutland Ornithological Society. John blogs extensively at The Drunkbirder where he rants “about the world and the absurdities of life“.
  • Nick Moran, an expat Yorkshireman living in Norfolk, where he runs BirdTrack at the BTO. Nick spent most of the noughties birding and occasionally teaching Biology in China and the UAE; he is an OSME Council member and secretary and voting member on the Emirates Bird Records Committee which keeps him in touch with Middle East birding.



Show Notes and Links


Please have a listen to an earlier podcast with Simon Tonkin:


From RSPB’s ‘Field of View newsletter, Issue 10 Nov 2011:

Bird Friendly Zone will help farmland birds

The Thorney Farmland Bird Friendly Zone is an ambitious landscape-scale farmland bird conservation project. It aims to manage arable farmland across a large area of Cambridgeshire for the benefit of farmland birds and other wildlife.

The initiative is centred on the village of Thorney, where wildlife-friendly farmers who manage 3,424 ha of surrounding farmland have come together. To achieve the aims of the project, the farmers will balance the optimal needs of farmland birds and other wildlife with those of their farm businesses.

Creating this zone will mean there is a large area (220 km2) of wildlife-friendly habitat that will allow the population and range of farmland birds to increase. In particular, six range-restricted farmland bird species will benefit: corn bunting, grey partridge, lapwing, tree sparrow, turtle dove, and yellow wagtail.

Land management options for farmland birds within Environmental Stewardship Schemes are being used,
resulting in 3-10% of arable land being managed for the year-round benefit of birds and other wildlife. Farmers are stepping up for nature by selecting Entry Level Scheme and HLS land management options, such as unharvested crops to feed birds over the winter, fallow and skylark plots providing in-field nesting habitat and nectar rich plots supplying insect rich areas.

The Bird Friendly Zone is part of the RSPB Fens Futurescape initiative, which is a landscape-scale approach to deliver special places for wildlife and people in a changing climate.

For more information, contact Simon Tonkin at or call 01603 697586.




RSPB 150x150 TN75 The RSPBs Simon Tonkin and wildlife friendly farmingOur work is driven by a passionate belief that we all have a responsibility to protect birds and the environment. Bird populations reflect the health of the planet on which our future depends.

The need for an effective bird conservation organisation has never been greater. Climate change, agricultural intensification, expansion of urban areas and transport infrastructure, and over-exploitation of our seas all pose major threats to birds.

The RSPB could not exist without its supporters and members. Whether you join us, give a donation, purchase items from us or undertake voluntary work, your support is vital to the future of birds and the places where they live.


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About the author

Passionate about animal welfare and conservation, veggie and dairy-free, I live in the Wiltshire (UK) countryside. I co-founded Birders Against Wildlife Crime and Birds Korea. Trustee of the League against Cruel Sports On Twitter @charliemoores

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