Black crows, red kites and golden eagles


March 6, 2018 by Whispering Smith

Whispering Smith Column published in the Littlehampton Gazette February 22nd. 2018

A wet and windy late February afternoon parked above Bury looking out over our lovely Arun River Valley wishing I had brought a book along for the ride and that got me to thinking. Way back when, as a youngster, long before the Beaumont Estate came in to being, I used to enjoy watching farmer John Hellier through our blackthorn hedge, working his yellow caterpillar tractor across the field by our house in Wendy Ridge,  surrounded by clouds of white gulls and black corvids. That memory jogged, led to another and I recalled a book I had been reading on such a day. Worzel Gummidge, Barbara Euphan Todd’s little book published in 1936 – it was the first story book ever published by Puffin – set on Scatterbrook Farm and featuring a scarecrow. A classic published long before television came along and replaced our imaginations with visual representations from someone else’s turnip head. On the way home, I nipped into the arcade’s Fireside Books, rather fancy reading it again and see to just where it takes me…

I am like many of you, fed up with career politicians saying we are doing something about this, I want to hear them saying we have done something about that! The persecution of birds of prey in on or around driven grouse moors continues with the very recent and mysterious disappearance of a tagged golden eagle in Scotland.  Those of you I chat with who very locally enjoy observing these superb birds of prey, be they a sparrowhawk in my Littlehampton garden or red kite and the mewing buzzard dancing on the thermals above Burpham or Highdown. I have no understanding of those who destroy such animals in order to save hand-reared birds that are bred solely to be shot for ‘sport’. The distaste for such an activity is, thankfully, growing and the cry louder for and return of the management of these lovely open spaces to those who care. Follow top man Chris Packham on social media the science and the truth behind the abhorrent mismanagement of many a moor is there for all to see.

*This is a somewhat edited version of the one filed with the paper due, I believe, to the lack of space. However, it is a topic I shall  frequently revisit and your views are always welcome…


One thought on “Black crows, red kites and golden eagles

  1. Cynthia says:

    Another memory blast. Thank you Chris. As for birds of prey , it’s like our society…. control v freedom. What we want and what they want.

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