Monday, 7 June 2010

Back to More Familiar Territory

The weather was given to 'break' at about 11-00 today, so it was an early start through the cemetery and onward to the bye-pass where once again the male Blackcap was singing. Already there were dark clouds building in the west, but as I strolled around Radipole they passed overhead without spilling a drop. Of note, one pair of Mute Swan were tending c2 Cygnets and close by a Moorhen appeared to have just a single chick.

From the shelter I noticed at least one bird was showing interest in the newly constructed

Sand Martin wall, but recon this Grey Heron may find a little difficulty getting into the 'holes'.

A few paces on there was the strangest find of the day, this

Eel, seemingly dead and bleeding from the gills, was very much alive when I offered the toe of my boot. Eels of all species are hardy creature and this one, likely taken by a Gull, Heron or some such predator, was no exception as it swam away readily once returned to the lake.

Other changes that have occurred during my absence has been the prolific growth of all vegetation (where its been allowed to) with the green of the new Common Reed contrasting sharply with last years dead growth, and all peppered with newly flowering Yellow Iris.

Quickly along the sea-front to Lodmoor, where before arrival I could see a continuous passage of Common Tern between the reserve and Weymouth Bay, indicating something was happening at the breeding colony. Rabbits were the first thing to catch the eye, seemingly dozens of them, but as far as I could tell no signs of Myxomatosis. The Common Tern breeding islands were indeed active, and while it was difficult to make a count, numbers were most definitely in 'three figures', really good to see!

The 2 Tern Islands viewed from the main (only) shelter.

A cloud of white (is that an Arctic Tern third from the left?).

A closer view, showing the pipes under which many pairs prefer to make their nest.

every so often, all the Terns get up together making for a wonderful sight.

A single Common Tern takes a rest on a convenient post.

Now, wots this? Looks like a Mummy Canada Goose has probably been standing a little too close to a Daddy Greylag Goose?

Oystercatcher with c2 chicks, now a couple of weeks old. There were originally 4 but 2 have fallen foul to some predator or the other?

What is thought to be the same Arctic Tern that graced the Tern colony last year seems to have returned. Last time it held territory and coaxed a Common Tern into copulation. There followed the laying of a couple of eggs, one of which hatched, but the chick didn't last very long. This time it is getting much less of a welcome. Initially, it did 'build' and defend a scrape, but no partner was forthcoming and in recent days it has been forced to keep its distance, mostly not being allowed to land.

This brood of c4 Mute Swan Cygnets are at Lodmoor and appear to be doing very well.

In addition to these, a number of Shelduck and Canada Geese are showing off their young, while also seen were a female Marsh Harrier, c3 Black-tailed Godwit, a couple of Teal plus singles of Lapwing, Dunlin and Song Thrush were also seen.

Time for a change of venue, so made for Ferry Bridge but as I boarded the bus new arrived of a possible White-throated Sparrow at Southwell, Portland. I did stop at the 'bridge' but only to the tune of c13 Dunlin and c3 Ringed Plover. At Southwell there was even less success with the Sparrow of American origin, so it was home just in time to miss the rain. There looks to be more 'wet stuff' tomorrow!

Keep The Home Fires Burning

As a short precursor to today's post, I was informed earlier by my dear friend Roy Henderson of an article of interest in yesterday's Dorset Echo as per this 'link'.

Arson attack at Weymouth nature reserve (From Dorset Echo)

Those who remember the RSPB (Reserves Manager Nick Tomlinson) response in the Echo to their own bout of pyromania, will recall how he told us that no damage was inflicted, no wildlife was destroyed etc, etc, while making no reference to the cost to the Tax Payer, the suffering of the residents of Grasmere Crescent and close environs, or the destruction of the only Marsh Harrier breeding site ever known at this, or any other, local reserve. There has already been a small response, but as I have said in the past it is not my nature to let important matters rest, and rest they will not!!!!

My reply published on the Dorset Echo Website this afternoon.

Let's make it clear, the fire at Radipole in November was an act of gross incompetence on a day when the wind speed was never less than 25 knots, a easily substantiated fact. On that day the RSPB Local Manager let his employees into a tinder dry reed-bed (a Site of Special Scientific Interest) armed with a box of matches, and I guess without a 'risk assessment' in place? The estimated cost to the 'tax payer' (you and me) was a Quarter of a MILLION Pounds, which seems to have passed by without question, not to mention the destruction of the only Marsh Harrier breeding site in the Borough. The latest fire was set by moron/s, but I'm having difficulty spotting the difference in fire-starters.

The RSPB fire is just one of a catalog of disasters since the start of Mr Tomlinson tenure, examples include the total destruction of a large colony of scarce Southern Marsh Orchids, the building of a Sand Martin Wall in the heart of this SSSI during the 'breeding season' and the wanton destruction of the only public viewable example of an uncommon plant, the Branched Bur-Reed. These are but a few of many malpractices that occur almost daily on OUR Nature Reserves in the name of Conservation.

What's needed is a public investigation, with answers, as to what is happening on OUR reserves, perhaps starting with an examination of Mr Tomlinson's credentials. At the final analysis who are the RSPB answerable to, and how long are they going to be allowed to keep making these catastrophic mistakes?

Southern Marsh Orchid, this photograph is one of just c3 I could find on the reserve today. Before the RSPB grubbed out the main colony with a mechanical digger, you would have been able to see many dozens on a similar date in the past!

The Main Post Will Follow Shortly