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A round up of the top countryside, conservation, wildlife and forestry stories as chosen by the CJS Team.


logo: British Wildlife Photography Awards

The 2015 Competition is now open for entries  

Your chance to win a prestigious award, with a cash prize of £5,000 and reach millions through national exposure. Help raise awareness about British wildlife and celebrate our natural heritage. Winners and commended entrants will have their work showcased in a touring exhibition and stunning book, and will be invited to an exclusive Awards ceremony in London.

The overall prize fund worth up to £20,000 includes products from lead sponsors Sky and Canon.  

The awards recognise the talents of photographers practising in Britain whilst also highlighting the great wealth and diversity of British natural history. A celebration of British wildlife as well as a showcase for photographers and videographers, both amateur and professional.  


CJS is once again sponsoring the Botanical category

There are sixteen separate categories including animal behaviour, urban wildlife, habitat, animal portraits, marine life, the hidden secret world that lies in the undergrowth and a special award for wildlife in HD Video. Also two junior categories and a school award - to encourage young people to connect with nature through photography. http://www.bwpawards.org/categories 

Wildlife in HD Video sponsored by Sky+HD: In addition to still photography there is a great opportunity to capture wildlife in action and win an amazing prize. Be inspired by the video winner and commended entries in 2014. http://www.bwpawards.org/categories/wildlife-in-hd-video

Chris Packham, Naturalist and TV Presenter said "Each year the British Wildlife Photography Awards generates an incredible catalogue of splendid, exciting, imaginative and artistic images, proving beyond doubt that we have the richest palette of life to celebrate in our own backyard. Anyone passionate about protecting and preserving wildlife will be inspired by the British Wildlife Photography Awards, which in its sixth year has done more than any other award to raise the profile of British wildlife.  


The Sill wins £7.8M HLF grant to open up Northumberland’s finest landscapes - Northumberland National Park Authority

There are celebrations all round today (2/2/15) as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help more people explore and learn about the nation's finest countryside, has been awarded a grant of £7.8m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The Sill will become the country's first national landscape discovery centre, giving more people than ever before, the chance to experience the countryside's special and often hidden treasures.  It will revolutionise everyone's ability to find and experience nature and the great outdoors, inspiring, involving and engaging people from all walks of life in the natural and cultural heritage of Northumberland.

The Sill, graphic of how the new centre will look (image: NNPA)The Sill, graphic of how the new centre will look

(image: NNPA)

The Sill will deliver a comprehensive programme of interpretation, education, research and events that will inspire people to celebrate, value and conserve the unique natural and cultural heritage of the Northumberland landscape. It's set to attract more than 100,000 visitors each year, and will offer an all-weather and year-round facility that provides hostel accommodation, retail facilities and a café.  Both NNPA and YHA are celebrating the latest stage of all the hard work and dedication by the people and organisations involved in this flagship project. The partners hope this achievement will act as a springboard to help raise the remaining £2.2million funds needed to ensure the project reaches its full potential.

John Riddle, Chairman of Northumberland National Park Authority, hailed this moment as an historic one for the region. He said: "We are absolutely delighted by today's announcement. To receive such substantial HLF backing is a wonderful boost for the project and marks a very significant day for the North East."

Tony Gates, Chief Executive of the National Park Authority, claims the project will transform how people will learn about and explore our landscapes. He said: "The great outdoors is important to people, it enriches our lives, it makes us feel alive. The Sill will help people from all walks of life explore and learn about Britain's finest landscapes. Through this project, we will inspire the next generation of custodians, protecting the legacy of our stunning landscapes for the future. We are particularly keen to ensure young people benefit, with The Sill as our answer to the iPad in helping grab young peoples' attention.


Young people called on to support wetlands for a healthier future - Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust

World Wetlands DayYoung people will grow up healthier and more prosperous if the world can reverse the loss of wetlands, is the message from WWT and charities and governments throughout the world today – World Wetlands Day.

Young people in the UK are being asked join the movement to save wetlands by making a pledge and sharing their photos. The same call has gone out to young people in more than 160 countries.

The World Wetlands Day theme – “Wetlands for our future” – reflects the choice facing the world.  WWT Chief Executive Martin Spay CBE said: “Since 1900 almost two-thirds of wetlands have been drained and cleared in the name of progress. We’re only just appreciating the huge cost to wildlife and people’s livelihoods. Research shows wetlands actually help to provide much of the water, food and natural protection that keep all of us healthy and safe. We know now how to build and farm and develop without destroying our wetlands, and we know how to create new wetlands to reverse the poor decisions of the past. We must decide what sort of world we leave for future generations.”

Anyone can make a pledge to make wetlands part of our future on the www.worldwetlandsday.org website. 15-24 year olds are also invited to share their photos of wetlands for the chance to win a trip to a wetland anywhere in the world.


Further reaction to Friday's defra consultation

Dismay as UK Government ‘protected’ areas exclude dolphins and porpoises, again - Whale and Dolphin Conservation

WDC has reacted with dismay and disappointment at the news that the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has excluded whales, dolphins and porpoises from those species that will be protected by a second tranche of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ) in the seas around England’s coastline.

The announcement by Defra on Friday is in contrast to Scotland and Wales, both of which already have similar such marine protected areas (or MPAs) for bottlenose dolphins, and Scotland has also proposed MPAs for Risso’s dolphins, minke whales and basking sharks.

Back in In November 2013, Defra expanded the Marine Protected Areas network through the designation of the first tranche of Marine Conservation Zones. 27 MCZs were designated which offer protection to the nationally representative and nationally rare and threatened habitats and species within our seas. Sadly, none included whales, dolphins or porpoises.

WDC believes that these zones and MPAs are both tools that should be used together to provide protection to mobile species, including whales, dolphins and porpoises, where they return to important habitats to feed, breed or to raise young.  The European Commission has repeatedly urged the UK government to designate a special kind of MPA called Special Areas of Conservation for harbour porpoises, and has said that it may refer the case to the EU Court of Justice if the UK doesn’t respond appropriately.   Therefore, WDC believes that the UK needs to urgently reconsider it’s policies towards mobile marine species so that it is in line with our international commitments, and the rest of the world.


iSpot research paper published - iSpot 

We're pleased to announce that a new paper in the journal ZooKeys has been published, describing the thinking behind iSpot's approach to species identifications, outlining how iSpot makes use of its 'reputation system' to help highlight reliable identifications, and providing an overview of some of the activity on the site to date.

Thanks to everyone who has ever added an observation, identification or comment to iSpot - you have all contributed to the results described in the paper!

The summary is copied below, and click here for the full paper.

Silvertown J, Harvey M, Greenwood R, Dodd M, Rosewell J, Rebelo T, Ansine J, McConway K (2015) Crowdsourcing the identification of organisms: A case-study of iSpot. ZooKeys 480: 125-146. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.480.8803


Tees Valley Wildlife Trust wins Heritage Lottery Fund support for regional bat project - Heritage Lottery Fund

Today, Tees Valley Wildlife Trust are announcing today a new initiative that will involve community groups, volunteers and young people in making East Cleveland a better place for bats.

Long-eared brown bat Credit: Hugh Clark/Bat Conservation TrustThe Tees Valley Wildlife Trust has received a confirmed grant of £45,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and a further £5,000 funding from Northumbrian Water’s Branch Out Fund for the East Cleveland Batscape Project.

The two-year project aims to increase appreciation and understanding of the number of different bats in East Cleveland and how they are using the landscape to roost, forage and commute. The wooded nature of East Cleveland and the rural character of the landscape give it the potential to be important for more than eight species of bats including some of the rarer bats. The project will work with local communities and volunteers to provide training in field skills and the use of detectors to record and care for this unique wildlife.

Long-eared brown bat Credit: Hugh Clark/Bat Conservation Trust

There will also be a wealth of opportunities for people of all ages to encounter, enjoy, learn and appreciate bats through programmes of walks, talks, specific bat events, and primary school visits. By providing a unique wildlife encounter combined with fun, educational and interactive activities people will be helped to:

  • develop positive attitudes to bats
  • appreciate their ecological importance
  • contribute to their conservation.

Training programmes will provide volunteers with skills in wildlife recording and the ability to discover more about the bats in their neighbourhood and how they use the landscape to move about.  The formation of an East Cleveland Bat Group will help in future monitoring and conservation work. 


Northumberland Wildlife Trust secures Heritage Lottery Fund investment - Northumberland Wildlife Trust

Northumberland Wildlife Trust has received a confirmed grant of £417,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Dynamic Druridge project, it was announced today (3/2/15).

The Druridge Bay coastline, which stretches the 7 miles from Amble in the north to Lynemouth Bay in the south, is treasured for its beautiful beaches and rolling sand dunes, yet, behind the sweep of beach lies a wonderful legacy of Northumberland’s industrial past. Some sections of the hinterland have already been restored as wetland nature reserves while other landscapes have changed little since Anglo Saxon times. The whole area is renowned for its birdlife and is home to other species such as otters, red squirrels and great crested newts.

A large part of the Dynamic Druridge project will be the building of a new and innovative Wildlife Discovery Centre at the Trust’s Hauxley reserve on Druridge Bay. Built from the landscape and within the landscape, the Centre will be an eco-build with the potential to be the greenest building in the north-east, using locally grown and traditional building materials; it will enable the wildlife charity to host an exciting programme of recreational, educational and volunteering activities designed to re-connect people with nature and the wider landscape.

Designed by North Shields based architects Brightblue Studio, the new building will be a unique coastal wildlife-watching hub for the North East and will replace the building destroyed in an arson attack in 2010. It is scheduled to open in summer 2016.

In addition to the new centre, the project will restore, recreate and reconnect habitats across the Trust’s five nature reserves along the Bay - Hauxley, Cressell Pond and Foreshore, Druridge Pools, East Chevington and Linton Lane as well as engaging local communities, groups and visitors in activities and events designed to reconnect them with the natural world.

You can follow the build’s progress here.


Childhood obesity crisis tackled as part of groundbreaking canoe project - Canal and River Trust

More than 10,000 young people from some of England’s most deprived communities will help to transform 150 miles of canal, creating England’s first ever coast to coast canoe trail.

Only 28% of boys and 15% of girls meet the government’s recommended level of physical activity and 37% of young people aged 11-18 are overweight or obese. Working to create the canoe trail aims to get the youngsters active and provide them with new life skills which could help them gain employment in the future, in the face of 21% youth unemployment across the country.

Over the next five years 15-24 year olds and their families will be recruited to create social action squads along the length of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and Aire and Calder Navigation, connecting communities along the route to each other and their local environment and waterways.

Learning outside the classroom is proven to tackle social mobility and be of particular help to young people from disadvantaged background, increasing their self-esteem and raising levels of attainment. It’s also been proven that spending time outdoors can improve a person’s mental health and wellbeing.

The trail will be the longest of its kind in the UK, first launching in Merseyside and over five years stretching to Humberside. Along the way it will connect towns and cities including Liverpool, Wigan, Blackburn, Burnley, Leeds, Skipton and Goole.

Tony Hales, chairman of the Canal & River Trust adds: “We want communities to use canals to enrich their lives as part of a healthy and fun lifestyle. Canoeing is a great sport, growing in popularity, for the young and the older. We want to make it accessible and enjoyed by many more families and individuals, whatever their physical ability." 


Rampisham planning permission put on hold - Dorset Wildlife Trust

Planning permission to build a large solar station on a protected wildlife site, Rampisham Down in west Dorset, has been put on hold by the Department for Communities and Local Government, under the Town and Country Planning Order 1995.

West Dorset District Council approved planning permission for a 25MW solar station on the 72ha (178 acres) protected SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), Rampisham Down on 15th January 2015.  In response, Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) and the Wildlife Trusts nationally launched a campaign to urge the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles to ‘call in’ the decision, and decide for himself whether the development should go ahead, with the aid of a public inquiry.  

Chief Executive of Dorset Wildlife Trust, Dr Simon Cripps said, “We have been overwhelmed by the amount of public support we’ve had, with nearly 7,000 people sending their letters to Eric Pickles, asking him to ‘call in’ the decision.  It is good news that the process of issuing planning permission has been halted for the time being, but we need to continue putting pressure on the Government to get this perverse decision over-turned.  This is not only of local concern, but would also have national implications if a development such as this is built on a highly protected SSSI wildlife site, when other sites are available.  DWT supports solar power, just not on an SSSI.”  


Bumblebee brains affected by neonicotinoids - Bumblebee Conservation Trust

New research has emerged from the Universities of Dundee and St. Andrews which shows that accepted environmental levels of neonicotinoids impair bumblebee brain functionality and consequently negatively impact the performance of whole colonies.

Early Queen bumblebee (image: Bumblebee Conservation Trust)The research, published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, is the first to demonstrate that the levels of neonicotinoids commonly found in the pollen and nectar of treated plants affect bumblebee brains. The results show that very low levels of neonicotinoids could cause up to a 55% reduction of living bees found in a colony and up to a 71% reduction in healthy brood cells.

Early Queen bumblebee (image: Bumblebee Conservation Trust)

This latest evidence regarding impaired brain functionality is particularly alarming given that bumblebees rely upon their intelligence to go about their daily tasks, navigating the landscape, locating resources and learning which flowers offer the best rewards and how to access those rewards. It is especially alarming when considered with the other threats bumblebees face such as habitat loss and limited food availability. There is a growing body of evidence showing the harmful effects of neonicotinoids on bumblebees and other animals, and as such the Bumblebee Conservation Trust is advocating for an extension to the current moratorium on neonicotinoid use when it comes to an end in December this year.


Bee brains and colony health jeopardised by pesticide exposure - University of Dundee

Research at the Universities of Dundee and St Andrews has confirmed that levels of neonicotinoid insecticides accepted to exist in agriculture cause both impairment of bumblebees’ brain cells and subsequent poor performance by bee colonies.

The contribution of the neonicotinoids to the global decline of insect pollinators is controversial and contested by many in the agriculture industry. However, the new research, published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, demonstrates for the first time that the low levels found in the nectar and pollen of plants is sufficient to deliver neuroactive levels to their site of action, the bee brain.

Dr Chris Connolly, a Reader in the Division of Neuroscience at Dundee’s School of Medicine, says the paper represents the best scientific evidence to date connecting neonicotinoid consumption to poor performance of bees and that the effects of the pesticide must be considered by policy makers seeking to protect the abundance and diversity of insect pollinators.

“Our research demonstrates beyond doubt that the level of neonicotinoids generally accepted as the average level present in the wild causes brain dysfunction and colonies to perform poorly when consumed by bumblebees,” he said. “In fact, our research showed that the ability to perturb brain cells can be found at 1/5 to 1/10 of the levels that people think are present in the wild.

“This is not surprising as pesticides are designed to affect brains of insects so it is doing what it is supposed to do but on a bumblebee as well as the pest species. The bumblebees don’t die due to exposure to neonicotinoids but their brains cells don’t perform well as a result and this causes adverse outcomes for individual bees and colonies.

“This is not proof that neonicotinoids are solely responsible for the decline in insect pollinators, but a clear linear relationship is now established. We can now be confident that at these levels, neonicotinoids disrupt brain function, bee learning and the ability to forage for food and so limit colony growth.


Evidence shows Grey Seals may be responsible for spiral seal injuries. - Scottish Government

There is strong evidence that predatory behaviour by Grey Seals, rather than ship propeller injuries, is likely to be the main cause of spiral seal deaths, often referred to as “corkscrew seals”.

Sea Mammal Research Unit researchers observed a grey seal killing 5 young seals, leaving them with the distinctive spiral seal injuries. Combined with recent similar evidence from Germany, this suggests such behaviour may be more common and could explain the unusual clusters of injured seals found in Scottish waters.

This evidence does not completely eliminate ship propellers, but it is now less likely they are a key factor. Marine Scotland will continue to fund research into this issue.

Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “The clusters of ”corkscrew seal” deaths were unusual and worrying. In common with many of the creatures that live in our seas, seals are animals that are loved by the public. It is very important that we understand what caused these unusual deaths and we now have important evidence that natural predatory behaviour is likely to be the main cause, rather than ship propeller injuries as we first thought. This provides some reassurance for the shipping industry. This information will help to inform regulators, developers and others enabling them to take it into account in their activities. Marine Scotland will continue to monitor our seal population for further injuries and any evidence about the causes.”

Download the full report (pdf)


On the lookout for skydancers - RSPB

The RSPB want people to keep their eyes peeled for hen harriers

As spring gets underway, the RSPB is asking people who spend time in the English uplands to keep their eyes peeled for hen harriers, England’s most threatened birds of prey.

Now in its eighth year, the conservation charity has relaunched its Hen Harrier Hotline in the hope of discovering where these birds are potentially breeding.   

The uplands of Northern England should have at least 320 pairs of breeding hen harriers but last year there were only four successful nests in the whole of England. 

The main reason hen harriers have reached this crisis point is that the species suffers from ongoing illegal persecution.

Hen harriers breed in remote upland locations so the RSPB relies on walkers and cyclists to inform them of their location. The conservation charity can then put measures in place to protect the nest.


Big Tree Plant's millionth tree planted - Defra

Big Tree Plant via DefraEnvironment Secretary Elizabeth Truss plants an oak to celebrate the leafier streets and cities.

We all want the place we live to be as beautiful as it can be and the government’s tree-planting campaign to make that happen in England’s towns and cities has hit the million mark.

(image: Defra)

Today (5 February) Elizabeth Truss, the environment secretary, is planting an oak to celebrate the Big Tree Plant reaching its ambitious target, which it is now set to surpass.

The campaign has been led by Defra, and the Forestry Commission has provided £4 million to pay for planting and caring for the trees. This has gone in grants to the volunteers and groups who have brought communities together to make the Big Tree Plant such a success.

Everyone should have the chance to live in a leafy street, not just the better-off. That is why half the trees in the Big Tree Plant are going into the 33% most deprived neighbourhoods or those with the least green space.

As part of its commitment to a healthy natural environment, this government is championing the planting of trees in the countryside as well as towns and cities. Since 2010, we have funded the planting of at least 10 million rural trees, reinvigorating existing woodlands and planting new forests and copses. This country now has more tree cover than at any time for the past 700 years.

The Secretary of State planted the tree in Eastville Park with Forestry Commission Chair Sir Harry Studholme, Bristol Mayor George Ferguson and Director General of the Tree Council Pauline Buchanan Black. They were joined by children from Glenfrome Primary School who are planting their own trees as part of the project.

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said: 'Nothing is more symbolic of England’s trees than the mighty oak. So it’s fitting that I am planting a young oak today to mark the success of our campaign to plant a million trees in English towns and cities. Trees are an essential part of the healthy environment that is so important for quality of life and wellbeing. That’s especially true in areas which don’t have much greenery, which is why we have made sure that all of the trees planted have been in urban areas of the country or in places with the least trees and green space.'


£2.7 million boost for cycling in national parks - Department for Transport

Five national parks are set to benefit from more than £2.7 million to help develop new cycling facilities, Transport Minister Robert Goodwill announced today (5 February 2015).

The funding will create additional cycling routes, improving links between national parks and nearby areas.

Robert Goodwill said: 'I want to get more people on their bikes and this funding will open up cycle access to some of the country’s most scenic routes. It demonstrates the government’s determination to continue the cycling legacy generated by the 2012 Olympics and the launch of the Tour de France in Yorkshire last year.'

The investment will fund cycling schemes in the following areas:

  • Dartmoor has been awarded £675,000 to deliver 5 schemes, including additional routes, on-trail improvements and improved links to nearby areas
  • Yorkshire Dales will be given £450,000 to transform a stretch of the Leeds to Liverpool Canal creating a gateway to the Yorkshire Dales
  • South Downs will receive £450,000 to upgrade existing routes to create ‘easy access’ cycling facilities
  • Peak District will receive £430,000 to create a new short cycle link providing access from North West Matlock to the Monsal Trail
  • Norfolk and Suffolk Broads will be given £715,000 to construct a shared cycleway footway connecting Wroxham / Hoveton to Horning


Minister for Transport declares that beauty is of vital importance to road infrastructure - CPRE

Campaigners welcome pledge at CPRE-CBT lecture that aesthetics will be crucial consideration in road building plans.

Minister for Transport John Hayes MP pledged yesterday to incorporate beauty and good design into the Government’s extensive road development plans at an event organised by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT).

In what proved a major speech on the importance of beauty in delivering infrastructure projects, Mr Hayes outlined plans for a design panel and beauty tests to ensure that roads can be sensitive to their surrounding environment.

In response to Mr Hayes, CPRE President Sir Andrew Motion welcomed the new focus on beauty, reflecting that the "vast majority of people never abandoned beauty. It was more a case of beauty being beaten out of them". Sir Andrew also questioned the need to build so many new roads, suggesting that such passion for the environment might be better placed in improving existing infrastructure and public transport.

Shaun Spiers, chief executive of CPRE, similarly welcomed the new focus, referencing a new initiative with the think tank ResPublica that aims to ensure that communities have a ‘right to beauty’. Mr Spiers also emphasised that CPRE would urge the Government to increase its environmental budget within the roads strategy – currently £550m out of a total £15bn.


Escaped prairie dogs under control - Scottish Natural Heritage

Prairie dogs which were on the loose at an East Lothian open farm in 2013 are now recaptured and in a secure enclosure, under the first agreement of its kind to control invasive non-native species in Scotland.

Prairie dog (image: Great Britain Non-Native Species Secretariat, via SNH)Prairie dogs are native to North America, where cattle farmers claim that they can cause considerable damage to pastures. In the case in East Lothian, the animals were free to roam around East Links Farm Park and it was feared individuals might escape into the neighbouring John Muir Country Park, part of the Forth Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a protected natural area.

Prairie dog

(image: Great Britain Non-Native Species Secretariat, via SNH)

This is the first time a voluntary agreement of this kind has been used to control non-native species. In July 2012, Scotland introduced new laws, which are some of the most wide-ranging and comprehensive laws on non-native species in Europe.

The Scottish legislation allows for a staged approach to dealing with escaped non-native species. A voluntary, co-operative agreement is the first stage and we would expect this normally to be sufficient. But if it doesn't work, we have the option to go for a compulsory order, and then court action if it becomes necessary. Stan Whitaker, SNH’s invasive non-native species expert, said:  “Our concern was that, if prairie dogs became established, they would have a negative impact on natural areas and farmland.  Scotland is the first in the UK to use this type of voluntary, cooperative agreement to make sure that invasive, non-native animals don’t spread and cause damage to the countryside. We believe this is a much more effective way to work with wildlife parks and others, rather than levying fines. We hope this will encourage people to be more open when animals or birds escape, and result in better control of invasive species by working together.”

Grant Bell of East Links Farm Park added:   “Prairie dogs are humorous wee guys loved by our visitors for their antics but they don’t voluntarily offer themselves up to capture or enclosure. The challenge here was to create an environment whereby the animals would have a secure enclosure that allowed them plenty of freedom and still let our visitors enjoy them. The collaboration with SNH allowed us to create an enclosure that suited our needs but also exceeded their expectations and criteria.” 

In December 2013 we published a CJS Focus on Non-Native Invasive Species. You can read this here, although it doesn't have any prairie dogs!


Rescued chick spreads her wings - RSPB

A young white-tailed eagle, which hit the headlines last year when her dramatic nest eviction was caught on camera, has caused a new stir after turning up fit and well in Dumfries and Galloway.

The bird, nicknamed Sona, had to be returned to her nest by Forestry Commission Scotland climbers last June after being attacked by an intruding eagle and falling 30 feet to the ground. The behaviour, which had never been recorded before, was a surprise to the experts.

 White-tailed eagle, Venus's parent overhead. Photo: Roy Dennis, RSPBBut Sona has provided a further surprise this January after being repeatedly sighted in the south west corner of Scotland, where white-tailed eagles haven’t bred for over 150 years.

 White-tailed eagle, Venus's parent overhead.

Photo: Roy Dennis, RSPB

Dave Sexton, RSPB Scotland Mull Officer, said: “We know this bird well after all the drama last summer, and I’m extremely relieved to hear that she’s alive and apparently healthy. We got her back into her nest uninjured after her dangerous fall, and she fledged a few weeks later. But that’s often the last we’ll see of these young eagles, as they wander quite widely in their first few years. It’s unusual to have so many sightings of a juvenile like this in Dumfries and Galloway, even though it’s perfect eagle habitat. She’s gone from the Isle of Mull to the Mull of Galloway probably via the Mull of Kintyre so she clearly likes to mull things over!”

A member of the public, who had been watching the nest webcam, alerted the Mull Eagle Watch team to the truth behind her tumble, allowing the dramatic footage to come to light. It was also members of the public who spotted the bird in Dumfries and Galloway, and their photographs and film sent to the RSPB allowed her to be identified.

Chris Rollie, RSPB Scotland area manager for Dumfries and Galloway, said: “We’d heard reports of white-tailed eagle sightings from several Wigtownshire locations in the last few weeks, and thanks to her leg rings and local birdwatcher Brian Henderson’s photography, we were able to positively identify her as the lucky Mull bird."


Scientific Publications

Butchart, Stuart H.M et al. Shortfalls and Solutions for Meeting National and Global Conservation Area Targets.  Conservation Letters  DOI: 10.1111/conl.12158


Hansen, Everett. Phytophthora Species Emerging as Pathogens of Forest Trees. Current Forestry Reports  DOI:  10.1007/s40725-015-0007-7


Ward, Alastair, Dendy, Julie & Cowan, David. (2015) Mitigating impacts of roads on wildlife: an agenda for the conservation of priority European protected species in Great Britain. European Journal of Wildlife Research  DOI:  10.1007/s10344-015-0901-0


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