Friday, 29 December 2017

Birdwatching Walks In Bowland!!


Ian had wanted to join me on Wednesday, not a birder but interested in what we might see and any questions he might have about them. So on my suggestion we went into Bowland and did the Langden Brook walk, from my point of view an opportunity to see if any Stonechat might be wintering up there. 

But on arrival at the car park, although not a soul in sight, with the type and number of vehicles parked up, it was blatantly obvious to me that a shoot was taking place up the valley. By the time we reached the pump house 10 minutes later, at least 30 shitheads were taking a slurp between shoots....I put on a pair of blinkers, looked ahead to avoid eye contact and save myself from becoming embroiled in abuse and violent disorder, and off we went on our walk.

All this triggered me to remember how outdated a book published in 2005 had become. On this walk, the book suggests lingering an hour or two at Langden Castle - nothing more than a barn with a pretentious-sounding name - to enjoy raptor watching....Now there's a joke, unintended, but a joke all the same, and although the book isn't pointing at the month of December when it makes the claim for enjoying a raptor watch, the time of year doesn't matter anymore in Bowland, the opportunity to see Merlin, Buzzard, Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel, and - wait for it - Hen Harrier, from this or any other watchpoint, simply doesn't exist anymore, and in the 5 hours Ian and I spent in Bowland today, we saw not a single raptor.

The birds seen on this particular walk in this stunning part of Bowland amounted to nine birds in 2.5 hours. In order of seeing, a Grey Heron, a Red Grouse, a Cormorant, and 5 Carrion Crow, all in flight, and a Mallard on Langden Brook....Depressing.

On the west side of Hawthornthwaite Fell, it was excellent to find 2 Stonechat, my seventh in 17 days since the two at Heysham on 10 December, makes good reading in my records, also here, a minimum of 40 Red Grouse including two flights of 15/8.


Peregrine Falcon trapped in a Pole Trap banned in the UK for over a century.

Make no mistake about it, this kind of wildlife crime has a link to the people I have highlighted in this post. 

My New Year wish is that the killing of protected birds of prey on Red Grouse moors is soon brought to an won't be....and that those responsible be brought to justice in the courts....they won't be.

So let's try to get all Driven Grouse Shooting banned - the RSPB won't - as I see it it's the only other road we can go down, our only other option.


Richard Pegler said...

I find the whole issue thoroughly sickening, Pete. I hope that the petition has a good result, but it will be necessary to keep up the pressure, even if it does. A ban on driven grouse shooting would only be the start of what is required. In this day and age all compassionate people find the killing or injuring of any form of wildlife for fun to be totally abhorrent. I'm convinced that any person who takes pleasure in that sort of activity is sick in the head.

Just yesterday, I felt compelled to phone the police as a group of four people with dogs were shooting within about 30 metres of where I was sitting in my car in a nature reserve car park. The police seemed to lose interest when I said that I, personally, hadn't been threatened!

Sadly, there's still a long way to go. I suspect that 2018 will be an interesting year and, I hope, a good one.

Best wishes - - - Richard

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Poor animal.. What a pity!!! :-(
Happy New Year Pete .. Best wishes yo you and your family for 2018