Friday 13 July 2012

Flowers, Quail and Habitat

Lady's Bedstraw

Spiney Restharrow




BEE ON RAGWORT (no idea which type)

A small selection of the continuing profusion of wildflowers on the reserve that I have passed by as I walked round. They've certainly benefited this year from the wet and warm conditions, as it appears are the grassland butterflies. Meadow Browns and Skippers are beginning to appear in large numbers now, with Small Heaths in moderate numbers but Gatekeepers yet to appear. Seems strange that these meadow butterflies, that have no real shelter from the repetetive rains this year, are doing OK and yet many woodland butterflies aren't.

Apparently there is a Quail calling daily from a hay meadow just before the farmyard at Kingshill Farm, Elmley. Talking to the manager of the NNR there the other night, he was telling me that on several occasions one day this week he had to speak to people who were in the hay meadow apparently attempting to flush the bird into view for reasons best known to them. Whatever the agenda of these people it appears that it didn't include staying out of a private conservation area or the non-disturbance of an uncommon bird, but then I have seen some twitching accounts where this practice is seen as acceptable by a minority that must see a bird no matter what. Which leads me to a recurrent speculation about wildlife photography, damage to habitat.
I read a blog posting a few weeks ago wherein a guy described his day out to see and photograph Large Blue butterflies. He knew he'd arrived at the site when further up the sloping meadow he could see several people already wandering around in the grass looking for the butterflies and so he joined them and one was eventually found. Now given that this apparently happens on a daily basis, I could only in my sad way, think that surely that means a lot of habitat is being trampled down, possibly even eggs, or caterpillars before they are taken underground, squashed. Am I wrong or have these people found a new way of walking round the same site daily without trampling down the vegetation.


  1. I think there used to be an unofficial list of "rules' about birding, the top one being "the welfare of the bird always comes first". This is a good rule to follow and also protects the other species living in whatever patch of habitat that happens to be holding a rarity.

    Although I would never under typical circumstances suppress a rarity sighting, I would agree with anyone who, worried about the impact of extra or irresponsible visitors to a sensitive site, decided to do so if it's in the interests of the rare bird/butterfly or other, non-target species.

    Also I find that almost always deviating from paths fails to help get better views, partly because you end up crashing around and scaring everything off. Surely the Quail would sneak away long before these people reached it, so it's pointless to pursue it in this way - better to enjoy hearing it call. Wildlife is under too much pressure from all sides without conservationists adding to the damage!

  2. Couldn't agree more Joe, as will most people, but unfortunately these people do exist and hate being deterred from achieving their target, which ultimately comes first.

  3. Hi Derek

    hope you are well, i have been busy but am intending to visit shellness soon. It also concerns me regarding people taking images and trampling on hbitat, i think it is all to easy these days for people to photograph what they like with a digital camera. Again these same people are really un educated about why wildlife are were they are and the fact that the habitat they walk on is home to the animals they are photographing. As for birds are there many waders around.

  4. Hi Lewis, clearly some of this habitat destruction goes on, its a matter of educating those that do it.

    As you will see from my latest blog, we're not exactly inundated with waders at the moment, Oare seems to be getting the lion's share.