Tuesday, 16 August 2016

100000 and counting

The Safari has been a bit busy of late but we have been out n about.
The big news is 110,000 would like to see their Hen Harriers be 'allowed' to return to the uplands, can we make 200,000 by 6th September? That's the day the parliamentary committee sits to decide if and when there will be a debate. At the present time it's looking likely there will be a debate and it may well be held in October.
There are some things about grouse shooting we really don't like - We have a lot of Blackbirds (a wild bird) visiting our garden we wonder if we could get a licence from Natural England to catch them at night and dose them to protect them from Strongyle worms like the moorland brigade are allowed to do to Red Grouse (another wild bird)? Surely what's good for one species of wild bird must be good for another?
Beefy Botham (a former hero) claimed an unnamed moor had huge numbers of Lapwings and Curlews nesting citing a BTO survey which turned out to be poppy-cock. We'd like to ask Beefy why he/they didn't name the moor if it was that good! Then again they always come out with grouse shooting is good for waders. We'd be quite happy with a trade off of species, maybe fewer Hen Harriers and waders for more of lots of other things like trees, mosses, lichens, beetles, Stonechat, Whinchats, Stoats, Weasels, Adders and much much more.Anything has to better than a mono-culture of Heather and an over-population of Red Grouse with very little else,  apart from those waders of course which are benefiting not from any real conservation work but from the total purge on predators large and small, legally and illegally.
They also go on about the 'conservation' of Grey Partridges. We think that would be easier if they didn't introduce about 6 million Red Legged Partridges without so much as a by your leave to out compete them and then got their mates not to do this sort of stuff to the hedgerows.
Not alot of cover or food for any type of partridge in those, they'd be better for partridges if allowed to growth a bit thicker and wider like this one with a bit of rough grass at the base too.
It's not rocket science!
Rant over on to the good stuff.
On Saturday the moth trap had a couple of nice specimens in it.
Common Rustic - pale form
Large Yellow Underwing
The following day we had family duties but managed to stop off at the new reserve near ma n da's. We didn't have long there and were looking fora Little Stint that had been reported over the previous couple of days. We looked first at the small Lapwing flock in the water towards the corner and ignored the gulls on the bank which was a mistake as we were told by another birder there was a Mediterranean Gull ( a lifer for Wifey and #107 on her year list) among the Black Headed Gulls.
Best bird in the book
We didn't see the Little Stint but found two Dunlins instead. We were also told that there were a couple of Hobbies in the area...dohhh.
On the way back the warm sun had brought out a nice selection of butterflies. Wifey saw her first Holly Blue along with the more familiar Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells and Peacocks.
Red Admiral
The local farmers were in action too making the most if the dry weatrher as they have to at this time of year.
Strange as it may seem we've never driven a combined harvester.
At ma n da's we saw a couple of Swifts passing over the garden and another Holly Blue flitting around the shrubbery. Holly Blue is a species we'd never have expected to see in the garden all those years ago, it wasn't found round those parts.
Yesterday we didn't see much other than a shed load of Sandwich Terns moving south, three (probably four) Grey Seals and two Turnstones.  Back at Base Camp there was a hatch of flying ants which attracted a huge flock of gulls.
Later we went to the coast for an evening wander with Wifey.
Interesting new rocks - hidey holes of all manner of creatures
Old sea defence blocks
This morning we went to the nature reserve before work. We missed the shot of the day when we saw a mother Rabbit and one of her offspring silhouetted on the track not far in front of us, we failed to get the camera out before they got wind of us and hopped off into the undergrowth.
We did see a Rabbit later on in the dark under the trees.
On a nearby tree we spotted some graffiti we'd not seen before.
We didn't know Patch 2 had ever met Patch 1 but if they have a thing going on that's OK with us.
On the way out from the viewing platform we saw the Rabbit again, this time something other than us had caught its attention. We hoped a Stoat or a Weasel would appear but nothing did.
The scrub was pretty quiet, Blackcaps chacked, Whitethroats churred, Willow Warblers/Chiffchaffs hweeted and Robins ticked but we saw none of them. A pair of Greenfinches were almost posing.
A little later we heard then saw a Greenshank (MMLNR #94) flying around trying to land on the extensive Yellow Water Lily pads . There was also a Redshank on the scrape - we've never had that shank combo there before.
And if you think if there's no grouse shooting and no Heather management the uplands will just turn into an impenetrable Bramble thicket here's something to think about, a Scycamore tree poking its head out of an impenetrable Bramble thicket, it takes time but the trees will show through the scrub in the end.
And finally a little baby from Pembrokeshire from our Extreme Photographer.
Where to next? A bug hunt with some families tomorrow afternoon.
In the meantime let us know who needs culling in your outback.

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