Saturday, 9 June 2012

Oh Island in the Sun (wot) - Harry Belafonte

At 10:42 Sunday 10 June 2012 (less than one hour ago) I received this e-mail from one Roger Lees:- 
Replying to a comment on your blog, you said
Not content with having blasted the Ruddy Duck, an introduced species, almost out of (GB) existence mostly in the name of it being an introduced species, they [The RSPB] then turn their ‘sights’ on the Common Buzzard wanting to shoot, cage or destroy their nests in support of ‘saving’ the Pheasant, also introduced, so they can be selectively shot to death by the rich. One stance or the other RSPB please! How can any Society justify the words ‘Birds’ and ‘Protection’ in their title and who in a civilised world would subscribe to further such barbaric practice?'
I have no view on the RSPB, but I did write to my MP, Richard Grosvenor Plunket Ernle-Erle-Drax asking for his view on the destruction of buzzard nests as a control measure to protect young pheasants as proposed by DEFRA
DEFRA claims that they were not planning to destroy active nests, and I have attached a copy of their website for your information.  Whether or not you believe that the minister Richard Benyon, who has form when it comes to protecting the interests of rich land owners, is being totally honest I leave up to you.  For what it's worth my opinion is that the cost (supposedly £375,000) of the proposed 'research' into protecting birds destined to be shot by the rich should not be met out of public funds, or can ever be justified if it involves any interference with indigenous wildlife, especially protected birds but particularly birds of prey which will always be vulnerable.
It won't take much effort on your part to find that the RSPB was vociferous in defence of the Buzzard, as were many newspapers and individuals, so your comments regarding the RSPB supposedly supporting Buzzard destruction or control to protect pheasants are simply wrong.  Whatever your views may be regarding the RSPB and individual employees at Weymouth you should be more careful ascribing outrageous actions to them, which should properly laid at the door of others, in support of your general criticism.
A correction of your comments and an apology on your blog would be the proper thing to do, and I will wait with interest to see if it appears.
R Lees

I doubt Mr Lees has hastily tacked together these words without a great deal of thought and a better knowledge of the subject than I. It would seem, given his tone, that in this instance I have got things abjectly wrong for which I am only too happy to proffer, provisionally, both correction and full apology to those who may have been effected by my possible mistake? However, I will need to further research this and if found to be in error endorse my foibles in a later post. Thanks go to Mr Lees for taking the time to advise me, and this amendment will also appear on the Sunday Blog.

Having been hindered by party invitations over the past few days and by heavy rain today, I did finally make it to the 501 for a ride to Portland Bill, but not before a quick wander along Weymouth seafront.
Fred Darrington, sand sculptor, fashioned his models at this site on the beach here for as many years as I can remember, followed by a succession of family members continuing the skill. Subjects have included the intricacies of Westminster Cathedral, right through Alice in Wonderland, seahorses and even my all time hero Jimi Hendrix. Today workmen were busily constructing this mini-amphitheatre for the latest in a long line. It will be interesting to sea how the world famous Weymouth sand-castle fares in the modern age.
The old sand model of James Marshall Hendrix 2010
 And so castles made of sand fall in the sea, eventually! - Hendrix
Now, it maybe my slightly warped sense of humour but dependant on how you pronounce the name of the new restaurant, which used to be the very good Tapas Bar, drums up a picture of the Love of a Nasty Little Itch?
The picture at Portland Bill on the other hand was of gloom as I took a look around the area of the Trinity House Obelisk firstly towards Pulpit Rock
and then towards the active Lighthouse.
Along the East Cliff the waves were crashing against the rocks
while all this time the rain continued heavy and persistent. Best bet then to head for the sanctuary of the Portland Bird Observatory to seek shelter and grab a cup of coffee.
 The only birds on show were about 100 GANNETs, seen here flying past a small group of GUILLEMOT
 then giving something of a closer view. Not the most exhilarating of days you might think, unless you are me returning to the Magic Island after a long absence. The weather forecast for tomorrow shows a severe deterioration in the weather, with continuing rain and high winds likely to reach 60 knots. If that is the case it will be a revisit for me tomorrow, nothing I like more than watching the fury of the sea - especially from the shore.
An interesting snippet that has lain dormant in the vaults for quite a while was sent to me by Janet Read while on my travels. Commander West would receive my heartiest congratulation on being elevated to the Peerage as my own experiences of working with women in similar position have been amazing. I salute you Ma'am and wish you bon voyage.
Commander Sarah West today takes over as the new captain of HMS Portland.  The significance is that she becomes the first female captain of any Royal Navy Frigate. HMS Portland is a 5000 ton type 23 Frigate and one of the fastest in service. There are approx 3,300 women in the Navy 620 Officers and that is about 10% ratio with Men.  That Ratio is continued at Sea. A fantastic achievement to become Captain of any Royal Naval Ship, so well done to Sarah and  lets hope she has a safe and successful time with HMS Portland.