......well, from birding as I know it anyway. Grounded again today for reasons beyond my control, how long must this go on I ask myself. But a little time to do some 'surfing' brought me to this simply excellent and joyful news regarding the island of Malta, a place I insist on only visiting in the name of birdlife conservation and most certainly not for a relaxing holiday.
In the past few days BirdLife International, BirdLife Malta, and the RSPB have welcomed the news that the spring hunting of Quail and Turtle Dove will be banned on the island in 2009. The islands prime minister Dr Lawrence Gonzi said....no hunting could take place in Malta whilst a court case was pending so as not to prejudice the case at the European Court of Justice.
Well I don't know about you, but the fact he said this and that the hunting will cease remains to be seen....I know what I think will happen but my comments in this regard end here. Anyone who has any inclination about the hunting practices in Malta won't need - or indeed want - to read my rantings on a blog (I've been accused of such rantings before) as they will already be aware of whats been going on here for all time and if I can be allowed just one political comment here it would be....being a member of the EU, isn't it time the Maltese were made to honour the international bird protection laws (EU's Birds Directive)....I think so don't you ?
Take a look at the RSPB website on which you can view a short video showing a bird from millions shot annually - a Honey Buzzard - which was taken into care on the understanding it could be saved only to discover the bird was suffering from internal injuries caused by a hunters gunshot wounds and had to be 'put down'....strong stuff ehhhh.
I personally think it a bit of a sickener to hear Alistair Gammel - who is the director of the RSPB's International Division - saying 'This hunting ban if implimented will benefit the conservation of wild birds across Europe during their breeding and migration periods and therefore there will be more birds in the autumn when the hunters can shoot legally'....sorry, could you repeat that Mr Gammell.