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Mass raptor poisoning in Wales: location revealed

In March 2016, we blogged (see here) about the mass poisoning of raptors in 2012/2013 at an unnamed location in the Brecon Beacons National Park, Powys, Wales. Our suspicions had been aroused when looking at raptor poisoning data published in two RSPB reports (Birdcrime 2012; Birdcrime 2013). We were very interested in a cluster of […]
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NYorks Police decision to caution pole-trapping gamekeeper: where’s that review?

On 1st June 2016, we blogged about the Mossdale Estate gamekeeper who had been caught on film setting illegal pole traps on a grouse moor in the Yorkshire Dales National Park (see here). Later that day we also blogged about North Yorkshire Police’s decision to issue this criminal with a caution rather than refer him […]
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Hen Harriers surviving on grouse moors? Not a Chance in hell

The RSPB’s Hen Harrier team has today announced the ‘disappearance’ of yet another satellite-tagged hen harrier. This time it’s a two-year old female called ‘Chance’, whose last sat tag signal came from a grouse moor in South Lanarkshire at the end of May. The RSPB’s Investigations team conducted a search for the body/tag but nothing […]
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Moorland Association feeling the pressure

Last week the Moorland Association (MA) went in to full damage limitation mode and sent around an e-newsletter to its members about recent events (e.g. here and here) that, in its view, had damaged the MA’s reputation. It’s amusing that the MA still thinks it has a reputation to damage. Newsflash for the MA: your […]
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Goshawks still under threat in Peak District National Park

An interesting blog (here) has just been posted about the tentative success of goshawks this year in the Peak District National Park. Written by Mark Thomas of the RSPB Investigations Team, the blog documents the appalling persecution of goshawks that has taken place within the boundary of this National Park over the years. It discusses […]
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Hands off our Hen Harriers: Picnic at Grimwith Reservoir, Yorkshire Dales National Park

We’re told that the picnic/stroll/chat about the lack of Hen Harriers in England this year – ‘a tiny handful’ (RSPB) – will be held at Grimwith Reservoir car park at midday on Saturday (this Saturday! Saturday 25 June). It will be nice to meet up with many friends and register our anger at the lack […]
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Natural England issues impotent gas gun guidance

Last September we asked the statutory conservation agencies Scottish Natural Heritage and Natural England to issue urgent guidance about the use of propane gas guns in the uplands (here). We, and others, were concerned that these devices were being used to prevent hen harriers from nesting on grouse moors. Both organisations committed to investigating this […]
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Vicarious liability prosecution: Andrew Duncan (Newlands Estate) part 7

Criminal proceedings continued on 17th June against landowner Andrew Walter Bryce Duncan, who is alleged to be vicariously liable for the crimes committed by gamekeeper William (Billy) Dick in April 2014. Gamekeeper Dick was convicted in August 2015 of killing a buzzard on the Newlands Estate, Dumfriesshire by striking it with rocks and repeatedly stamping […]
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Henry’s picnic Sat 25 June: Yorkshire Dales National Park

Next week, on Saturday 25 June, whether we have voted Brexit or Remain, there will be a Hen Harrier rally to mark this year’s virtual absence of nesting Hen Harriers from the English uplands. Full details will appear here and elsewhere next Wednesday but we have now been told by the organisers that it will […]
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Case against gamekeeper Stanley Gordon re shot hen harrier Part 2

Criminal proceedings continued at Elgin Sheriff Court yesterday against Scottish gamekeeper Stanley Gordon. Mr Gordon, 60, of Cabrach, Moray, is facing charges in connection with the alleged shooting of a hen harrier in June 2013. The case continued without plea and the next hearing will be 14th July 2016. Previous blog on this case here […]
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General Licence restriction not worth paper it’s written on

Further to yesterday’s blog about the status of the General Licence restriction on Raeshaw Estate (see here), SNH has now provided an explanation. You’d better make sure you’re sitting down: “Thank you for your email to Andrew Bachell. I am writing to give you an update. SNH issued a restriction on the use of General […]
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Mossdale Estate resigns from Moorland Association over illegal pole traps incident

It’s been two weeks since the news emerged that a gamekeeper on the Mossdale Estate in the Yorkshire Dales National Park had been filmed setting three illegal pole traps on a grouse moor where a female hen harrier had been observed hunting (see here). It’s been 12 days since the Moorland Association admitted that the […]
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Police investigate suspicious death of tenth red kite in North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire Police are investigating the suspicious death of yet another red kite – the tenth red kite to have been either shot or found dead in suspicious circumstances in North Yorkshire in the last few months. The latest victim was found at Timble Ings near Harrogate, just a short distance from Blubberhouse Moor where […]
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Mountain hare massacres on Scottish grouse moors: no planned monitoring

Last month we blogged about a series of Parliamentary questions and answers about mountain hare massacres on Scottish grouse moors and how these unregulated culls are, in our opinion, in breach of EU conservation legislation (here). Those Parliamentary questions had been lodged by Scottish Greens MSP Mark Ruskell. Now Alison Johnstone, a fellow Scottish Greens […]
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Has Raeshaw Estate lost Judicial Review re: General Licence restriction?

Regular blog readers will know we’ve been interested in the General Licence restrictions imposed by SNH on two grouse shooting estates for suspected raptor persecution crimes, see here and see overview of events to date here. In April 2016, one of those estates, Raeshaw, near Heriot in the Scottish Borders, submitted an application for a judicial […]
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Vicarious liability prosecution: Andrew Duncan (Newlands Estate) part 6

Criminal proceedings continued on 3rd June against landowner Andrew Walter Bryce Duncan, who is alleged to be vicariously liable for the crimes committed by gamekeeper William (Billy) Dick in April 2014. Gamekeeper Dick was convicted in August 2015 of killing a buzzard on the Newlands Estate, Dumfriesshire by striking it with rocks and repeatedly stamping […]
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Scarey man on an Angus Glens grouse moor

Here’s another entry for the Mysterious Visiting Fairies’ Guide to Getting Rid of Hen Harriers on Grouse Moors. Filmed on a grouse moor in the Angus Glens (that well-known ‘wildlife haven‘) last week, it’s really little wonder that hen harriers haven’t bred on these grouse moors since 2006. This is a Scarey Man Birdscarer. Powered […]
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Grouse moor management bang out of order

There are lots of ways gamekeepers sorry, mysterious visiting fairies, can, and obviously do, get rid of pesky hen harriers from the grouse moors of upland England and Scotland. Options available might include disturbing them with booming gas guns (here), or lying in wait with a decoy hen harrier (here), or setting illegal pole traps […]
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Hands off our Hen Harriers! Picnic rally 25 June 2016, North Yorkshire

Are you holding the date of 25 June, midday, for a picnic/rally on a grouse moor in North Yorkshire? We are. We’re looking forward to it. Apparently this picnic will be in a constituency which has more than 100 signatures on the e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting, is in a National Park, and is […]
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National Trust pulls grouse shooting lease in Peak District National Park

The National Trust has just gone from zero to hero in a move that will send shock waves throughout the grouse-shooting industry and will draw wide acclaim from conservationists. You may remember at the end of April this year we published a video of an armed man, sitting next to a decoy hen harrier, on […]
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The ‘secrets of the Angus Glens’ that Countryfile forgot to mention

On Sunday evening, Countryfile included a piece about the grouse moors of Invermark Estate in the Angus Glens and how it was “a haven for wildlife”. It can be viewed on iPlayer here for the next 28 days (starts at 22 mins in). Inane, vacuous and unquestioning, this piece was heralded in previews as ‘uncovering […]
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More raptor persecution at Moy

Police Scotland has issued an appeal for information following the discovery of disturbed and abandoned buzzard and goshawk nests in the Moy Forest near Tomatin in the Scottish Highlands. During May this year, one goshawk and four buzzard nests have been abandoned in suspicious circumstances, with some evidence of illegal disturbance. These nests were being […]
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Two million blog views

Yesterday, our blog passed the two million hits mark – a bit of a milestone for us. Thank you to everyone who has read, contributed, commented, shared and supported it. This is an opportune moment to pay tribute to two sets of people in particular: RSPB Investigations Teams (and in Scotland the SSPCA Special Investigations […]
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Hands off our Hen Harriers

Following this morning’s news (see here and here), Henry invites you to save this date: Saturday 25 June For a midday picnic and rally on a Yorkshire grouse moor. Further details available towards the end of this week.        
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How many hen harriers breeding in England this year?

Martin Harper, the RSPB’s Conservation Director, has this morning published his promised mid-season update on the status of breeding hen harriers in England this year. To be frank, and sorry about this Martin, but it’s the biggest pile of tosh we’ve read in a while. Back in March, when we asked whether the RSPB was […]
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Deafening silence in response to gas gun use in protected area of peak District National Park

Remember that gas gun we blogged about at the end of May, positioned on the Broomhead Estate in the Peak District National Park, booming away across the grouse moor and undoubtedly disturbing birds in an area designated as an Special Protection Area (SPA), Special Area of Conservation (SAC), and a Site of Special Scientific Interest […]
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Big decision for Hawk & Owl Trust

Most of you will be aware of the Hawk & Owl Trust’s terrible decision to support the brood meddling part of DEFRA’s doomed Hen Harrier Action Plan. The Hawk & Owl Trust was on the receiving end of much criticism for that choice (e.g. see here, here, here) and it even resulted in the resignation of […]
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Criminal pole-trapper is gamekeeper on Mossdale Estate

This won’t come as any surprise to anyone, but it has now been confirmed that the man given a police caution for setting illegal pole traps on a grouse moor on the Mossdale Estate in the Yorkshire Dales National Park is……wait for it….a gamekeeper from the Mossdale Estate. How do we know? Because the Moorland […]
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Goshawk suspected shot in Peak District National Park

The RSPB has just issued this press statement: Goshawk nest fails in suspicious circumstances in Peak District The RSPB is appealing for information after a goshawk nest failed in suspicious circumstances at Dove Stone in the Peak District. On 10 May, a local raptor worker discovered the freshly abandoned goshawk nest in conifer woodland in […]
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North Yorks Police try to justify police caution for criminal activity on grouse moor

Following today’s earlier blog about the man who was given a police caution after he was filmed setting illegal pole traps on the Mossdale Estate grouse moor within the Yorkshire Dales National Park (see here), North Yorkshire Police has now issued an unbelievable press statement in an attempt to justify their decision to caution instead […]
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Attempted hen harrier persecution on grouse moor in Yorkshire Dales National Park

An unnamed man has received a police caution for setting three illegal pole traps in the middle of a grouse moor in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The three traps were discovered on Friday 6th May 2016 by a member of the public, who also saw a female hen harrier hunting in the vicinity. The […]
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