Dungeness - mild, cloudy, sw 5 - With strong winds rasping across the peninsula the only place for a chance of any birding was along the foreshore and out to sea. This morning at the Patch at least one juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was amongst the throng and a steady trickle of Gannets passed west in the Channel. Two Yellow Wagtails over calling were the only passerines of note.
From midday Swifts started to appear over Littlestone and Lade, and by mid-afternoon several hundreds were swarming over the shingle beach near the Fish Hut. An hour with the regulars from 1445hrs at the fishing boats delivered 20 Gannets and single figures of Common Tern, Med Gull and Kittiwake westwards.
I guess like me some of you watching last nights Euro 2016 final in the Stad de France would have been dismayed to hear that stadium staff were seen sweeping and hoovering up "swarms of moths" that were attracted to the internal lights, because they were carelessly left on overnight. Apparently most were Silver Ys, but I`ll bet there were one or two other goodies awaiting identification, before being sucked up; which to be honest would have been far more interesting than what turned out to be a dull game.
That aside, my point being is that humankinds cavalier attitude to wildlife stinks to high heavens at times - and you haven't got to look too far around the European continent of late to find other examples of our reckless, cruel and barbaric behaviour to the animal kingdom.
For pure barbarism let`s start in the north Atlantic, the Faroe Islands to be precise, where hundreds of Pilot Whales are driven into shallow bays each summer and slaughtered, and all to continue a "1,000 year old tradition". This sensitive, warm blooded creature is then dispatched in the shallows by locals with a hand-held spinal cord lance. The cruelty is beyond belief, and most of the meat is so toxic to eat that it ends up on the local tip. Other species of cetaceans such as Bottlenose and White-sided Dolphins also meet a similar fate.
Moving south to the uplands of Britain, where the annual Red Grouse slaughter is about to get underway next month, all is not as it seems in this green and pleasant land. Moorlands that should be home to hundreds of pairs of Golden Eagles, Hen Harriers and Merlins hold but a tiny few - nothing must stop the wealthy "grouse hunters" from having their fill of driven birds, whether it be raptors or Mountain Hares.
And further south still, to the Mediterranean rim, where the gunners and bird-trappers of Italy, Spain, Greece and Egypt along with the death-traps of Malta and Cyprus are preparing for the autumn migration and the killing and capture of millions of song birds. It is, of course, unsustainable and unwarranted, but will eventually pass into history simply because sooner or later there wont be any birds left to kill.
However, having said all that, I suppose the aforementioned animals have some chance of evading capture, albeit a slim one, which is more than can be said for a Spanish fighting bull that is bred for one purpose only. The recent death of a matador brought the whole sickening bull fighting spectacle to a wider public attention. Every year thousands of bulls are slaughtered in an arena purely for the pleasure of a baying crowd of human beings.
Who would have thought that such organised animal cruelty would still exist in so called civilised, First World countries in the early 21st Century.