Saturday, 18 April 2009

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Nature is amazing. I have seen three sides of nature this week, and surprisingly given the title of this post its not been all nicey, nicey.

This first picture is typical at this time of year and is obviously the good. Mallard chicks at Cannop. There were seven or eight of them swimming with their parents.

The Bad comes in the form of a sight which is too often seen. I was walking around another patch of the forest, nowhere near Cannop and I found two Mallard eggs near a pond which I didn't even know had Duck nesting on it. They are Mallard eggs they were a greeny blue colour not obvious in this pic. They had been moved from the nest (they weren't like this I put them together for the purposes of the pic). They had obviously been removed by something or someone and broken open. I'm inclined to believe that if I didn't know there was a nest nearby then neither did anyone else, a fox or stoat or weasel or something else had obviously found the nest and raided it. Its not nice but I guess it's nature. I believe the Swans at Cannop lost their first clutch of eggs presumeably in the same way.

The Ugly is this last Picture. It is a side of nature that always worries me, it is man living alongside it and not taking care not to impact on it. I saw this Mandarin feeding with others at Cannop, it appeared to be struggling with something. I couldn't see what. It looked just like a long piece of grass. Then when I got home and processed the picture I saw what it was.

Look closely, you'll see it's a pretty nasty fishing hook. Its a hair rig hook, devised to trick the fish into believing it has found a piece of loose food, then when the fish swallows it the hook catches in the mouth and the fish is quite literally hooked. It is attached to a length of braided line, designed not to snap. Clearly the inconsiderate angler has just left this on the bank with the bait still attached to the hair. The duck, fortunately didn't like the bait - a boilee, and dropped it and moved on. But it would have been so easy for this to have got stuck in its beak or face, or even of one of the geese that were also feeding in the same spot.

I am a fisherman, have been since I was a kid, but I was taught to leave no rubbish and certainly no dangerous tackle on the bank. Fishing has come a long way over the years, lead weights (in small sizes) were done away with years ago when it was realised that hundreds of water birds were eating it and dying. There is no control for this. It's just mindless ignorance, or at best forgetfulness of a dangerous proportion. Oh and before you say it, it wasn't kids. I regularly see a group of adult anglers fishing at the spot with their overnight bivvy tents.

We have to take more care, all of us. It's not just fishing takcle it's rubbish of all kinds. It's poop scoop bags, left hanging from the hedges, why bother to bag your dog's crap if you intend to just throw it into a bush. I do point a finger at the authorities, be it the Forestry Commission or Yorkley Angling club as in the case of the hook. There are insufficient rubbish bins at beauty spots. I accept that mindless morons burn them but there should be more, indeed SOME at places like Cannop and New Fancy.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Warblers and more.

Its that time of year, the birds are singing their little hearts out. The good weather this Easter weekend has meant that I have had opportunity to try and find a few of them. I have seen and heard willow warbler, I have photographed this little chiffchaff.

It's not easy to catch them being still.

I've also been lucky enough to see and photograph this yellowhammer. He was giving it large calling for a mate and establishing his territory.

His typical song is easy to remember, Bill Oddie relates it as being similar to "a little bit of bread and cheeeeese!" I've always worried about Mr Oddie.

Away from the songsters I've been keeping an eye on my Little owls. Both are still in residence.

The Eastbach Owl is so timid, as soon as he spots me moving he retreats inside the hole. This was the best I could get this time round.

The Symonds Yat bird was enjoying a spot of sunbathing. He is not quite so timid, but doesn't venture too far out of the barn at all in the daylight.

I also wanted to get Rabbits. I know they are everywhere but I do believe their numbers are reducing. They are also very difficult to get close too. It takes time and patience, something which I have very little of. I did manage to get these.

Slightly saddening is this little cutie, it seems to have myxomatosis, note how it's eyes are shut and so red. I really do believe that its a cruel disease. It doesn't kill them immediately. I have seen some rabbits in the past that look absolutely horrific, just waiting to die. I accept that numbers need to be kept down but this is not a nice way.

I guess that man has to keep control, wish we were a bit more humane though. Hope you all had a good easter.