Many comments left on the blog spoke of relinquishing memberships out of disillusionment
on this matter. But as dismayed as I feel, if I put this matter to one side, I still think the RSPB do a lot of fine work that deserves supporting.
On Saturday I had a cracking morning's birding at RSPB Otmoor in Oxfordshire, with birding pal and fellow Hen Harrier warrior Sharpy. 10 species of Warbler, Cuckoo, Marsh Harrier, Peregrine, to name but a few. Lapwing, Redshank and Snipe filled the sky with aerial displays and wondrous noises.
On Sunday the mad wife was running the 3 Forts Challenge. In other words running up and down the South Downs for 28 miles. It takes all sorts. I came to the easy decision that witnessing first hand, the glorious phenomenon of Nightingale song was the better option. So after dropping her in Worthing I drove the short distance to RSPB Pullborough Brooks which must be a strong contender for the title of best Nightingale site in England. Not only do they sing for you tirelessly but their quite happy to put in an appearance too.
Warblers aplenty provided the backing vocals including Lesser Whitethroat and Cettis.
Thanks to some unlikely bank holiday sunshine, it wasn't just birds on parade. Butterflies such as Brimstone, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Orange Tip were soaking up the rays,
as were some of the reserves reptilian residents. It was truly amazing to watch a 'mating ball' of Grass Snakes twisting and writhing as 3 males vied for the affections of the larger female.
And when it comes to snakes the European Adder takes some beating. I was over the moon to encounter 3 different individuals of this stunning creature.
I even saw Great Crested Newts in the pond outside the visitors centre on my way back to the car park. And talking of the visitors centre, with a bit of time to spare before leaving I had a browse of the books on sale. And guess what I found. Only "Inglorious" by Mark Avery. The book that explains the facts in great detail as to why we should ban Driven Grouse Shooting. If you haven't read it you should.
So although the RSPB can't seem to accept the indisputable fact that the only way to reclaim the habitat and wildlife of the uplands is to BAN DRIVEN GROUSE SHOOTING!!! lets give credit where it's due. For me, this and many other weekends have been enhanced by the fantastic work they do on their reserves along with the many other worthy projects they're involved in around the world. Keep up the fantastic work guys but just try and grow a pair when it comes to DGS.