Monday, 27 November 2017

Avian Absence

The sudden appearance of a buzzard flying low above us yesterday as we stood at the woodland edge was briefly reassuring.

It was later that morning that I reflected on this being a rare event.Blacka is a large area of mixed open and wooded land adjoining lots of farmland and treeless moors. I would expect to see birds of prey often. Kestrels maybe on most visits, buzzards fairly often and occasional sightings of less common raptors.

This year has been notable not just for the scarcity of cuckoos in May and June but the failure to see birds of prey in anything like the numbers expected. Previous years have hardly been outstanding in this respect but much better than now. Why this year do we have this avian deficit?

It's well known that raptors are being persecuted on and around grouse moors along with hares, foxes and various mustelids and corvids. We also know that there are gun owners around here who doubtless enjoy using their toys. Among such people are these birds considered to be "fair game"? Without evidence we could not possibly say.

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