Some of our readers may be aware that I have been having a discussion with a gentleman on the Lancashire Evening Post Letters Page. * The story so far:
L.E.P. Thursday 15th December 2011
L.E.P. Friday 30th December 2011
MR GITTIN'S SUBSEQUENT REPLY:-
L.E.P. Wednesday 11th January 2012
MY REPLY TO THE ABOVE:
LEP Monday 23rd January 2012
Below, I have reproduced an article written by a former RSPB employee, who, for 20 years worked in Bowland. The article, which is a generalised view of a number of shooting estates, was published today (12th January) on a blog, the address of which appears at the end of the article. You may find it interesting - as well as saddening.
Over the thirty or so years in which I've had an interest and concern about raptor persecution generally much has been said , many statistics have been trotted out and an increasing number of incidents taken to prosecution or reported on. The situation nowadays is no better than at the end of the 1970's, indeed, it would be very easy to conclude that it has got worse, which is most certainly my own view. At some point in the near future I intend putting out a background summary, based on one area, showing how much things have deteriorated. Read more.......................
On the morning of Sunday 22nd January 2012, hare coursers were seen to be operating on Newton Marsh. The facts have been reported to the police (who, for a change arrived at the scene within 7 minutes). They then spoilt it by asking the observer how they could get out onto the Marsh to speak to the offenders!
When the offence was reported to the police, the observer was informed that they could only respond if he could give them a postcode!!!! Not easy to give one for Newton and Freckleton Marsh area. Be prepared to explain in more detail. WHATEVER HAPPENED TO LOCAL KNOWLEDGE?!
FOR THE GUIDANCE OF ANYONE WITNESSING HARE COURSING, I am duplicating a posting on the Fylde Bird Club website, which gives all the information required, and suggested action to take.
Can I also add my word of caution - Please don't get involved with the perpetrators themselves. They're not 'nice' people in any sense of the word. We can, however, safely play our part by helping the police in the manner prescribed:-
Hare Coursing on Newton Marsh
After a number of recent hare coursing incidents at Newton and Freckleton Marsh over the last few months, RSPB have met with the Lancashire police, and they are looking to escalate their response to this situation.
To ensure they can do this effectively, we need to support the police by reporting all incidents, so they can see the scale of the problem, and also respond to individual incidents appropriately.
If you are at Newton or Freckleton Marsh, and you see hare coursing taking place, then please:
· Record exactly what you see – number/description of people/dogs involved, what they are doing, wildlife disturbed/killed, vehicles involved (make and registration number), and the location of this activity. More info is better than less.
· Report it to the police on telephone 101 from Nov onwards and request a police response.
Postcode PR4 0XE
· Get a police log number for the incident.
· We do not advise approaching or challenging people involved in hare coursing.
It is worth noting that hare coursing is a problem for several reasons - hunting with dogs is illegal, disturbance to wintering birds has an impact on the designated features of the SSSI, during the breeding season it disturbs Schedule 1 birds (black-tailed godwits), and it could potentially damage the new and expensive electric fence that helps protect breeding birds on the marsh from predation. Furthermore, it leaves the local community feeling very threatened and intimidated.
RSPB Area Conservation Manager
Cheshire, Merseyside, Grt Manchester, Lancashire and Cumbria.
During the 2012 - 2013 Winter Season of talks we are to have a visit from two members of a local bird-ringing team, to explain their work. This will probably be concentrated on Coot, Black-headed Gulls, and Whooper Swans.
They include Kane Brides, Ciaran Hatsell, Chris Bridges and Zac Hinchcliffe, and one or two I don't know yet. Their ages range from 19 to about 22. They are all very personable young men (and a lady I've not yet met), and I will be doing what I can to help them as a group to further their works and migration studies.