Wednesday, November 28, 2012

No Work On Wednesday?

At last, a touch of sun, a dry morning and chance for a spot of birding, with Rawcliffe Moss the destination where with luck there was an hour or two before the shoot arrived and all hell broke loose. 

Another person asked me the same question earlier in the week. “Why in this modern day and age do we tolerate the shooting of our declining and therefore increasingly precious wildlife, and this coupled with wilful persecution of our raptors?” It’s not as if people rely upon a brace of duck, a couple of partridge or a wader or two to feed hungry mouths is it?” I agreed, long gone too are the days when Hen Harriers or “hawks” really did steal a few hens from our subsistence farmsteads. 

From the British Association for Shooting and Conservation BASC, (now there’s a complete contradiction in terminology), is a list of so called “quarry species” in the UK - “Gadwall, Goldeneye, Mallard, Pintail, Pochard, Scaup, Shoveler, Teal, Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Canada Goose, Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, White-fronted Goose, Snipe, Golden Plover, Jack Snipe, Woodcock, Coot and Moorhen”. In addition “The Woodpigeon is both the UK’s major agricultural bird pest and one of the most popular species providing sporting shooting. It is legal to shoot the bird all the year round under the current general licence arangements (sic). The Woodpigeon makes good eating and provides nourishing cheap food, and appears on the menus of top restaurants.”  

Maybe it’s time all the diverse elements of the UK’s far too many conservation movements joined together and made a concerted effort to put a halt to the killing through politicking, while at the same time exploding the many myths and untruths around the “economic benefits” and “conservation value” of shooting? Moan over for now. 

At the farm were plenty of the aforementioned Woodpigeons turning the tree tops grey with a count/estimate of 4000+ in just a couple of woods. It looks like many of last week’s huge numbers reported on Another Bird Blog may have moved to south west Lancashire, with enormous flocks seen near Martin Mere, Ormskirk. - 20th November “The huge flock of Woodpigeons which has been building up just beyond the edge of the reserve was estimated to contain around 50,000 birds this morning – a remarkable sight!” 

Watching the tree tops made for a sighting of 2 Buzzards flying in from the east, calling as they came and scattering the pigeons in all directions and setting the Jays off screeching. 



Good numbers of passerines today, impossible to get precise counts for all when they scatter along the hedgerows, but 60+ Chaffinch, 50+ Tree Sparrow, 5 Corn Bunting 2 Yellowhammer, 7 Goldfinch and c15 Reed Bunting. 

Tree Sparrow

Thankfully we haven’t suffered the floods of elsewhere in the UK, the fields here are just remarkably wet for now and the foreseeable future, so a good place to find gulls, Lapwings and Snipe, plus the odd Buzzard waiting patiently. There’s a Buzzard on the distant fence, and out of shot 90+ Lapwing, 120 Black-headed Gulls, a couple of Snipe and a passing Kestrel. 



When the gunslingers arrived I made for the car and a drive across the Pilling Moss to Lane Ends. Over the moss road I counted 3 bird watchers lying in wait for assorted owls, 2 Kestrel, 10 Tree Sparrow, 15 Chaffinch, 1 Buzzard, 2 Redwing, 18 Fieldfare and 6 Meadow Pipit. 


When I got to Pilling there was another shoot all along the marsh road - Wednesday again, I forgot. Don’t these people have work to do? 

Thursday should be OK for a spot of birding, photography or just putting the world to rights - log in soon to Another Bird Blog and find out.


Gary Jones said...

Well said Phil, I will never get the mentality of people who see shooting wild birds as a pleasure, sport or however else they justify it, I know what I would do with their shotguns!! Great pics as usual.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Oh glorious Lapwing...they are such great birds! The plight of the Buzzard, the hunting for not so much food around here, but trophies;'( makes me shudder. Glad that the flooding did not come so close to your home~

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

I can always come here and see a bird I have never seen before. That lapwing is so interesting. All your sightings are so well photographed.

Isidro Ortiz said...

Buenas capturas Phil.Un abrazo

eileeninmd said...

I do not know why there has to be so much hunting allowed, it is the same here. Love your birds, especially the buzzard and the cool looking Lapwing. Happy Birding, Phil!

Russell said...

I'm amazed at the primitiveness of the laws in the UK. I guess Charles Darwin would have had no idea about evolution if he hadn't have travelled elsewhere. (Sorry, Phil. I say that as an Aussie of course:) Wonderful photographs!

news said...

Hi Phil: To many vested interests for your dream to come true.All the best.JWB.

Anonymous said...

I have family members who hunt, but frankly I just don't understand their way of thinking.
Great shots here, glad you had a good day to go bird-chasing, Phil.

Wally Jones said...

Another good post. Great images. The Lapwing is quite handsome! Not sure how to solve the hunting conundrum. Create test-tube game animals and raise them on land reserved for the hunters?

Absinthe said...

I understand (I think) your opposition to the shooting of birds but wonder whether this extyedns t other forms of natural life. Do you never kill flies, rats, mice, wasps, etc?

I'm a fairly keen birdwatcher but have no problems with peopel carrying out legal shooting - are you suggesting that woodpigeons aren't pests?

I could never condone the shooting of non-pest species - we don't shoot songbirds in the UK and I certainly think the shooting and trapping of raptors should be vigorously investigated by our police regardless of who employs the shooter (and I'm sure you know what I'm talking about here).

Many, many people get just as much pleasure from hunting and shooting as you do from birdwatching and ringing and as long as the consensus is that they are able to do so legally then there's not too much to be done about it.

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