I was going to go to Sheppey today but at the last minute changed my mind and decided to go to the Hoo Peninsula, primarily to try and see rough legged buzzard and shore lark. First stop was the lookout at Eastborough Farm. With the day almost windless it was quite a pleasant January experience to stand there and overlook the superb grazing marsh albeit if it is a long way from the actual lookout, a telescope is a real necessity here. Initially my first scans picked up no raptors but after about 30 mins and 1 marsh harrier, I picked up a raptor straight out sitting on a fence post, it looked like a rough legged buzzard and once it started to preen I could see further features which clinched it for me.Then a clump of raptors started to appear with 3 buzzards and 4 marsh harriers, soaring or sitting in the various leafless scrub. I then picked up a rough legged buzzard flying low over the bare fields and slightly behind and occasionally obscured by a reed fringed ditch. It finally sat in a field almost totally obscured. I then scanned back to the original raptor clump area and saw what looked like a second rough legged buzzard sat on a fence post with nearby buzzard and marsh harrier. Excellent a second bird, I don’t think I have seen two together in the UK before so a good result. I then moved onto Grain to look for the shorelark that had been found just before xmas I think. It favours the area of the seawall south of the outflow to and including the beach adjacent to the perimeter fence gate. I had great views of it on the beach where it seemed to be loosely associating with a group of turnstone. As the tide rose the feeding turnstone departed up river and the shorelark went with them!
Spoke to one of the anglers who mentioned that recently a 22 pound cod had been caught in or around the mouth of the Medway and this isn’t the first time that anglers have mentioned catching cod in the area. Good news to me that such a large codfish at least existed in the river and estuary. Then he went on to say that trawlers had also been in the Medway estuary, so not really much chance for the larger cod to continue to recover.
And finally… Tesco’s
This year i’m going to start to be a bit vocal regarding environmental issues that get under my skin. The sub section will always start with ‘And finally…’
Did you know that Tesco’s sell live turtles in their stores in China? This has been going on for some years now and as a result I boycott Tesco’s refusing to support them in the high street. I recently sent their customer services section an e-mail asking them when they intend to stop selling live turtles and received the following reply.
Thank you for your email and please accept my apologies for the delay in my response.
We appreciate you are concerned about the animal welfare issues associated with the sale of turtles in China. We have a track record of considering evidence, working with others and listening to their concerns. As a result, we have made several significant improvements to the way turtles are sold in our stores, such as making sure that the way in which they are handled is to the highest possible standard.
This approach to animal welfare and the sale of live turtles - seeking out research, acting on it and educating customers - is unprecedented by any retailer operating in China and we hope that these actions will help to drive up standards throughout the supply chain.
Some organisations are asking us to stop selling live turtles completely. While we are committed to upholding the very important issue of animal welfare, we also need to balance different cultural attitudes, in this case respecting the different traditions, expectations and values on this issue that exists in China.
Turtles are a popular and traditional part of the Chinese diet and, having addressed these important animal welfare concerns, we continue to sell turtles in our stores in China.
Thank you for your interest.
Lexy St Clair
Tesco Customer Service
Well the reply hasn’t changed my views on this activity. China has a poor reputation for upholding human rights let alone starting to consider animal rights. No doubt to meet with so called Chinese tradition, Tesco’s will start selling dried pangolin skins and bear gall along with tiger bones in their Asian stores soon within the toiletries aisle, has anyone checked?