Double trouble for the T in the park Music festival.

The organisers of T in the Park festival in Perthshire may have to deal with two pairs of ospreys turning up  at their new site rather than the single pair originally expected, conservationists are warning.


Osprey nest being inspected for damage

The resident pair which normally nest at Strathallan Castle Estate are expected to return any day from wintering in West Africa. Disturbing them once they have arrived and are nesting could be a serious offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

DF Concerts, the festival organisers, have already sought advice from experts and constructed a new nest in a bid to attract the ospreys away from the original site.

But it has emerged that they cannot now get access to the old nest, which is on land owned separately from the nearby festival site.

James Reynolds, RSPB Scotland’s Head of Media and Communications, said that 80 per cent of ospreys return to their old nests, and most have to do some rebuilding.

He said: “As far as we know the old nest is still in position. It would have been better if it was taken away because the ospreys are likely to head for it.

“Of course what might happen is that the original ospreys return to the old nest, while another pair area attracted to the new one. So we could end up with two pairs of ospreys. It is possible.

“If that happens it would be a win for nature, but may complicate things for the organisers.”

A spokeswoman for T in the Park admitted there had been problems with the old nest.

“We have been in negotiations which we had hoped would result in us gaining access to the land that holds the old nest. This has proved unsuccessful so far,” she said.

“Instead, we’re working with a top ornithologist to ensure that the birds have an undamaged nest in an optimum location should they choose to return.

“Removing the old, damaged nest, in addition to our existing plans, would be the responsible thing to do in the interests of the ospreys, however we currently do not have the consent from the landowner where the tree is, to pay for that to happen.”

She said that she could not reveal the name of the landowner as it could in turn reveal the location of the nest, and it would be an offence to do so.

Meanwhile a spokeswoman for Perth and Kinross Council said that no date had yet been set to consider the planning application from DF Concerts to hold the festival in July. She said there was to be further public consultation but there was no date set for when that would close.

Around 85,000 revellers are expected to attend each day of this year’s T in the Park between July 10 and 12. It had to be relocated from its home at Balado near because of safety concerns over an underground oil pipeline.

15 comments to Double trouble for the T in the park Music festival.

  • Sandra Bainbridge

    Why is a class 1 ringer involved. Surely a serious question to be asked ? Have thoughts but not publishing.

  • David Le Mesurier

    She said that she could not reveal the name of the landowner as it could in turn reveal the location of the nest, and it would be an offence to do so.

    What offence would they be committing by revealing the location !

  • Keith Cowieson

    What a farce. Any word on the Kingfishers that are being ‘dissuaded’ from nesting by covering over the traditional nesting banks with tarpaulin?

    And just who is this top ornithologist who seems hell bent on aiding and abetting this decidedly dodgy venture. The RSPB seen remarkably relaxed about people destroying wild birds nests in this case, and somewhat coy about who exactly is carrying out this work to ‘Deny Nature a Home’. I hope it is not an RSPB staff member or SRSG member…..

  • The latest on the osprey nest is this: a massive cherry picker has been parked as close as possible to the old nest. On Friday, the platform was raised as high as possible. According to the concert organisers’ agents, ‘the cherry picker on site was used for monitoring purposes in relation to the osprey’. But there’s no one IN the raised platform. And why would the cherry picker be so close to the nest? I’m not an expert, but I’ve contacted people who are and they’ve told me this is ludicrous. My concern – and it is only a hunch – is that some sort of sonic device may be in the platform, giving off sounds to deter the bird from nesting at its existing nest.

    I will be putting some images up on our website shortly, so please take a look.

    You would be amazed if you knew the name of the expert involved. In his defence, he genuinely believes he is doing what is best for the bird. I couldn’t disagree more.

    RSPB have requested the concert organisers provided alternative nesting banks for the Kingfisher, I believe, but I haven’t seen any on the estate. The Merlin will stop visiting too, when the Skylarks are affected by the mowing (due to start in May). Apparently the intention is to fence around the Skylarks’ nests, but just how practical is that?!

  • Keith Cowieson

    Wow. Parking a cherry-picker next to a traditional osprey eyrie just as the birds are arriving back from migration must fall under the heading of ‘…intentional and reckless disturbance….’ See WCA 81 reference Schedule 1 species. I take it SNH must have issued a licence? If not, over to the local Wildlife Crime Officer! Sounds like a Freedom of Information (FoI) request is in order.

    Post your photos here as well Zazie, for greater reach and publicity.

    As for mowing skylark nesting meadows in May, that should be just about the right timing to mince up the eggs or young of any undiscovered nests.

    This so-called ‘mitigation’ is priceless………

    Editor’s Comment. Keith, despite the issue you raised, your comment had already been successfully posted. We agree, please if anyone has any incriminating images of what is taking place on this estate, please attach to a comment asap. Editor

  • Keith Cowieson

    OK, thanks, appears to be working fine now.

  • For those who don’t get the Scottish News, here’s the latest: there is now a huge Scottish flag a top the platform, with metallic balloons and some CDs attached. DFC have finally admitted that this c-picker is there as a ‘delicate’ (yes, the very word) measure to encourage the birds towards their new nest. You couldn’t make this up. And this morning four men were posted at the base of the cherry-picker, doing I don’t know what. Too scared to ask. Loitering!

    WORSE: The new nest – just a few hundred yards away – has a JCB in the immediate area digging trenches for water pipes.

    I will try to attached photos of the cherry picker and trenches, but have failed so far.

    Clearly, concert organisers DFC and the estate owners do not want the ospreys to nest anywhere on site. I have informed the wildlife police and this is the reply I received:

    ”Disturbance at both nests! We’ll see which one wins, beacuse one of them will!”

    Not: ‘Thank you for letting me know. Let’s keep a close eye on the situation…’ Perhaps I’ve lost my sense of humour…

    The GOOD news is that there are several people looking out for the birds. There have been several sightings of ospreys (despite what DFC’s ornithologist will tell you!), but not the ‘Strathallan’ ospreys. As soon as they are spotted, I’ll be doing my best to make sure everyone knows. Fortunately – in the face of so much indifference – there is a fantastic biodiversity officer on the case at the Council.

    Editor’s Comment. I will be as clear as possible with my comment. If there was similar planned premeditated interference at a nesting site designed specifically to make sure the Schedule 1 species abandoned any attempt to breed, for example by a gamekeeper, the authorities would have taken a very different tack I am sure. As we have already stated in earlier comments, turning a blind eye has now established a precedent for all gamekeepers to follow. Destroy the nesting site before the birds turn up, or as they turn up and you will not be prosecuted.

  • Jim Crumley raised another issue regarding the Strathallan Ospreys in terms of setting a dangerous precedent:

    In their response to the original planning application for T in the Park at Strathallan, Scottish Natural Heritage stated ‘The potential worst-case impact on ospreys would not affect the favourable status of the species in Scotland.’

    Jim’s response: ‘That, coming from the government’s advisers, is frankly breathtaking. By that yardstick, the keeper who wilfully poisons a single golden eagle, an offence for which he could be jailed under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, could plead in mitigation his action involved only a single bird and it would not affect the status of the species in Scotland. Much.’ The Courier, 10th March 2015

    The situation has become farcical. Meanwhile, the wildlife is suffering…

  • Jan

    Photograph of cherry picker complete with saltire and balloon can be seen on Perth’s The Courier website for 24.3.15. There were also some pictures on the RSPB Loch Garten Forums website but unfortunately the RSPB site is down for a couple of days.

    I note that work has started on site in advance of planning permission being granted. The Council wrote on 6th March requesting further information before they could make a decision on whether the event could go ahead.The public consultation has now re-opened and will run to 24th April with a final decision being made sometime in May. Details of all the documents including the Environment Impact Assessment are available on the Perth and Kinross Council website 15/00081/FLM.

    EIA Volume 2 Written Statement paragraph 1.21 Pages 4-6 includes details of all the individuals and companies who assisted in putting together the EIA – including the sections on Ecology and Ornithology for those who are curious regarding who might have been helping.

    What becomes very clear from dipping into some of the documents is that it is not just the 2 or 3 days of disturbance from the event itself (and that is bad enough) – but the two or three months of planned work required leading up to the event – sustained noise and disturbance across the site during the key breeding period.

    Hopefully if the ospreys return to the site over the next few days the work can be halted.

  • Keith Cowieson

    Well said the RSPB – eventually – still, better late than never!

    Now, just need to go in to bat for the kingfisher, another specially protected Schedule 1 species whose nesting banks have been covered over with tarpaulins, the red-listed skylarks whose nesting meadows are due to be mown in the middle of their nesting cycle and for the specially protected Schedule 1 barn owl and red kites who will also be subject to disturbance during the breeding season. And then of course there are the bats and red squirrels……

  • As of half an hour ago, the cherry picker is STILL there (a new, larger model with greater reach). There are two security guards next to the machine, 12 hours a day. Given the high winds, the platform is at 2/3rds height.

    My concern is that it will be these men – with no ornithological knowledge – who will be operating the machine when the birds return to the area. Will they know the difference between ‘dissuading’ a bird from nesting and causing distress? Given how important it is that these birds do not nest in their usual eyrie, I suspect they will not err on the side of caution.

    The only good news I can share is that there are lawyers working on this, to determine whether this is lawful or not. Whether they come to a conclusion in time is another matter.

  • UPDATE: Birds are back safely and nesting in their old, existing nest (without showing any interest in the artificially constructed one). This nest is 100m from the festival site. DFC are intending to adopt a buffer zone, so the birds are not disturbed. If the construction works don’t cause a disturbance, the music festival certainly will, particularly since the chicks will not have fledged. (TITP can be heard 14 miles away.) Can the Council agree to a planning application if, in doing so, they will be allowing a criminal offence to be committed? Surely not. Perhaps DFC are relying upon the nest failing?

  • johnwitty

    why cant find another place

    Editor’s Commentt, Hi John, not sure what you mean? Are you asking if another venue should be found, or that the osprey should find a new home?