Another day of glorious weather enhanced further by my spending time birding with friends and colleagues. As you might guess , much time was spent reminiscing and not a bit of leg pulling, friends can often know a little too much or remember events too vividly!! Overall, the day was one to remember.
Yes, the pilgrimage north had been made by Roger Lovegrove, Iolo Williams and Geoff Morgan, a well travelled trio who, from the onset, were obviously enjoying everything Islay had to offer. Much of our time was spent around Loch Gruinart and Loch Indaal and, from the comments made, our local birdlife was being much appreciated. Whilst we didn't see anything special in Islay terms, time after time I was reminded how lucky we are on Islay to still have the buoyant communities of various species compared to other places.
Inevitably our discussions turned to Wales and the tragic circumstances that now appears to surround its much reduced upland bird communities. Time and again this was driven home by the comments made about the sheer number of Lapwings, Redshank and Curlew in the Gruinart area and the enjoyment being derived from the experience. Some years ago both Roger and Iolo , whilst working at the RSPB Wales Office, were responsible for a report entitled "Silent Fields", which addressed the alarming reductions in wader numbers in the Welsh uplands and the reasons behind such trends. Sadly such circumstances have not improved, indeed the situation is worse in the sense that other species have now declined too. We all agreed that the UK reliance on policy solutions in the arena of farming and land use practices has simply not worked, ( and such might eventually apply to other European countries too ) despite a persistent adherence to the pursuit of such solutions by various conservation agencies. Of course there are some success stories, but all too often these are associated with the introduction of highly visible, iconic species providing a convenient token for success to the agencies involved. I remain unconvinced, if not somewhat depressed, by the fact that we appear unable to address the needs, the real needs, of pursuing practices within our countryside that sufficiently support a diverse ecology, currently subjugated under an economic system content to see its gradual demise or reduction to a stereotype of the lowest denominator as far as species presence and diversity. Not an enticing future it must be said! The concept of the conservation bodies exhibiting "cahones" appears one of indistinct likelihood, which is all too worrying as, if they don't, who will?
But of the day, all such negative aspects could be set aside amidst the enjoyment of what we all took much enjoyment from!!!