Last Friday at Rutland Water listening to inspirational campaigners and naturalists. Today back on the moors.
The first bird of the day was a Hobby, a fantastic little falcon who breed here and then depart for their winter quarters in Africa in September. We were fortunate with perhaps four birds seen including a juvenile. They are aerial masters and easily take sizable dragonflies on the wing and can be seen eating their catch in the air or from a perch. Marsh Harriers and Buzzards were the other raptors seen.
Waders were evident with Green Sandpiper, Greenshank, Dunlin, Ringed Plovers, Snipe in good numbers as well as Lapwing on the exposed margins of pools.
The intriguing observation of the day was of a female Short-winged Conehead, spotted on the car window as I crawled along Limestone Road – where had it heralded from? The curved sickle shaped ovipositor a good identification indicator and distinguishes it from C. discolor (Long-winged Conehead). Records of this species are uncommon in Yorkshire but understood to be increasing although there is no mention on the YNU website of any occurrence on Thorne Moors.
Conocephalus dorsalis: Image courtesy of Martin Warne.
CONSERVATION CAMPAIGN UPDATES
Readers having signed the Ban Driven Grouse Shooting are asked to follow this up by contacting their MPs about the possible Parliamentary debate on the issue. Obviously bespoke letters are best but for useful pointers and guidance see Mark Avery’s ‘Firm Briefings’
Raptors, Uplands & Peatlands – Conservation, Land Management & Issues
Friday 9 & Saturday 10 September 2016: Sheffield.
For more information see here
Another equally controversial topic is that of the ongoing Badger Cull which is to be rolled out to other areas. One of the excellent but equally frustrating talks at last week’s Birdfair was that given by Dominic Dyer, Chief Executive of the Badger Trust. This small but incredibly energetic organisation has led the campaign opposed to the unscientific Badger Cull. Badgered to Death is a compelling read, but it is also a horror story in so much as it provides a critique of failure by Government to address the real causes of the bTB outbreaks. Bad enough that Badgers are illegally baited against dogs, that they are now demonised by Government who have discarded their own scientific evidence and ignored their own veterinary advisers for what? Slaughtering badgers in a cruel, inhumane and astonishingly expensive way has failed to address the spread of the disease, failed to help farmers combat the disease of cattle, that is to say bovine Tuberculosis.
Any blog reader with an interest in the Badger Cull / bTB issue is recommended to read Dyer’s critique of the sorry saga as it contains much useful background and brings focus to failure to underpin policy with evidence.