Monday, 6 August 2012

Black Day for Birders in France

I checked out the wet meadows at Le Petit Tournebelle this lunch time.  Not much had changed - there were now about 120 Black-winged Stilts, still 40 Wood Sandpipers, 8 Lapwings, Curlew and 3 Glossy Ibis.  Also a White Stork flew over.

Black-winged Stilt

Wood Sandpiper

At home a little activity in the garden this evening.  Twenty Rock Sparrows paused on overhead wires before moving off to roost, 13 Crossbills flew over calling and a Pied Flycatcher fed from the pines near our terrace.

Pied Flycatcher

All of this was overshadowed by the news that three of my friends went to La Viala near Capestang to see the Black-shouldered Kite this morning and returned back to their cars to eventually find their tyres had been tampered with.  One had a tyre burst whilst in motion.  One had to replace all four tyres and the other two.  Only one other person was in the area and suspicion points to him.  Whatever having been on the end of an aggressive confrontation with a local hunter three years ago it seems this could be yet another cynical and frankly dangerous act to discourage birders visiting this wonderful site.  It is amazing because most people visit the marsh to see the amazing bird life not to interfere with hunters legitimate activities.  Sadly, many of the hunters see us in a category of "greens" which they fear will stop their pastime.  What stupidity!  We probably want at least 90% of what they want.  Clean air, clean water and a countryside of rich habitat.   Resorting to vandalism, threatening behaviour and endangering life itself will not stop birdwatchers looking for birds everywhere.

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