Portrait in progress

I've taken some photos as I did Sam the Border Collies portrait. I used Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylic paints - Paynes Grey, Titanium White, Burnt Umber, Ultramarine Blue, Raw Sienna and Alizarin Crimson Hue Permanent. I thinned the paints with water and Cryla Flow Enhancer. The portrait is painted onto Daler Rowney Studland Mountboard....
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Blog Post: The autumn outdoor classroom: a lesson on hen harriers and special landscapes

Katy Saulite is  the Hen Harrier LIFE Project's  Community Engagement Officer for Scotland, working with local schools and community groups in areas where hen harriers should be, to raise awareness and promote the conservation of these spectacular skydancers.   At the beginning of September I had my fingers and toes crossed for good weather in the weeks ahead. Two school groups were all set to venture out onto the moorland with the Hen Harrier LIFE project, and I feared the unhelpful presence of that all too familiar horizontal precipitation we’re often blessed with. Thankfully September has been lovely up here in Scotland, and the pupils who took part in our moorland field trips were more than happy to be out and about, exploring and engaging with the outdoor classroom. The primary 5-7 class of Kirkmichael Primary School spent an aft...

Sustainable Tourism

Went to the Forest of Bowland Sustainable Tourism Forum last night. This is an annual event for Tourism businesses who support the aims of the AONB and want to be more environmentally friendly. The night was also the venue for the annual meetings of two organisations. Bowland Experience a business support network of which I am a Director and Champion Bowland a charity which gives small grants for environmental projects. One of the speakers was Amanda Parker from Browsholme Hall who had just won the Lancs. Tourism Sustainable Tourism Award. ...
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RSPB getting tough? © Mark Avery

RSPB getting tough?Mark ♦ November 10, 2016 ♦ 31 CommentsThere are two recent RSPB blogs which are well worth a read – aren’t they all, always? Martin Harper’s blog is pretty outspoken as these quotes will make clear (but please read it all): it was a deeply frustrating debate – especially to the 123,000 that called for a ban and of course those seeking reform. Our initial reaction tried to pick out some positives, but that was a real challenge. Clearly there is widespread opposition from within the driven grouse shooting community to any real reform.…if pressure for reform remains then the quality of the parliamentary debate will inevitably improve as people won’t be able to brazenly ignore the facts like some did on Monday.When more crimes get into the public domain it will be harder for MPs to turn a blind eye.…...

The debate to ban driven grouse shooting

After listening to the full debate I was left very depressed and it did nothing to dissuade me that this is not the beginning of the end for shooting. All of the fine arguments of biodiversity, employment and rural economic sustainability will not sway or influence the majority of ban supporters or stop that support growing whilst illegal raptor persecution continues. I think we are years away from a ban but unless the shooting industry radically changes I believe a ban is inevitable. The shooting industry has the power to stamp out illegal killing. If they don’t I think the support for a ban will just keep relentlessly growing especially as technical advances and increase in public awareness will lead to more reporting and discovery of persecution.  Eventually like fox hunting the numbers will grow sufficiently to start possibly in...

Comment on Remarkable hen harrier journeys revealed by satellite tagging

Will do it now, I know the area well so the location will be accurate...thanks for the info and blogs.

Comment on Remarkable hen harrier journeys revealed by satellite tagging

Alex - thank you for the kind words. I've been working on hen harriers for over five years and every lost bird stays with me. It doesn't get easier but the way I see it, we have a choice - either to despair, our to let it harden our resolve to make a difference. I choose the latter. The LIFE project runs until 2019, so I promise there will be plenty more satellite tags to come. Alan - yes please! If you could include time date and location as accurate as possible, that would be much appreciated. ...

Wildlife Detective Blog © Alan Stewart

Evidence to Westminster and Scottish Parliament on driven grouse shooting – comment. Posted on October 30, 2016 by wildlifedetective Woodpigeon bait and poisoned buzzard, still warm, found on Glenogil Estate, a driven grouse moor in Angus, in 2011.It’s been an interesting few days reading and listening to responses to Mark Avery’s proposed ban on driven grouse shooting and the proposal by Scottish Raptor Study Groups (SRSG) to licence game shooting. Many of the responses in favour of either of these proposals are compelling, though I have not yet seen an argument against that convinces me Mark or SRSG are on the wrong track. I think the most knowledgeable and convincing argument to ban driven grouse shooting comes from Guy Shorrock. Guy is a senior investigations officer with RSPB and his evidence is...

Comment on Remarkable hen harrier journeys revealed by satellite tagging

This is what I posted at the time from on the moors if you think it is worth reporting I will email the details www.rspb.org.uk/.../192828.aspx

Comment on Remarkable hen harrier journeys revealed by satellite tagging

A wonderful tale, Blánaid. I've only just realised that I can comment if I join the group. Your blog deserves a wider audience. Please encourage other RSPB employees to share their feelings and experiences. I am sometimes disheartened by the likely fate of the young hen harriers, and I imagine it is worse for you and your colleagues. I take great heart from the spotlight which is put upon the loss of each of the satellite tagged birds, but it is a shame that it requires the death of many of the young birds to expose the real truth. More tags, please. ...

Comment on Remarkable hen harrier journeys revealed by satellite tagging

Thanks Alan. I do too! Satellite tagging is brilliant but for the majority of hen harriers, we rely on sightings from people on the ground to help us keep track. It would be a huge help to us if you could share any sightings via our Hen Harrier Hotline, by emailing the details (including time, date, location, description of the bird, and a 6-figure grid reference if possible) to henharriers@rspb.org.uk or phoning 08454600121 (calls charged at local rates). The hotline is linked directly to our Investigations and Regional Conservation teams and is instrumental in helping us to target our limited resources to maximum effect. ...

Comment on Remarkable hen harrier journeys revealed by satellite tagging

I hope those that are left manage to stay safe, I'm 95% sure I saw a Hen Harrier in the Derbyshire Peak district Monday of this week.

Blog Post: Remarkable hen harrier journeys revealed by satellite tagging

The recent recovery of Rowan, a Langholm hen harrier tagged by the Hawk & Owl Trust and Natural England, who appears to have been illegally shot in Cumbria, highlights the vital role that satellite tagging has to play in the conservation of this threatened species. These tiny devices, barely 2 cm long and weighing only 9-12g do not, of course, confer protection in and of themselves (the bodies of Rowan , Lad , Annie , and Betty are all testament to that). However they do shine a light on what is happening to these birds, helping us to better understand their movements – where they go when they leave their nests, which roosts they favour over winter, where they attempt to breed and build their nests, and ultimately, where they stop. That final piece of information is the bit that gets most publicity – whether the birds die naturally, ar...

Comment on Guest Blog: Rowan – a personal reflection

Thank you Guy, a very telling statement. Knowing that most of the initiatives have failed and that self regulation is a non-starter your argument comes very close to supporting a ban on driven grouse shooting.

Blog Post: Guest Blog: Rowan – a personal reflection

Guy Shorrock is currently the longest standing member of RSPB's Investigations Team. Following the apparent shooting of satellite-tagged hen harrier, Rowan, here he reflects back on his 25 year career in the fight against raptor persecution.   On Monday Cumbria Constabulary released the news that many suspected, that the satellite tagged hen harrier Rowan appears to have been shot . So it looks like yet another victim in the unending catalogue of crimes perpetrated against hen harriers and other birds of prey in the uplands of the UK. One wonders what hope there is for the Defra Hen Harrier plan  whilst persecution appears to continue unabated. The last week or so has been a period of reflection for myself. Friday the 28 October was something of a personal milestone for me – 25 years to the day since I started work in the RSPB Investi...