For those of you who read my blog you will know that I have been having a Green Sand regularly on a flood close to the 'private' road that leads on to the mossland where my feeding station is located. The clue in my last sentence is the word 'private'! Now, some of you who might know this location will say "hang on a bit mate this road/track is a public footpath" and I can't argue with that. However, a public footpath is for walking along and not driving along!
Green Sandpipers are a fairly common winter visitor to this area and if you put the time in you will see one, unfortunately it's usually just a glimpse of its white rump as it flies off as they are notoriously difficult to get to close to. The point I am trying to make is that it would, in my opinion, be impossible to see this bird on foot.
Now I wasn't there when this bird has been reported recently, including six figure grid reference for its location (for fecks sake!), but if I was a betting man I would say that it was viewed from a vehicle. "So what" you might say. But the point I want to make is that you would drive past a very obvious sign that says 'private road no thoroughfare', so that means you need to park at the road end and walk the half mile to the location of the flood.
Now it is possible that this individual has permission to drive a vehicle down here and if he has should he be putting precise details of the location of this bird out (I can't believe I'm saying all this, it's just a Green Sand for fecks sake!) knowing that other people won't be able to drive to see it? Or should he, if he feels duty bound to report the exact location of every bird he sees, be putting a note against the sighting saying 'private road, no vehicular access, public footpath only'. That would be my preferred option.
Now what does this matter I hear you say. Well firstly it gives the impression that it is okay for birders to trespass and ignore 'private' signs and more importantly to me it could potentially jeopardise my access to this area. I have permission from the landowner to drive on site to undertake ringing activities and it only takes one mouthy birder, and there have been some incidents locally of this last winter at a flogged to death raptor site, who objects to being told to move by the landowner. The landowner could then potentially rescind my permission assuming that all birders are the same and that I must be associated with them!
This bird has been reported publicly by others recently as well, and I ask did you drive to look at this bird and if you did you were trespassing. So please in future just use it as a public footpath and walk down, unless of course you have written permission from the landowner to take a vehicle down there. And if you are reporting this bird please state that it is a private road and footpath only!
By the way the Green Sand was there today and at my feeding station were just 41 Tree Sparrows, a Fieldfare and six Blackbirds. In the large stubble field behind were 200 Lapwings.
What a large waffling post just about one of these: