Posts Tagged ‘Malta Massacre on Migration’

Appeal for volunteers to ‘badger’ & other campaign updates ….

September 10, 2014

The Badger Trust have circulated this appeal, whilst we recognise that we are not on their doorstep there may be those amongst you who have a wider network and are prepared to circulate this appeal.

Badger Patrollers need additional volunteers

We [the Badger Trust] are sending this message on behalf of those campaigning peacefully in the West Somerset and West Gloucestershire cull areas – now that the shooting of badgers has started for the second year, they desperately need additional volunteers to supplement their existing resources. Whatever time you can give will be appreciated and your presence may help to prevent the death of a completely healthy badger. Even one evening can make a difference so please contact them.

The key message from the Somerset and Gloucestershire Badger Patrols is:

We are a peaceful presence in the countryside. Law abiding and non-confrontational, we:

• Walk along roads and public footpaths within the cull area
• Never intimidate land owners
• Inform the police of our intentions and whereabouts
• Respect the countryside code
• Make new friends with likeminded people

Get in touch:

M: 0789 960 4217


Thank you for reading this and please help if you possibly can.

Kind regards,
Pat Hayden,Vice Chairman.

Tim M Badger 7465227996_e7b29e0ea9_h


OTHER UPDATES …. You just really couldn’t make this one up?

Regular readers may also recall the Malta Massacre on Migration campaign headed by Chris Packham?  Well Mark Avery has posted an update on the situation and it is just astonishing …. the new EU Environment Commissioner is from Malta …. Karmenu Vellu.  An interesting point mentioned in his Wikipedia entry is that Between 1998 and 2000 he studied at Sheffield Hallam University where he was awarded a Master of Science degree in Tourism.



There is also a new epetition readers might like to consider signing on the Direct Gov. website Hold an independent enquiry into allegations of serious safety issues and illegal use of firearms in the badger cull in 2013.

“I think the most interesting observation was made to me by a senior politician, who said, ‘Fine, John, we accept your science, but we have to offer farmers a carrot.  And the only carrot we can possibly give them is culling badgers”.  A statement reported in the Veterinary record made by Professor John Bourne (Chairman of the Independent Scientific Group) in 2008 to the annual conference of the Association for Veterinary Teaching and Research Work aptly summarises the situation.   So …. “Can the Carrot”?


August 10, 2014



For any reader unaware that today is Hen Harrier Day, then where have you been?

Despite the weather, a peaceful protest was scheduled to take place today in the Peak District, Lancashire and Northumberland.  It seems that many others took place in other parts of the country, so well done to all organisers and to those who showed their support by attending.

The Fairholmes Visitor Centre near the Derwent Dam was the meeting place for the Peak District photo call which took place at 10am this morning when around 250 people had signed up to take part.  See the image via Facebook and courtesy of Rare Bird Alert here.  This peaceful protest, against a sombre backdrop is intended to highlight to the press and to the moorland managers who might still persist in the illegal practice of raptor persecution.  Some great comments from the participants who braved the weather, well done to them all!

There are literally hundreds of comments to be read on Dr Mark Avery’s blog and many are testament to the pain of the industry targetted by the conservation consortium promoting awareness and pressure, but principly protection of raptors.  The term ‘grouse’ really does seem applicable, they have had years to get their house in order and still plead for time whilst taking the public funding for habitat management and failing to safeguard protected species.

The critical mass of NGOs are waking up and supporting the inspirational leadership demonstrated by Dr Mark Avery and Chris Packham, the number of signatures on Avery’s epetition is clearly growing and long may it do so with this last day or so seeing an increase of over 500.  In case any reader remains undecided then read the plethora of claim and counter claim, the media frenzy pushing out pleas by those whose failure to address the issue in any meaningful way is now being seen for what it is?  Then read the reasoned science and facts, then analse and then sign here?  Currently standing at 12,896 & increasing daily – next target 100,000 at which point it has to be discussed in the ‘House’, that is to say the one in the Westminster village.  Ban driven grouse shooting might receive a boost following the Thunderclap earlier and the press coverage of the HHD 2014, so here’s to the momentum continuing apace.

There may be inclement weather out there but clearly there is a climate change in terms of tolerance of illegal persecution, this is heartening and here’s hoping that politicians wake up to the issue of environmental issues ahead of the forthcoming 2015 General Election.  Even a Thunderclap has passed, social media at its best?  In terms of magnitude on the Richter scale of social media I wonder how it fared?

Birders Against Wildlife Crime is a new organisation which has been formed to raise the profile and highlight issues which need address. Their website is worth a look, so too the new one Raptors Alive accessed via Chris Packham has done much to raise the profile of wildlife crime, he raised the profile of the Malta Massacre on Migration issue, and an issue we featured on this blog a number of times.


Should driven grouse shoots be banned?

May 29, 2014

Dr Mark Avery has just launched an e-petition on the No 10 website calling for a ban on driven grouse shooting in England.  Anyone who follows his blog “Standing up for Nature” will realise that he must have agonised about this action for some considerable time.  He admits that he is not really very keen on banning things so it has clearly taken a lot of soul searching to launch this petition.  However, he reasons that despite the species ‘enjoying’ 60 years of complete legal protection, the Hen Harrier is now rarer than it was (in England at least) when it got that protection!   And after at least a couple of decades of talking about solutions with the moorland community, in which he played a part for a while, the Hen Harrier is almost extinct in England.  As most readers would recognise there are generally times when one can reach an understanding with ‘the other side’ but he argues persuasively that this doesn’t appear to be one suchtime.  Avery considers that the systematic, illegal, wholesale removal of a protected bird from our countryside is a disgrace.

He admits and we’d be inclined to agree that we would all be rather surprised if this e-petition led to the banning of driven grouse shooting but it is hoped that it will highlight the issues around this land use (which are far wider than a protected bird of prey) and make it easier for some sort of sensible solution to emerge.  But if grouse shooting were banned, would we really miss it, he asks?

We would echo his sentiments about signing petitions, all of us I am sure are inundated with requests to add support to a campaign petition, but he is right when he only seeks support from those sympathising with the situation.

So, do readers sympathise with the fact that there are less Hen Harriers breeding now than when they first received protection, should grouse moors in receipt of public funds be accountable?  Is there sufficient support out there to get the issue debated in Parliament?  For more detail see “Ban driven grouse shooting” , so far there are 1,110 signatures …. can Avery do for Hen Harriers and upland moorland what Chris Packham has done to raise the profile of Malta Massacre on Migration?

The previous post to this raised the politics of the European elections, as I understand the situation the case involving the Walshaw Estate and breach of legislation is still ongoing …. without the Habitats and Birds Directives much UK wildlife would be less protected?

Or maybe, just maybe the various political parties are all going to review and revise their respective environmental policies?  Or will they simply dust down those which used to lurk somewhere in a cupboard …. ever an agnostic …. and in the meanwhile Hen Harriers need our help, so – can the critical mass of the conservation community achieve a debate in the Westminster village, aka Parliament?

Bits ‘n pieces of campaign updates ….

May 14, 2014

See the CAMPAIGN: Malta Massacre on Migration update here.  A disappointing reply from First Secretary Borg to our letter, but I suppose the critical mass of the re-vitalised campaign might be the momentum needed to deliver the help to the Maltese people in their quest to bring a Referendum on Spring hunting?

Mr Borg did conclude his brief email with Please do feel free to contact me for any further information.  So, watch this space to see what if any reply is forthcoming to a resend of the initial email with three key questions highlighted for ease of reference.



Some readers may be aware that Chris Rose has set up a 38 degree petition asking the BBC to re-introduce a previously popular [live] Nightingale Broadcast, Chris writes:

Disappointing news about the BBC’s planned May 19th special R4 Nightingale Broadcast. Despite being scheduled at 11pm, the BBC has confirmed to 38Degrees that it will not be a live broadcast, only a pre-recorded re-enactment of the 1924 Nightingale + Cello broadcast.

While the BBC deserves credit for this, it is a huge missed opportunity to contribute to engaging and re-connecting people with nature. Just as recorded music is not the same thing as live music, hearing a recorded Nightingale is not at all the same as the connection you make with a real, live, singing bird.

This is after all, why the 1924 – 1942 broadcasts struck such a powerful emotional chord. What a shame if the BBC in the digital age, cannot accomplish what Lord Reith and his engineers did back in the days of ‘string and ceiling wax’.

Apparently the BBC’s reasons are that the cello might get wet and the nightingales might not sing.  Yet this did not stop the BBC in 1924.  Nightingales, rain and cellos were the same in 1924 as they are today ?

Chris further asks us not to give up – but instead to do two things:

First, keep asking friends, relations and colleagues to sign the petition to make it a live Nightingale broadcast. It’s not too late. Send this:

Second, help us start a National Nightingale Night by going out to listen for one on Sunday May 18th, the original anniversary. Let me know what you find – – and I’ll post reports here and at the campaign page.

If you can record one, and send me a file, I’ll post it at SoundCloud. I’ll tweet any links from @campaignstrat

I can certainly recall one particularly hearty rendition in the middle of the day as it poured with rain at Castor Hanglands when we went on a botanical jaunt to ‘tick’ Pasque Flower!   I remember them also as a breeding species on Thorne & Hatfield Moors, now just an ocassional passage bird?  Surely, like Yorkshire Red Squirrels it’s one of those ‘things to do [or hear] before you die’?  Compulsory sessions (accompanied by parents) for infant and junior school children? 



 By Noel Reynolds (Common Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)) [CC-BY-2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons


Fracking might be considered a topical issue, we’ve alerted readers to a CPRE conference in July which will look at the issue around the Humberhead. 

Well, we’ve been alerted to some interesting news …. A big fracking company, Celtique Energie, has announced it will scale back plans to drill in Fernhurst, a town in the beautiful South Downs.

Greenpeace considers that: This leap forward comes after huge public pressure, including thousands of us signing up to a ‘legal blockade’ to refuse to permit fracking companies to drill under our homes.

But the battle isn’t over. Other towns across the UK are still at risk. And even in Fernhurst, Celtique Energie are banking on David Cameron’s rumoured plan to change the law and allow drilling without permission.

We can stop this – if we show Cameron he will face a huge backlash if he tries to push ahead. Can you forward this email to 5 friends to help get to 300,000 signatures?

Your friends can sign the petition here:

Right now, the UK faces a choice. Do we pour millions into planet-wrecking fracking or do we develop clean, renewable energy? And despite the government’s enthusiasm for more dirty fossil fuels, Celtique’s announcement proves that people power works.

With enough of us onboard, we can make it impossible for David Cameron to impose fracking on us. Greenpeace suggest that by forwarding this email to 5 friends today and asking them to sign the petition here:

That the critical mass of community campaigning can call corporate developers and their various allies in and around Westminster to order, so three topics to consider acting on? 


Migration Massacre on Malta …. an update

May 4, 2014

Well, let’s hope that it’s been a busy time I guess for the MEPs who had conservation minded constituents contact them after they’d been suitably motivated by Chris Packham’s video diaries posted via his website.  He also asks that we Tweet our MPs and ask them to attend the debate in Parliament this Wednesday 7 May ….

The House of Commons will debate “UK policy on protection of migratory birds in Malta” on Wednesday 7 May in Westminster Hall, 4.30 – 5.00pm.


OK, so we don’t all Tweet  – in which case then email them or phone their constuituency offices.  If they ask what this has to do with us then think of that Nightjar being released, will it make it back to the UK and possibly Thorne or Hatfield Moors?

Mark Avery too has joined Packham and is also encouraging his readers to take up the issue, he also (quite rightly in my opinion) reminds readers on a regular basis about the fact that Hen Harriers, Red Kites and other birds of prey are being shot and poisoned in this country still.  2013 was the first year since 1960 that Hen Harrier had failed to rear a chick in this country!  Astonishing given the amount of funds spent on HLS on privately owned upland grouse moors?

MEP update

I wrote to the six Yorkshire and Humber MEPs via ‘write to them’ website on 25 April.  So far I have received email replies from Rebecca Taylor, Timothy Kirkhope and Edward McMillan-Scott and a letter from Linda McAvan.  Nothing, as yet, from Andrew Brons or Godfrey Bloom.  All are fairly similar but I suppose to some extent that is inevitable and they seem to mirror those received by other MEPs across the country as reported by readers on Mark Avery’s website.  What I do find somewhat disappointing is that when they were replied to, with specific questions, typical of many a politician, the reply evaded the actual point I raised or directly asked!

If you are interested in reading the series so far received then we have set up a new page on the website blog “CAMPAIGN: Malta Massacre on Migration” and they can be found there.  Any new correspondence received relating to the Malta saga will also be placed there.

If you’ve been motivated to contact MEPs then feed back the responses to Packham, Avery or through us at athe Forum.  Critical mass as elections loom for MEPs in May and a for those 650 still in the Westminster village.  Let’s send them all a message that the natural environment and conservation really do matter.

In the interim, please TWEET (!) your MPs if you are able to ….


Bits ‘n pieces & some early moths

April 25, 2014

A few bits ‘n pieces, updates on recent issues and a sprinkling of natural observations:

Malta Massacre on Migration: I’ve written to all six of the Yorkshire and Humber MEPs, have you?  Next on the list is a variation edition to the Maltese High Commission and the Maltese Tourism Authority.  Sadly readers of Mark Avery’s blog do not report a good nor honest position if the conservationists (Chris Packham, Bird Life Malta et. al.) are to be believed by the responses received from these authorities and agencies.

Chris Rose is appealing to the BBC to re-instate the annual broadcast of nightingale, if you’ve not already signed the petition on 38 degrees then if you’re a fan of nightingales then you can find it here.  Sadly it seems that the BBC OB has been disbanded, but there’s online potential.  Not too sure that the older generation, those who recall the iconic species in their youth in every scrubby copse would agree, but a new generation might be encouraged to search them out in the flesh?

We’ve noticed that B&Q are plugging (no pun intended) their coir tea-bag environmentally friendly green packaging bedding plants on the television at the moment, yet …. we have learnt that there are some local stores whose staff are unaware of the initiative.  Sadly, it seems that by far the vast majority of bedding plants are still in peat and still in polystyrene …. unless you know differently?

I had been hoping to get out again with fellow ‘moffin’ enthusiasts for a session but the weather has put paid to that for this weekend if the weather forecasters have got it right.  So, a few recent finds to whet appetites for goodies ahead this coming season ….


2063 Muslin Moth Diaphora mendica or 72.022 (per Agassiz

2063 Muslin Moth Diaphora mendica or 72.022 (per Agassiz

The Muslin Moth is a species which shows sexual dimorphism , the example above (local Humberhead Levels garden) shows the dark form.

2092 Shuttle-shaped Dart Agrotis puta  aka 73.325 (per Agassiz

2092 Shuttle-shaped Dart Agrotis puta or 73.325 (per Agassiz

The Shuttle-shaped Dart is another sexually dimorphic species, the males having brownish variegated forewings and white hindwings, the females fairly plain dark brown forewings and buffish hindwings.  The above specimen is from a local Humberhead Levels garden.

2015 Lunar Marbled Brown Drymonia ruficornis or 71.011 (per Agassiz

2015 Lunar Marbled Brown Drymonia ruficornis or 71.011 (per Agassiz

 This stunning image of a Lunar Marbled Brown illustrates well the ‘comma’ or ‘crescent’ in the species forewing pale band.  LMB is generally earlier in the season than Marbled Brown.

Thanks to Ted Sabin and Phil Lee for sharing their images.









‘Moor’ on Malta Massacre on Migration ….

April 24, 2014



Chris Packham unashamedly explains on the Malta Massacre on Migration website ….

For many years I have lobbied the UK’s bird charities to campaign to raise awareness about the slaughter of migrant birds on Malta. I have equally tried to stimulate television programme makers to cover the issue – both without success – a sad reflection of our complacent and risk adverse times.

Well, I’ve finally run out of patience and together with three colleagues and the support of Birdlife Malta this spring I will be making a nightly video diary of the days events on the island which will be posted on . . . the Video Diaries Daily 9pm, 21st to 26th April 2014.  Thus far I’ve watched all four, they are between ten and fifteen minutes in duration and they are quite revealing, they are depressing but that should motivate us all to do as Packham asks …. which at the very least should be to write to our MEPs!  There’s no excuse not to, his website offers a sample letter.  There is also a link through to MEPs email addresses via   (enter your postcode and it’s a painfree process) there are other options are offered and of course snail mail is always there by way of contingency.

In our area, Yorkshire and the Humber, we have six of them: Edward McMillan-Scott (Vice President of the European Parliament), Linda McAvan, Godfrey Bloom, Rebecca Taylor, Timothy Kirkhope and Andrew Brons so let’s send a clear message that legislative compliance is not a luxury but a community necessity.

It will be interesting to see if they respond, particularly ahead of the forthcoming European elections of 22 May.  I’ll let you know how we get on ….

The logo is copyright but it is available for personal use, see website explanation.  I’m sure we will be forgiven for using it on the blog post, it is after all promoting the cause …. I’m even tempted to have a T-Shirt printed with it on and “I wrote to my MEP” added ….

Malta Massacre on Migration …. an appeal by Chris Packham.

April 21, 2014

So what has Malta to do with the Moors?  Quite possibly we have less birds visiting us because some are lost on migration to mindless murderers in Malta?

Yet, why is it that the UK media are not interested in covering the ongoing battle of migration massacres in Malta?  What happened to their campaigning stance?  So frustrated by their apathy Chris Packham and a small team are now in Malta and will broadcast a series of Video Diaries at 9pm every evening from 21 to 26 April.  Watch them …. if you dare?

Of the Maltese atrocities Chris says:

“I have equally tried to stimulate television programme makers to cover the issue – both without success – a sad reflection of our complacent and risk adverse times.

Well, I’ve finally run out of patience and together with three colleagues and the support of Birdlife Malta this spring I will be making a nightly video diary of the days events on the island which will be posted on . . . Video Diaries

Then please pleads Chris, do something …. write to your MEP for starters perhaps, some useful information and guidance is available via Chris’s website. 

Maltese massacres on migration,  Hen Harrier persecution here in the UK, badger culls just where will it all end – mindless murder by minorities?

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