In his latest video Terry Pickford highlights two effective but legal management strategies introduced on grouse moor estates in northern England designed to unsettle peregrines and hen harriers, preventing these species from settling to breed on moorland where red grouse are shot.
Terry begins describing what he found at one of two historic Bowland peregrine sites which had been located within the same valley in 2009. (see ground nest below containing 4 peregrine chicks At the first site a nesting ledge had been positioned a few feet above a moorland stream on the side of a twenty foot high heather bluff. Below the bluff estate gamekeepers had installed a funnel trap on top of a poll spanning the stream to control vermin, which under normal conditions the gamekeeper is required to visit each 24 hour period (not an ideal situation at any location where peregrines are known to regularly breed). Terry found evidence at the second trap located 100 yards higher up the stream containing a dead rat, the condition of the rat in the trap indicating the trap had not been checked for at least two or three weeks. It is a legal requirement that such traps when set must be checked each day within a 24 hour period; clearly an offence had been committed because the second trap had not been checked for at least two weeks. As pointed out by Terry in his commentary, there is no one making sure the law is adhered to on these moorland landscapes, but he was sure where such methodologies were being used on red grouse moors the raptor (protected or not would not be allowed to return to breed anytime in the future.
At the third and final funnel trap examined 100 yards up the stream, Terry Pickford points to a location several hundred yards higher up the valley on the right hand side where in 2009 he had found the last recorded ground nesting peregrine site within this valley containing 4 chicks.
Peregrine Ground Nest containing 4 chicks (last chick still in shell) in the same valley where traps located, now territory burnt out
It was obvious that the patch of heather where the nest had been positioned seven years earlier had recently been completely burnt out, leaving a black patch of charred heather at least two hundred yards across. Yet another example Terry explains of how estate gamekeepers deter protected raptors from settling to breed on the moorland they manage. Why Terry asks is it down the the North West Raptor Protection Group to highlight such irresponsible and damaging moorland management practices that disadvantage species like peregrine and hen harrier?
Terry Pickford examining one of Bowlands many abandoned peregrine territories which he claims are unlikely to be reoccupied in his lifetime.