Monday, 16 July 2012

The trouble with Buzzards

The Safari  has been following a few environmental debacles recently all concerning Buzzards, namely DEFRA’s ludricrous attempt at legalising ‘control’ in some areas, the Buzzard eats baby Osprey footage, the getting beyond a joke DEFRA/NE Wuthering Moors affair.
Yesterday we had cause to travel 200 miles (320km) (100 there, 100 back) mostly by motorway and this sort of trip always presents the opportunity to count the Buzzards v Kestrels on route; the latter being formerly quite common along the well grasses verges but in recent years it would seem that now motorway travelers are more likely to see soaring Buzzards rather than hovering Kestrels.
We went to see our lad who is very poorly in hospital in the Midlands. As a police detective we wondered how he would go on if he had 43 charges, with a reasonable evidence to support them, against a burglar? When he’s well enough we’ll ask him how many of those 43 he reasonably expect to stick and get a conviction for in court. Would his answer differ if this alleged burglar was discovered to be a close friend of the nephew of the Duke of Rockingborough or had friends in high places in  the government? Would any charges be brought?
Maybe a rethink of this is required with other agencies brought in to the mix.  What about the insurance industry? Surely our uplands shouldn’t be drained if they are water sponges and could prevent the serious flooding we are now seeing all too regularly on our tellies. Additional tree planting along the water courses wouldn’t go a miss either. Could the insurance industry not lobby government to take a hard line to protect their financial interests? Which has more clout the needs of the many not to have their homes and businesses flooded out or the ‘sport’ of a few that want to shoot Grice?
Then there’s the Buzzard baby Osprey malarkey – conspiracy theories abound but Buzzards are opportunists. However certain questions/conspiracies need addressing – why did the Buzzard abandon its meal and how and why was it ‘recovered’? Strange how this was recorded on an estate and not a nature reserve where far more monitoring of such nests goes on at a time when Buzzards are in the news and the ‘control’ programme had just been cancelled and the tone of the news releases was ‘isn’t this awful one of those over-numerous pesky Buzzards has just eaten a conservationists favourite we told you they needed ‘controlling...coincidence??? Get over it intra-guild predation happens – not often but it does happen...and those conservationists’ favourites were just about wiped out by the Buzzard hating huntin shootin fishin brigade in the first place! Good gawd man the hooky beaked damned things eat Trout don’t you know!!! As were Buzzards, we can remember not too long ago the Buzzard was a seriously rare bird in Safari-land. So much so that in 1991 while the American Bittern was on site a group of visiting birders claimed a Buzzard, which they may well have seen, but some of the locals viewed the claim with some suspicion/incredulity as it would have only been something like the 5th or 6th local record for over 50 years i.e not many more than the number of American Bitterns seen in the same period!!! Thankfully it’s different now...there’s far more Buzzards than American Bitterns although another one of those wouldn’t go amiss especially for the younger birders.
Seems there is a concerted campaign against the hooky-beaks at the moment while there are ‘friendly’ faces in Government.
So just how many Buzzards did we see – was the sky blackened by their outstretched wings, were they swooping down plucking unattended children from their playgrounds? We saw a grand total of six on the way down in good Buzzard weather and good Buzzard habitat (= one every 17 miles) but just one Kestrel (with prey). On our return journey we saw only two but got three Kestrels and a single Sparrowhawk.
This morning Patch 2 gave us two Grey Seals and a fly by four Eiders. Lunchtime saw little improvement; nine Sandwich Terns roosted on the beach and out in the distant river mouth many terns fished. Not a lot else but there was a noticeable increase in the numbers of Oystercatchers on the beach with an uncounted couple of dozen or so. Three Redshanks whipped past too.
A brief sortie on to the beach wasn’t as good as hoped as the brisk wind had chopped the sea up on the recent hide tide making most of the pots very murky so we couldn’t see into them. Two small Lion’s Mane Jellyfish found in pools near the wall were probably the most interesting find, one was turned turtle but still pulsating and very much alive.

Only shallow but very murky and dull
Common Periwinkles waiting for the tide to come back in

Three Elegant Anemones
 Where to next? Not sure, but could be more beachy stuff.
In the meantime let us know what's lurking in the water in your outback.



1 comment:

GWW_Milo_02 said...

A superb blog post, a pleasure to read. going to start playing the buz v kes car journey game from now on! :)