Friday, 8 June 2012

Autumn Starts Early


 Firstly, the last two for a while, of wild flower photos. The three feet high Milk Thistles are now in flower, above and so also, is Weld below.


As I sit here writing this and looking out of the study window, I am faced with a typical October/November scene. Heavy grey skies, bursts of rain and trees bent over in gusts of +50mph wind, with the winds set to stay that way for the next 24 hrs. Its been wet and cool all week, now we have the gales and what's more its due to stay this way well into July, is that really it for this summer, are we already in Autumn.
All through last winter I barely wore the dreaded foot cripplers, wellie boots, and yet they are a necessary requirement every day on the reserve at the moment, here in mid-summer. As well as the obvious water laying along the tracks, when you start to walk across the overgrown grazing marsh you find yourself walking through two-inch deep water concealed by the grass, lord knows how many ground nesting birds such as Lapwings, Skylarks and Pipits have expired in it. And just to add to their woes, with the current gales even birds nesting in trees and bushes are not missing out and are being shaken out of their nests.
The photo below is a classic example of what's happening, I found this Oystercatcher's nest on the reserve a couple of days ago. It had nested OK in a dry, cow's hoof print until the rains came and left the eggs sitting in cold water. It's going to be a very bad year all round for wildlife this year, very bad.


And sort of on that theme, I was amazed whilst watching the BBC's Springwatch programme, during the item about domestic cats and their predation of birds. Not amazed that cat's kill birds, we all know, unless you are a cat owner in denial, that cat's do that. No, I was somewhat gob-smacked on the response of an RSPB spokesman when it was reported that domestic cats possibly kill as many as 100 million birds annually, probably most of them songbirds. He seemed to suggest that cat's weren't a problem and that such figures weren't of too much relevance to bird population figures in this country!
I find it amazing that the RSPB can quite rightfully campaign against the killing by trappers/hunters in Europe of millions of songbirds each year and yet seem to ignore similar losses in this country without calling for action to be taken against cats, or more rightfully, their owners. If  last night's feature had been about the deaths of up to a 100 million protected birds as a result of the actions of farmers or the shooting fraternity for example, protesters would of jammed phone lines and swamped petitions with their signatures. Make domestic moggies responsible and it seems to be acceptable, or at least met with no call for action, as has been the case against dogs and their owners. A dog poos in the street and we're talking a huge fine, a cat kills a nest of rare bids - that's OK.
I find it hard to understand how a "bird lover" can sign various petitions supporting protection of wildlife and yet own and protect a cat and turn a blind eye to what it does.

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