What’s going on at Langholm?

DSCF1381Langholm

Langholm moor, bird watchers are now flocking to this area to photograph or just watch raptors

Most of the public think the Langholm Moor Demonstration Project finished last year [2017] but did it? Raptor Politics have been told that it is still going on and what’s more certain activities seem very mysterious, being kept secret from the public!

Locals who are monitoring the area  have encountered gamekeepers on the moor this year who then were seen running away, seemingly because they don’t want to be approached! What is that all about?

Well it seems these individuals are laying carrion near traditional Langholm Hen Harrier nesting sites.

These dumps are overlooked by camera traps set to monitor which species comes to feed on them. Rumour has its the old Game Conservancy playing games by attempting to encourage Buzzards into taking this food. Yes it still appears they still want the Scottish and English government to allow licensing to kill buzzards!

Work done on Buzzards during the 10 year trial concluded the Buzzard was not a problem on Red Grouse moors, so why are they pursuing this strategy? The poor Buzzard is just another bird of prey that gets in the way of a ‘clean’ moor so there is no disturbance when shooting red grouse later in the season.

Much worse, this carrion is encouraging Foxes to enter these areas and guess what –

Two out of the three Hen Harrier nests so far this season have been predated by Foxes! [One female harrier was flushed by a fox and other things fed on the small chicks at the nest] There are rumours the  Eagle Owl is being blamed! [Joke]

Sure the Game Conservancy [They want to be called Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust!] will claim the carrion was not placed close to any active nests, but given that there were 12 Hen Harriers at the beginning of this season, who are they to say that late breeding would not happen given that the ‘Beast from the East’ caused so much turmoil this breeding season. Even Barn Owls are still on eggs this late in June!

And why  were Red Grouse being being used as the bait outside the shooting season at many of these carrion dumps? Who has got a freezer full of dead Red Grouse? Or were these birds killed out of the shooting season? Surely they know that all birds and their nests are protected by EU law. Oh wait, why are we leaving Europe with no laws in place to protect our wildlife?

Another question is – Who is paying for this work at Langholm? Of course by removing the five gamekeepers from the Langholm Project early, this undoubtable left at least eighteen months gamekeepers salary in the budget. Some of this was used on aerial spraying of Bracken, itself an illegal activity when no follow up is used to control the Bracken. So determined not to allow Langholm Moor die, could the estate is also funding this work? Well Mark Oddie their former estate agent is still sniffing around, or is he trying to bring the South of Scotland Golden Eagle project into Langholm as a last resort? (Lets not forget a pair of nesting Golden Eagles mysteriously disappeared from Langholm 1989, along with an estimated 300 additional assorted birds of prey)  Well Mr Oddie is the chairman of this project and he needs somewhere to reintroduce Golden Eagles where they will not just be shot off by local shooting estates.

As one of the former stake holders of the Langholm Moor Demonstration Project, have the RSPB got any clue as to what was going on at Langholm in 2018? Were the RSPB hoping to have the 29,000 acres as another reserve?

Will the public ever be told the truth about what is going on at Langholm?

Or will they have to read Raptor Politics to find out?

2 comments to What’s going on at Langholm?

  • Iain Gibson

    I’ve kept certain rumours to myself during the term of the Langholm project, as I had no evidence of verification, but two people I know worked as field assistants in the project. According to both of them, some of the recording of observations were falsified to produce certain desired results, including exaggerating the numbers of grouse chicks being taken by adult harriers to feed broods of young. Strangely these observations were ‘recorded’ by assistants watching from hides, rather than the more reliable method using CCTV. I must stress that the RSPB, as partners in the project, had no part to play in, and apparently no knowledge of, this alleged deceit.

  • This all seems a little strange,what a waste of perfectly good grouse meat.
    Some clarification from the GWCT would be helpful, I am no longer a member,
    since retirement last Autumn when I made some cutbacks,and I can’t see any
    mention of this on any of their blog postings.

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