Thursday, 24 April 2014

A response from the GREEN PARTY re the Maltese slaughter

Keith Maskell recently replied to his constituents........

''Keith would like to thank you for your email on the killing of migrating birds in Malta, which he has asked me to respond to on his behalf

Keith and a number of other MEPs have just sent a letter of concern to the European Commission demanding urgent action be taken to stop the spring hunting season which sees the death of thousands of migrating birds every year. Keith is among those calling on the Commission to take legal action against Malta for their failure to protect the wild birds passing through the country. Keith has said,

"The time for talking is now over. With thousands of migratory birds being shot out of the sky, and Maltese officials clearly failing to take the EU seriously, it's time for the Commission to step in and stop this dreadful cruelty."

Keith has received many emails from constituents who are concerned about this issue. He has been working to address these concerns with the bird conservation organisation, Birdlife Malta. Birdlife Malta organised a meeting on 3rd April with Commissioner Poto─Źnik, the European Commissioner for the Environment, to discuss the issue. Unfortunately, although Keith had intended to attend the meeting, he was unable to make it on the day due to potential clashes with voting in plenary. He has however been liaising with Steve Micklewright, the Executive Director of Birdlife Malta, about an update on the outcome of the meeting and is offering his support in any other actions that could help to stop the bird massacre.

Keith is increasingly worried by the hunting and killing of wild birds across Europe. This is particularly prevalent in Malta but also happens in other Mediterranean countries like Italy, France and Cyprus. He agrees that non-compliance with the EU Birds Directive is unacceptable and has continually called on the European Commission to enforce the Birds Directive wherever there is evidence that it is being breached.

Keith has previously highlighted the killing of wild birds directly to the Commission, with regards to the hunting of the Italian sparrow, the Eurasian tree sparrow, the great cormorant, the chaffinch, the brambling, the common starling and the Eurasian collared dove. Keith has urged the Commission to hold Italy to account for its breach of the EU Birds Directive. Keith's predecessor, Caroline Lucas, called on them to hold Malta to account for the same practice. Keith also wrote to Commissioner Poto─Źnik calling for swift action to put an end to the killing of migrating birds in Cyprus and ensure that the provisions of the EU Birds Directive are effectively implemented.

As you can see, this issue is a pan-European problem which Keith and the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament have been working hard to address.

Keith is extremely concerned about animal welfare issues and wildlife conservation, and is committed to doing what he can at EU level to protect birds.  He is a member of the European Parliament Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals. He also produces a newsletter called Making Tracks, which outlines the work that he and his colleague Jean Lambert MEP have been doing on animal protection issues. Please see here for the latest edition: If you would be interested in receiving bi-annual copies of this publication either by post or e-mail, please let me know. 

You can find out more about Keith’s work as an MEP on his website at:

Thank you very much for bringing this issue to our attention and please do not hesitate to get back in touch if you have any further questions or comments. 

Kind regards,

Katy Cadwallader

Constituency Caseworker
Office of Keith Taylor MEP
Green Party MEP for South East England
The European Parliament
Rue Wiertz

1047 Brussels, Belgium

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Still places available on forthcoming tours

I still have one place available on my SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS & ISLANDS tour of 2-7 May 2014 and 5 places on my ROUND BRITAIN TOUR of 17-26 May 2014 - please contact me, either on 07881 906629 or if you are interested.

Likewise, some space available on tours to Spain, Morocco, Turkey, Scandinavia, Egypt, Madeira, Israel, Thailand, The Gambia, Goa and Shetland between May and December

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

RED-NECKED GREBES in breeding plumage are just such stunning birds......

For several days now, this breeding-plumaged RED-NECKED GREBE has graced FARMOOR RESERVOIR, just to the west of Oxford. It is catching lots of small fish and often takes time out from diving to feast on the abundance of insects at the water's surface. Enjoy.....

Compare the above with this recent bird at Pitsford Reservoir in Northamptonshire

and this Red-necked Grebe at Farmoor last November (same bird?)