Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Off The Road....And Poisoned.

Unfortunately for me 'other things' have taken over from my birding once more which don't create material suitable for Birds2blog. So an opportunity to take a look at another issue in the real world concerning and affecting the birds in a lethal way.

Lead....A highly toxic metal.

So why are waterbirds still suffering from lead poisoning (LP), well because they're ingesting lead shot, and these are the unlucky ones because if the shot had been a direct hit, death would have been more instant than the lingering one the LP will cause. If you ever had the misfortune to find a bird suffering from LP, they become emaciated, have convulsions, diarrhoea, and the inability to walk, all very distressing sights to see in a poisoned bird.

The use of lead shot has been banned since the early - mid 1990's in The Netherlands, Norway, and Denmark, and there are restrictions on its use in the UK, it is banned for shooting over the foreshore and specified SSSI, and for hunting wildfowl in all areas. But despite these restrictions lead is shown to kill waterbirds in Britain, and the vast majority of shot fired from shotguns falls into the environment and is never retrieved. There is no safe level of lead, and once ingested and absorbed into the blood stream it affects all body systems.

The Whooper and Bewick's Swans will be arriving anytime soon to spend the winter months on our shores and these are particularly susceptible to LP because they commonly forage on agricultural land where game birds are gunned down with lead shot which takes tens - if not hundreds - of years to breakdown leaving it accessible to feeding waterbirds all this time.

Compliance with the restrictions in England is claimed to be poor - nothing new there then within the shooting fraternity is there - with nearly three quarters of almost 500 ducks - including Teal, Mallard, and Wigeon - sold by game suppliers being illegally shot with lead. 

Which brings my piece on lead shot nicely to an end with a reminder that the question about the suppliers of Red Grouse to M and S hasn't gone away I can assure you.

Thanks to RBA and the weather being favourable for such happenings, I was kept informed all day yesterday of the movement of Leach's Petrel particular from the Wirral and the River Mersey, and a repeat today with in excess of 100 Leach's Petrel past Hilbre Island by late morning.... 

Leach's Petrel. Copy Permitted.

....but this little beauty was much closer to home yesterday, and came close in at Knott End in the afternoon. No need to be on a pelagic for this one the image of which easily qualifies for the 'BRILLIANT' tag.

Curlew Sandpiper. John Darbyshire.

Still lots of Curlew Sandpiper around too. Thanks for this JD and for being in touch again, much appreciated. 

I'D SOONER BE BIRDING!....With luck maybe tomorrow.


Warren Baker said...

We can only hope the shooters actually eat there shot quarry Pete, and in doing so poison themselves !

Pete Woodruff said...

Heres hoping some of 'em do....Your'e comments are thankfully always straight to the point Warren, I appreciate that.