Hares in places never seen before

lights out

Back in October 2006 English Nature ceased to be, so in the August we put together a newspaper to celebrate some of our achievements. I came across my treasured copy this morning and thought you might like to share some of our more humorous stories…

First up, the North East Team.

Conducting a site visit with a consultant and DEFRA to discuss a great crested newt case, wearing (unknowingly) a hard-hat with an ‘I’ve been to diggerland’ sticker on it.

Convincing a keeper that our advice on managing his blanket bog would not affect grouse numbers, whilst one of the few remaining grouse got up from under my feet, leaving most of its feathers behind and others falling off as it flew away.

A lady phoned to tell us she had found a moth that looked very rare. A Conservation Officer advised that the museum would be interested in seeing it and so explained how to ensure its safe-keeping overnight. When I returned to the phone to relay this information, the lady said “Oh, I am sorry, my cat has eaten it”.

A Director arrived at the office with his large pilot’s case and was delighted to be greeted with a cheerful “Ah, we have been waiting for you, come this way”. Only to be led to a disembowelled photocopier needing repair by our new receptionist.

Evacuating a huge shared office complex and calling out the bomb squad to dispose of what turned out to be a punnet of strawberries.

On receiving a phone call from children who had found a bat, I was about to launch into the standard advice when they told me that the problem was that they did not know what to feed it, so had tried a bowl of cereal which the bat had promptly fallen into and was now covered from head to toe in milky sugar puffs.

Now a few from the Wiltshire Team:

Our Deputy Team Manager and Assistant conservation officer parked the 25 year old minibus on Parsonage Down National Nature Reserve, and left the doors open. Heifer number 25 got in and ate the keys. No spare keys left, so the bus had to be rescued by a flat bed truck. Subsequently featured in the Times…

Pesky stone curlews ruined a local village celebration of the Queens’ 75th birthday by nesting next to a beacon stopping it being lit. A Conservation Officer had to explain this to the villagers.

A nameless Wiltshire Team Manager addressing the Team at a Team Building event stood back and stepped on an English Nature sheepdog’s tail. The dog duly responded with a bite to the Team Manager’s inner thigh – priceless!

A small child covered in elephant hawkmoths at a moth evening.

During the foot and mouth crisis one of our Conservation Officers made the immortal quote to the local press. “There are hares in places we have never seen before”.

I will share some of our ‘nature successes’ stories in later blogs but it is interesting how the story of something that went wrong is so appealing and memorable.

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