30th August, without asking the people of this country what they think, our government have recently announced that they are allowing gamekeepers to kill our native Buzzards to protect introduced non-native Pheasants. This is rather odd. Buzzards were shot to extinction in this and many other counties, about a hundred years ago. They are British, a native bird and part of the nature of our islands, so common sense and education has led to them eventually returning to grace our skies.
And gamekeepers release anywhere from 35 to 50 million Pheasants every year into our countryside without any consideration for the effect that has on our native wildlife. So what percentage of Pheasants are actually killed by Buzzards as compared to say being killed on roads? What percentage of the millions of released Pheasants are actually being shot for ‘sport’ i.e. how efficient is the industry to start with? Pheasants are everywhere and live and die in many ways. Surely Buzzards mainly kill Rabbits that eat crops – Rabbits in fact damage well £100 million of crops a year, has that process been assessed and quantified for its true value to agriculture and us?
And finally, in our civilised and educated society, what message does shooting that fabulous bird out our skies, say to our children?
The Gamekeepers I know and work with in this village think this legislation will alienate the public, and further damage the image of the countryside and the people in it.
29th August, Feast Day! I am at it all day on the Long Buckby Green Spaces stand. And as usual, people see me and remember a wildlife record they needed to give me. So thanks to Angela for the Stoat, Caroline for the Blue Butterfly and Bats, Alex for the Green Woodpecker, David for 3 Buzzards, and the two ladies that said they saw a young Badger in the ally-way near Benbow Farm as they were walking to the feast at about 1300hrs. In the damp orange glow of the evening, I hear a Little Owl calling.
28th August, CEP has Goldcrest, Coal, Blue, Great and Long-tailed tits, alongside Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Whitethroat and Robin in a mixed flock in the big Sycamore trees. There are at least 12 Speckled Woods on site, also Red Admiral, and the last of the Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers. Hanglands has a patrolling Southern Hawker, a record 6 male Ruddy Darters, 1 Common Darter, and a female Black-tailed Skimmer, a species I haven’t seen there for years.
I meet David and Jonathon Evans on the footpath near Vanderplanks Covert, and we see a family of Hobby’s, two adults, two juv’s, swooping for Dragonflies over the ponds.A young Kestrel and several Jackdaws join in and for five minutes they chase, harass, and play in the afternoon sun.
18th August, Alan Webb reports a Sparrowhawk taking a House Sparrow, and sees 3 Juvenile Grey Wagtails at the Wharf. Hobby, Red Kite, and Green woodpecker reported.
The run-off pond on the new estate near Manning Road holds a Mallard with ducklings, and as I approach a shrill piping call tells me there is a Common Sandpiper there. Sure enough up it gets and flies around a couple of times before settling on a culvert. Is that a 1st for the Parish?
17th August, a perfectly marked Badger lies in the road this morning. She is a big sow and I guess her cubs are beginning to wonder where she is. A dead Fox cub is also laying peacefully across the white lines on the 428.
13th August, a Sparrowhawk swings through the farm yard at Grange Farm after a shocked Swallow. The latter are busy on their second brood and now is not the time to be eaten. The young of many species are about, and a good dozen young Blackbirds are in our Rowan and Yew trees stripping out the berries. I don’t think any of the berries are actually ripe but this doesn’t seem to matter. Kestrel, Mistle Thrush and Linnets all have young about at Cotton End Park.
Hobby reported, also Painted Lady and Holly Blue. I see over a thousand Black-headed, Common and Lesser Black-backed Gulls together on a field being disked, and spend a good hour searching through them for oddities.
10th August, Doc How reports Green Shieldbug and Raven from Stenhouse Close. Dan at Grasscroft has Tree Bumblebees. Hanglands has Painted Lady and Red Admiral with the Whites and Gatekeepers.
7th August, Hobby three days on the trot. The aforementioned House Martins are the target as young inexperienced birds join the flock. 2 Migrant Hawker at the front of the house are hunting amongst the Ivy in the evening sunshine. A Brown-eared Bat is seen as it takes a spider from a web at the Living Room window. We haven’t seen those here many years, although I don’t spend a lot of time looking.
5th August, Billy and I are restacking some fire-wood. The original stack collapsed for no apparent reason, but drying and shrinking must play a part in destabilizing. We see and carefully avoid spiders, wood-lice, ants and beetles. Job done and into the garden, Comma, Gatekeeper, Large and Green-veined-white are joined by Holly Blue. We see Hobby zap over after being warned by the Holyoake Martins. Have you noticed that all the Swifts have gone?
3rd August, a Common Tern comes over the village at 1730hrs. From East to west.
1st August, more reports of Dragonflies in and around houses and gardens. Southern Hawker seem to be the commonest, but Brown Hawker and Common Darter are also seen. Ben reports seeing Greenfinches with Trichomonosis. This killer disease had a massive impact on populations of greenfinch locally but they have recovered somewhat recently as reported. Ben suggests we all make sure we clean our bird feeders and tables regularly as this is thought to be where it is contracted.