Saturday, 22 July 2017

The Doldrums

Reading the latest RSPB magazine today I was intrigued by some comments in the latest Simon Barnes column in there. He was writing about how mid-summer to a lot of birdwatchers in particular, is known as "the doldrums", that period in the year when bird activity is at it's lowest and least noticeable. It's surprising how many birdwatchers just settle for that and don't allow their interests to widen out because in fact, there is actually a lot still going on in the countryside at this time of years. Butterflies are having a prolific time this summer and to spend time wandering fields and hedgerows identifying them can be very therapeutic, and why not learn the names of the many wild flowers they pass without even noticing them.
The two below I found on the reserve this morning. Common Toadflax first, looking similar to our garden antirrhinums.......


......and then Perennial Sweet Pea

It was also sad to read in the same RSPB magazine, that last autumn on a British military base in Cyprus, that a record level of more than 800,000 songbirds, including robins and blackcaps, were illegally killed according to research by the RSPB and Birdlife Cyprus. The birds are caught using nets or branches coated with adhesive and sold via the black market to restaurants that serve them up as a local dish, a dish that has been banned since 1974. Many of these songbirds are on a southerly migration having bred in the British Isles and it's appalling that despite the best efforts of the British Sovereign Police there, that so many songbirds are still being killed, so many that won't return here each year.

On the reserve, the rabbit population is starting to show signs of the annual myxomatosis returning as it does each summer. Ellie caught this one this morning showing early signs of it. Some rabbits do actually catch it and survive it but most don't and it soon decimates the population there.


And after a hot session chasing rabbits there's nothing like a nice cooling session in a ditch, a shame the water doesn't smell better!

12 comments:

  1. Ellie looks rather proud of herself!

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  2. Yes, they don't all get away Wilma.

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  3. I haven't seen a myxied rabbit here Derek but there is no doubt that the rabbit population has decreased lately.

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  4. Hello Derek!
    Just saw your comment on another blog that you planned on seeing "Dunkirk".
    My husband and I also saw it and we thought it was extraordinary.
    We also are very interested in birds, flowers and butterflies so I think I will like your blog very much!

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    1. Hi Kay, welcome aboard, good to hear from you, hope you enjoy my further blogs.

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  5. It certainly is appalling that some Cypriot men think it is perfectly okay to kill little birds for "sport". The same happens in Malta and I salute Chris Packham for raising awareness of this issue over there. The EU should be doing much more to get this killing stopped and the governments of both Malta and Cyprus should stop running scared over the matter. Save Our Birds!

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  6. I don't think our little swallows are in the doldrums. I often find myself wasting time watching their amazing aerial displays. I think it's tragic that migrating birds are still being hunted and in such a terrible manner. So sad.
    Ellie is a little cutie <3

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    1. You've got it dead right Yarrow, there's no excuse for not getting simple pleasure from watching ordinary birds. You described Ellie well, away from killing rabbits she is very, very placid and non aggressive.

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  7. Please let me know what you think about the film Derek. My brother was there and I was just a small child, but I remember vividly the moment we heard that he had made it back safely. It has had poor reviews but I take little notice of such things.

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  8. Derek, it wasn't clear what part the British base played in that bird massacre - were they hosting the nets, were they taking part?

    As to the doldrums, we have a redstart family that moves round the garden from bush to bush in June and July, and and the chaffinches are still noisy. Chaffinches are newcomers. Before they 1980s Denmark was their northern limit, then they started crossing over to Sweden nesting in parks and woods along the coast. For the last decade we've had seveal nesting along our street.

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  9. Sidney,
    Unfortunately I think you'll will find that the British base is involuntarily hosting it. The bird catchers must sneak in and out at night until they get caught.

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  10. What a lovely intelligent looking dog.

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