Monday, 4 June 2012

Another Nail In My Heart - Squeeze

The Pottery Lane Children's Play Area.
It was the intent to start today's post on an upbeat theme, which will now appear last, but cannot wait to ask the readership to compare the photograph above with what follows. Once a 'WILD' and in part inaccessible place, Radipole Nature reserve was to be my final resting place as already a volunteer had agreed to scatter my ashes there. Not any more I'm sorry to say as I paid my first visit to the area this morning since my recent return.
This ornate metalwork replaced a perfectly good and traditional kissing-gate (have to admit to nearly wearing it out on occasion) some months ago which I chose to ignore, and not highlight on the Blog.

I had been forewarned some time ago of the desecration that had taken place during my absence, but even the damning description was nowhere close to the monstrosity I found this morning. Not content with having already burned out a tract of reed-bed through gross incompetence, seriously threatening properties to the north of the reserve, annihilated a colony of Southern Marsh Orchids and a dozen similar acts of licenced vandalism the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) continue to turn this unique patch into a theme park.
I may be a 'lone voice' in all of this but to me every inch of this very tiny Nature Reserve, especially the margins where most public disturbance takes place, should be zealously guarded. The first of the carbuncles are these 2 viewing platforms which alone have deprived the likes of Sedge, Reed and probably most importantly Cetti's Warbler of at lest 30 feet of potential nesting site. To what advantage it might be asked, well the visitor can now get 15 feet into the vegetation, to view WHAT??
Next came the Alice in Wonderland Carousel, totally out of place, at what cost to the Membership and how long before the vandals either set fire to them or draw penises on them??
Most galling to me is this preoccupation the so called 'experts' have with HUMANISING our wildlife. The Sedge Warbler does not come here on it's holidays, it comes here to procreate, should we not be telling our children that. While on this hobby-horse, reference to last weeks Nature Watch endorses the point when Chris Packham CHRISTENS a nestling Nuthatch 'Runtie', then metaphorically dons sackcloth and ashes and starts a wake when it quite naturally dies! Why does any wild creature deserve to lumbered with a human name?? 'Reality Check' Mr Packham!
I only got as far as the eastern path on the Loop, and a rather practical and esthetically pleasing country seat, when my prediction was realised,
the hooligans had beaten me too it!
In addition to this there was an alarm bell ringing saying there was something going on here that didn't quite meet the eye?
Abomination of abominations, a massive horseshoe swathe has been cut through the heart of the reed and sedge for another viewing platform, 
and further along yet another. Now, I put my hand up as one of the first to arrive here when a rare bird is in prospect, and do my level best to view it, but would forfeit the chance of ever seeing another in exchange for the removal of these unnecessary adornments. This of course will never happen, but fact is this postage stamp of unique wilderness in the heart of suburbia cannot sustain this rate of intrusion.
The final disappointment came when I reached the RSPB Visitor's Centre to find another run of timber and the roof thatch as it was before I left. There had been promise of a new roof cover of RADIPOLE REED before my return and the VC would be in full operation, with neither seeming to have met the deadline.
On a lighter note, I did catch sight of Weymouth's new Olympic Tower peaking above the Royal Hotel on the sea front, which I hope to take a closer look at tomorrow.
Passing the Gurkha Restaurant, on the edge of Radipole Lake, there was an avian sight I had not seen before.
Seemingly, a sub-adult male is copulating with an adult female a subject, that it may surprise those who know me personally, I know nothing about.
In such situations I am always happy to seek the advice of others, this being just one of the replies received.
I suspect this is pretty unusual. Normally there would be plenty of adults around that would get a first look in. The size disparity is quite obvious so the one on top is undoubtedly the male. He is at least 3 years old but I'm not sure whether he would be sexually mature at that age. As you well know the invitation to mate is the decision of the female so she has obviously allowed him on board. It could be that he's simply practising though? Interesting nonetheless! Cheers. PS Welcome home!
It was good to note that Rupert (yeah alright) the Hooded Merganser is still in residence albeit a little ragged at the moment, and down on the Inner Harbour
someone had left a 'treat' for this HERRING GULL. This is when the rain started (07:00) being the excuse I needed to return home and get a few things done. There, with that alarm bell still ringing, I spoke to another birding friend about my nightmare at Radipole. He suggested that I don't look too closely at the present RSPB staff (naming Luke Phillips and Nick Quintrell) as the masterminds of this appalling thuggery, but more in the direction of their former boss Nick Tomlinson. Now why doesn't that surprise me? As Manager there, he is solely responsible for ALL of the damage caused during that tenure and now it seems we are burdened with this unacceptable legacy as well. While seeming to have left Radipole/Lodmoor with head held high others tell me there was more than a gentle push - it is doubtful we'll ever know for sure.
Much to my chagrin this may well be my last visit to Radipole except for a mega rarity or as the 'short-cut' it is to other parts of the town - Amen!
 'Upbeat Theme'
This photograph was sent to me by my friend Andy Lindsay, Chief Engineer of the Pipelay/Dive Vessel 'Deep Constructor' currently stationed in 192 metres of water somewhere off the coast of Brazil. It shows a pipeline strong-back being layed at that depth, with a lull in welding operations. The Diver can be seen top left, while the robotic arm of the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) is to the right. The ROV is 'piloted' from onboard the ship with so much skill and control that a game of noughts and crosses can be played during the break.


  1. I have taken quite a few shots of those Orchids in the past Paul. I'm glad I have now. The place is going down hill rapidly. I am not renewing my membership for many reasons, I will add this to the list. As for your ashes, they will just have to dump them off the end of the Bill.{:))

  2. Hi Bagsy

    Welcome back and loved the travel writings. So jealous.

    Only ever visited Radipole once, the last time I stayed at the Obs but it looks a complete shambles now. Sadly, they are doing much the same to my Loch Leven reserve in the name of accesible nature.



  3. Morning Roy, Hello Jack
    Thanks for your comments and apologies for tardy reply. Seems to be a series of parties on my return which accounts for the late and shambolic post which was meant to be Tuesday 5th. Got home just before midnight, but that egg sandwich gave me blurred vision, nothing to do with the vat of vino consumed during the day. Back to the RSPB and the situation appears to be nationwide. The message is the same from so many people I meet from other areas - how long will these licence vandals going to be allowed to get away with it, like yourselves so many are voting via their membership. Sad really as we need an organisation to protect our wildlife. Talk soon, Best Wishes. Bagsy

  4. I don't live in Weymouth (Bournemouth, in fact) but much prefer to visit Lodmoor when I do! Much more natural and much, much quieter :-)

    Enjoyed the photos from your lengthy hols.

  5. Thanks for the heads up about your comments column, forgot to look for it but I do read your blog quite frequently and find it very interesting and strangely compelling!
    The RSPB is a massive organisation created to defend and conserve, in a public way, the encroachment and gradual erosion of habitat for our bird population along with lots of other major Nature organisations and for that we should be thankful. We can't just leave nature to look after itself, it doesn't work, we need to have large bodies like the RSPB to stand up to Governments or Councils who have more pressing concerns and priorities for the local areas we try to preserve.
    But I don't need to stand up for the RSPB, they can do that themselves, what I do need to comment on the though is the pettiness you show for the people who are trying their damnedest to keep Radipole and Lodmoor alive and prospering for the future.
    You seem to have a personal vendetta against Nick, Luke and Nick (sounds like a '70s pop group) who have been tasked to protect and develop the Reserves, not just for ardent birders like yourselves but for future generations who will become you.
    Shame on you Bagsy, I thought you were better than that, and look how many people you are influencing and poisoning with your sharp words and biased opinions.
    I know how much effort these people have put into their jobs and how dedicated they are to preserving our habitats and have just as much respect for them as I do for your very popular blog.

    1. I think that the sentiment above is a bit loud. Its easy to say that nature can't look after itself. It managed it for millions of years, however man is now trying to put right mans own indiscretions. Whilst I agree that the RSPB have done or maybe more accurately, undone some good stuff such as re-introducing White Tailed Eagles ( which we originally eradicated ourselves) in my patch, I fully agree with Bagsy over the institution turning nature reserves into wildlife theme parks.

      I agree that nature should be more accesible, and to counter the 'sins of our fathers' we in the shape of the RSPB etc should give nature a leg up, however I am at a loss to understand how putting walkways all over natural wet lands actually helps the birds.

      I certainly loved Radipole the way it was and Bagsy's photos make it look awful. The same is happening on my local patch at Loch Leven with family days out etc, where any hooded merganser with sense will retire a very safe distance from screaming groups of children, and adults tempted in by the promise of a free back pack and a feeder for a fiver. Ardent birders, as you would have it have deserted the place because of it. Every mailing from the RSPB now has a begging letter for funds, to pay for it all.

      Bagsy is a far more knowledgeable and advanced birder than I will ever be, but I learn more from his blog, and his help via email with dodgy id's than I did from any RSPB reserve volunteer.

      To paraphrase, ' and that is why I am out' of the RSPB now. I would also be keen to know how many new members the RSPB getbfrom their razamatazz nature days.

  6. and it managed very well from when I was nought but a lad (about 6 years old at a guess)to the start of RSPB tenure. That was when REAL country folk (Dave Baily the Reed Cutter/Thatcher, Eel Traper, Net Fishers etc simply 'looked after' it for the sake of their lovelyhood and the Council occasionally kept the paths clear. There was also a 'one legged' Gentleman of the Road living there (Cy Nott) who found access to all areas no problem at all. I rarely look back but oh for the return of those heady days.