Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Orchids saved, then bad news

During my last blog I mentioned that we are very fortunate in Shetland as the council and many individuals look after the orchids- mainly Northern Marsh. They cut round each orchid along the verges in Lerwick and even bowling green cut grass gardens have an orchid oasis.

Other places outside Shetland don't seem to be lucky unless someone takes the time to make a stand. Our friends Ron and Mavis on a regular visit to Rother valley Country Park, nr Sheffield saw something that made them take action. An industrial lawn mower was just about to cut down a large area of grass, buttercup and yes many Southern Marsh Orchid.

They stopped the lawn mower and pointed this out to the operator who told them he was under instruction to cut the area in preparation for next week's Race for Life, as this would area be a feeding station.

As they could do no more they walked on and met a friend who seem to know most of the staff in the park, as luck would have it one of the main bosses was just driving by and they managed to stop him and inform him about the orchids. As this was about 1/2 hour after the mower had been originally stopped they didn't give the orchid patch much hope of survival.

A couple of days later they walked past the orchid area to find that the cutting had stopped exactly where they told the operator about the mass of orchids. All credit to the operator and the rest of the staff for halting the operation.

It just goes to show you can make a difference , so well done Ron and Mavis.

Whether its about conservation matters or taking part in surveys to establish whether a species or area needs conserving get involved.

So far since moving to Shetland I have been involved in beach surveys counting dead birds, luckily only a couple found since May 2014.

                                                                    Herring Gull Lerwick town centre

Also i send in records of all the birds i see whether its common or rare, many only send in rarities when in fact the valuable records are in fact the common ones. Who would have thought that Sparrow and Starling or even Herring Gulls would be in a big decline. Collecting records from sensitive areas is also important just look at the threat from the proposed wind farms.

In addition to these, this year i have taken part in two breeding bird surveys both km squares being in Sandwick. You do get a lot of satisfaction from looking at an area over a long period of time, especially when you compare data.

It seems that not all people appreciate nature:

Pilot whales are the primary targets of the infamous drive hunt in the Faroe Islands, known as the grindadrĂ¡p. However, they are not the only species that is targeted.
Under the provisions of the Faroese Parliamentary Act No. 56 (the Pilot Whaling Act), whalers are permitted to catch or drive pilot whales and the following small whales (cetaceans):
1. Long-finned pilot whale, Globicephala melas
2. Northern bottlenose whale, Hyperoodon ampullatus
3. Atlantic white-sided dolphin, Lagenorhynchus acutus
4. White-beaked dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris
5. Common bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus
6. Harbour porpoise, Phocoena phocoena
On August 13 2013, in one of the largest single slaughters in recent years, a staggering 430 Atlantic white-sided dolphins were slaughtered in Hvalba, on the southern island of Suduroy.

Sea Shepherd

Very little migration at the moment, although a Red Rumped Swallow has been seen three times at the same spot in Lerwick over the past few days. Today 4 whooper swans arrived at clickimin loch but only stayed a few minutes before heading west. I did see three Swallow and a house Martin over the weekend so you can understand why several people have turned their attention to flowers and insects

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