Thursday 31 March 2011

Bloody Angry - An Explanation

Given the reaction to yesterday's blog, which initially was genuinely written in a fit of anger, let me give an explanation, starting first with a thank you.

Jan,(Shy Songbird) thank you for returning with your comments, I hadn't expected either you or Warren to, given that I thought that we had exhausted our opinions on the subject last weekend.

"Letters from Sheppey" is not purely a natural history blog, it also covers other countryside issues and local history and believe it or not, I hadn't had any red when I made my posting, or replies.
As for it being a "mind boggling contradiction" - really? I, and possibly alone, can see a huge difference between slamming people for shooting wildfowl for fun, especially some wildfowl species whose numbers are known to be falling - and reducing the numbers of an agreed harmful pest species and therefore protecting threatened species of birds. You may say that it is simply changing the arguement, or splitting hairs to suit myself but not at all, I would take the same stance on say fox hunting. I have no problem with foxes being killed as vermin - where they are killed by one swift shot - but would argue against them being chased round the countryside for fun first.

I accept that I have probably upset and lost some followers of my blog, who only expect to read nice things about the countryside but I can't be like some conservation bodies who present a nice public image but behind closed doors keep the nasty bits that they carry out, hidden. So to those who have been offended I would say that it is only my opinion on things but I do believe in trying to present the bad things as well as the good things that go on, so stick with me, good conservation is at the heart of what I do and say. It is not as nice and fluffy out there as some people might have you believe and sometimes even conservation has to be achieved by some brutal means.
And not only that Dylan, anybody that reads your excellent blog will know that you too have never baulked at saying what you feel and know might upset some people.


  1. Derek it is a conundrum isn't it. As shysongbird says, removal of your local Magpies will almost certainly not work because there are excess unpaired birds available to replace the ones removed. The large increase in corvids is largely due to the changes in the environment that are man made, so I do agree that their large numbers are "artificial". 100 years ago Carrion Crows were comparatively scarce, but man's rubbish etc has enabled their population to explode. Tackling it on a small local way is unlikely to have a major effect but may help your blood pressure. I'm sure some Blackbirds are predated by Magpies in my garden, and certainly I've seen one taken by a Sparrowhawk in the breeding season, but as far as I know the Blackbird population is doing OK. They are very productive and if there are enough secure sites around they will manage to bring off some young. Remember if the average life span is only 12 months they only need two young to survive each year to replace them. It is not a simple problem, and some of the comments made seem to neglect that we are part of the scheme of things are there will always be opinions about predators. I have always been in favour of removing particular predators that cause problems in seabird colonies or wader nests, and I know the RSPB have often taken necessary actions (foxes at Dungeness for instance,
    Take care,

  2. Tony,
    A well presented comment, which I basically agree with, especially your last few lines. Many of us know that these things do happen at these places and yet they hide it and then tell people like ShySongbird something different, which then makes me look like I don't know what I'm talking about.
    If you do it, admit it, that's my outlook on life.
    P.S. will I need to bring a pinny in a fortnight's time?

  3. Derek, your P.S. That would be nice

  4. Some good comments there and plenty of food for thought, I am currently looking over the "Sonbird Survival Trust" site and hope to be doing some voluntary work for them soon - attending various events around the country, manning their stands, making people aware of what they can do to improve the songbirds lot,explaining the dangers of Avian Salmonella and how we may avoid the spread of it etc etc etc - the list goes on!
    Great Blog Derek - and really good to see you still have that old Pinny