Sunday, 20 September 2015

'You Forgot The Common Sense'

I was sent a link this morning to a Daily Mail article, oh the joys, the subject of which was this years poor breeding season of our most declining raptor, the Hen Harrier. 
I read through this short article a couple of times and in all honesty, it was an absolute non news article,  I'm guessing it must be a slow news day. 
Once again Ian Bothams 'You Forgot The Birds' group reared its ugly head.  As usual its line of fire was pointed directly towards the RSPB, nothing new there then.
Ian Gregory, the campaign director for Bothams pitifully desperate group, is quoted saying;
'the RSPB should admit it had not adequately protected the hen harrier nests it controlled.'
He also went on to describe the RSPB as 'a charity which specialises in failure'. 
Strong words about failure there, which is a tad hypocritical considering the groups website has the image of a Carolina Wren on it. Any British birder will know your going to be pretty hard pressed to find one of those in this country.
I guess they forgot their British birds, whoops!
The aforementioned Carolina Wren

Well I digress, lets get back to the Daily Mail article. So what Mr Gregory is eluding to are the nest sites that were being monitored and protected by RSPB staff and volunteers in England. His choice of words just go to show how uninformed he and potentially his peers actually are, they clearly have no idea how nature or conservation actually works. 

I was there with boots on the ground during the 2015 nesting season and I personally watched a total of three nests in England over a three month period. Sometimes in glorious sun and other times in torrential rain. 
In brief here is a rundown of what took place, now obviously I can't go into specific details due to confidentiality and I can only speak of the sites I watched personally. I can't attest for any other breeding areas;

  • The first two nests failed due to natural reasons caused by that of inattentive young male Harriers, this inattentiveness which was potentially caused by a lack of experience resulted in the females eventually abandoning the clutches after overly extended periods of male absence.
  • The third nest had all but one egg hatch with only one chick surviving to fully fledge with the other chicks succumbing to either potential illness or starvation. The birds were sent away for  post mortem and I haven't been informed of the results.
  • There was also a fourth nest I was scheduled to watch and upon arrival at the site I was informed that it had failed, that very morning it had succumb to probable Stoat predation.

So there we have it, the nests weren't persecuted and they weren't adequately controlled by RSPB staff and volunteers. They were monitored 24 hours but unfortunately mother nature can be cruel and sometimes things don't pan out the way they would in an ideal world.
Misinformed non articles like this from the Daily Mail are nothing but a diversion from the real issue of driven grouse shooting. Not once did I see a Harrier bring a Red Grouse chick to the nests, its a strange concept that Red Grouse only exist at present to be shot out of the sky by a cold few. Its insulting that this uninformed group can point a finger of blame so nonchalantly and grab media coverage in doing so, when they have no idea what on earth they're talking about.

We forgot the birds?  
You forgot the common sense!

- David 

The Skydancer

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Bamburgh By Dawn

Friday morning I was awake, fed, watered and on the A1 heading North by 5am, my destination Bamburgh.
I had a burning desire to get up there and shoot the beach landscape at first light, and yes I know its a huge cliche for Northern photographers to shoot at this location but lets be honest, its a beautiful locale of a bit of snap happy action. 
I hit on lucky with the light on Friday morning and as the sun rose the between the Farnes and the world sprang to life it lit this glorious area of Northern Northumberland up in swathes of stunning light, just beautiful.
Well worth the 3:30am wake up call and the hour drive.
- David 
Stag Rocks is your stereotypical craggy shoreline, its fantastic and to me marks the southern entrance into Budle Bay. Below is the aforementioned white stag, I'd love to know who keeps him looking fresh.
A young stonechat, one of many hanging around the white building at Stag Rocks
.......Later in the day I found this little yellow eyed chap! (No pun intended)

Monday, 14 September 2015

...Here Be Dragons!

A slight reprieve in the gloomy weather this morning afforded me the option of getting out and about amongst the reeds and I had chance to look around a small private pond I have been allowed access to.
Impressively sized and stunningly coloured the Migrant Hawker is an impressive member of the Odonata, this was one of many defending territory over the reed beds today.
A small Emerald Damselfly showed albeit briefly before being chased off by one of the Southern Hawkers.
 The gorgeous Black Darter, there was a small number of these jet black beauties basking around the pond margins and at times would be quite confiding.

The most numerous of the pond dragons by far, the Common Darter.