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Alex Douglas-Kane shares her experiences and understanding of Discover Nature Awareness

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Stop the Battle Group.

I thought it would be fun to share with you some of my experiences with nature from around the world. While serving with the British Army I had the pleasure of doing several tours of BATUS near Medicine Hat in Alberta. Double pleasure as I have family in Calgary so my R&R was spent with them. Prior to going onto the prairie we are given a briefing by the Canadian authority’s, part of which is about conservation.

During this particular briefing we were shown slides of Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) and informed that if we saw any of these birds we had to report it straight away to the authorities’ who said that they would stop the exercise and move us to another part of the prairie in order to protect this bird.

One night I was returning to my battery when I spotted six Burrowing Owls near to our gun position, I made a note of the grid and on arrival went to the command post and informed the officer in charge of my observation and asked him to report this location to the authorities.

His words to me were "you are joking aren’t you" to which I replied "do I look like I am joking sir" please send the message, which he did once he understood he was required by the authorities to do so. Needless to say the Canadians were true to their word, and the exercise was stopped. It took nearly three days to relocate the Battle Group to another part of the range.

The outcome of all this was:

1) The lads thought for once birdwatchers are not so bad after all.

2) I am sure the officers were not best pleased, perhaps due to the loss of training time or with me

3) I got some extra unexpected birding in, this is what I call "In the Bag".

P.S. My Battery Sergeant Major expressed during his dine out speech that in all his years in the army he had never experienced such a thing, as he pointed in my direction and
politely called me a twitcher.

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