Tuesday, 11 August 2015

And another one bites the dust

The Safari had a quieter day on Patch 2 today, nothing much other than a few Sandwich Terns were fishing offshore and a few small Common Scoter flocks flew by in the shimmery distance.
We had to get our wellies from the Land Rover mid morning and as soon as we left the building a Sparrowhawk (P2 #59) shot along the side of the Land Rover behind the front wheel under the engine and nailed an unfortunate juvenile House Sparrow that was on the grass right infront of the car. We froze still some 20 yards away but the Sparrowhawk had seen us come through the door and it too froze clinging to its  prey. It was like a Mexican stand-off as we stared at each other, us wishing we had a camera, it probably wondering if we were going to come closer. After about 30 seconds it flew off to enjoy its meal in peace. Being the first we've seen here this year we wonder if was a dispersing youngster or a migrant coming down the coast. But what a sighting for the year's first on the Patch using our Land Rover as cover for its attack - awesome!
Our lunchtime look at the sea was pretty duff too. The tide had dropped and there was some excitement in the form of a decent number of dark spots against the sun to the south on the tide line, at least 100 mixed Dunlin and Sanderlings.
After lunch we had a kid's group on the beach laying waste to the rockpools. Lots of great creatures were found, mostly Common Prawns and Brown Shrimps and a fair few tiny Green Shore Crabs, the large adult crabs were very few aand far between.
The nets also pulled out plenty of tiny juvenile Blennies and the higher pots (out of bounds to the youngsters) did hold a good number of adults but these were far too quick for us today.
Common Prawns - big eyes sticking out sideways on stalks
Brown Shrimps - small pair of eyes pointing forwards
With the recent calm(ish) weather there were few shells on the beach but what little strandline there was gave 'Catch of the day' to one of the young lads who found a nice Thornback Ray mermaid's purse.

Going back to Hen Harrier Day news has broken - rather late! - of ANOTHER satellite tagged bird being shot. Appealing for witnesses/information three months after the event might seem a bit silly but it is the start of the driven grouse slaughter tomorrow - not that the slaughterers will care one jot. Of course the estate denies all knowledge and tells us how good at conservation they are but then someone unknown to them has been wandering around on their land with a gun, isn't that armed trespass? And out of season for any gane so that would be poaching - we thought all these landed types believed poaching 'their' game (aka our wildlife) as one of the most heinous crimes on the statute books??? Something stinks like a rotting Hen Harrrier left out in the sun.
At the Derbyshire Hen Harrier Day a young man spoke very eloquently of their plight and what might be done about the rather dire situation. He's not a bad lad despite getting a plum job at the BBC we applied for in the mid 80s and being born on the same day as our younger brother.

If you haven't heard it yet or don't know what all the fuss is about its well worth 15 minutes of your life to find out. The nonsense has to stop and we will win!
If you haven't done so already it's time to sign your life away and get driven grouse shooting/slaughtering banned once and for all.
Where to next? Exciting times tomorrow - pond dipping in the morning then off to a park we haven't been to since this time last year for a mini-beast safari.
In the meantime let us know who;s dropped their purse in your outback.

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