Friday, July 10, 2009

9th July,2009.

Infrequent postings as I'm a bit restricted with a return of this .............ear infection. It's like operating in an echo chamber and a bit painful to boot!!

Continuing good weather and sallies out to the beach with the girls to get fresh air , look in the rock pools and collect pebbles to repair the track!! Suddenly Meadow Pipits seem to be everywhere, which suggests they've had a good season along with Wheatear, Stonechat and Linnet. As ever Common Eider seems to enjoy very limited success here with very low productivity ( I've yet to see a creche on Islay! ). The sea was noticeably quiet with only the odd Gannet around, although better numbers of Herring Gull, Common Gull, Fulmar, Shag and Arctic Terns are around the offshore islands.

Back at home I watched a couple of Ravens systematically scour a hillside opposite whilst adult Curlews went ballistic. Chicks are now quite well grown but I suppose Ravens would have no difficulty in despatching one! Rabbits are very slowly begining to reappear at various points around the island following myxamatosis taking its toll previously. The large warren above the house has never recovered . Coincidentally, and rather obviously, sightings of local Buzzards are fewer in number this season as, presumably, they hunt over a wider area. The very pale local individual gave absolutely tremendous views the other day and I often wonder what visitors make of it!!!

Have had some time to think about what is best required to draw attention to the woeful situation of raptor species in parts of the UK. Clearly any support people can offer to local conservation initiatives and to national campaigns is to be welcomed. But it needs more than that. The fight needs taking to the perpetrators first of all via a firm declaration by national institutions, even by Government, that the situation is simply not going to be tolerated . Over the years the relentless efforts of the RSPB must have cost an enormous amount , a case of a voluntary organization baling out Government in my view. It's ironic that , whilst the Government spends money fulfilling its responsibilities to designate Special Protection Areas (SPA's ), under obligations within European law, in the Forest of Bowland's case one of the main resources ( Hen Harrier ) it was drawn up to protect is under siege. And don't try and persuade me differently anyone as I helped draw up the data etc for JNCC! OK, we've had recovery projects and so on, but the nett gains are minimal. If it was viewed in commercial terms it would be deemed a failure set against the outlay made available. So, review, regroup and retaliate........let's all act/speak with a single voice and let it be known that things are going to change!!

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