Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Bits, bobs photos and requests

The Safari has been following dramatic events Down Under very closely this week. News from Maroo Wildlife Refuge is that GB has finally got round to harvesting his Blue Gums. They weren't quite that big when we saw them way back in 2007.
The front third of the refuge is going to feel very bare and exposed for them for a while!
In the corner of the plantation is a huge Jarrah tree that the properties previous owners thankfully never felled but didn't think it important enough not to plant the Blue Gums so close to it. It probably predates James Cook's first arrival on the continent.
Looks like they've been having some murky autumn days down there - where's the blue sky?
It's a monster and one of a kind as most of the other mighty trees in this area were felled long ago.
We photographed it back in September 2015
Couldn't get it all in the frame!
It'll be interesting to see what and how much native bush germinates although it'll be somewhat short lived as GB's starting this cut as the first in a coppice rotation. 
More news and views as it comes up from the Antipodes...Watch this space!

We have also had some news from Yorkshire, young Alicia, our A Focus on Nature mentoree (is that a word?) has been shortlisted for the RSPCA's Young Photographer of the Year Award
So you all know what to do; chose Alicia's photo of the leaping Labrador (No 6) and make your vote, thank you.

The most recent petition to have driven grouse shooting banned or at least talked about in Westminster is rattling on nicely and only a few signatures away from yet another pathetic response from Government. A long way to go for a full debate though. If you haven't signed it please do. Some folk don't think signing these things makes much difference, there's so many these days from a huge array of organisations but I bet the politicians keep an eye on these 'official' ones.
Even if you don't expect to see a Hen Harrier from one year's end to the next your chances of doing so are being severely limited by these criminals who are basically no better that the lovely human beings who bait drugged lions to shoot, it's just our version of canned hunting. To make it viable everything is sacrificed for the grouse. There's barely a tree in our uplands where there should be epiphyte strewn temperate rain-forest, habitat for reptiles and ground nesting birds is burnt, streams polluted so higher water bills, faster water run off so floods and hence higher home insurance, legal but perhaps not moral intensive predator 'control', illegal predator control - there should be several pairs of Golden Eagle and White Tailed Eagle in northern England but they've got no chance of ever establishing themselves here.
This is a battle for our uplands which should be diverse and interesting with perhaps one day animals like the Wisent and Wild Boar roaming round in not too mention a whole suite of Bryophytes, Liverworts, invertebrates and the like we'll never know the names of. The battle is going to be a long one as we're up against big money vested interests and The Establishment but with numbers an persistence we the Plebs WILL WIN and not only will we win but our uplands will too. Remember our 'inglorious' royals allegedly shot not one but two Hen Harriers at Sandringham eye witnessed by staff from Natural England, of course no evidence could be found when the police arrived -0 yes these are the same royals who want an end to wildlife crime like Elephant and Rhinoceros poaching - rotten to the core wildlife crime abroad perpetrated by filthy Jonny Foreigners but a different matter altogether at home when done by their mates.
OK there may be some losers possibly in the form of Curlews, Snipe, Golden Plover and yes, even Hen Harriers in a much more diverse upland bioscape but we'd rather they had the chance to fit into an evolving upland landscape than be either removed from it at every opportunity or used as an excuse to keep the status quo. There might even be the opportunity for those that like murdering things to 'sustainably' murder some of the new inhabitants.
Please sign the petition, there's more than enough wildlife enthusiasts out there to take it beyond a million signatures never mind 100,00 and then there's all those other folk who aren't that bothered about the wildlife aspect but are still affected either directly or in their wallets by this abomination...and we pay some of the wealthiest land owners in the world out of taxes for their 'sport' - can't be right! Get your mates who've never heard of a Hen Harrier, Curlew or Wisent to sign up too, Thank you

Sightings-wise we've not seen much this week. A lovely male Eider drifting by on the tide yesterday made our day and a trip to the shops added Lesser Black Backed Gull to a couple of lists (Wifey #56) and (Garden #23). Out to sea yesterday we saw a small group of Herring Gulls plunge diving about 2/3 of a mile out and eventually one came up with a what was most likely a Whiting about a foot long which it lost to one of its 'mates' before it could swallow it. The fishermen tell us there's nothing out there, or at least they aren't catching anything; they need longer rods to cast a lot lot further out!
Today was a chilly murky day but a Grey Seal made up for the weather and we watched a Red Throated Diver having a right old bathe - you'd think a bird that spends half its life under water wouldn't need to have a wash.
Still no summer migrants for us but they are starting to trickle by in this part of the world so any day now...
Where to next? Another look at Patch 2 tomorrow and there's a bit of a change in the weather forecast so things could start to get shaken up.
In the meantime let us know where all the trees have gone in your outback

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