What is Patton's Tiger?

I have been immersed in natural history since I was 18 and started work at the (then) Wildfowl Trust at Arundel. I met, worked and lived with some brilliant naturalists and a lifetime's obsession was born.
Birding was followed by mothing and the height of 'achievement' was obtained when a moth was given the above vernacular name in recognition of the fact that I trapped the first British record.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

A riot and a rant.......

Yesterday I visited a local common. A superb heathland site which I rarely go to these days. Why on earth not? Well, because of irresponsible dog owners and, more to the point, the lack of action by landowners, conservation organisations and 'the powers that be'. Apart from being literally plastered in dog sh1t which is the ultimate deterrent to enjoying a day in the field once you have trodden, knelt, or put your elbow or hand in it whilst trying to take a close-up photo, you have to put up with the ignorant doggy owners who cannot read. Or maybe they CAN, but they choose to ignore all the signs saying that dogs MUST be on a SHORT lead at this time of year because of ground-nesting birds. I spoke to two. One seemed genuinely not to know and put her dog on the lead straight away. The second put her dog on the lead for 30 seconds until she had walked past me and then let it off again. Why is her pet more important than protected birds? It sends my blood pressure through the roof, so I won't be back for the forseeable.

Out of interest, I HAVE contacted the organisation responsible for managing the site. A dog bin was installed  a year or so ago. I'm sure some poo goes in it, but tons and tons still goes on the naturally impoverished heathland soil. I wonder how many dog owners have been prosecuted? Guess that would be none :(

One knock-on effect of this is that, on sites where I KNOW nothing is done about errant dog owners, I have no hesitation to carry a net and I will take specimens if I see fit. Years ago, I would apply for permits (and rarely get them because of ineptitude) but I rarely bother now. If someone wishes to try and take me to court I will happily go.......with stacks of evidence about how they have failed to protect the site from far more serious threats and a counter-claim of persecution! Easy to challenge a naturalist with a net - less tempting to have a go at a very vocal dog owner whose dog has shat on the heather and is now chasing a Woodlark.................................................

So, rant over. What was the riot?

Silver-studded Blues in cop

A riot of fresh Silver-studded Blues fluttering over the heather. Superb! 

So, to escape the people owned by dogs, I went into a sandy quarry and watched Slavemaker ants for ages. I can happily stare at a square foot for a very long time! I watched some flies with incredible silver noses......

Metopia argyrocephala

.....and a jumping spider appeared in focus in just one picture!

Aelurillus v-insignitus

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