News from Scotland

from Mr Carbo

And a belated piece of news from Scotland – a pair of Hen Harriers, after many years, has finally produced some young in the Angus glens.

You can tell this was big news because it appeared in The Courier on 5 August and the Press and Journal on 6 August. You’ll notice that the coverage was almost exactly the same in both papers: same quotes, same phrases and same order (more or less). I guess that was a cut and paste job on a press release.

It’s obviously good news that after years of no chicks having fledged this single pair (in a massive moorland area dominated by grouse shooting) fledged four chicks.

Mike Groves, who is a fairly frequent commenter on this blog was quoted alongside the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Alex Hogg and The Angus Moorland Group. Mr Groves says;

It’s a historic moment’

Mr Groves’s comments on this blog, which are most welcome, are usually about how fieldworkers are disturbing Hen Harrier nests and how full the Angus Glens are with raptors. Here are some examples, one from each of the last five years;

Surely yet again highlights very clearly how many raptor nest failures are caused by over disturbance by both the general public and in some cases overzealous raptor fieldworkers! (2020)

Gladly things have very much moved forward progressively on the raptor persecution front over the last 5 years or so in Angus. Rather than regurgitating old historical data wouldn’t it be beneficial to move forward and recognise positive and progressive change of attitudes? Harriers are back breeding in Angus but unfortunately one of the adult birds seems to be infertile and eggs don’t hatch? (2019)

When it comes to hen harriers, persecution is just one piece of the big and multifactorial jigsaw. Add into the mix human interference, fox and other forms of predation, windfarms, reduced fertility and more recently satellite tagging, etc its a wonder so many survive. (2018)

I can speak with regards to vast knowledge/experience of raptor monitoring in the Angus Glens and can safely state that he has obviously lost touch with this area completely since his retirement several years back. Surely recognition of these dramatic raptor turnarounds in several areas of the Angus Glens should be highlighted as a positive and welcome step forward rather than living in the past and constantly dragging up past historical persecution? (2017)

…wouldn’t it be better for all concerned to adopt a non-lethal quota system? This could potentially save a lot of time, effort and money and allow harriers to breed more naturally with minimal intervention on managed grouse moors? (2016)

We must all be pleased that despite the fact that grouse moors are said to be wonderful habitat for Hen Harriers a whole pair of Hen Harriers has raised a whole four chicks this year. I’m sorry not to have brought you this historic news before.

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