Who am I?

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An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to the see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Sunday, 1 March 2015

Living the dream or stuck in the past?

This morning (Friday 27th Feb) I'm sat here, at the desk in my study, looking out of the windows on a glorious morning. Directly to the south, about a mile as the crow flies - although not viewable, is Ramsgate Harbour whilst to the south-west lies Pegwell Bay. Less than a ten minute walk away is my place of employment and, in order to reach it, I walk west across Newland's Farm - my patch! Does it come much better than this? You're probably right - of course it does, but not for me; I love it here in our little bungalow amidst the urban sprawl and cauliflowers!
Down town Dumpton, on the Isle of Thanet, South Thanet if you please? We'll be at the centre of the universe as interest in this next "General Election" gains momentum. Nigel Farage UKIP v's  Al Murray - The Pub Landlord FUKP - and we're supposed to take politics and politicians seriously? It's worth making the effort to spoil a ballot paper, thus become a statistic, just to let this inept bunch of goons know that I've had it with the whole system of self gratifying, money grabbing, cheating, lying individuals (of which ever political allegiance) who care no more for me, and my requirements, than they do for the constituency as a whole - rant over!
Common Buzzard, back-lit by the winter sun, directly over the bungalow
At around 10.00 hrs the local gulls went up, signalling the arrival, from the east, of the third and fourth Common Buzzards of 2015. Both birds went north, one coming directly overhead so I simply had to go into the garden to grab a few images. There was a Golden Plover on my way and an Oystercatcher flying about in the darkness as I walked to and fro between work, on Thursday and, on Monday, there had been a Blackcap in full song in a garden at the end of West Dumpton Lane. Thanet really is a superb place to enjoy this simplest form of birding - patch watching. Geographically, it is ideally situated at the base of The North Sea as it narrows down into The English Channel, in prime position to intercept any waifs or strays that get lost on migration. On a good day it is possible to see the French coast from the cliff-top path above Winterstoke Steps, which are about a mile to our east. In the fourteen years that Bev and I have lived here I have amassed a list of 143 species for my "patch" which is five more than I had for Hertfordshire when I left in 1993, despite living in that county for 35 years!  These statistics are nothing more than my numbers - they are unable to reflect experience, ability and involvement. Hertfordshire is not such a bad place to go birding as my list would suggest. (I, and nobody else, have never managed to repeat the sighting (twitched) of eight Cattle Egrets at Stocker's Lake, Rickmansworth - 1992? and my best UK views of Storm Petrel were at Startops End Res, Tring - self found!)

Dawn on the Worth Marshes - is it just me?
It is a superb place to watch the sun rise - that I might have a chance of a decent pike is almost secondary?
Is that a Mitchell 300? - you bet!
An early morning drive across to Worth Marshes, Saturday, and I'd got three rods out before 06.25 hrs. Why did I bother? A total blank, if you ignore eels? (And I can without any problem - they're enough of a pain when I'm barbel fishing - when the water temp is around 6C what are these hibernating eel myths about?)
Eels in Kent - they must be the "commonest" endangered species in the county? They ain't rare - what it is, for far too many of our UK waterways, is the fact that the Water companies have an open license to pump whatever they consider to be treated effluent back into the river systems. Eels are amongst the most pollution intolerant species in our eco-system - any change to the water purity and eel populations will be the first to suffer.A lack of eels in a water, therefore, speaks volumes about water quality whatever the fishery scientists (paid by the Water Companies - surprise, surprise!) have to say about the situation. It would appear that water quality in East and South Kent - where I'm currently fishing - is of an extremely high standard indeed and eels are thriving. What we need is some otters - that'll sort the slimy bleeders out. Immediately barbel anglers up and down the UK are in utter shock. What sort of looney wants otters? - well this one who knows that barbel are only native to five UK rivers, yet are present in at least eighty-two! Illegal stocking of otter food replacement. Barbel are far more pollution resistant than eels, otters preferred food, although high levels of the birth control hormones in a river can have serious limitations on barbel spawning success (ref Lawrence Breakspear and The River Severn)

A barbel from The River Severn - Hampton Lode
A superb creature, but not native to the river.
Rivers full of barbel and chub are not healthy rivers when there are no crayfish, stone loach, bullheads and minnows. So to all those barbel anglers moaning about otters - they are native to the entire UK, barbel ain't!
Instead of pointing the finger at a native mammal - start protesting to your local water provider, get them to clean up our rivers to see them return to their former glory, when roach and minnows were a school boys apprenticeship into the wonderful hobby of angling. Get the barbel out of the rivers where they don't belong - and that includes The Kentish Stour! Anyone, but a certified nut-nut, knows that  it will never happen and all the dreaming in the world won't turn back time. As I alluded to in my header "am I living the dream, or living in dream-world?"  So my thoughts might not be mainstream but, surely, everyone is allowed a dream?

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