I spent the day grafting in my garden and I was kept company by constant birdsong from blackcap, mistle thrush, greenfinch, species of tits, nuthatch, pied flycatcher and a host of other birds. It is also a day when the bumblebees were actively feeding on nectar and collecting pollen from my 'Ribes' (flowering current) bush. I sat outside for lunch and I was joined by a pipisterelle bat which decided to take advantage of the warm spring sunshine as it emerged somewhere from my roof space. It flew around for a good 15 minutes before returning under the eaves of my house from whence it came. I got my bat detector out and 'zapped' the bat 'echo-locating' at around 45 to 50khz therefore confirming it as a pipistrelle. Without this handy little device the bat would otherwise have been silent in the frequency range I'm capable of hearing with my utterly inferior human ear.
What else makes it a 'B' (black) day today well a high court judge has decided that the proposed cull of badgers in North Pembrokeshire and parts of Ceredigion is 'lawful'. This judgement basically condemns to death hundreds or possibly even thousands of one of our most ancient and enigmatic native animals which has probably inhabited mainland Britain long before man set foot upon it. Elin Jones the Plaid Cymru constituency member for Ceredigion who is also the Welsh Assembly minister for rural affairs has bowed to pressure from the powerful agricultural lobby in allowing the controlled cull to take place. You can massacre every badger in the Britain but do you seriously believe that you will eradicate bovine TB by such measures? I think not somehow. This blog and others like it are not intended for people like me to give a personal opinion on matters which may be deemed controversial or political in nature but please forgive me for mentioning about the proposed badger cull. There are some issues which I feel strongly about and I feel obliged to comment upon and simply remaining silent on the subject is simply not an option. I have been interested in badgers since my youth when I went to a fascinating talk in Newtown high school given by Dr Ernest Neal who was then the acknowledged World authority on the European badger. This eminent man would be turning in his grave if he realised what was about to take place, the senseless slaughter of his beloved badger. Each year many thousands of badgers (estimated at 50,000) are killed on our roads (a gross underestimate in my view). This in itself is 'culling' probably unavoidable in the 'majority' of cases (one has to admit that badgers haven't much road sense!). So I speak not as an 'animal rights activist', of which I not, but as a wildlife enthusiast and a concerned member of the rural community who deems the proposed cull as cruel, unethical, and unnecessary. In addition to this I regularly visit the area of Pembrokeshire where the cull will take place some of it within the boundaries of a 'National Park'. Badgers commonly have their sets on field edges bordering the coast and therefore the very popular Pembrokeshire coastal path. How will all this affect tourism in the area. Do the people who visit the area who in turn help the local economy have a voice?
I rest my case on the matter for the present but I suspect others will ensure that the cull when it commences remains at the forefront of the news.
On a lighter note I saw a male yellowhammer in the village of Forge this afternoon.