Hit or a Miss?

Photo: Joe W
Photo: Joe W


Looks like he’s going to miss this time?

And it doesn’t look very much like a harrier.

Could you make it up…?

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32 Replies to “Hit or a Miss?”

  1. Ask the folk that were asked to move out of their royal Sandringham home and had to move to New Zealand!!

  2. Eh?
    Not sure the point of this.
    I assume this is a dig? at the fact that Prince Harry was never charged with allegedly shooting a hen harrier from the Sandringham Estate 5 years ago.... because no dead birds were found and Harry denied any knowledge of the incident when interviewed by police?

    I might very well be wrong in my assumption about the reason behind this post.

    But as far as I can ascertain.... the Sandringham Game & Country Show has been going for 7 or so years.

    So do you blog along similar lines in early September each year Mark, or is it just this year - and if so.... am I missing something about this year in particular?

    1. Have they had the same graphic for the last seven years with the man with the raised shot-gun and the bird of prey almost but not quite in his sights?
      That would be funny in a bitter-ironic way at any game fair, given the ongoing controversy over the attitudes of some shooting estates to predators . The alleged hen harrier incident at Sandringham is an additional twist and it is not exactly good PR for them to use this graphic. Maybe its supposed to be two fingers to the conservation community, maybe its just ineptness but either way I would think its worth posting here.

    2. Of course it was only a 'nature conservation' professional that spotted an alleged shooting of hen harriers on the Sandringham estate. Indeed, since when ******************************************** Royal Family!
      You'd have thought they could've done a swankier board than this cheap home made effort to advertise such a prestigious day.

    3. Doug - it's childish isn't it? I was struck by the photograph of a man apparently pointing his gun in the general direction of a bird of prey in these days of buzzard licenses, hen harrier disappearances from the uplands etc. I didn't mention Prince Harry.

      I'm not keen for this post to be full of speculation about any individuals - everything I really wanted to say about the incident at Sandringham was said in Fighting for Birds Chapter 11. Therefore I've already not published one comment from a regular contributer to this blog so as not to kindle any flames (and I'm grateful to him for his understanding on that matter).

      I agree with Joe W - this sign, when passed by birders heading to the Wash or Norfolk north coast, may bring either a smile or a wince to their faces. i thought it worth sharing for that reason.

      1. In the context of defamation law, an innuendo meaning is one which is not directly contained in the words complained of, but which would be understood by those reading it based on special knowledge. Sez Wiki.

        1. filbert - I trust your comment does not seek to defame me. I won't take it as such.

          1. Of course not - I'm a great fan of innuendo, allusion and oblique references. That's another reason why I don't have a Tw*tface account - no room in the meagre Cobb Towers budget for legal fees ...

  3. I think it's some sort of extraction process.

    btw, I didn't get a response to my enquiry as to whether or not the EU commission had responded in turn to Defra (in the time taken to extract the detail - I assume they (the EU Commission) are not all in it together as well?) so I'm wading thru the entire story to build a picture of events against timings.

    Newcomers to this blog may be as disadvantaged as me in this respect but should be encouraged to carry on participating? It is they who will ultimately wield the balance of power? Or am I showing my green credentials again??

    In the process (its slow hard work for me) I've discovered quite a bit and I'm only at Wuthering Moors 7.

    Apart from the role blanket peat bog plays in environmental services including the potential to avoid damage to property from flooding costing millions in dosh and heartbreak by the tonne, I've also discovered there is another Phil D - in the illuminating Guardian article - that tries to express opinions on these matters. How amazing is that - who'd have thought it Ploppy.

  4. I discover that Jacques Derrida commented on this sign, though he was of course dead. It's hard to deconstruct his dense semiotics but, roughly, he seems to be saying that the sign looks back to a golden age in Germany (c. 1837) when it was fashionable to shoot raptors, compulsory to wear funny hats, and the guns were so wonky you had to point them the wrong way. Any anyway it would be hard to get 35 million pheasants on the sign.

    I find his last comment the most illuminating, showing as it does an unusual practicality in an otherwise rather abstruse philosopher.

    1. Alan - brilliant! If there were a prize for the first mention of Derrida on this blog then it would be yours (from memory!).

      1. Did he, Derrida, attempt to deconstruct complex issues into a form digestible by enough ordinary blokes to actually enable achievement of one's goals?

        It'd be good if he did because I can't see too many more ordinary blokes trying to do wot I'm doing. Certainly not the one million newcomers to the cause that are needed to compensate for the one million that are kept in the dark by the people claiming to give nature a home (judging by ePetition signature rates).

        btw I asked a few people in a pub today if they knew who Nigel Farage was and they all came top of the class. When asked about Caroline Lucas, oh dear, only one who had seen her at Balcombe! and yet Nigel and Caroline both believe in "localisation" don't they? Could Farage be pursuaded to fight for the environment do you think?

        Mark, I'm not being funny here, I think what you do is marvellous and you may even get a result with Wuthering Moors but how much energy do you have to fight all of the issues with so little backing from the people who do understanding what you're talking about??

  5. Shame on you all (?) - it looks (again) as though nobody has bothered to actually find out what it's all about – indeed – it's fair to say that this country show will be doing more for raptors this weekend than the RSPB has done for 5 years

    A truly typically pathetic and moronic conservationist take on reality!
    It's what we country folk fight against every day

    Go visit my friends and embrace!


    Falconry Village
    Marvel at the beauty of the majestic Birds of Prey at the Falconry Village. They swoop to conquer!
    The vibrancy of the The Falconry Village stands out. A multitude of native and worldwide Birds of Prey gathered together, just waiting for their chance to fly!
    The village encompasses a flying arena, an indoor training arena, specialised stalls, static displays and resident expert falconers.

    Falconry is an all important part of all Living Heritage fairs and has been since 1985.

    The Falconry Village has two aims; Firstly, to give visitors the thrill of spectacular flying displays, creating memories to last a lifetime!

    And secondly, to create a wonderful area where visitors meet the world of falconry, where they can enjoy and explore all aspects of the sport, including health, welfare and legal issues.

    The first ever Falconry Village was introduced at the Sandringham Game and Country Fair several years ago and proved an instant success. Now the Falconry Village has grown to become popular with visitors & falconers alike.
    Local Falconry and Hawking Clubs add to the village at shows throughout the year. Their appearances help to attract would-be falconers into the exciting world of falconry. Lantra representives are at the fairs to help with an introduction to falconry courses as well

    And there's more ...............

    1. Trimbush - thanks so much. It's always an interesting question how much captive wildlife can enthuse people about wild wildlife. There might be a blog in that some time.

      1. Get the RSPB to dedicate a grouse moor or two to 'hawking' (not Stephen) – then raptors will really take off !!
        And why not?
        It's the way most people use their 'captive wildlife' (cats!)

      2. It worked for me, after seeing a display by http://www.gauntlet.info/ sparked my interest in raptor monitoring and conservation.

      3. Interesting idea Mark, a little thread developed on the Ribble Estuary Nature page on Facebook covering this subject. I have to confess that I cannot make my mind up if only because I have seen just about all aspects of keeping captive animals that there is to see. I have been involved in zoo projects and in looking after injured birds and hedgehogs and I am still not sure. Anyway, I will explain more when the blog appears.

    2. What mayhem would ensue at these events if performing raptors organised a boycott of leather gauntlets holding scraps of meat in favour of small children holding burgers.


    3. Even though I wouldn't put it in quite such a technicolor vomit fashion as trim bush, I think this is where I pretty well agree with him? Her?
      You may see a gun pointing near a BoP joe and mark. I see a gun. And a BoP. A gamefair advert. Thats all.
      I'd probably go if I lived closer. I'll go to the Mapledurham next year instead, along with Blenheim

      1. The 'technicolor vomit' is not of my making - it's copied from the organiser's website

        1. "Shame on you all (?) – it looks (again) as though nobody has bothered to actually find out what it’s all about – indeed – it’s fair to say that this country show will be doing more for raptors this weekend than the RSPB has done for 5 yearsA truly typically pathetic and moronic conservationist take on reality!It’s what we country folk fight against every day"

          The vomit I was on about.

  6. Well Trim,
    As someone who worked at the Raptor Rescue/Bird of Prey Centre we regulary had to attend such fairs because some birds were illegally obtained from the nests, some were transported in unsuitable conditions, some hadn't had basic welfare care, however most these days are generaly in good nick.
    You are right about how many people watch displays like this and are "wow" there is an arguemnet that they should be left in the wild as the trade in foreign birds of prey can be very grim, like the case when we had to attend Stanstead airport for a consignment (illegallly smuggled in cut-down drainpipes) 16 Harris Hawks(dead),10 brahiminy kites (6 dead),Kookaburas etc etc....WHERE THERE'S A PROFIT TO BE MADE, THERE'S ALWAYS A CRIME TO COMMIT.
    Oh watch out for those Hornets your favourite rag wrote about yesterday.

    1. I like hornets - it's the spooky way they turn their heads to look at you.

      Watch out for them but don't try to swat them. If you do they may release fear-o-moans which will give cause for their mates to visit in numbers.

    2. Hi Douglas
      It took me some time to discover where the 'hornet' story came from – (Mail)
      I take no daily paper – they don't deliver at 1,500 feet
      I was thinking of adopting one of the visiting racing pigeons which come to my place when tired – looking for a rest and some food – it got both of course – but when it first arrived it was limping – it self-cured after a week or so – it took to appearing at my kitchen window looking for food – and so it could listen to Radio 3 – no doubt the same music as it was familiar with (or preferred) at home.

      1. Over the years, we have had a number of racing pigeons drop into our place and I freely admit that we've grown rather fond of their visits. On some occasions they have loitered for close to a fortnight, the idle blighters! They seem to favour the west wing, it's a tad more sheltered. Interesting, although not altogether suprising, to note that you also live by a grouse moor. The racing pigeon is an intelligent bird, perhaps they have sussed out that they are unlikely to be bothered by those other birds?

  7. The daft thing about this muck spreading contest is that introducing side issues simply does no more than spread the muck a bit further than it was it the first place, and believe me here in Wiltshire we know a lot about muck spreading.

    On the falconry issue, I am well aware that there have been a number of occasions when conservation minded falconers have been responsible and fully supported action against the criminal activity of other, non conservation minded, falconers. So I end up with agreeing with Trimbush over his view of falconry and with Douglas with his view of falconry. Come on and get to the middle ground, we need to be there and quickly. I know Mark, that this is similar to the 'war' argument of the other day but it is how I am beginning to feel.

    1. To be fair I recognise a lot of what Trim's put in his comment and I never thought I might type that, criminal behaviour that I mentioned is dying out but still happens some of the worse animal treatment I've seen first hand (stanstead airport case aside) was an actual zoo given it's liscense by a local authority so it's not all theft etc.
      The reason I agree with Trim's comment is I've also seen the reaction of not only kids when you let an owl sit on/take off from the glove but adults too. One of the other reasons I was told but a falconer for her attending game fairs was to demonstrate at close quarters what BoP's are really all about and if possible to change attitudes, does it work? Not so sure myself, but you have to try.

  8. Not all shooters are irresponsible when it comes to conservation. Many are keen to see wildlife in their areas without it being the object of their "sport." Putting out winter feed for pheasants also helps other birds get through a harsh winter. It is only the ignorant few, as far as I can tell, that shoot at everything that comes within range. They give other shooters a bad press. OK, it is wrong to shoot any creature, perhaps with the exception of beavers, mink, muntjack, and grey squirrels. No, I am not a shooter, I am a conservationist who does not agree that introductions have a place in the UK. Iolo Williams said something similar the other day. Like the squirrel, shooting pheasants is a grey area?

    1. Diapensia, I have to question why I am typing this at 5 in the morning when I should be asleep but my back is hurting so excuse any comments made whilst under the influence of pain. I am not a shooter but I cannot go along with this. Logic seems to go out of the window when we talk about these issues nowadays. Is it wrong to shoot any creature, if it is stop there because the argument lessens dramatically when we add in 'except for'. I would be happy knocking off rats, mink, grey squirrels, muntjac and even a few roe deer (they taste nice and cause damage) but why beaver; what makes one person want to introduce them and another to kill them.

      So is it about introductions or just personal preference. If is about just introductions what stops us shooting red crested pochard, mandarin duck (we did it with ruddy duck), eagle owl, parakeet etc, etc. No I think this is often about personal preference (with science allegedly in there somewhere) so why am I happy to dispose of grey squirrels but not magpies and why would you like to see beavers culled but I would like to add lynx to the mix. We all read the same books but it would be a sad world if we all thought the same ( and there wouldn't be the need for a blog).

    Is that this best up for offer to read in the world of conservation. I thought perhaps a blog post maybe about the Water Vole and it's decline by a fifth since 2011. Or maybe a snippet of your favourite organisation-DEFRA and it's green (sic)paper on "bio-diversity offsetting" which will allow developers to build on environmentally sensitive areas as long as they fund future conservation projects (probably some winter set asides for pheasants)or if next weeks European Commission outlining how it plans to tackle invasive alien species (IAS), still glad that nothing of importance is happening so we can all look at an advert that is plainly as one sane person pointed out is "a man with a gun and a bird of prey", get a grip ladies.

  10. Actually, I'm with you on this one Mark. You really couldn't make it up.

    I don't know how old this sign is and whether it predates the Sandringham harrier debarcle, but it does strike me that whoever runs this show either has no eye for detail whatsoever or is deliberately poking fun at the authorities.

    Maybe it is all innocent. Maybe not. It is certainly inappropriate considering past events.


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