Saturday, 26 June 2010

Credit Where Credit's Due!

After a late text yesterday evening announcing the arrival of a 'calling' Quail at Portland Bill, there was only one destination to head for today. On the way to the early bus, a walk through the Radipole Reserve produced a few Sand & House Martins, the odd Swift, c4 Black-headed Gulls and a Song Thrush feeding young, but better than all of that was the overall look of the place. It's many a year since I've seen so much vegetation there in late Spring. This time last year, my notes tell me, the 'strimming gang' had already visited twice, cutting all plant-life back some 2 feet either side of the path, but this year it has been barely touched. For that the site is looking, as it should, like a truly wild place and if Cy Knott, the one legged tramp who lived there in the 60's, had appeared out of the undergrowth I would not have been surprised. As coincidence would have it I met both a wheelchair bound 'birder' and 2 anglers, complete with Carping tackle with none of us having any difficulty in passing. I have decided that it is fair, given my constant protests about 'strimming', that I should take the credit for this. I just hope the RSPB continue this (lack of) good work and don't decided to cut it back because of voicing these observations.

Buddleia Loop looking as it should, a proper Wild Place.

Apart from visiting entirely the wrong location at The Bill, there had been no further signs of last evenings Quail, but my search along the 'terrace fields' turned up an unseasonable Reed Warbler, my first Marbled White Butterfly and a whole host of Magpie Moths. At Culverwell an un-ringed (perhaps pointing to a new arrival) Willow Warbler was of note, but that completed the sum total for the day. Attention then changed to plants and flying insects, a few of which were photographed:-

Greater Knapweed

Lady's Bedstraw

Maybe we've had enough photographs of Large Skipper this Spring, but the contrasts in colour on this one was just too much of a temptation.

Pyramidal Orchid

Pyramidal Orchid (detail)

-Red Admiral, showing both upper & under-wing.

Woolly Thistle

Common Buzzard a distant sentinel at the Terraced Fields.

Bee Orchid, just 'gone over'.

Bee Orchid (detail), unfortunately I fear about a week too late.

Marbled White Butterfly. Today saw the first real emergence of this striking insect.

Another Comment from an obvious champion of our fragile Wildlife

I've been an avid reader of your blog for a couple of months now and have held the best interests of the Chesil Terns at heart since I started voluntary watches on the colony of Commons that used to frequent the beach at Chickerell Hive way back in the late 70's and early 80's.

These days pressure on my time prevent me from becoming actively involved in Tern 'work', instead I have to be content to watch and photograph birds of any/all species in the limited time available. Roll on retirement!

In those days we wouldn't dare walk into a colony, let alone 'purposely' disturb the incumbent birds for any reason whatsoever, even when there were obviously many tens if not hundreds of pairs, so why, oh why, do the latest band of experts deam it acceptable to go and ring just a few chicks that are never ever likely to be recaptured? Surely this flies in the face of the very intention of ringing!

I know only too well how difficult it is to confidently detect a nesting Tern's exact whereabouts or, put another way, how easy it is to tread on a nest, so I trust those experts that went 'a ringing' had spent a good many hours observing the nest sites and establishing a safe and expedient plan of 'attack'? I well remember spotting a Ring Plover's nest with sitting parent just 10 feet from one of our old hides at Chickerell and I had been watching the Terns there for four hours before it became obvious! Say no more.

Why can't they simply look, enjoy and leave the birds to their own devices, just like we used to? I fear actions of this nature have more to do with justifying one's position in the pecking order of experts and ticking the right boxes than the protection and preservation of such a vulnerable and valuable relict population of a very, very special little bird. Prevent predation by all means but please leave it at that.

Keep up the good fight and I couldn't agree more with your recent concerns over untimely 'building works' and 'arson'!

Nick Stantiford
Wyke Regis