The Safari was, like many others, shocked and very disappointed to learn that yet another satellite tagged Hen Harrier had suddenly 'disappeared' off the radar. how can this be when a long dead Osprey was recovered via it's transmitter in the middle of the Sahara desert? When you look at the land management where the last transmission came from it doesn't require a lot of nouce to wonder what might have befallen it. The tag can only realistically been shot in flight, destroyed on the ground, burned or buried to make it disappear - now who do you imagine would do such a despicable thing?
Despite, or perhaps because of, all the negative publicity they've decided to continue as before safe in the knowledge evidence of the crimes is extremely hard to get and even if there is a prosecution they are mostly 'untouchable' by means of their connections and 'friends in high places'. basically they are telling us the/our law doesn't apply to them, they believe they are well and truly above it! And don't forget the 'owner' of any of these estates are companies registered in off-shore tax havens so the economic benefit they often claim (along with our tax subsidies to the tune of £56/ha from CAP) goes out of the country and into their pockets rather than the local communities.
If you haven't yet signed the Ban Driven Grouse Shooting petition please do now and if you can write, with pen and paper snail mail preferably to your MP asking them to attend the debate and point out some of the issues to them so they are aware why you are asking them to attend. Remember they work for you. Let's start the ball rolling to a more sustainable future for our uplands, ecologically, socially and economically.
Anyway enough of the politics what have we seen?
At work we had a bit of a shock when a grandma and her grandson pointed out a young Lesser Black Backed Gull swimming in our pond. In fact she didn't realise it was a young gull as she asked what happens to the baby gulls as she 'didn't see any'. By the time we'd had a chat about gulls in general and then got our camera out the gull had hopped out of the pond and was resting on the wooden surround.
So what's so unusual about that? Actually it's the first gull we've seen in our pond in the 12 years we've worked here yet it's only about 100 yards from the beach.
The last few mornings we've had a late start at work and have been heading out from Base Camp at the normal time but doing a couple of hours at the nature reserve. Yesterday was busy with birds especially by our old cabin (reserve centre) where we saw a Lesser Whitethroat with the several Blackcaps and Whitethroats feasting on the ripe Elderberries. Also spotted after a bit of hard looking to make sure was a mostly partially hidden Garden Warbler (MMLNR #95). Done on the scrape the Redshank was still there but no sign of the Greenshank and no rarer waders like Little Stints or Wood Sandpipers either.
The walk back to the car saw us watching another Blackcap this time getting a bellyful of Blackberries.
Back at the Elderberry bush a Willow Warbler was in song.
We also saw the biggest flock of Cormorants we've ever seen in flight over the mere, 24 of them. They didn't land but flew round having a look before gaining height and leaving to the east.
|There's only 21 here, the other three were well ahead to the left|
Today was a little different. The easterly wind had continued and bore much promise but all was very quite compared to yesterday. We struggled to see anything of note, we struggled to see anything at all everything was keeping low in the stiff breeze.
Best we could get wit the camera was this Snipe at about 1000 feet up, probably was nowhere near that high but it wasn't much more than a dot to the naked eye.
It was just about the only thing that showed all morning. Even the now regular Redshank on the scrape had done a bunk. Disappointingly there were no Spotted Crakes or Garganeys to replace it either.
The gulls got up off the mere in a panic looking round we couldn't see anything obvious so thought it must have been the big juvenile Great Black Backed Gull that was on the water earlier flying around upsetting them. The we saw two very high Buzzards that might well have been the culprits, not an Osprey this time - as usual!
This afternoon we had a family group pond dipping at work - no gulls but shed loads of 3-spined Sticklebacks, Water Boatmen, and Greater Pond Snails but nothing more exciting.
Where to next? Might not get out much tomorrow til after work by then it might have rained and something might have been dropped.
In the meantime let is know who' your hoping is going to drop in in your outback.