Dave Windle

Just to prove that “the guardians of the countryside” are constantly working on our behalf, I attach the link below to their latest piece of “rampant criminality” (at the time of writing – undoubtedly by the time that you read this, they will have persecuted many more raptors).

As I’ve commented before, a person with any brain would ease off as the report from the working group on grouse moor management is due to be published, but, no, they keep on killing. From our perspective, having the readers in Holyrood sensitised to the issue by press reports of raptor persecution can only help, a recent example is at

Nick Kempe’s post on his excellent Parkswatch blog shows the extent of the problem locally. See

SNH’s 2017 report into the fates
of golden eagles in Scotland

On the other side, SLE has published a report based on work undertaken by the GWCT, their research arm, available at

I am not surprised to see this. Indeed, it is strange that they have taken so long to produce such a report. In my experience, waders do very well on some grouse moors. I have seen spectacular example of this in North Yorkshire and the Tomintoul area. However, extinction should “honest” gamekeepers stop their work seems unlikely and flies in the face of population biology science. What happened before Gamekeepers came upon the scene? The answer is that there was a balance and that waders and their predators coexisted. At the time of writing, I am expecting RSPB to respond.

Unfortunately, the publication of the working group’s report has been delayed due to its chair being ill. He is now back and due to submit the report to Roseanna Cunningham shortly. It may even be out as you read this.
Information on the working group is available at

Ahead of the publication, Alison Johnstone MSP has announced that she will put forward a Bill to end the killing of mountain hares without a licence. and She is Parliamentary species champion for hares and has raised questions on their protection in the past. This proposed Bill marks a new effort to secure that protection. The SLE has predictably raised objections and we can expect the SGA to so in due course. The same people that protect raptors are claiming that they also protect other species! Details of the consultation can be found here NEMT will be responding to the consultation and publish a summary of our reply in the next issue of Mountain Views. By the time that the consultation closes, the grouse moor management report should be out and will form a major input.

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