Saturday, 23 January 2016

Birdless In Bowland....Well Nearly!

I was 4.5 hours on my feet birding in Bowland on Wednesday, a brilliant day weatherwise with not a cloud to be seen in a bright blue sky and not a breath of wind. 

I gave Hawthornthwaite just a token one hour visit to find no Stonechat but 12 Red Grouse seen. Three and a half hours between Marshaw - Tower Lodge - Trough Bridge, and on to the foot of Winfold Fell had me record 
18 birds of seven species....yes just 18 birds of seven species

I'll leave it for you to decide for yourself what you think might be happening to the birds of an area as good as this in Bowland. I have no idea myself, but I do know, there 'aint many around, not a single finch from seven of the group, with the exception of two Coal Tit no other members of the tit family seen, no winter thrush's, no dippers, no wagtails, woodpeckers, or raptors....depressing and worrying.

Mistle Thrush Antonio Puigg 

For a moment at Marshaw I was treated to a Mistle Thrush in full song so much similar to the Blackbird, it was atop a tall tree facing the blazing sun, whilst I was watching it in shadows on the ground in 3°c, the bird obviously thought it was spring. The only other birds found were, 2 Coal Tit, 2 Nuthatch, a Robin, and 5 Mallard which took to flight off the Marshaw Wyre, towards Winfold Fell I flushed a Snipe and saw 6 Red Grouse.

Drive On !

The fells and moors of Bowland today have become a glorified shooting range, with roads scarring the beauty of the wild moorlands to the tops of some of the fells like Hawthornthwaite which boasts up to 20 shooting butts, nine of which I counted myself on Thursday on the west side, and maybe has the same number on the east side, with white painted marker posts. All this roads, butts, and marker posts makes life as easy and comfortable as possible for the tweedie clad filthy rich to hide in a butt and shoot birds out the sky driven towards them by the beaters.

Mark Avery's petition to Ban Driven Grouse shooting has closed now having attracted a pitiful 33,598 signatures in six months, and although it's more or less double more than the last one, it has ended up another resounding failure, and David Cameron and his chuckle brother mates will have a good, yes chuckle over this petition which they will not now debate and will totally ignore. 

Presumably the failure of the petition is because not that many people oppose grouse shooting at all, which by the way, MA by his own admission is not to be counted with those who oppose shooting, so he doesn't mind the Red Grouse being shot, though he's a conservationist remember and so doesn't want the Hen Harrier shot....Mmmmm!!

How come the RSPB haven't made the rallying cry to their 1.2 million supporters to sign this petition. Well the RSPB have to respect the Royal Charter which prevents them from having a view on fieldsports, which means it doesn't say that shooting wild birds is wrong. So a bird conservation society as big as the RSPB isn't against killing birds, it appears they don't support MA's petition either, and certainly haven't encouraged their members to either. Just imagine, it only needed a mere 10% of RSPB membership to sign this petition and not another single person in this country needed to have bothered to sign it to guarantee a debate by the government instead of it ending up being thrown out with the rest of the Westminster garbage for the bin men to collect.

It depends where you get the figures from, but the population of Lancaster and surrounding area is c.140,000. There was a 'Song of Praise' in the results table for signatures to the petition in this area which amounted to, wait for it....101.

If I was a Hen Harrier I'd be staring in the face the end of my existence if it relied on signatures to sign a petition to protect me, I'd have a feeling that it seems the majority don't give a monkeys about me. 


Sharon Whitley said...

it's very sad and makes you realise just what a long way there is to go still - I got caught up in a shoot last year, walking along a popular tourist path I diverted to follow the old ramparts of the hill fort and suddenly heard shots and a rabbit leapt up in the air a few metres away from me and then limped away wounded. Then more shots - there was no warning that a shoot was taking place and it was pretty scary, I turned back and went back the other way warning everyone I came across to be careful - I hadn't realised they could take place in such popular walking areas and had never come across one before like that (I've heard them in the distance but not at such close quarters) :-(

Pete Woodruff said...

An unfortunate experience for you Sharon.

There are rules and regulations about this kind of 'behaviour' on a shoot, but I would have to get up to date on the facts to make any sensible comment on this one.

I was once in Bowland and encountered a Pheasant shoot within feet of a public highway which as far as I'm concerned should never have been taking place.

Warren Baker said...

Although I signed the petition(s) I feel, as most others probably do, that we are on a ''hiding to nothing'' we will never have the power, influence or the resources that the scum who shoot have to call on :-(

Pete Woodruff said...

Spot on there Warren. But beware you'll get labelled a defeatist, but not by me, I'm a realist.

Richard Pegler said...

In my humble opinion, Pete, the RSPB has had its day as a protector of birds (they've lost sight of their original remit), and should be disbanded. I get the impression that virtually all birders have no truck with the RSPB, and so the RSPB have had to branch out into other areas, and rely on membership from people who don't know better.

It's time for an organisation that is focussed on the protection of birds, to take over from the RSPB. I'm not sure if such an organisation exists, but I think it needs to be a little more 'public' and 'amateur' friendly than someone like the BTO. AND it needs to be free of the fetters of politics and the influence of powerful money.

Maybe, if we have such an organisation, we can then get some sense imposed on these barbarians, who still live in the dark ages and gain amusement by taking lives and wreck the environment in the process.

Pete Woodruff said...

Excellent comments here Richard, they should never have been 'Royal' in the first place.

Too many people who appear to have no interest and say nothing, so good to hear yours.