Biosphere Bulletin - January 2016
Biosphere Here

Nature Now

What's happening in nature this month

Coming Up...

Biosphere Events in your

Please visit our events calendar for full details of all of the events listed below
January 2016
Sat 9th Jan (09.45-13.45) - Downland walk, Lancing (free) (SWT)

Sun 10th Jan (10.00-12.00) - Geocaching trash & dash event, Devils Dyke (free) (SDNPA)

Sun 17th Jan (10.00-13.00) - Wolstonbury Hill walk, Clayton (£3) (NT)

Thurs 28th Jan (19.30) - World Birds talk, BHASVIC, Brighton (£3) (RSPB)

Sat 6th Feb (10.00-16.00) - Sussex Biological Recorders' seminar, Hassocks (£) (SBRC)

Sun 7th Feb (10.30-16.30) - Seedy Sunday, Corn Exchange, Brighton (£)

Weds 10th Feb (10.00) - Castle Hill bird walk, Newhaven (free) (RSPB)

Thurs 11th Feb (19.00) - Organic gardening AGM & wildlife talk, Brighton (free) (BHOGG)

Tues 16th Feb (10.00-15.00) - Wildlife Rangers, kids (12-16), Stanmer Park (£) (SWT)



Biosphere Here

January 2016

Find Our Fellow Feathered Friends!

Dear <<Name>>

Firstly, a very Happy New Year to all our 2000-strong 'Friends of the Biosphere'!

This month we focus on our feathered friends with whom we live 'beak by jowl' in our towns and city, in the run-up to the annual
RSPB 'Big Garden Birdwatch' that takes place at the end of January. We encourage everybody to spend an hour noting down what you see in your garden or local green space over the weekend of 30-31 January, to both have fun and contribute to the nationwide survey.
Children can also 
take part through special supported sessions under the RSPB's Big Schools Birdwatch at any time over the next month. 
Have a read of 
this month's Bio Blog (below right), by Alison Giacomelli of the RSPB (a Biosphere partner), to learn about our fellow urban-dwellers - including the starlings that put on such a spectacular aerial show over the seafront at this time of year!
See also our monthly
 'WoW' section (below left) to get to know a few of the common urban birds found in our Biosphere. 

Beyond the brilliant birds of the Biosphere, there's lots more nature to enjoy outdoors this month in our area (see 'Nature Now'), as well as an active programme of local events coming up (see calendar list, left) that you can get involved with.

It won't have escaped anyone's notice that the weather has been unseasonably warm and wet of late, so much so that the Met Office has confirmed that December 2015 was the wettest month since records began (in 1910) and the warmest ever December across the UK as whole. And last year was the warmest year globally on record (again!), taking us above 1 degree C of warming for the first time. 

Our focus was on climate change in last month's issue, with the 'COP21' conference in Paris securing an international agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions - albeit not legally-binding, nor committing to the scale of action required now to avoid dangerous climate change above an extra 2 degrees C.

As an international demonstration area for sustainability, and part of the global network of 
climate change 'observatories', our Biosphere has an important part to play in addressing this great challenge - both in terms of reducing emissions and adapting to inevitable impacts such as increased flood risk. A new survey by UNESCO shows that a majority of Biosphere regions are worried about the changes they are witnessing, but also that not enough action is being taken to tackle them as yet.

We thus need everyone to get involved and play their part in the challenge that lies before us - have a look at the 'WoW' section of our last issue for tips on how you can help to make a difference.

On which note, have a positive and productive 2016!   
Rich Howorth
Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere Partnership

Window On
Our World

Urban Birds

Typical birds that you can find in the city and towns of our Biosphere area include :

~ Starling 
the 'murmuration' over Brighton’s Palace Pier from an hour before sunset 

~ House Sparrow
'Red-listed' once-ubiquitous bird, but still numerous in Sussex gardens

~ Blackbird 
Tuneful songster, recorded in over 85% of Sussex gardens in the 2015 Big Garden Bird Watch (BGBW)

~ Robin
The gardener's companion, found in 84% of Sussex 'BGBW' gardens in 2015

~ Peregrine Falcon
Spectacular super-fast predator you may spot around Shoreham power station and Lewes quarries 




Bio Blog

Beak by Jowl 

If you took a stroll along Brighton seafront after your Christmas dinner you may have been lucky enough to witness one of the Biosphere’s wildlife spectacles – a starling ‘murmuration’!

Whilst the starlings still put on an impressive show, their numbers have declined both here and countrywide so they are listed on the ‘red list’ of ‘Birds of Conservation Concern’.

Unfortunately starlings are not the only urban bird to have suffered large declines in numbers.

You can help to assess the population status of our (previously more) common birds by taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch later this month, to see how your local patch compares to the bigger picture 
of birds around the nationread full blog

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