Friday, 30 July 2010

Onward to the Gobi Desert - Mongolia Continued

So, the day of the meeting between myself, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Natural England (NE) and the Wildlife Crime Branch of the Dorset Police (DP) finally arrived. Held at NE's offices in Dorchester, I was well met by Dante Munn RSPB, John Stobard NE and John Snellin DP but overall felt there was an inherent policy from which none of them would be wavering. Dante did agree to investigate a number of my concerns (well documented in this Blog) and so I await his findings, but by and large came away thinking little will change and all too mundane to detail.

The final issue discussed was the Little Tern colony at Ferry Bridge, and while I requested to look at the documentation allowing both 'ringing' and 'disturbance' no fewer than 4 times I never did get to read them. I had to agree (wholeheartedly) that success at the colony was most welcome, but will at some stage write to The British Trust for Ornithology to confirm that all forms of disturbance (photography particularly) are covered by these documents. John NE did say that there is doubt that funding will be available next year to protect the colony which would be a tragedy indeed. After the meeting I felt that this David didn't even get the pebble in the sling and that Goliath will be trampling Nature Reserves, both locally and nationally, for evermore. This was more or less a single struggle, with many viewers sat on the proverbial fence, but I do commend those who did put their names in the frame.

So now back to the Lightheartedness this Blog is really about!

Jim the Medic and I boarding the train at Ulaan Baatar bound for Saynshand in the Gobi Desert

About 200Km from civilisation.

Me, Billy and Jim at one of many religious monuments on the way.

Travelers leave this blue scarfs as a token to the Gods.

Surprisingly, we found a family 'picnicking' miles from anywhere who, in true Mongolian style, invited us to join them.

Another encounter at Roc Oil, in the deep Gobi, where once we had convinced the armed guards on the watchtowers we were friendly they summoned the Site Manager. Here we were also afforded excellent hospitality.

Another religious shrine.

Not many Sand-grouse out here, but as can be seen by the footprints the sand was nonsupporting.

Back to civilisation, and after the heat of the Desert the soaking from the heavy rain was most refreshing.

and finally, the Statistics have reached yet another all time high with the 'readership' total now having past the 5,000 mark and with Montenegro, Mongolia, Bangladesh, Guatemala and Sudan joining the ranks our output now covers 80 countries.

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