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Ive lived in Lanarkshire all of my 40 years, and in that time I have seen my local area change beyond all recognition, and definitely not for the better. From the appearance of massive identikit housing estates where rolling fields once rang to the song of yellowhammers, the inexorable process of urbanisation goes on as the local authorities undertake a concerted effort to eradicate every sign of nature- or so it seems. The nature- filled halcyon days of my childhood are a swiftly receding memory, replaced by the creeping horror of what is replacing them. Its important, I think, to highlight what we, as nature lovers in general and bird lovers in particular, still have, for the moment at least.
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Different Class

Posted Sunday 17th May 2015 at 23:22 by Green Sandpiper
I've always had a naive and optimistic/ simplistic view of birders and birding, probably because I operate at a level far below any politics or in-fighting. To me, birding is the great leveller, a passion or activity that unites people across social class- where the wealthy but inexperienced birders will defer to impoverished but expert birder whom they would ordinarily seldom com into contact with.

To a degree, this must remain true- I look at my own local group and close birding friends and recognise that we are a disparate lot. But when it comes to the figureheads or birding leaders, can we really say the same.

What got me thinking was the RSPB's decision not to oppose the granting of planning permission for the T in the Park music festival at a site which endangers returning ospreys. The RSPB gave a list of condtions for the organisers to meet, which were duly agreed to. Victory all round, the organisers get their million pound festival, the RSPB get their conditions granted.

No- one I know believes for one second that the conditions will be adhered to. Ordinary birders, those of us who cram as much birding into whatever time we can, fear the worst. We tend to see what happens when people who have no love for wildlife are allowed to act with impunity. We have watched as the RSPB sought to work with landowners as the number of hen harriers dwindled year on year, but still the policy of co- operation superceded any sense of principle.

Are the people at the head of the country's foremost birding organisation actually connected to the everyday birders who pay their fees, support their campaigns, and look to them for leadership?

I want the leaders of the RSPB (and other groups for that matter) to be frustrated field operatives. I want them to grudge every second not spent out in the long grass. Instead, we seem to have a collection of politicians in charge, comfortably middle class and twee, believing as they do that the forces diametrically opposite to them are interested in co- operation.

We know different.
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