Wednesday, 18 July 2018
The sound of destruction
A cooler and cloudier morning than of late. I took a very laid back stroll along the minor road that runs down the middle of Canons Farm. Quite a few sluggish butterflies were on the wing, including this Comma (above). In the still air the quiet was punctuated by a small amount of bird song, including three singing Yellowhammers (below). It was altogether restful and the lack of action barely mattered. This peace was, however, soon sullied. Machinery was started up and the noise emanating from it crept closer. I knew what it would be before I saw it, and when it finally appeared around the corner of a mature hedgerow my fears were confirmed - a tractor armed with a hedgerow cutter. This lump of metal was levelled against the sides of the verdant vegetation and the growth torn off, leaving ragged, broken branches and chomped leaves. There is nothing careful about this procedure, it is a rape of the growth. The flora at the base of the hedge was also cruelly destroyed.
What of the birds still nesting? Obviously they do not count. The RSPB suggest that hedges are not cut back between March and August. Section 1 of The Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 states that is an offence to intentionally take, damage or destroy a nest of any wild bird when it is in use or being built. The person(s) who ordered this cutting back will, if challenged, deny any knowledge of birds nesting, so that there could be no intention in their actions. Today is July 18th, and it is almost inconceivable that several hundred metres of healthy hedge would not have birds nesting in it. Our wildlife needs all the help it can get. It hasn't had much help this morning.