Monday, 25 March 2013

I am so fed up and pissed off I probably should not write this now. Late last year an email came through about a local grant. Now I have never applied for a grant before and I suspect I never will again!! The people organising it came out and were great and advised us on what to do, and to be fair they have been wonderful all the way through. With help from David and Sally we did the application and got Robin to do the bits that I knew would make me throw the paperwork in the fire.

We then applied for planning permission to replace our very old 8 foot wide by 18 foot long shed, that we have used for decades as a hospital room. It is a horrid room, it used to house a huge generator when we moved here. The place is very dilapidated and will eventually fall down and be a health hazard to the staff probably, the tiles on the side are falling off now, it is far too small and not suitable any long for taking the injured wild birds that we take in (free gratis and for nothing with a substantial cost to us).

So it was with enormous joy that we heard that if we could get everything going and finish the building by June, we had a high chance of getting a £20K grant, that was a huge lift to all the staff here, particularly after such a shitty year that we had just finished. We were all very excited about it.

But things were not going to be that easy, oh no. Now bear in mind that I am a conservationist but a realistic one, keep that in mind! We have planted a wood, which will probably all die in the next ten years because of Ash dieback. We have built a large pond, we manage the 12 acres for wildlife as well as being a public facility. We have more small birds living here than any of the surrounding land, but unfortunately and I never thought I would say that, but I do mean it now, we have bats as well. I had intended to help them and put up bat boxes around the place, however that is not going to happen now, not a chance in hell. I can see why Charlie feels the same. We had both thought about putting bat boxes on the barns for them, here and in Yorkshire but if we did and then we needed to do something to the barn we would not be allowed to, so no bat boxes for us I am afraid. This sort of legislation is completely counterproductive to conserving and helping bats, in fact I would say it does the opposite.

After we had applied for the planning permission, we were hit with the fact that we had to have a bat survey - £480.00. The chap was very nice, very efficient, but sadly found about 10 bat droppings in three places. Well now the shit as it were has hit the fan. I have to have more surveys – see the price going up!!! I may have to have DNA done on the bat droppings (£125.00). If they are Pipistrelle bats, which the expert considers they are, there are 2 million of them in the UK,  it is found in Europe, South Africa and South West Asia and its conservation status is least concern, which means there is not a problem with the damn thing!


This roof, which we are not permanently removing, but just taking down and replacing had no winter bats, so it is most likely a summer roost. The building that we will put up will have a larger roof, it is attached and yes I do mean attached to another identical roof, so if by chance we upset a bat, it can move 8 feet to another part of the damn roof. I am very happy to put up whatever bat mitigation is required, special tiles etc. etc. If we had done the building in April it would have been finished before the bloody things wanted to roost anyway. We may lose the grant, we have had to pull the planning application so when it goes in again it will be another six weeks, after the next survey which has to be done in May. The effect on the bats would have been negligible in April, however I doubt we will start, if we even get the grant and are able to, before July. We have had three buzzards, two sparrowhawks, one barn owl, one goshawk and a Kestrel in during the last two weeks and we are absolutely stretched with them all, so I have to say that there goes any affection I might have had for bats, or any assistance I might have given them in the future.


And want to know the best bit, technically you are not allowed to apply for a bat license to disturb the little dears until you have planning permission to do whatever it is you want to do, but you won’t get planning permission without the licence. What fucking moron worked that one out!!!!!


Then Charlie’s bank in Yorkshire has told Charlie that my credit rating is not good because when I moved my bank account over to Lloyds, (where we have paid in our funds since 1967) I did not give them identification to prove I am whom I say I am!!! I have only known some of the people down there for over 4 decades!!! However I am obviously a dangerous risk to the world and am trying to launder money. Believe me if I had any it would not be going into the bank!!!! So I had to take my driving licence and a utilities bill down, but I took one that was too old – it has to be in the last three months. So as you can see, life has been frustrating.


However Carl Jones’s has a pair of condors and they have laid, last year they broke their egg, so this year, he decided not to risk the first egg and brought it here. It is huge!! We are incubating it and hoping that all will go well and it will hatch. That will be great stuff and good experience for Holly. The Stellers managed to hatch one chick by themselves, sadly they lost the other egg, but they are rearing their own baby plus a Bald Eagle for a friend. The Palmnut vultures have laid an egg, so fingers crossed for that one.


Just to put the cap on things the weather is bitterly cold and we have snow on the ground and it does not look like it is going to change for Easter which is particularly scary financially I have to say. I did win £5.10 on the lottery last week, but that is not going to help a great deal.



I have to say that keeping a weblog can at times become compulsive and at other times a chore. Sometimes I am berrated for not keeping it up and sometimes I get wonderful comments from people who follow the news of the Centre.

It is fun to share the daily goings on here, some good and some bad, some funny and some sad, but all a part of our daily lives.
And as I said before its a pretty cool to be here and it is a great place to visit, you should try coming and watching the birds and meeting the staff and of course the dogs.

An interesting video on Lead

An interesting video on Lead

I find it staggering that people who want to hunt don't see the value in changing their ammunition from lead to a safer product. We have stopped using lead in petrol, in paint, in our water pipes, but they still want to use lead - ah well, apparently eating it not only kills birds but leads to reduced intelligence in humans......................

NO ONE is asking you to stop legal and genuine hunting, they are just asking you to change your ammunition!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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