This post continues to explore the licensing of wild hacking of non-native falcons in the UK and uses information received from SNH about wild hacking licensed by them in Moray in 2019.
The licence to cover wild hacking of 150 Gyr Falcons was issued on 9 May and came into effect on 1 June. It required the licensee to carry out a bird survey and this was carried out by a consultancy on 31 May.
The survey was simply a wander around the hacking area and recording birds within 1km of that site. Only Schedule 1 species were recorded.
The survey was rather cursory, did not comply with published SNH guidelines, only included a very small area very close to the hacking site, was carried out on one day and only recorded Schedule 1 species which were actually breeding within 1km of the site. You couldn’t get a much more tightly constrained survey. If the area was used by a whole bunch of Schedule 1 species which nested some way away but not within 1km of the site then I don’t think they would have been mentioned. And if the area was full of cowering ground-nesting birds such as Black Grouse, Curlew and Lapwing they wouldn’t have been mentioned either. I’m presuming that the area is not a wader hotspot but the survey carried out would not have flagged this up. Perhaps more work to be done here in stipulating the quality of environmental impact assessment to be carried out?
I was amused to see that under community benefits the licensee stated that ‘As part of one of these agreements, a donation is given to GWCT for conservation work on upland waders.’. Made me smile anyway.
More on this tomorrow…