OK, return of the prodigal and all that! Truth is I've been inundated with work and blogging had to accept a back position. Whilst I could indulge in a litany of good birds seen since mid October I'll refrain as, at this point, I don't really think historical reiteration serves much purpose. There's been quite a few good birds on Islay, but now gone! In fact, I've always questioned the relevance of sites which simply regurgitate records, as being of any assistance given more immediate information is required by birders to assist them in catching up with things! Sites linking records to relevance I do think have a "place in nature" as the information serves to educate and give people a better understanding of what they're seeing when visiting an area. Anyway, that's the burst on the banjo over!!
Nationally, the finding of a dead Eagle Owl in coastal Norfolk may result in prejudiced views becoming more flexible, as is the Scandinavian research showing birds have made it across the "straits" between Sweden and Gotland. The "case" suggesting Eagle Owls are reticent about crossing over large tracts of water may yet be dis proven. In all honesty, all I would really wish is that, prior to any real consideration of the bird's status, and any reaction required against this in the UK, there is an open minded evaluation of the real facts and possibilities. Set aside the egos and bruised utterances, for once let's think of birds themselves! Mark Avery's ( Director, Conservation, RSPB ), detailed Blog providing results of pellet analysis, and a taste for Rabbit, has diverted the over zealous, "these birds are a threat to Hen Harriers" brigade particularly since Tony Warburton ( World Owl Trust ) was allowed sight of the acclaimed video claiming an Eagle Owl predated a Hen Harrier nest. It didn't, but possibly its presence nearby and on the nest caused such a disruption to an incubating female Eagle Owl prior to dawn that she deserted.
Recently I've had a few telephone calls from people on the much dealt with subject of Hen Harriers. Calls for new initiatives, quotas etc etc fill me with dread. Quotas.....c'mon, grow up , that would be the worst initiative coming from UK conservationists ever. It would herald similar calls in due course for "containment" of other birds of prey that the game bird lobby felt were a threat to their interests. Liberalism and compromise have their boundaries, now get real. Talk to the people involved for God's sake and come to an acceptable solution between all parties involved instead of trying to insert "grey suit solutions" from afar. They're real people, with real concerns, talk to them and respect them, but produce a solution arising from hard negotiation, not a product of some handkerchief up the sleeve Sir Humphrey origin !!
And finally! Well, I've been on Jura all day. Not a lot happening but the sight of two adult White-tailed Eagles ( Sea Eagles ) , doubtless the Islay breeding pair , circling over Port Askaig before descending into woodland south of that area to roost, was a real bonus.
I think I'll set aside the banjo for a gin and tonic! Cheers.