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