Stop the Scottish Government poisoning eagles.

In recent years I have been visiting the island of Islay due to its dramatic wildlife which is a big winter destination for many tourists to witness the 50,000+ geese that arrive mainly from Greenland, and the dramatic landscape of the island offering habitats for so many other birds especially eagles. Islay is the most fertile of the western isles of Scotland and is farmed for grass for the cattle and barley for the many distilleries on the island. Large amounts of fertiliser are used to create all this grass offering the geese a great place to come and graze as most cattle are confined to winter quarters as they would damage the sword by ‘poaching’ the grass.


Immature White-tailed eagle feeding on carrion of the isle of Islay

Continue reading Stop the Scottish Government poisoning eagles.

More discarded game birds discovered dumped after being shot, this time near Sheffield

Last evening we received the following images and detail showing more corpses of shot game birds including 2 pheasants and 3 duck which had been dumped and discarded behind a stone wall. What makes this discovery all the more abhorrent is the fact that after each of the birds had been shot the breast meat was cut away and removed before the corpses where simply thrown away and discarded. The dead birds were found adjacent to Ronksley Lane, Sheffield S6 6GH.



Continue reading More discarded game birds discovered dumped after being shot, this time near Sheffield

Natural England in denial about the disappearance of so many nesting Peregrines from the Forest of Bowland

 Peregrine Cliff Destroyed 2015-1
One of 7 destroyed Peregrine nesting sites located
by the North West Raptor Group in the Forest of Bowland since 2010

It is well known that since licenses allowing the North West Raptor Group to monitor Peregrines and their persecution in Lancashire’s Forest of Bowland were withheld in 2010 by Natural England, successful Peregrine territories in this moorland region, estimated at 18, have all been found abandoned. Natural England the Governments Wildlife Advisor are saying very little if anything about this unfolding tragedy.

Continue reading Natural England in denial about the disappearance of so many nesting Peregrines from the Forest of Bowland

Satellite-Tracked Saker Falcon visiting Germany

It is among the aims of the project ‘LIFE13 NAT/HU/000183 RAPTORSPREYLIFE’ is to reveal more details about the predator-prey relation of two strictly protected bird of prey species – the saker falcon and the imperial eagle – and their prey species – most of all the suslik and the hamster – , as well as to prepare and implement efficient conservation measures targeting those species. GPS-based satellite-tracking serves with information to those aims. In the frame of satellite-tracking, six adult saker falcons were tagged in Hungary. In Romania, two juvenile sakers and one imperial eagle were tagged.

Continue reading Satellite-Tracked Saker Falcon visiting Germany

Gamekeepers Disgraceful Wastage – surplus pheasant dumped.


This footage depicts the corpses of approximately 200 rotting pheasants, which had been shot before being dumped adjacent an open crow trap on a red grouse moor.

Continue reading Gamekeepers Disgraceful Wastage – surplus pheasant dumped.

Raptor Persecution UK Refuse the right to reply.

five dead buzzards

What would be the best solution, control Buzzards using licenced killing, or use a suitable non lethal device which does not harm the Buzzard?


I am sure regular visitors to this website will have seen the post on the 4th January, concerning non lethal electrical deterrents, and their possible use at game bird release sites.

This article was criticised the same day by Raptor Persecution UK, I in turn responded to this by placing a comment disagreeing with their interpretation of the ethics of using such a device, and it’s possible illegality here in England. However the device would only be illegal if it was used without a licence should a licence be required, this has so far not been determined.

In this comment, I referred to a situation experienced by me during my career as a gamekeeper.

This was greeted firstly by incredulity, ( partly I think because of a misinterpretation of my statement), closely followed by an attack of the most virulent mockery, concerning my knowledge and observational skills regarding Goshawks.

Only one critic, Anandprasad , approached the subject in a reasonable manner .

I realise that my related experience was (to some obviously), hard to believe or accept.

This does not excuse the manner of my criticism, nor the refusal to allow me a right of reply to my detractors. On two occasions since my last critic posted his comment on the 5th January, I have had my reply up for moderation, only to see it removed shortly afterwards, without any explanation.

I am grateful to Raptor Politics for agreeing to publish this reply, printed below. It is changed slightly from the original, to take account of the time that has passed, and to give a little more detail of Goshawk nest spacing in the woods where I worked.

It may help to set my reply in some context, if readers would refer to the post on Raptor Persecution UK, scroll down to read comments that were published, before reading my words of reply that were not allowed, but have now been kindly published below by Raptor Politics.

Thank you very much.



My comment below, which I attempted to post twice on Raptor Persecution UK without success.

I really must apologise for misleading you all, but at no point in my comments posted did I state that I had seen 17 Goshawks in the air together. That would be a stupid exaggeration even from a member of the “Nasty brigade”, wouldn’t it?.

The term “main Pheasant release area”, referred to up to five pens in the central area of my beat.

My figures were based on the number of Goshawk nests with just fledged, or about to fledge young, plus adult (and at least one sub adult) birds on my beat at the time my Pheasants were released in June. These juveniles gradually dispersed through the autumn, though I feel certain that some remained on the ground till at least the following spring, (I can regularly hear contact/ begging calls to the end of September ).This does not preclude the fact that juveniles from other sites may have dispersed into my area also.

The four nests were situated in an approximate L shape, the total distance between them amounting to about 1.75 kms. The closest distance between successful nests being 250 metres .

When intersecting lines were drawn between the nests, they were found to be contained in a “box” measuring 1 km by 0.8 km.

The two further nests on my beat were 2.6 kms and 3 kms away from this group.

A nest on a neighbouring estate was, at this time I think, less than 3 km away, other nests on our ground at a slightly greater distance.

I am a founder member of two Raptor study groups. My schedule one disturbance licence which I have held for thirty six years now runs to twelve sides of A4, covers species much rarer than Goshawk, and is valid for six counties. That’s before we get onto the one for Scotland.

I do not recall any of the authors of the above smart arse comments being quoted in the available literature on Goshawk. Websites such as this, while generally doing a good job bringing issues to the fore (at least to those who are interested ), tend to encourage a herd mentality.

It’s the old, I think I know a bit about raptors (so many seem to nowadays), let’s jump on the bandwagon, and have a collective laugh at the stupid gamekeeper who can’t know what he’s on about syndrome.

I resent insinuations enclosed in comments posted by Raptor Persecution UK that I had shot any of these birds, and now request these libellous comments are immediately removed.

I somehow don’t think Mr Newton, or Mr Kenward approach things in quite the same manner.



We at Raptor Politics feel very disappointed that anyone should wish to criticise a gamekeeper who has  demonstrated his commitment to protecting goshawks on the estate where he has been employed for many years. In addition, preventing this man who has been unreasonably criticised and prevented from making a right of reply is utterly disgraceful.  Inappropriate and inaccurate comments posted by people with little or no experience of the goshawk shows a distinct lack of intelligence. This man who was a gamekeeper and also had a licence allowing him to work with and protect goshawks must stand for something.  We would suggest it would be reasonable to congratulate such a person, a beacon of light showing that at least one gamekeeper really cares for our raptors instead of killing them. How many gamekeepers do you know that are prepared to welcome the goshawk onto the beat they are employed to protect?

We have enough battles to fight with the shooting establishment, we must not under any circumstances do battle between ourselves.

135 pairs of Endangered Egyptian vultures in the Douro canyon Portugal

Photo: Bruno Berthémy/VCF

The results of the exhaustive breeding census of Egyptian vultures in the transboundary Douro canyon – done last summer by teams from the ICNF, the Portuguese nature conservation agency, and from the Arribes del Duero Natural Park, revealed that there are 135 pairs of Egyptian vultures  along the International Douro and its tributaries (121 pairs confirmed and 14 possible) – while this is still one of the densest populations in Iberia, the survey revealed that at least 15-20 pairs disappeared since 2010.

Continue reading 135 pairs of Endangered Egyptian vultures in the Douro canyon Portugal

Hen Harriers: Ghost Of Moorlands Past, by Eleanor Daisy Upstill-Goddard

In current times, when we think of our biggest conservation issues in the UK, there are no doubt many that would come to mind. Badgers and TB, fox hunting and the preservation of the red squirrel will be on the lips of many. For me however, there is another, which springs to mind: the plight and the constant struggle that is faced by the hen harrier. We have released, tagged, tracked and ultimately lost too many of the harriers that we had pinned our hopes on, not only to breed, but to survive and conquer. We are endlessly looking for a glimmer a hope, for a silver lining in one big black cloud, but so far, such hopes have evaded us. The struggle faced by the hen harrier has now been once again reinforced, as we hear the news that another hen harrier, named ‘Lad’ who was found dead in the Cairngorms National Park, was most likely shot.


Continue reading Hen Harriers: Ghost Of Moorlands Past, by Eleanor Daisy Upstill-Goddard

News from the LIFE Re vultures – griffon and black vultures from the Rodopes-Dadia area (Bulgaria/Greece) tracked

A total of 7 griffon vultures – four adults and three young – and 11 black vultures have been fitted in the last few months by the LIFE Re Vultures team with tags, to study their dispersal and movements, and identify threats.

Continue reading News from the LIFE Re vultures – griffon and black vultures from the Rodopes-Dadia area (Bulgaria/Greece) tracked

Female Goshawk (in real time & slow motion) hunting ducks and waders along Bowland river.

Published on Jan 6, 2017

The goshawk has never been a common species within Lancashire’s Forest of Bowland for one main reason, persecution. In the mid 1990’s although goshawks were regularly observed throughout a number of seasons above the forest canopy undertaking their aerial courtship display at three separate forest locations, these pairs were rarely successful. On one memorable spring day two separate pairs were seen displaying at the same time above the Gisburn forest north of Stocks reservoir. As expected both pairs mysteriously disappeared and were not seen again that season. Because all three display areas are surrounded by keepered moorland it is highly likely human interference was the main cause of breeding failures.

Continue reading Female Goshawk (in real time & slow motion) hunting ducks and waders along Bowland river.