26th December. Boxing Day Hunt...

Boxing day is traditionally the day of the year when everyone and their granny go out into the countryside for a walk, trying to kid themselves that by doing that they can wholly justify the previous days calorie overload. Obviously Orgreave was over run when we arrived mid-morning, mostly with dog walkers going abut their own business. However, at the edge of the 'plains' I noticed a couple with an inordinate amount of dogs and moving in an all too familiar way. Clearly their business was hunting Hares! As they moved around the edges of the young plantations at least three Hares sprang free immediately pursued by two Lurchers whilst another two strained on the leash while their master broke into a trot.  Too distant to photograph we moved to a position where I could get closer - the hunt was on.  After scrambling to the top of the hill I came upon them less than a 100 yards away, sat the camera on the tripod and pointed it at them! Instantly they knew I was onto them as they gave me a friendly two-fingered wave.

Unperturbed we carried on pursuing them, keeping a good distance between us as they moved away their faces away turned from the camera.

Based on the fact that I had never seen them here before I guessed that they had probably come by car. We watched which direction they headed - they had now restrained the dogs and were just 'walking' them - and left for our car to get to where I suspected they had parked. When you've observed scum like this regularly you get a feel for how they behave and what kind of vehicles they use - always wrecks! Quickly taking the registrations of the likely vehicles just in time before they appeared at the exit. No surprises what vehicles they got into, as we drove innocently past them - RESULT.  All details and photos have now been passed to  the Police, I doubt there's enough evidence for a prosecution, but enough for a knock on the door from plod! A very exhilarating Boxing Day hunt, we also managed a Short-eared Owl, two Waxwings and an impressive 44 Whooper Swans heading low south east.

Rather worryingly if the law preventing hunting with dogs is repealed by the current Government this behaviour will become legally 'acceptable' though objectionable to the majority.

I took this photo back in November of a Hare that had clearly not been quick enough......

25th December. All I Want For Christmas is Whoo...

For most birders December can be among the most grim of months and this one has been no exception. Yesterday, after yet another rain soaked visit I was pondering my final blog of the year, but I didn't get around to it..

Unprecedentedly I was allowed to go out birding on Christmas Day. I don't do religion and I'm just too old to believe in Santa Claus but someone somewhere was smiling down on me this morning when I was given the gift of an adult Whooper Swan. Probably the last patch year tick this year..

Truly an Angel from the North.

Merry Christmas One and All

8th December. Yuck Fou

Having heard nothing true or otherwise about the ridiculous 'Chinese Theme Park' for almost a year I was about to remove the 'save Pit-house West' page link above, when a story appeared on the Roth Biz website.

As you will see the post has now been removed, no idea why, except that it didn't make good reading if you were a Rotherham Councillor or the Chief Exec' of RMBC. Fortunately I read it before it was removed
 (I really wish I'd copied and pasted it now) and the general gist of it was that the Chief Exec' used his delegated powers (rather than through a more democratic process) to rubber stamp a lease agreement to ensure that the main financiers of the scheme didn't take their money elsewhere.

In my experience delegated powers are not used when the subject is contentious and the fact that this scheme has received letters of objection and a 200 signature petition surely makes it contentious? 

Reading between the lines of the Roth Biz article you could almost smell the shady backroom dealings. The excuse that the backer would withdraw their money if they had to wait any longer, as they would if they'd been made to wait until the next monthly cabinet meeting, stinks of lies and corruption. Surely if the backer is that serious they could have waited another month?

I'll make a prediction now. The Chinese Theme Park won't happen (it's an awful, fanciful, white elephant of an idea and everyone knows it), but now the developer has his hands on the land what will stop him using the site for housing, warehousing etc? Particularly with the new relaxed planning laws and RMBC' determined to wash their dirty hands of Pit-house West.