About me

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Arctic Tern selfie!

Hi – I’m Amy Robjohns, an environment sciences graduate and birder from Hampshire. I’ve been interested in nature for a long as I can remember, and started birding on and off in 2006. However, it wasn’t until 2013 that I started to go birding much more regularly, and in 2015 began mothing and enjoying other taxa too. I have since spent many happy hours out in the field, particularly at Titchfield Haven (my beloved patch).

My blog is about my time spent birding, bird ringing and experiences as a conservation volunteer and while on work experience placements, for example, as well as my attempt to diversify and learn about other taxa.

Thank you for taking time to read my blog, I hope you enjoy reading it.

10 thoughts on “About me

  1. Hi Amy, really enjoyed starting to read your various blogs today. I live on a boat, currently at Haslar Marina in Portsmouth Harbour, and have been trying to identify a flock of about 50 small white sea birds that have recently been swooping together near us … and through using good old trusty Google I think we have a flock of Sanderling, which then led me to you blog. Keep it up! Thank you.
    I tried doing something similar, without the scientific knowledge, during our summer on the Thames and did eventually get some nice photos of just hatched coots. If you are interested, and it does not matter if you’re not, they are at http://www.goodshipcaliope.wprdpress.com in the Coot Scoop section

    • Cheers! It’s good to know people enjoy reading what I post 🙂 By the way, the link didn’t work, but I found it in the end & enjoyed the pictures!

  2. Hi Amy, Nice blog! I used to live and bird on the Isle of Wight back in the 70’s-2005. Now overseas, I still follow what is happening back on the Island and in the Solent (which brought me to your blog). I noticed that you did some sea-watching on 10th April at Hill Head. Together with a friend, we’ve been checking the sea-passage on that day (along the southern coastline of the island and through the Solent) trying to piece together how birds come up channel past Portland, through the Solent/around the IOW, and on to Kelsey, Splash and Dungeness. I wondered if you would be able to share the details of what was moving through during your watch? Also, do you know other birders who watch other points along the Solent? e.g. Hurst and Gilkicker? I’d like to check with them for 10th April as well. If you’d be interested, I’d be happy to share all info obtained with you once collated. Thanks in advance for any help you could give us, Cheers, Paul

  3. I wonder if any of you younger birders and conservation professionals have started to think about what Brexit might mean for birds, farming, wildlife and the environment? We have a referendum coming up soon, and I am struggling to find widely available arguments in these areas for and against. I think it is crucial. The Wildlife Trusts website has some material, broadly advising to remain, so does RSPB Community, but could we have even better environmental protection outside the EU? (They think not). I hear/read nothing about this from the Brexit campaign. Have you heard anything?
    To my way of thinking, the biggest presssure on UK wildlife is human population size, with its concomitant demands on land and resources. That would incline me to vote for which ever has the better understanding of that growing problem. Yet, the EU has given us some good environmental laws. And what about the CAP? If that goes, do the farmers get a subisy? And if they don’t does farmland revert to unmanged wild state? Or do they plough it up even more for greater returns?
    All of this impacts on the environment, habitats and biodiversity and the nation is being asked to vote on something which is not properly being aired. I wonder if you have access to better arguments than I have?
    And what about the general public who perhaps ought to be informed what their vote might mean for the wildlife they love?
    Some thoughts. Rhetorical questions – don’t feel obliged to answer me directly, but my aim is to raise your awareness – if it wasn’t already!
    Stephen Mott

    • Hi Stephen, thanks for your thoughts and comment! I am very concerned about the prospect of leaving the EU. I accept it’s not perfect, but they are leading the way when it comes to environmental legislation, especially with their holistic approach to tackling problems. As you know, many environmental issues are trans-boundary, e.g. air pollution or migratory birds, so working together as 28 states is a good thing. Not to mention climate change…

      I agree with the wildlife charities that we’re better in the EU. We simply don’t know what it would be like outside of the EU (& not just from an environmental perspective).

      I have heard a few bits from Brexit, though these concern me. They speak of the ability to repel legislation. If we did exit the EU we could of course repel any legislation that was brought in simply due to having a legal obligation to comply with an EU Directive/Regulation. Worryingly, much of our environmental legislation could therefore be repelled. I have heard that one Brexit supporter was claimed to have said that we could, for example, repel the Air Quality legislation… Now why would you think that was in the best interests of your country? Clearly not from an environmental or human health perspective.

      The EU have just launced their Circular Economy Strategy which is an attempt to embed a new way of thinking in terms of consumption and a different approach to industry and business. I would argue that this would be the best way forward for us in terms of addressing issues relating to populations and consumption etc. The changes in legislation (if we do stay in the EU) will filter through into UK legislation and we’ll also have ambitious new targets to achieve. see – ec.europa.eu/environment/circular-economy/index_en.htm

      In terms of wildlife, leaving the EU would mean there’d be no need to comply with the EU Birds Directive, EU Habitats Directive, Environmental Impact Assessment (which looks at much more than just a proposed development’s potential impact to wildlife), EU Water Framework Directive, and funding could potentially disappear. The money from CAP funds the management of nature reserves as well as farmers through the stewardship schemes. Much of the funding for nature conservation projects also comes from the EU (even though the UK have a legal obligation to protect particular species/habitats…). I’m sure there’s even more to add, but that’s a flavour.

      And as eluded to, it could also have an impact on human health, as the EU have lots of legislation relating to pollution.

      A worrying and uncertain time ahead.

      Perhaps I should try writing a blog post on it if I have time!

  4. Good thinking going on here. The debate needs to be widened – if the general public vote “leave” without knowing the consequences for the UK environment, farming, etc. Dire!
    People older than me – and we are an ageing population, are more likely to vote leave, I fear.
    My MP is Rory Stewart, who I know quite well (he’s a minister at DeFRA). He’s a very intelligent and thoughtful (young) person who does sometimes speak his mind. But I’ve not heard anything from his department, so I may push him for something. He and i do often discuss a range of matters from time to time. I hope he doesn’t lie low and hope this thorny issue will go away or get forgotten. I’ll write to him. He was very upfront about the Scottish devolution debate.
    The bottom line is – with human population pressures, environment, farming, biodiversity and wildife are all going to come under very severe pressure and unfortunately history shows that human needs take precedence, especially in over-crowded UK . Will EU environmental regs be robust enough in the end?
    We are all going to have to take very great responsibility for out lifestyle and consumer choices, in or out of the EU!

    • Precisely. People haven’t been that well informed, which is never a good thing. And I don’t think the interrelationship between the economy, environment etc etc is that well understood by the general public even though it’s rather simple and obvious when you think about it.

      DEFRA worry me somewhat. Their latest update regarding current priorities included – “removing regulatory and other barriers to growth”. Of course, leaving the EU would allow them to do just that… But I hope this doesn’t happen. I’d love to know their official views – they should have plenty to say regarding the positive environmental benefits of remaining in the EU!!

      I think, if we remain in the EU, the regulations will be pretty robust and help, but I agree it does come down to all of us to change lifestyles, way of thinking etc etc. That’s why moving towards a circular economy is a good idea.

      Lots to think about!

  5. Cheers Steve, another blog for me to check! Ha, you clearly steal our seabirds or put them off or something. All I want is a Fulmar on patch… Used to visit the island all the time for annual family holidays but wasn’t really birding then. That said, I do remember twitching a Bluethroat while there one year, and returned for those Bee-eaters which were cool though probably the most expensive twitch I’ve done to date!

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