Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Introduction of offence of vicarious liability for raptor persecution in England

Responsible department: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Scotland, recognising that those who persecute birds of prey frequently do so at the direction of their employers or others with vested interests, has introduced an offence of vicarious liability, the purpose of which is to bring those parties to justice. This petition calls on the government to introduce an offence of vicarious liability to bring to justice those who direct or turn a blind eye to raptor persecution in England. As an indication of how bad thing are, in the last year only four pairs of hen harriers successfully reared chicks in England, fourteen peregrine falcon territories failed on grouse moors in Lancs forest of Bowland, and only one successful goshawk nest was recorded in the Derwent Valley, Derbyshire. Current legislation is not enough to deter those who break the law and destroy our heritage; the introduction of vicarious liability would hit those directing the slaughter.

Sign it here, please.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Jeux Sans Frontieres

Today, I tried the barrier method (now that phrase will get me a few blog hits, no doubt)!  As fast a hurdles to success appeared, they were overcome, I am pleased to say.

Before I regale the tale, Crammy Birder, if I had known you were not at Uni today, I would have called you.  Really sorry!

So, off north at 10am and intermittent fog patches had the ol' ticker affected and first stop, Dunstan Hill for the goose flock.  Viewed from the B1339, the main group was over, well, the hill, but all species seen except the Ross's (not to worry, they're not a BOU 'tick'!).  And three Welsh birders there too.  Luvv-leeee!

Then off the Newton-by-the Sea.  Blissful, with Barwits, Starlings, Oystercatchers, BHGs, HGs, RedshanksCrows, Rooks and Turnstones sifting through the seaweed on the beach.

On 'Stringer Scrape', nice to see 10 White-fronted Geese were the highlight:

And off to Holy Island ahead of the safe crossing time of 1:40pm, arriving at 12:40.  En route, news the the A1 was closed both ways at Scremerston and as I neared the Beal turn-off, a diversion off left at Fenwick. 

After a 'Bridge of Death'-like examination by the Traffic Managers, I managed to convince the finest Hi-Viz bedecked chaps that I was, indeed, in need of a twitch to Holy Island and not wanting to bypass (superb road-related pun or what?!?!) their beautifully-honed vehicular direction training!

Hurdle No. 1 in the It's a Knockout series successfully navigated, off to No. 2, the 'Ebbing Tide Challenge'.

Of course, the EBR was still there and if we had not crossed the causeway ahead of the allotted time, it would have 'dun orf'.  Not. 

Being hugely impatient, me and a guy from Ebbw Vale (he set off at 2am for the Yellowlegs and then the Redstart) watched as one or two 'pathfinders' slowly drove towards the island as the water raced from left to right over the road.  And as they successfully crossed almost an hour early, so did we.

Next stop, the school, and two bays nicely vacated for me and my Welsh sidekick to occupy.

And then No. 3, the 'Rope Down The Slope' (Good Lord - poetry too.  I do spoil you!!).  So a 6'4", 47 year old with a penchant for You've Been Framed-like, arse-over-tit behaviour, slowly maneouvred down to the beach, with kit in hand.

The Ebbw Valean had walked off north along the top and I teetered north along the beach with its 'high-grip' Fucus vesiculosus covering and scanning the route ahead, I saw a wee birdie flying up and down in Ficedula fashion.

And nearing said bird, voila, yet another ornithogasmic experience:

Sunday, 20 November 2011


I am attempting to add some logic and rationale to birding, because doing so keeps the carbon footprint as a size 9 as opposed to a big 11.  So the Eastern Black Redstart; 110 mile round trip; only a sub-species etc.  Easy!

Easy my a#s*.  Only the fifth in Britain.  First for Northumberland.  A stunning bird.  And so today I considered going for it but the weather was shown as foggy to noon so I throttled back and tried again to resist.  It's a killer!

Warmed up with 20 Waxwings on Horton Drive at 8 am today, and as I walked up the cul-de-sac to Chez Moi, a beltin' female Sparrowhawk over the wall and between my place and the neighbours.  As Louis Balfour would say, Nice!

And very little at West Hartford at lunchtime.

And so out north at 12:30pm.  First stop, East Chevington, and as I alighted form the car, the geese decided to up-sticks and fly west to the field beyond the conifers along the west side of the south pool.  Bugger!

Mainly Greylags remained with the odd White-front, but not the 180-odd that I had hoped for.  And on the North Pool:

Cresswell was busy with those from far afield looking at the Greater Yellowlegs that was parading up and down the reedbed east of the mud outside the hide.  Very good views, but I'll let the guy from Bristol with the biggest lens I have ever seen do it justice.  And loads of Snipe too - which was nice!

Female Red-breasted Merganser on the little pool too: