Gamekeepers encouraging raptors in Angus

A new red kite nest, containing two healthy chicks, was discovered by a trainee gamekeeper on moorland in Glen Esk.

Pair of tagged red kites. Photo credit: the Angus Glens Moorland Group

Pair of tagged red kites. Photo credit: the Angus Glens Moorland Group

Red kites have been steadily climbing in numbers in Scotland, since they were reintroduced in the 1980s from the Black Isle.  The estate contacted the RSPB, to ensure the kites were ringed and tagged. Apparently, the kite have been collecting items of discarded clothing from a nearby swimming spot to line the nest; socks and underwear were found at the site, in the surrounding trees, and tucked into the nest itself. Dave Clement, head keeper at the Grannochy Estate and member of the Angus Glens Moorland Group was very surprised: “It was like the kites were cleaning up the glen!”

Kite are not the only birds of prey to successfully nest in Glen Esk – the estate moors have been attracting a lot of attention from conservation groups for providing a good habitat for eagles and merlin, the smallest bird of prey found in Britain.

The golden eaglet nest. the chick is feasting on freshly caught rabbit. Photo credit: Dan Spinks

The golden eaglet nest. The chick is feasting on freshly caught rabbit. Photo credit: Dan Spinks

Raptor study group officials managed to ring a newly discovered eaglet on the Invermark Estate, home to two pairs of golden eagles. Head keeper Garry MacLennan said: “We actively manage the estate’s deer forest and grouse moor for sporting interests. By controlling the numbers of certain species, that helps the rarer species on the moors. In doing so, we have always had eagles. Looking after the heather helps provide a habitat which benefits lots of the species that are dependent on it. Last year, we actually had three eaglets from the one nest which is very rare, an abundance of white hares probably helped. This is part of what the estate has in terms of wildlife. There are always merlin and peregrine nests, too, and people understand what is done in terms of the biodiversity of the place.”

Adult eagle seen in Invermark

Adult eagle seen in Invermark. Photo credit: Ron Dowling

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One comment on “Gamekeepers encouraging raptors in Angus
  1. David mitchell says:

    Nice to read that Mr Maclellan has a more enlightened view to the place for raptors on a shooting estate.Does he have nesting hen harriers ? He mentions that mountain hares are a food source for thie successfully breeding golden eagles.I hope he shares that view with the head gamekeeper of Glen ogil estate who,on instructions from his foreign pay master,was told to cull every mountain hare on this 10,000 acre estate plus fence off the estate to red deer,both of which carry ticks that could affect grouse .Add to that the obscene number of fenn traps to keep ground vermin under control that leaves only raptors as a problem.Try finding nesting raptors here.Plenty of grouse for the laden housen slapping owner and his foreign cronies to shoot at the expense of what should be present on a Scottish hillside.Give it a visit .There,s a prize if you spot a raptor.

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