12th August 2010
I like Lee Evans, Ok, he can be a bit eccentric. He can be your best friend one minute and totally blank you the next, but he's done me a few favours over the years. However, I must take issue with his latest cause, 'Save the Ruddy Duck'. Its a complexed issue and I dont want to go into the great debate about preserving the integrity of a Western Palearctic species, the White headed Duck and the methods of exterminating the percieved threat posed by the Ruddy Duck.
The point I would take issue with is the use of emotive language such as 'petrified'. Using human emotions to describe the reactions of birds to situations is incorrect. Birds react to stimuli they come across in their enviroment. Whether its a gunshot, a predator, a car backfiring, a photographer who gets too close birds are genetically adapted to react to the potential threat. The nature of the reaction, the 'panic' mode - get as far away as fast as you can, or the controlled keeping a safe distance mode will depend on a number of triggers: the proximity, strength(loudness) and surprise of the stimulus.
I'm not saying I support the actions of DEFRA. I've seen them in action at Lea Marston and Coton and its quite disturbing, the chaos that is created but I think its important to take a broad view of many countryside issues and look at the long term effects on nature rather than making judgements based purely on emotion.
Here endeth the serious bit.
On topic of Boobies or the sighting thereof. I refer you to the possible sighting of a Masked Booby off the Norfolk coast early this morning. The chances of it being a Masked Booby is somewhat remote I would have thought. Tanned Booby otherwise known as Brown Booby is much more likely on the east coast. Coverage is scant on much of the Norfolk coastline which is more suitable for Tanned rather than Masked Boobies, although the poor weather in East Anglia has reduced the number of acceptable sightings. There are specific beaches where, with vigilance Boobies can be observed distantly in practically all weathers but information on exact locations is generally suppressed.