Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Not sure wot to call this rubbish

The safari and Frank literally bumped in to a Fox on the way home from yesterday’s final Patch 1 visit. Nose to nose we were, or rather Frank and the Fox were. Foxes can shift a bit and a 40kg lumbering Labrador has the acceleration of a Ferrari when the mood takes him. I now have a very sore shoulder and feel lucky not to have a torn muscle or ligaments!
Patch 1 this morning had a light dusting of snow. Looked like someone had left the top off a tub of icing sugar and sneezed. The cold, dark, grey, damp seemed to have put most of the birds off singing as it was logarithmically quieter than the last few mornings. No sign of the Peregrines on the tower after last night’s aerobatics but given the wind direction we weren’t really expecting to be able to see them.
Patch 2 was no good either. The falling tide was just exposing the beach so nothing on there. The sea was cloaked in a thick cold mist reducing visibility to a few hundred yards so anything coulda been out there…including Tufted Puffins, Rhinoceros Auklets or even Moby Dick but we were never gonna see em! A 50 foot Fin Whale was washed up dead in a little cove on the Cornish coast recently – that’s really gonna stink if it can’t be moved! Hopefully it died of natural causes and wasn’t hit by a ship or trapped in a fishing net. These are still classed as ‘endangered’ by the IUCN but would be less endangered if the Icelanders hadn’t killed 125 of them last summer. That number seems a lot to me and surely barely sustainable. I don’t know what the North Atlantic population currently is, but wouldn’t have thought it was more than a couple or so thousand. Google research gives me this:- The comprehensive assessment of current whale stocks for fin whales in the North Atlantic is 30,000 (23-39,000) (1996-2001) – from the International Whaling Commission website – not sure if I like the word ‘stocks’ as it implies something that can be used/taken/harvested. This somewhat high number is at odds with the 2300 estimate from the USA’s Office of Protected Resources 2006 by a factor of 10. Being cynical the people that want to hunt them would say there were more than there are – wouldn’t they? WWF (no not the wrestlers!) quote, an undated, 46,000. Someone has got something wrong somewhere. So how much movement is there of ‘different’ populations around the North Atlantic? Recent studies from Basking Sharks and Leatherback Turtles suggest that many animals follow the seasonal pattern of the currents, hence prey, around the North Atlantic so if the Americans are only seeing 2,300 off their eastern seaboard they are possibly closer to the mark with perhaps just one meta-population cruising around the whole ocean following the seasonal foods and eventually getting counted off the coast of Maine…that said there didn’t seem to be much data out there…The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group are satellite tagging this impressive and enigmatic animal, could also be a job for the Japanese to fire tags from their harpoons rather than explosives, now that WOULD be scientific whaling. The numbers seen by MarineLife researchers in the Bay of Biscay seem to be showing a decline recently, although it is equally possible the whales have moved to different feeding areas away from the survey transect for some reason.
How did we get from the lack of Redshanks on the beach to satellite tagging Fin Whales?
Had a little twitch a lunchtime to see if the Green Woodpecker was about – its only 3 miles down the road but it took nearly half an hour to get there – too many dithery ditherers on the roads! The crem was full of people attending its normal ‘business’ so we felt a bit uncomfortable wandering around the bushes covered in optics but life is to be lived and Green Woodpeckers have to be ticked – unfortunately it wasn’t there, very quiet apart from a couple of nice Redwings. On the way back we stopped off at the supermarket for essential office supplies – tea bags – in the car park the Land Rover – not the world’s smallest car - was nearly rammed three times by those same old fart ditherers. Not only that, a few minutes later a pair of totties in a hot hatch pulled right out in front of us from a side street and slowed down!!! Duhh…it’s the right-hand pedal to make it go quicker…eeejits! What were we today…in stealth mode???
Where to next? Just the patches and even then Patch 1 will be severely curtailed for a few weeks as Frank has his second operation tomorrow so will be on short walks until he’s fully fit again. Luckily that’ll be before the summer stuff starts moving through.
In the meantime let us know what’s not where it should be in your outback.

1 comment:

Craig said...

Hi Dave,

I wish Frank "All the best" with his
operation, and i hope hes fit and well soon.
Dave...please check your emails.

best wishes,