Lewis Phillips News page

Lord Of The Rings Project
30th November 2015
The Shire
Lord Of The Rings.
September 10th

Now I am lucky enough to live in the region of Tolkien's middle earth, I can understand how Tolkien was inspired by the stunning scenery that Wales offers. Lush green grass, moorland hills with rocky outcrops, and of course stunning lighting conditions.

I am now embarking on a new book project taking us around Middle Earth or what Tolkien my have interpreted middle earth to be like.

It will take some time but I hope to have the Idea ready for 2017.

This image of Middle Earth can be found near the Town of Crick-howl, I am not going to give the exact location but I advise anyone to grab an OS map and have a good look so that you can start your own Lord Of The Rings Adventure.

New Workshops Announced
14th May 2015
Last week we ran our first Lake District photography workshop which was thoroughly enjoyable. We was visit by 2 gents Donald and Paul who spent 4 days with us in Ambleside, the weather was very hit and miss at times but we achieved plenty of work.

I would like to say a big thank you to them for the great fun that we had and i hope to see them both again in the near future.

For more info on our lakes workshops please feel free to visit the link below.
http://www.lewisphillipsimages.com/lakeland-breaks-cumbria
Helping The Homeless
13th November 2014
Travel Photograper Of The Year
12th July 2014
I was very pleased and proud to have my work displayed at the Royal Geographical Society in this Travel Photography Awards. A nice mildstone in my journey as a photographer.

For more info visit the website

http://www.tpoty.com/
English Heritage Workshops
25th March 2014
I am pleased to say that i will be running a workshop for English Heritage this May in Kent.

For more information please visit the link below.
http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/events/1923355/
East End Documentry, travel photographer of the year
23rd November 2013
Lewis has made the final of the metropolis entry with his documentary of Brick Lane and the surrounding areas. Lewis Hopes to hold an exhibition in the next year showcasing his work.

For more info and imagery on the work please visit his facebook page via the link.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=539363329485281&set=a.437234629698152.1073741828.436955669726048&type=1&theater
Sad end for a well travelled barn owl
25th September 2013
Sad end for a well travelled barn owl

Barn Owl (c) Kevin Keatley
By John Woolsey, Barn Owl Officer, Ulster Wildlife

At the end of April this year, a Co Down farmer contacted me with the sad news that he had found a dead barn owl in one of his farm sheds. This farmer is well known to me as he has a barn owl nest site on his land and he carries out his farming activities with an eye on his local wildlife. I collected the owl carcass and apart from identifying it as a female bird and in good condition prior to death, I noticed that the bird had a BTO leg ring. This was unusual for a NI barn owl casualty as no-one is currently leg ringing barn owls here. I forwarded the ring number to the British Trust for Ornithology and delivered the carcass to AFBI Veterinary Sciences Division for a post-mortem examination.


Surprising information came back from BTO – the bird had been ringed as a nestling on 9 August 2009 at a confidential site near Hawkins Point, East Riding of Yorkshire, almost 400km from where it was recovered in Co Down! Although there are records of barn owls travelling from continental Europe into southern England and also of birds being found on ships and oil rigs, I have no records of birds making a journey like this example. Unfortunately it is impossible to know how long the bird had been in NI or if it ever had a chance to breed here and add to our small population of local barn owls.


Final results from the post-mortem came in last week and although they showed no definite cause of death, the barn owl had traces of two chemicals commonly used in the manufacture of rodenticides – Difenacoum and Flocoumafen. I have discussed the results with scientists from the UK wide Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme and whilst the level of Difenacoum can be classed as ‘background’ i.e. unlikely to have been a major contributory factor, the level of Flocoumafen was at a level more likely to have been a contributory factor in the death of this bird.


Sadly, this case echoes the recent reports from a collaborative study between BirdWatch Ireland, University College Cork and the UK Centre of Ecology and Hydrology. This study has shown that more than 85 per cent of Irish barn owls had detectable traces of rodenticides in their systems before death.


Knowing the regard that this farmer has for all wildlife, especially barn owls, and knowing the care he takes to avoid, as far as possible, the use of rodenticides, I have no reason to think that the barn owl ate rodenticide contaminated prey on this farm. Over a single night of hunting, a barn owl may travel up to 8km radius from their roost site and so they can pick up prey from a wide variety of locations. Prey species including those that have eaten poisoned bait can travel between farms and it would be difficult to accurately establish where this barn owl caught and ate contaminated prey species.


Ulster Wildlife recognises and supports the obligation on farmers to control pests to help maintain biosecurity integrity within the agri-food industry. However, control measures involving rodenticides may pose a risk of secondary poisoning to non-target species such as the barn owl and for that reason rodenticides should only be dispensed when absolutely necessary and always in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations.


The current population of breeding barn owls in NI is unknown but it could be fewer than 50 pairs, any improvement on that figure depends on birds living longer and successfully rearing more young. It is clear that secondary poisoning from rodenticides has the potential to significantly impact on our raptor populations and for this reason Ulster Wildlife is supportive of the work being done by the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU) and its associated code of good practice, details of which can be found at www.thinkwildlife.org

For more infomation on our Be there for Barn Owls Project
Bat cave built on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal - Canal and River Trust
17th September 2013
Bat cave built on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal - Canal and River Trust
We've adapted a recently restored limekiln on the side of the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal to attract rare lesser horseshoe bats.
Bat cave on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal
We're hoping that the cave will provide a useful roost site for the bats, who use the canal to forage for food and make their home in the surrounding countryside.
Local volunteers have helped us to repair these early 19th-century limekilns at the site as the structures were overgrown and their stonework began to crumble. The kilns played a vital role in Wales’ industrial history, being used in the 1800s to produce lime mortar for agricultural use and the construction trade. The raw materials of coal and limestone were brought to the kilns by canal boat and the finished product, burnt lime, was then transported by cart to local farms and by horse drawn tramway as far away as Hay-on-Wye and Kington.
A temporary wooden door has been built in one of the side-chambers of the kiln to provide insulation and a heat monitor will be installed so that the team can monitor the temperature level and ensure it is suitable for hibernating and night roosting bats.
We've carried out this project together with The Vincent Wildlife Trust‘s Y Bannau – Bro’r Ystlum/Our Beacon for Bats Project, which is funded by the Brecon Beacons Trust and Heritage Lottery Fund. The work has approval from the conservation team at Brecon Beacons National Park Authority and has been carried out sympathetically to reflect the status of the kilns.
We've adapted a recently restored limekiln on the side of the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal to attract rare lesser horseshoe bats.
Bat cave on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal
We're hoping that the cave will provide a useful roost site for the bats, who use the canal to forage for food and make their home in the surrounding countryside.
Local volunteers have helped us to repair these early 19th-century limekilns at the site as the structures were overgrown and their stonework began to crumble. The kilns played a vital role in Wales’ industrial history, being used in the 1800s to produce lime mortar for agricultural use and the construction trade. The raw materials of coal and limestone were brought to the kilns by canal boat and the finished product, burnt lime, was then transported by cart to local farms and by horse drawn tramway as far away as Hay-on-Wye and Kington.
A temporary wooden door has been built in one of the side-chambers of the kiln to provide insulation and a heat monitor will be installed so that the team can monitor the temperature level and ensure it is suitable for hibernating and night roosting bats.
We've carried out this project together with The Vincent Wildlife Trust‘s Y Bannau – Bro’r Ystlum/Our Beacon for Bats Project, which is funded by the Brecon Beacons Trust and Heritage Lottery Fund. The work has approval from the conservation team at Brecon Beacons National Park Authority and has been carried out sympathetically to reflect the status of the kilns.
Restoring the UK's peatlands - The Wildlife Trusts
10th September 2013
Restoring the UK's peatlands - The Wildlife Trusts
The Wildlife Trusts are involved in an ambitious plan to restore four per cent of the UK’s landmass to improve water quality, alleviate flooding, aid carbon storage and help wildlife.
A million hectare challenge map is being prepared to set an ambitious target for restoring peatlands. It has huge implications for people and for business.
Peatlands cover 12% of the UK and their restoration has never been a more pressing issue - unfortunately, 80% are in a poor condition because they’ve been drained of water or damaged by extraction. Peatlands are amazingly wild places, teeming with birds, insects and unusual plants. The Wildlife Trusts are helping to protect and restore these special places around the UK. We are one of several partners involved in the exciting 2020 Million Hectare Challenge map to encourage the restoration of a million hectares of peatland over the next seven years.
The Peatland Code will encourage the private sector/businesses to invest in restoring this precious resource. Restoration is vital because peatlands:
store carbon – over three billion tonnes of carbon already stored and if repaired, they could remove an additional three million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year from the atmosphere
both store and clean water as well as help reduce flooding – there’s huge economic value in improved water quality and flood alleviation
are fantastic landscapes for wildlife - rich habitats that are home to subtle and unique wild plants and animals, and fabulous wild places for people to enjoy
Investment by businesses is key to progress. The call for private sector involvement comes at a time when water companies are being encouraged to improve water quality using upstream solutions. Restoring peatlands can play a key part in tackling water quality issues at source.
The Wildlife Trusts, all across the UK, have some inspiring peatland restoration projects. Some are in uplands and so benefit populations downstream as well as being carbon stores and wildlife havens. Others are lowland peatlands where carbon storage and nature are the chief beneficiaries.
School fair saved by wetland – Wildfowl & Wetland Trust
23rd July 2013
School fair saved by wetland – Wildfowl & Wetland Trust
A school fair was saved by a wetland planted in the grounds by pupils and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), after a fierce downpour threatened to flood the school field.
The field at Hollickwood Primary School in Barnet, North London, would usually have taken days to dry out from the deluge. But WWT have been working with Hollickwood and nine nearby schools to install mini-wetlands which are great for drainage, great for attracting wildlife for lessons outside the classroom and great for preventing pollution reaching the local river, the Pymmes Brook.
The Hollickwood mini-wetland is planted in a wavy line along the edge of the school field next to the playground. Teachers and parents were delighted to see the wetland capture and store all the water which usually runs off the playground onto the grass and makes it unmanageably boggy.
Linden Groves, Parent and Garden Committee Coordinator, said: “The rain was heavy beyond belief. The playground was temporarily flooded up to a foot deep in parts. I was horrified, thinking it would still be flooded for the school fair the next day. But as if by magic – I know it’s really down to WWT’s skill – the torrent flowed straight into the wetland. The planting bed became a river. It was beautiful and after all the hard work by the children it was actually rather moving to see it all in action.”
Study reveals uncertainty over the benefits of feeding birds in winter
25th June 2013
Study reveals uncertainty over the benefits of feeding birds in winter
Wild bird populations are generally thought to benefit from being given additional food in winter but our understanding of the effects of such food provision is incomplete.
The results of a new study, carried out by researchers at the University of Exeter and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), has found that feeding wild blue tits in winter resulted in less successful breeding during the following spring.
The research, published in Scientific Reports, revealed that woodland blue tits that were provided with fat balls as a supplementary food during the winter months went on to produce chicks that were smaller, of lower body weight and which had lower survival than the chicks of birds that did not receive any additional food.
Dr Jon Blount from Biosciences at the University of Exeter who led the research said: “Our research questions the benefits of feeding wild birds over winter. Although the precise reasons why fed populations subsequently have reduced reproductive success are unclear, it would be valuable to assess whether birds would benefit from being fed all year round rather than only in winter. More research is needed to determine exactly what level of additional food provisioning, and at what times of year, would truly benefit wild bird populations.”
Dr Kate Plummer, lead author of the paper, said: “There could be a number of different explanations for our results. One possibility is that winter feeding may help birds in relatively poor condition to survive and breed. Because these individuals are only capable of raising a small number of chicks, they will reduce our estimation of breeding success within the population. But more research is needed to understand whether winter feeding is contributing to an overall change in the size of bird populations.”
It is estimated that around half of UK householders feed birds in their gardens. This equates to around 50-60 thousand tonnes of bird food provisioned each year and contributes to a thriving bird food industry.
Jane Lawler, Marketing Director at Gardman, commented: “As the wider scientific evidence shows, feeding wild birds with appropriate foods delivers a range of positive benefits. A number of unanswered questions remain, however, and this is why we have been supporting this and other research, using the information gained to inform our products and the advice that we provide to our customers”.
The three year study was conducted across nine woodland sites in Cornwall. During winter, populations of blue tits were left unfed, given plain fat balls or given fat balls enriched with vitamin E – a vitamin commonly present in bird food such as nuts and seeds. Nest boxes and bird feeders were distributed around the woodland study sites and reproductive success was investigated by checking the nest boxes in the spring to determine the number of eggs laid and the growth and survival of chicks.
Studies elsewhere have shown that feeding wild birds in winter can have almost immediate benefits for survival and can enhance future breeding success, so the latest results provide important new information and inform the debate around the role that feeding wild birds may play in their population processes. Whether providing food is detrimental or beneficial to wild bird populations, it is clear that more research is needed to better understand its effects.
Reedbeds could help revive polluted River Lea - Thames21
19th June 2013
Reedbeds could help revive polluted River Lea - Thames21
Independent research calls for extensive reedbed creation to reduce water pollution, boost biodiversity and increase London green space.
The creation of reedbeds along the River Lee (or Lea)* Navigation could be a low-cost and attractive part of a solution to the river’s significant pollution problems.
A new independent report commissioned by Thames21 reveals huge potential for reedbeds to boost biodiversity, reduce the effects of pollution and improve the social and amenity value of the lower Lee Catchment. Reedbeds are regarded as one of the most important ecosystems on earth and are sometimes referred to as ‘the kidney of the landscape’ for their important role in filtering pollutants and maintaining fresh water health. The research report ‘Project Reedbed’ was supported by the Environment Agency and carried out as part of the charity’s Love the Lea campaign.
View the report here
Vulture Fundraiser, Greenwich market
11th June 2013
After raising money for vulture conservation the Balkans trust have put some info on their website about my work.

Please feel free to look at the link, also you may need to click on the UK symbol at the top of the page to view the piece in English

http://greenbalkans.org/show.php?language=bg_BG&cat_id=35&id=1861
Toad in the road project.
20th April 2013
Recently i have been working with the Kent Wildlife Trust on a number of their sites. One of the most interesting sites was Bough Beech which is located just outside of Sevenoaks. This reserve is a vital eco system for native amphibians in the area with common toads, frogs, and rare newts which are protected by European law.



I met the centre manager Peter Bassett who would be leading patrols in the evenings during the breeding seasons outside the reserve, the reason for this was due to the amphibians crossing the road to get to their breeding grounds.



As you can imagine the issues they face would be motorists passing by during the night and unfortunately for the toads, frogs and newts they would find themselves flattened by cars.



I wanted to create a photography documentary showing the work that people do to help secure the future of our native wildlife. One issue that did surprise me was that there was no signs up in the road to warn motorists of the amphibians crossing the road, the council had been notified of the population in the area but still nothing has been done to at least warn people. I am hoping that this project will highlight what people are doing to help the toads so that the local council may at least issue a movable sign for the trust to put up during the breeding season.



Weather has proved to be a issue as the cold weather had slowed the movement by 3 weeks, another issues which i found interesting was how the amphibians ended up in the drains especially if we was having prolonged periods of rain. They would be washed into the drains and finding themselves not able to get out, drain rescues were quiet common and more noticeably was the amount of Smooth and Great Crested Newts found stuck in the drainage systems.



During the dates from the 6th of March until the 11th the total of amphibians saved can be seen below.
Toads 109
Frogs 19
G C Newts 26
Smooth Newts 19

We then attended dates from the 9th of April up to the 15th with the total again below.
Toads 192
G C Newts 17
Frogs 4
Smooth Newts 5

The total of road kill found can be seen below.
Toads 17
Frogs 9
G C Newts 5
Smooth Newts 4



The work undertaken by Peter and the people volunteering to help was vital in helping the local populations, amphibians are declining badly throughout the planet so making more people aware of these issues are paramount. I can also say that I had a really fun experience helping save the toads but more than anything it was very rewarding, lets hope that people will continue to help wardens like Peter protect our local wildlife.
Vulture Fundraiser, Greenwich market
28th March 2013
This weekend we will be visiting Greenwich Market to raise money for 2 conservation trusts. Days we will be attending are Easter Friday, Saturday and Easter Monday.
Vulture
Puffin 'wreck' in Scotland - CEH blog
28th March 2013
Puffin 'wreck' in Scotland - CEH blog
Update #2 1500, 27 March 2013
This morning (Wednesday 27 March) Prof Mike Harris visited St Cyrus NNR on the East coast of Scotland. The visit, and initial investigations of a number of dead puffins collected over the last two days, has confirmed that the most likely reason for the ‘wreck’ is the long period of very strong easterly winds making it very hard for the birds to find food. With onshore winds birds that die end up on beaches thus making the numbers involved very obvious.
Prof Harris writes: “Our first priority has been to age the birds that have died. So far about half the birds examined have been adults and some definitely look as though they would have bred this year if they hadn't died. It is therefore likely that breeding populations are going to be affected in the Spring and Summer. Immature make up the other half of the sample so whilst their deaths will not have an immediate impact on breeding, the wreck is also affecting birds that would have recruited and bred in subsequent years." He concludes "It is too early to know how many birds are going to be involved but it does look as though there will be both immediate and longer term effects at puffin colonies.”
CEH are working with RSPB Scotland to monitor the situation and learn as much as possible about the cause of the wrecks. Recovery of the birds along our beaches for post-mortem examination is ongoing.
Oil spillage threatens Yorkshire’s seabirds – The Wildlife Trusts
13th March 2013
Oil spillage threatens Yorkshire’s seabirds – The Wildlife Trusts

Selwicks Bay fog station Flamborough cpt David Nichols
An oil slick is currently threatening one of Yorkshire’s most important wildlife colonies, the seabirds of Flamborough Head.
The staff at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Living Seas Centre, at Flamborough, are on high alert as thousands return to the coast in preparation for breeding on the cliffs around the headland.
Members of the public finding a seabird in distress should not touch it but contact staff at the Living Seas Centre on 01262 422103 who can give advice.
Kirsten Smith, The Wildlife Trusts’ North Sea Living Seas Manager, said: “At this time of year thousands of seabirds are returning from their wintering grounds and starting to assemble offshore, ready for the breeding season. Oil or other harmful substances can be lethal to seabirds and the unfortunate timing of a spill like this could deal a devastating blow to Flamborough’s celebrated seabirds. Seabirds affected by oil lose the waterproofing and insulating properties of their feathers. This prevents them from feeding and keeping warm. If cleaned they can sometimes be saved. However, birds try to preen the oil off their feathers and, in doing so, ingest some of the poisonous substance which can cause death, even after they have been cleaned."
Return Trip From Spain
21st February 2013


I have now returned from my trip which went very well indeed. I have been documenting the issues faced by vultures in spain and more so the region of Extremadura. This area which has one of the highest population of these birds in Europe is very unique in habitat and farming methods.



I had a translator called Juan Carlos helping me on the visit to cover the questions i wanted to cover. Juan was also involved in conservation and had a very good understanding of issues in their countryside, without his help regarding translation none of this would have been possible.


Juan Carlos

All the farms i visited were traditional and all there cattle were grazed on the dehasa which is one of the best natural environments in the world.

Below are some of the questions i asked them.


Jesus and Ines
Question 1
Do farmers leave dead cattle out for birds to clear or by law do they have to disperse of the animal by incineration.

Question 2
Have they noticed any demise in vulture population over the last 30 years

Question 3
Have they ever seen vultures trying to kill livestock and if so when was this.

Question 4
Do they have any thoughts or beliefs why the birds are becoming rarer.

Question 5
Do they have any idea that 80% of the birds have lead poisoning, is this to do with hunters leaving dead caucuses out with lead shot in them, also because there is not enough food for the birds to eat.

Question 6
What do they think of the changing sanitary laws, has this affected the farmers and would they prefer to leave the dead animals out on a preferred commodores.

Question 7
Are there any feeding sites around that we could visit?

Question 8
Would they like to do more for the birds?

Question 9
Madrid or Barcelona (football) This was my own personal joke question.

All the information they gave me will be used in my future book to try to raise the profile of the birds and what they offer our planets ecosystems.

If you would like to know more on this project then please feel free to contact me through the website.
Sustainable fishing moves one step closer – The Wildlife Trusts
12th February 2013
Sustainable fishing moves one step closer – The Wildlife Trusts
A fisheries policy which has resulted in overfishing, damage to fragile marine habitats and a failure to properly support sustainable fishing practices is set to be updated, in a move welcomed by The Wildlife Trusts.
Today the European Parliament voted on the Fisheries Committee proposals on reform to the Common Fisheries Policy. This was an opportunity for MEPs to overhaul a fisheries policy that is widely recognised to have failed.
This is a truly historic vote which should set European fisheries back on a course to healthier seas and sustainable fishing activity
Applause broke out in the Parliament as MEPs overwhelmingly voted for ambitious reform, voting to end overfishing and rebuild fish stocks by no later than 2015, following proper scientific advice and adopting the precautionary principle to set annual quotas for catch. They also voted to ban discards and voted down an amendment to weaken this ban and supported rewarding fishermen who fish in more environmentally and socially sustainable ways with priority access to the resource.
Joan Edwards, Head of Living Seas at The Wildlife Trusts, says: “This is a truly historic vote which should set European fisheries back on a course to healthier seas and sustainable fishing activity. This in turn should lead to a healthier fishing industry and the communities that it supports and an end to wasteful discards. 2013 could turn out to be the year that we start to care for our fragile seas. Next step: the Government needs to compliment this decision by forging ahead with an ecologically coherent network of Marine Conservation Zones.”
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