Saturday, 13 December 2014

Devastation at Base Camp

The Safari hasn't been able to get out much of late even with a day off midweek we've been confined to barracks by a combination of chores and weather. 
Yesterday we tried to get on the beach to look for some broken off chunks of Honeycomb Worm after the storm for our marine biologist friend DB but didn't have our wellies with us so weren't able to cross the deep pool at the bottom of the slipway.
At lunchtime we had to take a walk up to the shops instead of a Patch 2 watch. Near the back gate of the work's garden we saw that some kindly soul had put up a couple of feeders.
We should get a tub of  fat balls for the holiday season
A couple of elderly people on wheelchairs stopped for a few minutes to watch the House Sparrow action, there were loads of them - perhaps as many as 30, and being in their chariots and not 'looking like' humans they were able to get really close to them. A small number of Greenfinches were there too, favouring the peanuts rather than the still quite plentiful Rosehips.
We wandered up and everything flew off while we were still several yards away.
There was loads of House Sparrows on these twigs - honest!
We weren't in a terrible rush to get to the shops and stood and waited for the sparrows to return. They didn't but a pair of Blackbirds appeared from the depths of the bush and poked about beneath the feeder; they were quite confiding particularly the male. The pic is taken on the phone without any zoom.

The wind was fierce as we reached the top of the railway bridge on the way back, still strong, but thankfully not the horrendous gale of the day before, and now decidedly chilly, the suddeness of it when we reached the brow made us almost stop but that gave us the opportunity to witness a Sparrowhawk on a really fast hunt dive through the bushes along the side of the track, make an impossibly sharp right-hand(wing?) turn and ross the road in front of us before ducking and weaving still at breakneck speed  through the gaps between the houses on the other side and all done with hardly a wing-beat just using the air currents - very impressive!
It was dark when we got back to Base Camp but as we parked up the Land Rover we could see something was missing or we couldn't see something that should have been there.
Sadly our neighbours have felled the large Sycamore tree at the bottom of the garden. This was the last landscape tree within a hundred yards or so of Base Camp and was the 'target tree' for our avian visitors, they bunked in there to get a good look if any predators were lurking before dropping down on to our feeders. 
We've not had much time for looking out of the window today but when we have we haven't seen a so much as a feather in the garden. Not only that it protected our rather flimsy and not very well rooted Silver Birch so that might now need a bit of surgery to reduce the weight at the top - more destruction for the local wildlife to contend with. 
Something big's missing
Are there any good points? Very limited really but we will have a wider view of the sky for vis migging in the autumn, the light from the moth trap might travel a bit further (although the habitat for some moth species has now disappeared) and we do get an unimpeded view of the ledges on the tower where the Peregrine used to sit - no-one's seen it up there for months - - not a good sign.
Perhaps there should be a rule that says anyone removing a tree should pay to have 10 new ones planted withing a mile of where the original was lost from.
So a pretty sad day and for what? Wish we had more acreage to plant more trees in...anyone got a 40,000 acre country estate they'd like to donate?
In a lighter mood we did see a locally rare bird when we were on our way to the post office. A Jay flew over the road and had very possibly just flown over CR's garden - he wasn't in having not long since offered us a lift to the Shore Lark.
Where to next? Should be able to get out and about on safari to some northern areas tomorrow.
In the meantime let us know who's been destroying the habitat in your outback.


Findlay Wilde said...

I hope your weekend gets better. You still need to come and have a walk on my patch one day soon.

Dave Wenning said...

I had a similar experience. My neighbors cut down a Douglas Fir that was the favorite hunting and loafing perch for the local Bald Eagles. Talk about a hole in the sky! Even the people who live on the hill behind us are missing that tree and the birds that used to perch there. It was an asset to the neighborhood and to the whole ecosystem of northern Skagit Bay.

There was nothing wrong with the tree. It stood there for a hundred years or more. There was no good reason to cut it down. They also cut down all the flowering cherries that lined the driveway and now they're getting rid of the rhododendrons the previous owners planted on the back hillside.

They don't actually live there. This is a second home. They really live in eastern Washington which is mostly sagebrush desert. Apparently, they're trying to recreate that here.

He's an insurance salesman which should tell you everything you need to know about them.

Sorry for the rant, but this is still irritating me to no end.

Warren Baker said...

Same thing happened here this week Davyman. A row of sycamore and 7 Poplars went under the chainsaw, for no other reason than tidying the area up :-(

cliff said...

There's a few been cut down around me, although one neighbour didn't make a very good job with theirs as it's coming back with a vengeance :-)