Derbyshire’s only Hen Harriers destroyed along with their clutch of 7 eggs.

After being disturbed and then intentionally moved on once after making their first nesting attempt this year, the pair of nesting hen harriers located in the Goyt valley between Buxton and Macclesfield resettled at a second nest site on the same moor where the female managed to lay a clutch of seven eggs. [singlepic id=310 w=250 h=287 float=right]

Gamekeepers working on the moorland estate belonging to Lord Derby were informed of the first nesting attempt together with the location of the second nest.They were also advised that the nest would only be monitored between the hours of 6am until 9pm each evening on the advice of both the RSPB and Natural England.

Approximately 5 years ago in the same region a male harrier from a nesting pair mysteriously failed to return to its nest after several gun shots were heard by wardens protecting the pair. At the time the gun shots were heard the male harrier was away from the nest hunting. In an attempt to conserve the nest which contained five chicks the nest watch arranged by the South Peak Raptor Group managed to organise a straps and braces feeding regime to assist the female cope with raising her growing brood alone. Fortunately much to the annoyance of the local keepers and against all the odds the scheme was successful thanks in no small part to the determined dedication of all concerned.  

It comes as no surprise to Raptor Politics to learn today that last Tuesday 31st May when this year’s Goyt valley harrier nest was examined by wardens at first light they were shocked and horrified to discover all the seven eggs contained within the nest had been smashed. There was much worst to come after wardens also discovered the scattered remains of feathers from the adult female harrier in the nest alongside the smashed egg-shells.. We have no information so far as to what may have happened to the adult male.

Based upon a number of similar discoveries occurring in both the Forest of Bowland and upon the RSPB’s Geltsdale reserve in the Pennines, Raptor Politics firmly believe this kind of wanton destruction was initiated to disguise the fact the brooding female had been killed by a fox, when in reality the most likely culprit was a dog. Using dogs like terriers to rip the hen harrier into shreds is a strategy often used by moorland gamekeepers to deceive the uninitiated.

Raptor Politics has been informed the police have now initiated an enquiry in an attempt to trace and identify the culprit/s responsible. As we all know without hard evidence it will be almost impossible to bring anyone to account for this senseless act before the courts. Who ever was responsible for what has taken place would be aware their actions undertaken between the last nest watch in the evening and the first watch of the next day would go completely undetected as the nest was left totally unprotected at one of the most vulnerable times.

Clearly this incident proves once and for all there are individuals who are prepared to destroy such high profile Hen Harrier nests without any fear of the consequences. We must now ask what chances do other unprotected Harrier nests have in regions like Lancashire’s Forest of Bowland, or indeed Geltsdale if old and useless strategies are not replaced sooner rather than later? This is a huge setback for the Hen Harrier Recovery Project and if there is no policy rethink on what to do next to sort the mess out once and for all, within just five years there is a very realistic possibility we will have no Hen Harriers anywhere in England to protect at all.  

Historical Information.

[singlepic id=212 w=358 h=281 float=left]In 1997, a pair of Hen Harriers successfully raised four young in the Goyt Valley, west of Buxton, the first in Derbyshire in 127 years. Hen Harriers were seen in the Goyt valley subsequently on many occasions but did not settle to nest until 2003. Two eggs were laid but both the male and female disappeared suspiciously before completing their clutch of eggs. When the nest was examined , the eggs had disappeared and a fresh shotgun cartridge was found next to the empty nest.

In the Goyt Valley a number of years ago, a man was observed driving randomly across a prospective Hen Harrier nesting area in an all-terrain vehicle, while a helicopter  flew very low over the same area in an apparently co-ordinated action with the ATV.

A helicopter operated in the same way at a second site in the north-east Peak, more than 15 miles away, was also observed where Hen Harriers had been observed displaying. Following the two high-profile incidents curiously the police were unable to determine who was involved in either incident. The Hen Harriers at both sites not surprisingly I would suggest, subsequently disappeared, just like the ATV and the mysterious helicopter.

 Story submitted by Mark Wilson a local birder.

48 comments to Derbyshire’s only Hen Harriers destroyed along with their clutch of 7 eggs.

  • Circus maximus

    I hope the female remains were collected and bagged properly as police evidence. It may be possible to find dog DNA on the feathers.

  • Short Eared Owl

    This area is now worse than ever before, its like going back to the 1800’s.

    Close to the moors everything is disappearing even merlin and short eared/long eared owls there is a constant and unrelenting campaign against them all.

    They appear on territory in the spring and often get as far as breeding but they rarely fledge.The worst part of it is that the vacant territory is such a draw to new birds, so the process repeats itself every year.

    The Longdendale and Derwent valley’s are an absolute disgrace where birds of prey are concerned, it’s way past time that a more proactive effort was made to break this chain of events.

  • John Miles

    Do you remember 1989? Location RSPB reserve at Geltsdale. 2 pairs of HH nests destroyed. 1 chick left alive. Tried to make it look as if a fox had chewed the young. Shot seen through wing of dead female. What date is it!! 2011. 2011. 2011. How time stands still!!!

  • This makes very sad reading! Being involved with the 1997 project, previous to retirement from RSPB, I think we were genuinely buoyed up afterwards by that success and believed better things were in the offing. Clearly all that success did was to stiffen the resolve of the intolerant minority to resist at all costs the permanent return of Hen Harriers to the Peak.

    Having been the recipient on so many occasions in the past of bad news relating to raptor breeding attempts I can share the absolute frustration currently being felt by all those involved. However, this is a battle that must be won, as no longer is it simply a difference of opinion between certain shooting estates in the UK and conservationists, but the former having a complete disregard for the law.

    With the recent situation in Scotland reported on (in Tayside), in Cumbria and from other parts of England, this scenario is now becoming ludicrous and demands action at Government level, not conveniently leaving such issues to others to resolve.

    • TerryPickford, North West Raptor Protection Group

      This is a tragedy which should but was not foreseen. Those responsible for this outrage were obviously aware the nest was not being monitored or protected after 9pm each day. This in my view was a blunder of the largest magnitude.

      In my experience harrier nests are rarely destroyed during daylight hours, this particularly includes nests which are persecuted by gamekeepers who are not as naive or as poorly organised as those who set up this watch appear to have been.

      I’m afraid there is going to be a lot of egg on a number of red faces after this major cock-up, which could with better planning ended in a better outcome FOR THE NESTING HARRIERS.

      The RSPB was recently granted over £300,000 in lottery funding to utilise in the promotion of hen harrier education in England. In view of the destruction of the Goyt nest and on-going persecution of hen harriers throughout the bulk of Northern England’s grouse moors generally, should the current situation continue to decline at the current rate, it may be more appropriate to replace the word “education” with the word “history” I would respectfully suggest.

      • nirofo

        I think the £300,000 lottery funding would have been better spent in educating the RSPB in Hen Harrier protection methods, an even better use would be the hiring of some seriously heavy legal assistance when/if a case of Raptor persecution ever comes to court.

        The seriously rapid escalation of Raptor persecution that seems to be discovered on a daily basis will soon have decimated what’s left of our Raptors to levels that are unsustainable. Unless something is done very urgently to put a stop to these criminal activities then I’m afraid we will eventually lose our birds of prey once and for all. It’s high time our illustrious police force and our magnificent justice systems started to do what they are employed to do and that’s to uphold the laws of our land and bring these criminal persecutors to justice. What’s the point of having our legislated wildlife protection laws if they are not going to be implemented by our so-called law enforcement establishments. The Chief Constables, the Sheriffs and the Judges etc, all sit in their plush fancy offices with their fat pay checks paid out of our hard earned public money and do nothing to ensure the wildlife criminals are caught, prosecuted and sentenced accordingly.

        nirofo.

        • Peter

          What a shambles, thanks to Natural England’s stupidity local gamekeepers in Bowland are having a field day. Many peregrine territories this year in the region have been discovered totally void of nesting birds, whereas last year when the local raptor group were involved all nesting sites were productive. If this criminal activity is permitted to continue unchallenged or unmonitored, thanks to the Governments Wildlife Advisor, there will be very few raptors left to monitor or protect.

          The fiasco in the Goyt and the removal of licenses from experiences raptor workers this year in Lancashire’s Forest of Bowland does give the impression Natural England have a different agenda than everyone else involved in the conservation of “protected” raptors.

  • John Miles

    It will be interesting to see how the papers react to this. One editor I spoke to one year said that she was limited what she could write in her paper as the ‘Big Estate’ could loose her her job!!

  • With funding and manpower supposedly available could I kindly ask two basic questions:
    1). Why wasen’t this extremely vulnerable nest watched over around the clock?
    2).Who made this decision to monitor only during daylight hours?

    As conservationists surely without doubt we have again let this superb raptor down big style.

    • Admin

      Mike, we are unable to provide a reply to your first question because we simply do not know. This is the $64,000 question which will need to be answered by someone.

      In reply to your second question, United Utilities followed the advice they received from Natural England and the RSPB as they were the “experts”.

      Clearly this was the wrong advice and should not have been given.

  • John Miles

    It might be worth pointing out large numbers of Red Grouse chicks are dying due to our great summer weather [heavy rain and cold!!] So when are these estates going to become ‘God’ and do something about this ‘bloddy’ weather instead of killing all the Birds of Prey which are worth £millions in wildlife tourism!

  • alan

    for a number of years i was emplyed as a gamekeeper in bowland but moved out of the area to a new job because of personal problems and partly a result of the politics. for obvious reason alan in not my real name. i have been a follower of this web site since it was first launched ss a way of keeping up with the latest news from the area. let me say from the start i have never been a supporter of persecution which i witnessed at first hand all to often. I decided standing on the side line was no longer an option after reading about the destruction of the hen harrier nest in Derbyshire. i must say i find it difficult to understand how any organisation charged with protecting rare and threatened wildlife could have been so stupid and frankly irresponsible by recommending it would be acceptable to mount protection during the day only. to any prospective nest robber this was like placing a sign overlooking the nest advertising the site was unprotected come and help yourself. Not only that, natural england and rspb must have known there was a serious risk the nest would be destroyed after dark based on their vast previous experience in these matters but appear to have disregarded this possibility altogether, have they learned nothing. little wonder the hen harrier is now facing total extermination from englands uplands and the blame for this should not just be placed at the door of the gamekeeper entirely. little wonder the situation in bowland is now becoming much worst and will continue to do so with organizations in charge who appear to have lost touch with reality and who seem clueless in these matters. one of there biggest blunders as far as i am concerned was the removal from bowland of experinced members of the NWRG who certainly knew all to well what was going on and were always prepared to stand up and say so, well done natural england and rspb for making the keepers job now much easier from now on.

  • Chris

    What I find incredible is that with all the various webcams on Springwatch and the like, that this nest was only monitored on a limited basis. How hard and expensive would it be to set up an IR webcam that records during the hours that the nest is not physically watched?

    This is either utter incompetence – no, negligence – from the NGO’s responsible or there are darker forces at work here. Personally, I’ll go with the former.

    • Anne Cardwell

      If the RSPB together with the resources and commitment of Natural England are unable to provide security to a single harrier territory with a well documented history of persecution, why did they conspire together to withhold licenses from one of the most experienced raptor groups in England? This whole pot of worms smells to high heaven and brings no credit to those involved get your act together before you loose your credibility all together.

  • What a Joke.

    I can’t believe this nest wasn’t monitored 24/7.

    These grouse moor owners want shooting. Their existence is pointless, who would actually miss these gamekeepers?

  • chrissie harper

    This is disgraceful and shows the RSPB and Natural England up for what they really are, they are taking the publics money on the pretence of protecting these iconic birds and failing miserably at each and every hurdle, all their talk about Hen Harrier Safaris, what a joke, there are no Hen Harriers for anyone to see so again this is just another way of conning the public out of their hard earned money.

    These organisations should wake up because we all have, and your support is dwindling fast, you made sure that the very people who could and did help protect these birds were pushed out now you must suffer the consequenses, sadly at the moment it is the Hen Harriers that are suffering because of your high handedness and stupidity.

  • harrier man

    I have commented the same before its not the RSPB or Natural England that are killing our raptors.

  • John Miles

    harrier man – And its not RSPB and Natural England that are protecting them either!!

  • chrissie harper

    Here! Here! John, they most certainly are not protecting them but they are trying to make money out of them. They have failed dismally and have no credibility in my eyes and a lot of other peoples either, you can’t run with the HARE AND HUNT WITH THE HOUNDS it doesn’t work.
    They couldn’t even protect the Eagle Owls on their Geltsdale Reserve even though they knew they were in danger what does that tell you, on paper they make themselves look very good but their actions make them look totally disorganised and two faced.

  • bowland birder

    Harrier man,
    Do we know WHO is killing these raptors????????

    • Terry Pickford, North West Raptor Protection Group

      If you read Mark Avery’s recent blogs, he places the blame at the foot of estate gamekeepers, so do all recent scientific reports. Of course if you believe in fairyland, the confinement of England’s core population of harriers on just a single moorland estate during the last twenty years may be a result of the educatation hen harriers received at Lancaster University!

  • chrissie harper

    It seems to me that the RSPB always lay the blame at other people doors, it is never their fault, they should take a step back and see who or what within their organisation is going wrong because something is and it needs putting right very quickly.
    All the publicity about protecting raptors and the high profile petition presented to Huw Irranca-Davies signed by people like myself who really believed a turning point had been reached is a farce.
    There are some good and decent landowners and gamekeepers out there who do care for the raptors on their land, the RSPB are alienating these people by tarring all of them with the same brush. The name of the game is WORKING TOGETHER, people who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

  • bowland birder

    just digressing. how are the harriers doing in bowland? can anyone comment??????

    • Edward

      It would appear this detail is being kept secret to protect the actions of the guilty together with the embarrassment of all those involved. It reminds me of the days during the Second World War when secrecy was an essential part of protecting Britain’s security interests for all too obvious strategic reasons. Even today, because of National Security considerations certain employees working for MI6 are obliged to sign the Official Secrets Act and can, if they betray this trust, be sent to prison. It’s a similar regime on moorland owned by United Utilities, the same rules apply, members of their civilian field volunteer team are bound by a confidentially clause preventing team members placing any information appertaining to the criminal persecution of raptors taking place on this estate into the public domain. In my view this appears to have been the reason licenses previously held for over 30 years by the local raptor group were withheld this year to stop these nationally important disclosures reaching the ears of the public.

      Please don’t pass this on but harrier number on the UU estate this year are thought to be down by between 30-40% , but that’s a state secret of course. If you tell anyone you received this info from me I will be in deep trouble and may possibly loose my entitlement to a licence and future access to nests on this estate. So mums the word. PS. Let’s just pray productivity is up.

  • skydancer

    If Harrier numbers are down this year, all the usual excuses will be rolled out ,bad weather,not enough prey, any excuse apart from the RSPB and Natural Englands incompetence and inability to confront the landowners to sort the problem out,but as the saying goes “dont bite the hand that feeds you”, and as long as there are a few breeding pairs of Harrier in Bowland the RSPB snd NE will sit on their hands and do nothing as usual.

    And as for monitoring a nest of this importance only during daylight hours it is nothing short of a total embarassment but not suprising .

  • harrier man

    There would be no need for any protection measures if we had the quota of birds that should be seen in England, even if this nest was successful it would be very unlikely to change the situation for the HH. This sounds very (how should i say) negative but the real truth of the whole disgusting level of HH persecution lies with the grouse shooting estates and their supporters including government.

  • John Miles

    ‘The Glorius 12th’ of AUGUST is the date MPs (coincidentally) go on holiday to shoot Red Grouse. I think it is time to change this date as it is not glorious at all and certainly MPs should not be shooting Red Grouse on any moor which does not have its full quota of Birds of Prey which means not on 99.9% of all moors.

  • Derby birder

    That nest was watched only during daylight hours due to a lack of man power. Funding was secured for 2 full time (40 hours per week) members of staff; one project manager and one main observer. So that covers the nest for just 80 hours per week, or 3 and a bit days, making 24/7 attendence impossible by just paid members of staff. The rest of the people were all volunteers, giving up their own time free of charge when they can. The nest site is quite isolated, a good 20 minute walk from the nearest road. For safety reasons you need 2 people to attend something like this at all times. So even to observe during daylight hours would mean 224 man hours per week. To cover it through the night as well would mean 336 man hours per week. It just simply was not possible, not enough people were available to fill in the hours paid staff could not do.

    The gamekeepers WERE engaged with and the harriers discussed. They were never pointed in the direction of neither nest location by anyone on the watch though. There was no ‘tarring with the same brush.’ They were told the watch went on 24/7, not 6-9 as this article suggests.

    There is no evidence of yet to suggest this was not a fox, something no one could do anything about. Yet everyone seems awfully quick to lay blame with RSPB and NE. If it is proven to be the work of a dog and the owner of that dog is tracable I have no doubt that the RSPB, UU, NE and the police will do everything possible to bring that person to justice. The comments on this page are unjust and unfair to all involved in this project. Yes it is a shame more could not be done, but without either more funding or more volunteers there was a hole in the net that this nest slipped through.

    Could I politely suggest the original editor and the subsequent posters get your facts right before you comment on this or any other project. Thank you.

  • daniel

    this problem is never going to stop until grouse shooting is banned altogether.
    Admin,i expect that the vast majority of the public in the uk are totally unaware of the persecution of our birds of prey.u need to get your message across to far more people,possibly through national papers or some other way.
    rspb and natural england are generally well respected by the majority of the population who have no idea what goes on,you need to market your website on a much larger scale.

  • john

    Hi.
    Very sickening to what has happened, wether natural or deliberate, but do people walk there dogs/dog on open moorland at night? I dont know the area but is there any signs saying NO DOGS on this land during the breeding season of ground nesting birds OR no dogs allowed AT ALL? like in other areas on private estates?

  • I have taken on board everything above and it saddens me deeply to read this about any bird of prey never mind one of the UK’s rarest. I can appreciate this is very raw with people involved and I have no involvement in the above birds but all involved in raptor conservation are going to have to bite there lips and work with the named organisations because they won’t get wiped out any time soon like some raptors.

    It might be painful but they do at the end of the day control the licences and if we can’t make an effort to work as a unit how will we ever bring this sort of persecution to a halt when it comes to estates/keepers. I have been involved in 24hr watches and it does take so much man power and organisation and with it being a remote area for HH it must have been logistically difficult but I do believe people are out there willing to help. Although people may seem to be jumping to conclusions with the current evidence its hard not to when you look at past years. As for more funding needed surely 300k is a amazing start for one species, but lets be honest it will be a never ending hole if its not spent correctly. Sorry to all concerned with the work on our upland raptors.

  • John Miles

    Derby Birder – In this modern age it seems sad that an area with such a high persecution of raptors that not sufficient number of people could be found to guard this single nest. One site in Northumberland had so many volunteers willing to do the work, it was the birds that let them down as they did not return. So much so that Natural England felt they no longer needed the work of a full time field worker to monitor Hen Harrier in that region. Take all this into account staff could have been moved from other areas especially from RSPB Geltsdale where 2 staff were employed in the summer with no harriers to guard. Also why were cameras not used when there were not enough volunteers?

  • paul williams

    Hen Harriers will become a thing of the past like the great auk if nothing is done and done soon.

    • Dave Melling

      Paul hell will freeze over first; by now we should all have realised no conservation organisation in this country has the courage or integrity to take on the supporters of this conservative government – the estate owners.

  • skydancer

    Paul, nothing will be done because none of the societies involved in so called “protection” have got the guts or conviction to confront what we all know is the real problem.

  • paul williams

    I believe it is time to stop nest monitoring until the chicks of all raptors and eagle owls are at a ringable age.Nest visits only put stress on the parent birds,chicks and eggs,it should stop and stop now! RSPB and Natural England can you hear me…stop nest visits and leave them be until the chicks are old enough to cope with human disturbance.

    • Pat Young

      Paul, if we do as you suggest and stop monitoring raptor nests, in particular what they contain from an early stage, what we will find is likely to be empty nests.

      • nirofo

        Pat, there is no need to go to the nest at an early stage, Hen Harriers nest sites are easy to locate from a distance, you just need the patience to sit and watch, the birds themselves will show you where the nest is and if it is in use. Continued watching at intervals from a distance will tell you if the nest is still occupied, it is unnecessary to disturb the birds by going to the nest. We find several nests annually by watching the male call up the female from the nest for a food pass, we very rarely find the need to visit the actual nest until the young are well grown. If someone is intent on robbing the nest or killing the young they will do it at a time that’s convenient to them and it won’t matter whether you have determined what the contents were at an early stage or not, the outcome will be the same.

        nirofo.

  • paul williams

    Why would we find empty nest?. Fieldworkers don’t take them so who does?

  • paul williams

    Thank you nirofo.

  • John

    Paul. your comments re nest visiting etc, I stated this comment last year in a previous posting and could not agree with you more. I have seen/watch the birds you mention thru bins/scope at distance at there sites without going to there nesting sites,I personally do not like the length of time(IE DISTURBANCE) when they ring the chicks, do they REALLY need ringing???? and the people you mention can they justify repeated nest visits before ringing age???

  • skydancer

    Nirofo, you are spot on with your ways of locating nest sites, sit and watch, and the birds will show you were the nest is by like you say, food pass or defending the nest when a predator flies over eg buzzard, raven, all this visiting nests and disturbing the birds is old hat now.

    And if the relevant bodies eg, RSPB or NE really want to protect the Hen Harrier , why cant they install cameras pointing at the nest area so that any one approaching the nest would be seen, instead of putting a 2ft camera directly onto the nest, which shows no one approaching.

  • paul williams

    When a hen harrier is seen taking nesting material to her nest site, does this nest site need to be visited by RSPB fieldworkers?

    • nirofo

      When a Hen Harrier or any other bird for that matter is building it’s nest it doesn’t (shouldn’t) need to be visited by anyone who has the birds welfare at heart. Take note RSPB, you don’t need to go to the nest when they’re building the nest, or laying the eggs, or sitting on eggs, or just hatched young. In fact you don’t need to go near the nest at all unless you intend to ring the young at preferably 2-3 weeks old; we stopped ringing them years ago, it’s unnecessary, what can you learn from it that hasn’t already been learned. Put your efforts and cash into protecting them from a distance, that’s what’s needed most, keep your ham fisted field workers away from the nest, they do more damage than good.

      nirofo.

  • jock scott

    Nirofo,
    You show yourself to be a bit of an outspoken armchair amateur here (not for the first time)
    Ringing these birds is essential for a great number of reasons and if you think that science has the full picture and nothing more to learn regarding hen harriers then you are very much mistaken.
    Nest visits should obviously be kept to a minimum but recording information about the breeding attempt and its success or failure is crucial to a greater understanding and conservation of these birds.
    Jock

    • nirofo

      jock scott

      You couldn’t be more wrong, outspoken maybe, but then there’s alot to be said when it comes to Raptor protection. Armchair amateur, afraid not, been at it too long, still at it, more than 40 years Raptor protection and recording, Schedule One licence holder since 1968, Raptor Study Group member since 88, everything from involvement in the first breeding Goshawk protection back in the early 70’s to present day Hen Harrier, Merlin, Peregrine, Golden Eagle and Osprey recording/survey’s, among others. Oh, and did I mention licensed photograper on occasions. No not armchair, very much hands on!!!

      As I said earlier, it’s not necessary to go to the nest to prove breeding, that and fledging success can be done from a distance. Why would you need to go and look at the eggs or small young, as I said it’s only necessary to go to the nest if you intend to ring them at approx 2-3 weeks old. I know some people can’t resist seeing the eggs, it’s a thrill, I understand that, done it myself. But over the years you begin to realise what a stress you’re putting on the birds, they don’t fly over your head alarming at you for fun, they’re desperately trying to get you to leave, they fear for their nest. So if you must go to the nest make it a good reason, plan it first, make it quick and get out of there as fast as you can don’t sit around making notes, you can do that later.

      nirofo.

  • Nirofo and Skydancer, I totally endorse your recent comments made regarding unnecessary nest disturbance, ringing, etc.

    The two most important pieces of raptor information we need to record are obviously site occupation and outcome.

    Over the years I’ve also gone down the road of minimal disturbance.

  • Derby birder

    So, we are now saying we should have more volunteers watching the nest but less disturbance? Well that is as clear as mud then. No one visited the actual nest of these birds, obs were taken from a distance, so I don’t see the relevance to this story.

    Re: John Mills

    It is not as easy as moving staff around. Where are they going to live? Can the RSPB seriously suggest they man a nest using a tent for 24 hours a day if they only get paid for 8? What if the bird failed naturally (as they did)? Is all the stress of moving to a new area worth it? Plus the expense. And it is not as if an advert can be placed in the local paper ‘Hen harrier nest protection volunteers wanted, please come find us in the Goyt Valley.’ The decision was taken to keep the nests location from the general public, and rightly so. We can not have every local birder coming to watch the birds, every photographer after a decent pic, and we definately can not let egg collectors know the location of the nest. I think a camera wasn’t used as it either meant leaving an expensive piece of equipment close to a public footpath (chances of it going missing would be high) or it meant putting a camera in the nest, which meant disturbing the birds.

    As my original post said, there is a lot more to organising a nest watch than just turning up. The amount of people that need to be involved for a safe 24/7 watch is incredible. Add to that trying to apply for funding for paid members of staff and paying for volunteers milage and it becomes even more complex.

    It is easy to bash organisations like NE and RSPB from your keyboard, not so easy once you try to understand what they are up against. Maybe Raptorpolitics could start a volunteers group which every spring picks a different nest to go and man 24/7? Given posters outrage at this nest failure no doubt you will all be willing to give your time, energy and money to protecting BoP nests, and you will no doubt do the best job possible.