[caption id="attachment_4206" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Morgan Jones-Parry, far left,shows FUW president Gareth Vaughan, vice president Glyn Roberts, deputy president Emyr Jones and Jill Evans the area where chough numbers have virtually disappeared.[/caption]
North Wales farmer Morgan Jones-Parry is not so chuffed about the declining numbers of the rare chough (pronounced "chuff") bird on his farm.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds says the chough has a restricted westerly distribution in the British Isles and because of its small numbers and historically declining populations it is an Amber List species.
But Mr Jones-Parry, chairman of the Farmers' Union of Wales Caernarfonshire branch, of Ciliau Uchaf, Llithfaen, blames Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) red tape for the virtual disappearance from the area of the chough that used to be abundant along the coastal path on the northern shores of the Lleyn peninsula.
He invited Welsh MEP Jill Evans to meet other FUW officers and see how CCW's management restrictions on grazing livestock numbers for the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on land he farms at nearby Nant Gwrtheyrn has destroyed the chough's habitat.
"It's a classic example of what's happening all over the country where vegetation is allowed to grow out of control due to environmental establishments enforcing management prescriptions which haven't always been beneficial to the valuable environment they were supposed to be trying to protect," said Mr Jones-Parry.
"By walking down along the coastal path from Ciliau Uchaf farmyard to Nant Gwrtheyrn we were able to see the area where the chough, which likes to search for insects and larvae on heavily grazed land, used to be.
"The CCW designated the site as an SSSI and insisted that the numbers of livestock grazing the area should be reduced to protect the habitat of the chough. By today the species has virtually gone from the area and that is because of the overgrown vegetation."
While its black plumage identifies it as a crow, the chough has a red bill and legs unlike any other member of the crow family and readily displays its mastery of flight with wonderful aerial displays of diving and swooping.
FUW Caernarfonshire county executive officer Gwynedd Watkin said: "We told Jill Evans that it's important to ensure a better balanced approach towards food production and looking after the environment when the EC considers the future of the Common Agricultural Policy.
"Morgan Jones-Parry and his family must have been doing something right over the years that they've been farming at Ciliau Uchaf, so why insist on changing the management strategy of the land in question?
"It's important that taxpayers' money is spent in a more efficient way in future, whilst at the same time acknowledging the local knowledge and expertise of farmers in Wales."