I suppose every bird watcher/twitcher eagerly awaits the appearance of a rare bird. Common birds, to many birdie people, (well, not just common birds but sometimes those of us who enjoy sparrows, bullfinches and cuckoos) are, in the eyes of some, rather boring. Have I got that the wrong way round? However, I know many a good birdwatcher seeking knowledge of common species is delighted when a rarity turns up. My friend, photographer Paul Sherman, recently whilst photographing wildlife near Ipswich took this lovely picture of an unusual visitor to our shores. This bird is a Siberian chiff-chaff. What’s it doing here? I really do not know but it is a lovely picture of a lovely bird.
I have this week also seen a delightful photo taken by a passer-by who, whilst trying to photograph cormorants in our Park, accidentally photographed a pair of goosanders. Accidentally? Well, it was a lovely photo even if this man did not know what the ducks were. We have therefore an accidental bird, the Siberian chiff-chaff, and an accidental photo of a couple of unusual ducks on our Pond. Isn’t life exciting? By the way, have you seen the murmuration of starlings at RSPB Minsmere yet? It is a must.
I get a lot of junk through my letterbox most of which goes straight into the waste-bin, especially political stuff. However, this week a leaflet dropped on to the mat and, although it is from a political party whose colours are yellow and black, one small piece caught my eye. I was aware that the two trees that stood on the Cornhill had been chopped down but unaware that they had been removed to provide more space for the contractors carrying out the renovation of the area. I have seen an artist’s impression of what the Cornhill will look like but was it really necessary to remove two fairly mature trees? Despite the opinion of all concerned about the necessity for this, the loss of these trees saddens me.
Contrary to what many people must think, I actually like dogs more so than cats. Cats kill millions of birds and other wildlife every year. I suppose because I write so much about dog poo I am anti-dog or should that be ‘inconsiderate’ to some dog owners? I mention dogs because on many parts of the British coast dogs have been dying after being taken for walks on the beaches. The deaths in many cases are said to be caused by these unfortunate animals eating palm oil. What you may ask is palm oil and what is it doing on our beaches? In response to a ‘freedom of information’ request the Maritime and Coastguard Agency revealed that ships regularly release quantities of this material into our seas when washing out their tanks but by so doing this action contaminates the sea. All carried out in the name of saving money. However, it is poisonous to many creatures including dogs. It would seem that some dogs that have succumbed along the East Anglian coast may have been killed by eating starfish which are toxic.
By the way, have any of you been watching the TV programme on animals that have had a camera strapped to them? This, we are told, is so that we can see what exactly is happening from the animal’s perspective when a kill takes place. I don’t know what others feel about this practice but is this really necessary and in the animal’s best interest? Am I alone in thinking that a cheetah with a camera strapped to the top of its head looked very reminiscent of Van Gogh just after he had cut his ear off? I think there is a good likeness.