Just seen an article in the Scotsman about the clearance (no not the Highland Clearance) of trees for new windfarms in Scotland. Its amazing to hear that the Forestry commission has released figures indicating that over 5 Million trees have been cut down to make way for wind turbines and only a third have been replaced. Is that why Shetland doesn't have trees (lol)
Around 10% of our seas are now Marine conservation sites , two of which are in Shetland . The most northerly covers an area from Fetlar - Haroldswick, this is a feeding area for Black Guillemot, and includes a horse mussel bed, kelp and seaweed communities. The second is Mousa - Boddam this is especially important to protect sandeels and their breeding grounds on the seabed, while Mousa is important for Arctic Terns, storm Petrel and Harbour seals. These both within the 12 mile limit
There are 78 SSSI sites in Shetland of which 31 are marine sites and 36 coastal sites. In addition to these the RSPB runs 6 nature reserves and there are 2 National Nature reserves at Noss and Hermaness. This seems to be extensive cover and protection but as we have already seen money talks and this is why the proposed 103 Wind turbines will still go ahead in the central mainland.
Even the Wildlife & countryside Act fails to offer adequate protection to our wildlife .
It states that Development that directly threatens wild birds, destruction of their nests or eggs will only be permitted where it can be demonstrated that
(a) The development is required to preserving public health or public safety and
(b) Where there is no other satisfactory solution.
Developers should also take into consideration any sensitive times of year for breeding within the area of the proposed development where planning construction , operation and decommissioning stages.
If a species listed on Schedule 1 of Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) is present either at the nest, or with dependent young, cannot be disturbed with a licence from the SNH.
A high court ruling has given the go ahead for the wind farm so the above means nothing at all.
for the latest read http://www.shetland.gov.uk/planning/documents/SupplementaryGuidance_OnshoreWindEnergy_DRAFT.pdf
The other week, news of a major housing development planned for Nesting ran into problems when 334 rare Bog orchids were discovered, this site being the only mainland site, others can be found on Papa Stour and on Yell. Also found here was another rare plant the Grass of Parnassus. they are now considering this area as a local nature reserve which may offer some protection.
It has been suggested that the new housing site be moved 100 m one way or the other to protect the site, an objection to the housing site has been lodged. So we wait to see what decision is made here.
I remember when the proposed high speed rail line in England was published, it ran straight through Britain's oldest nature Reserve. Even a public outcry made no difference.
On a different note, are seagulls protected ? Well yes they are, even though some people think they are vermin
The other week a photo appeared on Facebook which apparently showed a seagull being strangled. A petition of well over 6000 signatures indicated the level of support that action should betaken against this person. If found guilty he could be fined £5000 and potentially jailed for 6 months.
There has been a lot of hype over Killer Seagulls this month with a dog and tortoise killed by gulls and also people being attacked. A recent poll indicated that 44% of Britain's would support a gull cull. Those that are in the know will realise that Herring gulls are now red Listed birds, meaning that numbers have halved in the last 30 years but any other people are unaware of this.
Birds need food as much as humans and will often congregate at locations where food is regularly dumped, they find these easy sources of food. These are often know as chip shop gulls and see any opportunity to pinch a chip or two. If people are allowed to take such action where will it stop, next it will be Sparrowhawks or Magpies , both seen by people to have reduced the small bird populations but without full research a full picture cannot emerge.
Migrants have been thin on the ground especially last weekend. Only a couple of Swift at Sumburgh Head the first we have seen in Shetland, a couple of Yellow Browed Warblers one each at Grutness and Sandwick and Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Goldcrest new in.
Monday things changed with a mega in the form of a Collard Flycatcher at sumburgh head, supported by three Yellow Browed Warblers and close by Little Bunting- not that i saw any as I was teaching at the time.
I did get out Tuesday first to Helendale where two Grey Wagtails, Robin(2) Yellow Browed warbler and a large female Sparrowhawk seen. Later in the afternoon I finally got down to Sumburgh Head in the sun , the flycatcher had gone but it was good to be out and seeing Yellow Browed Warbler (2) Goldcrest(5-6) Blackcap(2) Swallow (19).