Writing this week in the Independent Mark Avery puts on record his reasons why driven grouse shooting in England must be banned. Mark has also recently launched his second e-petition calling for the Westminster parliament to ban this sport which depends so much upon the illegal destruction of protected birds of prey like the hen harrier and peregrine falcon. In order to ensure the government at least respond to this important e-petition it must reach 10,000 signatures within 6 months. As of this after noon 28/07/15, Mark’s petition had reached 5,923 supporters in less that a couple of weeks, impressive. Only another 4,077 to force a government’ response, so come on help this important petition to achieve the 10k required signatures to force the government to reply.
Shooting Red grouse for sport in England’s northern uplands has resulted in the annihilation of 99% of Hen Harrier and Peregrine within these remote locations.
The European Union’s Birds Directive – often believed to be one of the world’s most progressive and successful nature conservation laws – has had a huge impact in protecting Europe’s most threatened bird species – including many in the UK, says new research by the RSPB, BirdLife International and Durham University.
In case you are one of the few individuals who have not been keeping track with the success of the Rutland osprey since the project was set-up by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and Anglian Water in close collaboration with Roy Dennis in the mid-1990′s, you can find out up to date information by followingthe attached link. In July the 100th chick fledged from a nest at Rutland water, a remarkable achievement everyone involved should be justifiably proud. Nesting osprey at Rutland are now producing the fourth generation of chicks since 1997.
The government’s plans for the reintroduction of finch trapping after it was phased out six years ago are of grave concern both to the European Commission and environmentalists in Malta and throughout Europe.
THE practice of scouring moorland by burning off heather has left many conservation areas in Scotland in a poor condition, a charity has said. A new study by the RSPB Centre for Conservation Science revealed the extent of moorland burning across the country’s upland areas. Burning was detected in 55 per cent of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and 63 per cent of Special Protection Areas (SPAs) assessed in the study, and significantly more burning took place within them than on comparable moorlands outside.
Moorland this year ablaze in the Forest of Bowland at exactly the spot where Hen Harriers historically used to breed
Out of the 320 confirmed nesting attempts in this 34 year period, 161 clutches of eggs failed to hatch or disappeared from nests. An additional 48 broods also suffered a similar fate. At a further 32 nests which were examined containing 50 unfledged chicks, the outcome is unknown.
Importantly each of the 3 images below show different nests on one single estate.
A dead peregrine embryo possibly killed after ice crystals had been placed on eggs at the point of hatching. A method used to destroy raptor eggs and is virtually undetectable by science.
Calls to defend nature beat the record for responses to European public consultations
Don’t undermine or wreck the laws protecting nature. That’s the clear and powerful message to the President of the European Commission and his Commissioners from the majority of nearly half a million people [note 6] across Europe (with around one in five of those coming from the UK) who have so far responded to the consultation on the future of two of Europe’s nature laws: the Birds and Habitats Directives.
Mallowdale Pike. In 2009 the resident gamekeeper left this estate taking up new duties in Scotland. The following spring in the absence of a gamekeeper a pair of peregrines successfully reared their two chicks at this remote location. In the following year the peregrines had disappeared and have so far not been allowed to return. Hen Harriers have not successfully bred on this estate for nearly fifteen years.
We appear to be running out of options that can prevent the hen harrier becoming just a historic symbol of our uplands rather than a living part of these important moorland ecosystems. The majority of game shooting estate owners and their gamekeepers have clearly demonstrated their unwillingness to accept the hen harrier on the moorlands they manage for red grouse shooting. The disappearance last September of the two Bowland hen harriers ‘Sky’ and ‘Hope’ was not a tragic accident, the two state of the art satellite tags fitted to each bird did not simply malfunction at almost the same time on two different estates, nor were these birds predated by peregrines as one gamekeeper suggested. There have been few if any realistic and sensible explanations for the disappearance of both ‘Sky’ and ‘Hope’ other than having been shot and their tags then removed and destroyed. The missing tags are an important clue here as to what really happened shortly after they fledged ten months ago; if one or both harriers had succumbed due to natural causes, not only would their tags have been recovered intact, their bodies would also have been found.If I am very truthful the ongoing killing of protected raptors, the destruction of their nests, eggs and young on remote moorland is almost impossible to prevent without proactive and decisive action from government.
Golden Eagle with eaglet. Blackmount Forest Argyll. Image courtesy of Terry Pickford
RSPB and Forestry Commission staff along with conservationists head out to GPS tag pairs of golden eagle chicks in remote nest sites near Loch Ness in Scotland. Experts will monitor their movements for six months as part of a major survey of the species. Golden eagle numbers are rising but the birds continue to be at risk from poorly sited wind farms and illegal killing.