Friday, 27 December 2013

Peregrines In The Real World.

Peregrine Falcon Phillip Tomkinson 

I'm not on my own in the fear that our uplands are well on the way to becoming areas void of birds of prey. Only a few years ago in the spring, a mid double figure of Peregrine Falcon (PF) held territories in a wild corner of upland moors, just four years later with the exception of two territories all had been abandoned with just one pair from the two being successful as a breeding pair. 

In 2010 the 'government advisor on the natural environment' - Natural England - withheld licenses which allowed a permitted group to monitor the PF for over three decades....I wonder why you may ask yourself. If you singled out the PF and the Hen Harrier (HH) in particular, they are two species declining at an alarming rate on our special protected moorlands where they should be safe.

You may be surprised to hear there are more nesting PF in London than there are at six moorland locations, one or two facts for the doubtful to consider on that claim, the Northern Pennines once frequented by up to 15 pairs of PF, are now reduced to just four pairs. In the Forest Of Bowland the PF has suffered a serious population crash with just one breeding success this year of 2013. 

Eagle Owl Arkive

In the four years since the removal of licenses by the 'government advisors' 15 of the territories occupied by the PF in 2009 had been abandoned by 2013, three Eagle Owl nests were also found abandoned, with a clutch from a fourth nest disappeared. So here I ponder this....Under the European Wild Birds Directive, Bowlands moorland is a Special Protected Area affording species like the PF and HH enhanced protection....what enhanced protection?

PF's continue to disappear from the grouse moors of Northern England and I think you you will appreciate there are no prizes for the answer to the question....why were licenses withheld from a group who could so easily have made a difference. Birds of prey and Red Grouse shooting are never going to be a mix to our 'Guardians Of The Countryside', and there are some politicians who regard the relationship with estates as more important than the security of the birds they have a statutory duty to protect.  

Birds In The Shadows.

Another little headline about a species of bird which sadly doesn't have the necessary appeal to draw public attention to it for its own good.

Lesser Black-backed Gull Martin Lofgren

Natural England licenced the cull of thousands of Lesser Black-backed Gull on one of Englands largest shooting estates in 2013. Interestingly this is the agency responsible for protecting the very species it issues a licence to kill, and a licence in force for decades, officially to stop water pollution, I personally never heard such crap....material for another 'gap filler' on Birds2blog perhaps.  


Noushka said...

Oh dear,
Humans can really be hopeless...
I wonder what games these people are playing and I wonder what their reaction will be when our world will be void of birds and animals and the only ones left will be heavily tagged and/or microchipped...
I am happy not to grow up in this sorry state of the world.
Brilliant images you've picked here!

Pete, I wish you all the best and great positive observations for 2014, may it be a year we can start being more optimistic...
Keep well

Pete Woodruff said...

I like your comments on this subject here Noushka, with good personal feelings coming through very clear.

Warren Baker said...

Makes me feel quite hopeless Pete, whats the point of all our hard work of recording birds, when the shooting lobby hold all the trump cards :-(

Pete Woodruff said...

Fair comment Warren, but whatever you do....please continue your excellent work in birding/recording.