New Games at Langholm.

We are now well into the second of the Langholm project and still no Red Grouse shooting even though there were plenty of birds to shoot in 2014. The reason for not shooting was explained by the head gamekeeper as ‘wanting to preserve the present number to increase numbers in 2015’! As many of you may know the actual number of Red Grouse fell to ex-stream low numbers in 2015 as they did on most moors in the western side of Britain [rain fall!].

Now a new game has been created to reduce the number of Buzzards on the moor at Langholm. This one is called ‘let’s scare the Buzzards away using a captive Golden Eagle’! Incidentally, flying a trained Golden Eagle over the moor to scare of Buzzards is also likely to frighten away Hen Harriers as well, who thought up this one? This is going to take place this coming week. What is amazing, in 1989 Golden Eagles were reported killed at Langholm, together with an additional three hundred other assorted birds of prey being killed annually on the Buccleuch estate. [Radcliffe – Galloway and the Borders]. Scottish Natural Heritage  have yet to ask them to return these birds to the estate!

This Golden Eagle being released onto the moor next week has no territory as it is a captive bird under the control of a falconer. The Buzzards on the other hand have territories. So unless the Golden Eagle has been trained specifically to kill Buzzards the eagle will not attempt to clear the moor of Buzzards. If the Eagle does chase a Buzzard will that mean the Buccleuch Estate will remain a part of the newly Southern Scotland Golden Eagle reintroduction scheme?

With no driven Red Grouse to shoot unless they kill all the birds of prey [Mark Avery – Inglorious and predicting the weather!] they will have to look else where to find an income from this moor in the future. Will the new introduction scheme do a feasibility study to show how much income will be drawn in with such a Golden Eagle reintroduction especially to the poor folk of Langholm who have seen their industries dry up in recent years.

3 comments to New Games at Langholm.

  • nirofo

    Rain??? Do you mean to tell me that they’re not blaming the Hen Harriers this time, now there’s a first. Will normal service be resumed when the rain stops !!!

  • Trapit

    Most moors have cancelled, or severely reduced shooting this year . An almost total failure to rear any young due to lack of insect life , and even eggs splitting in unusually low Spring temperatures, has left a population of mostly adult birds.
    Over winter losses,including predation,mean next spring will see a possibly lower baseline than 2015.Added to which a population of older birds which in theory are less prolific breeders.

  • nirofo

    Well the lack of insect life comes as no great surprise considering the amount of burning and drainage carried out on the moors. Of course it’s not only on the moors where there is an obvious lack of insects, the serious state our insect life in general is mainly down to the over use of isecticides and herbicides sprayed on crops and other vegetation without any thought for the long term damage it is causing. Birds and many other species are suffering serious long term declines caused in many cases through the indiscriminate use of these herbicides and pesticides and the relentless destruction of their preferred environments.