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Wildlife highlight of the day

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  1. jdanielp
    Member

    Bats in Craiglockhart Woods on Tuesday evening. A fish of some kind briefly breaching, presumably to catch a flying insect of some kind, as I cycled along the towpath earlier.

    Posted 5 days ago #
  2. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    Dear Ms Cunningham,

    I am writing to you in respect of your duties and responsibilities in respect of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, in particular Schedule 1 'Birds Which are Protected by Special Penalties'.

    You will be aware that recently one bird notionally enjoying such protection, a hen harrier, was shot and killed on film in the Cabrach and that the resulting prosecution has just been dropped. You will also be aware that a gamekeeper was filmed setting a pole trap on the Brewlands estate in order to kill specially protected birds. You will further be aware that the prosecution of the individual concerned has also been dropped.

    The question now is this; Are the Schedule 1 birds actually protected by 'Special Penalties'?

    I don't think that they are in any practical sense. If they can be killed on film without consequence then where is the protection exactly?

    You may not consider this to be an important issue at the present time, but if that's the case I urge you to think again. These birds aren't being killed for commercial reasons - to protect the driven bird shooting industry - but for political reasons. These shootings and the myriad of poisonings and trappings are being done to assert and underline the power of the landowners over the things that we citizens hold dear. I ask you to respond strongly to this provocation on our behalf.

    If I held your office I would consider the following courses of action;

    1) Liaise with the Justice Minister to see how committing an arrestable offence on film can lead more often than not to rapid conviction of the offender. Presumably if the gamekeeper who shot the harrier had shot his colleague instead of a bird the film would magically have become admissible in the subsequent murder trial? Where there is a will there is a way.

    2) Immediately set up a licensing system for driven bird shoots that mandates a healthy population of raptors on the land used for shooting. Put the onus on the landowners to prove that they are not responsible for the absence of normal, healthy numbers of raptors on their estate.

    3) Remove firearm and shotgun permits from anyone with even a hint of involvement in wildlife crime.

    Objections to this scheme

    In tackling this you will come up against the Earl of X, the Duke of Y, Anonymous Trust Z in Guernsey and the Shady Shell Company of the British Virgin Islands. Their representatives will whisper to you that bird shooting provides employment and that raptors destroy that employment. This is largely nonsense. Gamekeeping and beating work is seasonal, poorly paid and scarce. I expect the present Scottish Government to have the ambition that we can do much better with our land than getting people on minimum wage to chase tame birds towards drunks with guns. In any case, I would hope that you agree that an industry that relies on criminal activity for profitability is of dubious social utility at best.

    The landscape of the central highlands is largely a blasted heathery desert because of these people. Holding them to account for the crimes of their employees will be a major step towards returning our land to genuinely productive uses.

    The time for concerned attempts at collaboration to understand quite where Scotland's missing goshawks have all got to is over. This is now a situation to which rage is an appropriate response. We are faced with what is in effect an aristocratic and moneyed criminal cabal pointing at Scotland and laughing. Only you can respond on Scotland's behalf and I ask you to stand strong.

    Yours Aye,

    IWRATS

    Posted 5 days ago #
  3. gembo
    Member

    Anyone come across the Walrus washed up on Crammond beach?

    THis tale has come from one of these conversation sessions we are obliged to have with other colleagues (this time from waste management).

    I have had a few of these with different colleagues, some of which have led to productive work.

    THe stories from the Clennie though are the best ones. Bin man came into office, smoking with cricket ball in his other hand, cricket ball had a little nick in the stitching he thought he would burn off, it was fuse to the firework (not cricket ball), it went off. [Gullible person asks - Did he lose his hand?, Binman, no just his fingers but they sewed some of his toes on as replacement, only trouble is he gets terrible athlete's foot now on his hand]

    Posted 5 days ago #
  4. Colin
    Member

    IWRATS

    Well done indeed for writing the above letter. I hope it gets a positive response.

    Cheers
    Colin

    Posted 3 days ago #
  5. bill
    Member

    The Wester Hails swans with cygnets (7?) seem to have moved east towards the city. Saw them this evening on the canal bank sitting right next to the bronze gorilla mentioned earlier.

    Posted 3 days ago #
  6. chdot
    Admin

    @ IWRATS

    I'm sure you'll let us know if/when you get a response.

    Hope you sent copies to Andy Wightman, RSPB etc.

    Posted 3 days ago #
  7. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    Hope you sent copies to Andy Wightman, RSPB etc.

    I've kind of known Andy since I was a student and each time I meet him I have to re-introduce myself. He's interested in land and justice, not, it would appear, people.

    I went through a similar phase myself lasting about twenty five years so I do understand.

    Posted 3 days ago #
  8. gembo
    Member

    @bill some years there are two separate families of swans on the canal but this year I think just the one with therefore more freedom to roam up and down. There is also a war of attrition that we must brace ourselves for. Of the seven children, some will survive.

    I have a pal in Dublin who watches swans in the docklands they have a nest inside a water filled container. This year four eggs. They are late. However I worry for him as last year he had three cygnets at the start and none at the end.

    @iwrats glad you are through that phase, people are interesting

    Posted 3 days ago #
  9. chdot
    Admin

    "He's interested in land and justice, not, it would appear, people."

    I sort of understand that, but this is definitely about land use.

    I thought AW was against ownership/use that meant there was an 'economic' reason for killing the genuinely wild birds.

    As for "justice" even if people consider that animals have no rights, there are legitimate laws here that have been broken.

    Perhaps you can reintroduce yourself?

    Posted 3 days ago #
  10. Frenchy
    Member

    I've emailed Andy. My email is not as eloquent as that of IWRATS, but hopefully he can at least put a bit more pressure on Ms Cunningham.

    Posted 3 days ago #
  11. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    @chdot

    It's about land use, yes indeed, but even more so it's about power, which is also what our bicycle thing is about at its most basic level. When Mitterand, former president of France, accepted that his life was over he had a final meal prepared including a pair of ortolans, a tiny protected bunting that was slaughtered for the kings of France by drowning them in cognac. He did this, and let it be known that he'd done it, to underline his regal position.

    Commissioning agents to shoot, poison, trap and drive off Schedule 1 birds and then arranging for any prosecution to run into the buffers is in much the same vein. They are asserting droit du seigneur over Scottish land and hinting none too subtly about what they would do to us if they got the chance.

    I've been trying to connect with Andy for a few years now. He's a highly impressive and slightly intimidating character but then I'm no shy woodland creature myself. I went as far as to give him some land ownership data that I dug up in connection with a bicycling thing when we were conversing about a second bicycling thing but I have never quite got to the point of detecting any bonhomie on his part which is a shame. In fact he never acknowledged the gift which is odd for a politician and which I found off-putting.

    He is of course also subject to a power play now, with an obscure Jersey based trust magicking fifty grand out of thin air as a bond in a paper-thin defamation case that risks his bankruptcy and expulsion from parliament. We cyclists will know that were getting somewhere when we're subject to similar treatment.

    Posted 3 days ago #
  12. chdot
    Admin

    "It's about land use, yes indeed, but even more so it's about power"

    Which is why I don't understand why (you say) he isn't more interested in this.

    I do accept he has more important (personal) things to worry about!

    Posted 3 days ago #
  13. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    @chdot

    He may well be interested and indeed may well be able to help. I was just trying to give a sense of my interaction with him. I'll bulk e-mail all my MSPs shortly, so he will be aware of my concerns.

    Posted 3 days ago #
  14. chdot
    Admin

    "I'll bulk e-mail all my MSPs shortly, so he will be aware of my concerns."

    Wonder how they all cope with email!

    Think it's time to (selectively) revitalise the art of letter writing (not necessarily by hand - or in green ink) and the postal system!

    Posted 3 days ago #
  15. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    Think it's time to (selectively) revitalise the art of letter writing

    Totes agree. I do that. Only one person has ever replied though, and I am courteous beyond courtesy.

    Posted 3 days ago #
  16. gembo
    Member

    I know a chap who puts in tellies for rich stupid people. Ok not just tellies but blinds that are photovoltaic, security systems, sound systems etc.

    He writes to his clients, thick paper and fountain pen. No one else does that now. Crafty.

    Posted 3 days ago #
  17. chdot
    Admin

    "Only one person has ever replied though"

    That's disappointing.

    Worth assuming it's got through and addressee might have read it.

    I assume most emails are filtered by staff.

    Posted 3 days ago #
  18. chdot
    Admin

    I would be useful to know which method(s) suit various people.

    I'm still amazed that some people actually deal with Twitter 'sensibly''.

    Dealing with Cllr Work (and him replying) almost certainly speeded up the Burnshot nonsense.

    Obviously Twitter has its limitations but useful to see people (that you have tagged in) liking tweets - unlikely that staff are doing that.

    Posted 3 days ago #
  19. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    Councilor Work sounds like a character from Pilgrim's Progress.

    Posted 3 days ago #
  20. chdot
    Admin

    "

    Holyrood's environment committee has intervened in the growing row over the use of video evidence in trials involving wildlife crime.

    "

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-39973647

    Posted 2 days ago #
  21. Frenchy
    Member

    Buzzard and some crows having a dog fight near Roslin.

    Posted 2 days ago #
  22. jdanielp
    Member

    @bill I saw the family launching onto the canal from the gorilla garden on Friday morning. This morning they were at George Watson's Boatshed (which fortunately wasn't in use). I can't help but feel that moving so far into town isn't the best of decisions given the number of rowing boats that they are likely to encounter on busier days.

    Posted 1 day ago #
  23. Rosie
    Member

    Mouse has found its way up the trellis to get at the bird feeder.

    Posted 19 hours ago #
  24. chdot
    Admin

    Highlight for the mouse(?)

    Posted 19 hours ago #
  25. Rosie
    Member

    I had wondered how this feeder, which is close to the house, and with not much cover for the birds nearby, emptied so quickly. Don't begrudge the mouse really - unlike a squirrel it won't demolish the feeder.

    Posted 19 hours ago #

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