Oh oh!

I went out for a drive last week and saw a couple of red kites.  They are fantastic birds aren’t they?

If you remember I set myself the target of seeing red kites on 200 days of 2012 – and enjoying the moment each time.  I am falling short so far – I’m heading for c150 days at the current rate but that is still an awful lot of kite pleasure.

When I got home I saw that the RSPB and Herts police had issued a press release about two poisoned red kites in Hertfordshire.  One of them was found hanging, dead, in a tree at Pegsdon Hills Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve – and I’ve been there, so I thought that was interesting.  But the other had been found nearby in a place called Hexton in January – I couldn’t place Hexton so I looked it up on the web.  I thought I might have been birdwatching there so I entered ‘hexton herts birds’ into a well-known search engine and up popped a shoot.

I was just about to move on when I noticed two familiar names on the same web page: Snilesworth and Glenogil.

This is why Snilesworth is familiar to me and this is why Glenogil is a familiar name.

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17 Comments

  1. Mike Kyne-phillips

    Another example then of estates doing what they want, why do they feel they are above the law.

    I know that not all are bad, and the land benefits other wildlife, but it's time to learn lessons from our past. We lost the goshawk, nearly lost the red kite and still could lose hen harriers.

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    • Mark

      Mike - welcome and thank you for your comment. I think that is a bit of a leap - we don't know who was responsbile for those dead kites. Experience shows that most offences against birds of prey that lead to convictions have shooting interests involved. The police are asking for information on this particular case.

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  2. Mike Kyne-phillips

    No we don't know.....

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    • Mark

      Mike - I have, you will notice, edited your comment down quite a lot. Suffice it to say that I hope that the police will be investigating this case thoroughly.

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  3. The spectre of raptor persecution is barely reported in the press. For a nation of bird lovers and pet lovers it seems incongruous, it can only be that everyone is scared of the big powerful landowning interest.

    I would encourage people to write to the local mp for the area and the local parish councils..it should be help up as something that everyone in those villages should be ashamed of..lots of people will know who did it..you can't do anything in a rural area without someone knowing.

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    • Mark

      Stephen - welcome and thank you for your very interesting comment

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  4. Roderick Leslie

    I'm the floating voter: I understand how much shooting contributes to the rural economy, I know that many shopots are very responsibly managed and that many (too few - keepers don't understand woodland management !) contribute significantly both as a bi-product and intentionally to wildlife. But I have to say with people like these on the loose and the near extinction of Hen Harrier in England I'd probably vote to abolish shooting if given the chance today. That is the challenge for shooting - not how do you persuade your core vote that shooting has a continuing place in the countryside, but how do you persuade me that I should sit back while a small minority massacre legally protected species ? I know from personal experience that responsible shooters are deeply concerned at some of the activities of the damgerous minority - when I took action, working with GWT, over a heavily overstocked shoot I was gratified by the support from many responsible shoots. Surely it's time for you guys whose livelihoods are in real danger from these people to break ranks and come out publicly against persecution ?

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    • Mark

      Roderick - thank you and I feel the same about all those proven instances of shoots being involved with illegal killing of wildlife. The 'it's just a small minority' line is wearing very thin these days. It may be a small minority but they are having an unforgiveable impact on birds of prey (and the habitat benefits are real, but as you say, not alwys present either).

      Shooting needs to clean up its act or it may regret the clean-up that others will impose.

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  5. Child of Herne

    I have certainly seen far fewer large raptors over Barton le Cley this year than for last few years...

    I am not a shooter but accept that properly run shoots can have a conservation benefit.

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    • Mark

      Child of Herne - welcome and thank you for your comment which I have edited quite drastically - I hope you understand why.

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  6. Mike Kyne-phillips

    Wow that's hell of an edit, but I understand why.

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    • Mark

      Mike - thank you.

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  7. Dennis Ames

    You know exactly how I feel Mark,think both of us feel that we cannot really say what we feel and the answers that would solve it but for sure your links prove that a small minority take no notice of present convictions.
    I feel sad more than I can put into words that one important step would be the
    e-petition Vicarious Responsibility to become law in all of UK either the RSPB are feeling they can get this petition up to a 100,000 signatures comfortably or they are really letting BOP,Chrissy and all BOP lovers down really badly

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  8. Hugh Webster

    So one "sporting agent" is advertising links to two shoots with confirmed track records of raptor persecution and a third that just happens to be where a dead red kite has mysteriously met its end.

    I think all shoots should be encouraged to sign up to some sort of environmental stewardship scheme, perhaps with a number of levels reflecting commitment and achievements. This is where an organisation such as the GWCT which carries clout with the shooting community could make a real contribution. Shooters could then be encouraged to only patronise those shoots demonstrating a commitment to genuine biodiversity. An estate with a track record of fledging hen harriers would qualify for the highest award and should be the most prestigious place to shoot grouse. Places without any award should be shunned, as should the individuals who frequent them. Such a voluntary scheme would also negate the need for unenforceable legislation.

    I also think that anyone convicted of raptor persecution should be prevented from gaining employment as a gamekeeper in the UK for the remainder of their lives, much as someone convicted of child abuse would be unable to gain employment as a teacher. The paltry fines currently handed out are sickening.

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    • Mark

      Hugh - thank you for your comment. Yes that may be the case - I don't know the details of who was where and when. I was just struck by seeing those two placenames associated with past raptor persecution on that website.

      I wonder what the view of GWCT is? Remember that two current Defra Ministers are former trustees of GWCT (Messrs Benyon and Paice).

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      • Marco McGinty

        I'm quite sure that the GWCT won't really care about another dead raptor. The following link (from a few years ago) shows their great revelry at the announcement that a pair of hen harriers were reportedly killed and yet no condemnation or outrage at the poisoning of a golden eagle, merely depressing reading. Says it all, really.

        This conservation organisation appears to be in favour of an eagle owl reintroduction, as the archaeological record indicates that it was part of the UK fauna. If that is the case, they cannot have any objection if bears, wolves and lynx are reintroduced into our landscape. Oh, and surely they must have an objection to the millions of native creatures that are killed each year in attempts to protect non-natives.

        http://www.gwct.org.uk/policy/wildlife_issues/489.asp

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