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Local Patch Buntings Cling On

Male Reed Bunting

Reed buntings, to be precise. And no further than 100 yards from my gaff, in the narrow strip of saplings that leads onto Portbury Wharf. Two individuals, male and female, were there a couple of days ago, and again this morning.

With breeding very much on birds’ minds now, this pair may be prospecting nest sites. If so, the cock had better keep his wits about him: it’s more than likely that any chicks will not be his – the highest rate of adultery for any bird species.

As a piece of good news, 2007 saw reed buntings moved up to Amber Status after ten years at Red Conservation Concern. This still means that the resident population has declined by 25%, but not by as much as 50%. Imagine the panic setting in if the human population dropped by two billion or more! We might consider helping numbers to recover in some way, like for instance by setting aside breeding space. Like for instance a nature reserve.

Which is what Portbury Wharf is supposed to be. More depressing then that in my search for references to its potential new name of Ashlands, all I found was a report about kids motorbiking on the land. You may expect that of kids, who don’t yet know any better, but when a supposed adult sticks up for them…

Well, the gist of their defence was that, since Portishead had so little for its young people to do, we should cut them a little slack. Yeah, right. God knows how much of the world is devoted to supporting seven billion human beings. 80%? 90%? Maybe more. And now we should cut slack into even more of it, basically so that people who can’t entertain themselves, can create a nuisance for everyone else.

And push beleaguered wildlife even further off the map. So, I’ll enjoy the reed buntings while I can.

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