Monday 12th November Newcastle Journal: released by http://www.highlightspr.co.uk
DAVID HIGH AS A KITE WITH WEB-BASED ESTATE AGENCY
David Routledge with Friends of Red Kites June Atkinson, Harold Dobson (in green fleece) and Allan Withrington
The Red Kite, Spa Well Road, Blaydon, Gateshead
Nov 11 2012 by Katharine Everitt, Sunday Sun
THE Red Kite is one of those places we have passed dozens of times without ever venturing inside.
To be truthful, the appearance of the pub, formerly the Golden Lion, from the front on the main road between Swalwell and Rowlands Gill did not look too appealing. Which just goes to show you should not always judge a book by its cover.
In the case of the Red Kite, it is not only what is on the inside, but also to the back, which makes it an attractive venue not just for a Sunday visit but on any day of the week. The views from the restaurant at the rear overlook the scenic Derwent Valley, home to the Red Kite which give the pub its name.
These graceful birds of prey - 94 of them - were reintroduced to the valley a few years back. And a garden area to the back of the pub doubles as a Red Kite viewing area. When we visited we didn't see any.
"They have been having babies," was the non-scientific, if possibly accurate, reason for their absence from one of the pub staff.
To get a table near the window of the upstairs restaurant - the restaurant and bars are all upstairs - it is advisable to book in advance, which we did. The view was magnificent, even without the birds, and the riverside paths are well used by families, dog walkers and lovers of the outdoors.
Report courtesy of the Northern Echo October 2012
Wednesday 18 October 2012
Fury at minister Richard Benyon's 'astounding' refusal to ban deadly bird poison
Millionaire landowner - and Wildlife minister - accused of putting wealthy friends before his parliamentary brief.
The first of our red kites to die an excruciating death from the pesticide carbofuran in West Tynedale.
If you wish to add your comment go to: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/fury-at-minister-richard-benyons-astounding-refusal-to-ban-deadly-bird-poison-8215803.html#disqus_thread
5 October 2012
RSPB Golden opportunity to crack bird of prey persecution, before it's too late
As the Hen Harrier teeters on the brink of extinction as a breeding bird in England, Coalition and Welsh Government Ministers have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tackle the illegal killing of birds of prey in England and Wales, and must not waste it. That's the message from the RSPB as it publishes its annual wildlife crime figures showing yet another shameful year of poisoning, shooting and trapping for Red Kites, Golden Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, Goshawks and other persecuted species. Just one pair of Hen Harriers bred in England in 2012, with Government's own studies suggesting that illegal killing is the major factor in their decline.
A poisoned Red Kite (G Shorrock, RSPB).
Too little has been done over the years to stop these sickening attacks on birds, but this could change with proposed reforms of wildlife law and policing. The RSPB believes a review of wildlife protection legislation by the Law Commission - currently being consulted on - provides a golden opportunity to address ongoing persecution of birds of prey in England and Wales. This month will also see the publication of the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee's inquiry into wildlife crime while the imminent re-organisation of the police service and the creation of a National Crime Agency will provide further opportunities to prioritise wildlife crime.
RSPB Conservation director Martin Harper said: "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tackle the illegal shooting and poisoning of some of our most magnificent birds. I hope that tougher laws and penalties for wildlife offenders will help consign their crimes to the pages of history where they belong. We need Defra and Home Office Ministers, and the Welsh Government, to step up for nature and make the right decisions. An essential first step is to secure the future of the National Wildlife Crime Unit, which only has guaranteed funding until March next year. It's been over a hundred years since poisoning of wild birds was outlawed in the UK and yet our report shows we're still witnessing the slaughter of kites, eagles and buzzards. Fewer incidents were recorded last year, but as our report highlights birds of prey continue to die at the hands of those who want to remove them from our countryside. Thankfully, vastly more people are inspired by the homecoming of eagles, Ospreys and Peregrines and recognise these charismatic species bring huge enjoyment to people and benefits for tourist economies."
The report, Birdcrime 2011, provides a full account of the birds of prey and owls found dead as a result of persecution across the UK as well as details of wildlife crime prosecutions. These include the case of serial egg collector Matthew Gonshaw who became the first ever wildlife criminal to receive an ASBO last year, banning him from visiting Scotland in the nesting season for life, when a raid on his home revealed nearly 700 wild birds' eggs.
The report catalogues 202 reports of shooting and destruction of birds of prey, with the confirmed shooting of 30 individual birds in 2011. There were also one hundred reports of poisoning incidents involving the confirmed poisoning of at least 70 individual birds or animals. Victims of poisoning included a Golden Eagle, 17 Red Kites, 17 Buzzards and seven Peregrines. This level of persecution is having a serious impact on some bird of prey populations. Government figures show that England's uplands could support over 300 pairs of Hen Harriers -only one pair bred in 2012.
A pole trap set to kill birds of prey (L Scott, RSPB).
The RSPB's Birdcrime 2011 report includes a 'Manifesto for Change' listing 13 recommendations to government which, if adopted, could radically change the wildlife crime landscape. These include:
- Introduce a 'vicarious liability' offence in England and Wales, similar to the one already adopted by the Scottish Government. This would make land owners and land managers more accountable for the criminal actions of their employees.
- Increase penalties available to courts for wildlife offences.
- Improve the recording and reporting of wildlife crime. Serious wildlife crimes should be recorded by the Home Office in the same way as other crimes.
- Make possession of some commonly abused pesticides used in wildlife poisoning incidents illegal. The legislation to list these poisons already exists in the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2004.
- Secure long-term funding for the Police National Wildlife Crime Unit. The NWCU provides excellent value for money but needs to be adequately resourced beyond March 2013 to enable operational planning to tackle to government's wildlife crime priorities.
Environmental Audit Committee chair Joan Walley MP said: "Our committee has heard evidence from a wide variety of individuals and organisations, and the issue of bird of prey persecution has come up time and again. We have looked seriously into this area and we will be making our recommendations to government in the next few weeks. I hope that Defra and Home Office ministers responsible will see the importance of tackling this issue now so that the police and courts have the proper tools in place to deal with these sickening crimes."
In September 2011, Michael Lawrence from Stamford in Lincolnshire found two kites lying dead in his garden, poisoned by the banned pesticide carbofuran. "In the last few years it has been fantastic to see Red Kites and Buzzards around our home," Mr Lawrence said. "Finding two poisoned birds in our small paddock was a real shock. The birds had fallen out of a tree with the poisoned meat still in their beaks. Our very young grandchildren regularly play in the paddock and the thought that they could have handled these birds is terrifying. It's hard to believe people could be so irresponsible to place such dangerous banned pesticides in our countryside."
Nevin Hunter, the new head of the National Wildlife Crime Unit, said: "In my police career, I have investigated many offences, including the deliberate persecution of birds of prey. It is unacceptable and there is a need to work to address it across the UK with the help of all partner agencies. The NWCU will support the taking of preventative measures and in addition will work to gather intelligence and take robust enforcement action to tackle persecution wherever found."
Friday 5th October 2012
26 August 2012
Red Kite Project - Irish bred kites nest in Wicklow
An Irish Red Kite, hatched and fledged from a nest in Wicklow, has for the first time nested, bred and reared its own young near Redcross. As part of the national bird of prey reintroduction programmes in Ireland, Red Kites, Golden Eagles and White-tailed Eagles have all bred in Ireland in recent years. But all these breeding adults have hatched in their respective donor stock countries (Wales, Scotland and Norway) and were subsequently collected and reared in Ireland. This summer the breakthrough came when an Irish bred Red Kite, hatched and fledged from a nest in Wicklow in 2010, has bred itself and reared its own young. This is a major milestone in the gradual restoration of kites and eagles to their traditional haunts in Ireland.
NORTHERN IRELAND RED KITES
14 Red Kites fledged in Northern Ireland this year from 12 pairs. Up from last year.
BIRDGUIDES 20 AUGUST 2012
The wettest spring since records began appears to have had a major impact on the region's Red Kite population and its breeding success. It resulted in another difficult year for the reintroduced species and prevented any increase in breeding success from the 2011 season, when kites were still suffering from the effects of the harshest and most prolonged winter for more than three decades. 2012 was the third year in which responsibility for monitoring was undertaken by Friends of Red Kites (FoRK), the organisation made up of former volunteers with the Northern Kites project, which released 94 birds from the booming Chilterns population over a three-year period. Again, ringing, wing-tagging, the completion of BTO Nest Record Cards and liaison with the Rare Birds Breeding Panel was undertaken by FoRK.
Monitoring during March and April revealed that 26 pairs of kites were holding territories; 19 of these pairs went on to build nests or to refurbish those used in previous years. One nest was completed but not used, while the 18 other pairs went on to lay eggs. Thirteen of those pairs succeeded in fledging a total of 22 young, a very similar result to the 12 pairs and 24 young in 2011. Two pairs fledged three young each, while the others succeeded in rearing one-two chicks. Five pairs failed, four of them almost certainly due to natural causes. Of these, one failed during the incubation period, three early after hatching, and the fifth failure involved a nest with a single chick that died when it was about four weeks old. One nest almost certainly failed due to human disturbance when shrub and tree thinning was carried out nearby. Four unhatched eggs were found in three nests. The very wet weather of spring and early summer probably played its part in making it difficult for adults to keep eggs and small young warm and to forage successfully for food. At one site where a pair had three large young, two were blown from the nest during strong winds. One died and other was found injured and taken into care. After rehabilitation it was released and was seen to join up with a family party of kites.
Red Kite, Sunniside, Durham (Photo: Steven Fryer)
The figures given above are the absolute minimum, as FoRK feels that some sites may well have been missed. For example, birds in wing moult, an indication of breeding, were seen in several areas where nests were not found or young seen.
While the Red Kites had a very difficult breeding season, they were certainly not alone. There were similar problems of poor success rates reported for other tree-nesting raptors including Goshawks, Buzzards and even Peregrines, normally the most robust of species, suffered losses from nest ledges being flooded. All the kite territories identified were in the core release area around the Derwent Valley or adjacent areas of Causey and Beamish in County Durham. For a second year there was no evidence of breeding in Northumberland, although a pair was present throughout the season on the county boundary around Derwent Reservoir.
Fidelity of kite pairs to nesting territories was again well demonstrated. Nine of the pairs that produced eggs refurbished old nests, while some others built new nests close to previous sites. During June and July five chicks were ringed and wing-tagged by Keith Bowey, Ian Kerr and Ken Sanderson. Others were left unringed because they were too large to handle safely and could have 'jumped'. One brood was left because the nest was in a very flimsy dead Larch which might have collapsed with disastrous consequences for the birds - and the climber - if it had been attempted. Another brood was left because the nest tree was covered with ivy, which would have been badly damaged by climbing. The 2012 young have been given red tags with white lettering and numbers on their right wings and the normal pink Northern project tag on the left. Anyone seeing a tagged kite can report it through the FoRK website www.friendsofredkites.org.uk or via their county recorders. Plans are already being made to monitor kite roosts regularly this winter, and a full co-ordinated spring survey of kites is planned for 2013. This will be done by recruiting volunteers from FoRK and local bird clubs. This should enable a much more accurate assessment to be made of the size of the local population and could help to pinpoint new territories for the next breeding season.
Monday 20th August 2012
15 August 2012
Red kite found dead on Lofthouse Moor 'was poisoned'
The red kite was found by a fieldworker on Lofthouse Moor in Nidderdale
A bird of prey found dead on moors in North Yorkshire was poisoned with banned pesticides, police said.
A red kite which disappeared from the Highlands has been traced to a "love nest" in Aberdeenshire.
Professor Feathers Professor Feathers had a satellite tag attached as a fledgling in 2009
The bird of prey - named Professor Feathers - had a satellite tag attached as a fledgling in 2009 but little had since been known about his movements.
However, RSPB Scotland said it had now emerged Professor Feathers, from the Black Isle, had set up home with a kite, Red Blaze, from an Aberdeen re-introduction programme.
They have reared three chicks together.
RSPB red kite officer Jenny Lennon said: "What makes Professor Feathers and Red Blaze so interesting is that the pair are breeding in a completely new area away from all other established pairs.
"Other birds we have tracked from the Black Isle and Aberdeen have bred as far south as Dumfries and Galloway but this is the first instance we've seen of birds from the north and east Scotland populations breeding together.
"This is an exciting development and may indicate that the species is spreading more widely across their historic range. We hope that the different Scottish populations will continue to expand and meet."Acknowledgements to RSPB Scotland
Selection of BBC Videos about the Red Kite: http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/Red_Kite#intro
FREE-WHEELING CHICK SETTLES DOWN -THEN TRAGEDY STRIKES
Journal 28th July 2012
For more news about Shiver and his mate T2, click here
WE WELCOME OUR FIRST PATRON ~ TRAI ANFIELD
Friends of Red Kites are delighted to announce that Trai Anfield, well-known to everyone here in the north as a former BBC Weather Forecaster and Look North Presenter, has agreed to become our Patron.
In accepting this important role, Trai says:
"I am honoured to become Patron of such an important and successful conservation initiative as Friends of Red Kites. I have admired the work of the group since it started out in 2004 as the Northern Kites Project. It has been terrific to see such an iconic species as the red kite return to this area and flourish beyond expectations. The birds themselves are magnificent, and they bring benefits to the whole community.
However Friends of Red Kites work is far from over. We encourage local communities to learn about the birds and get involved in the project, monitor the population and strive to protect red kites and their prey species from deliberate and accidental poisoning. This unfortunately is a real problem, which has led to the deaths of a significant number of birds since their reintroduction. We will continue to work very closely with local landowners to prevent it."
Friends of Red Kites was inaugurated in 2009, when the Northern Kites Project, begun in 2004 to re-introduce 94 young kites donated by the Chilterns group, ended. Too great a legacy had been left for the work not to be continued. A number of long-standing volunteers agreed to establish a group and become the guardians of these majestic birds of prey, which grace our skies and enrich people's lives. We have gone from strength to strength and our membership is now over three hundred.
We are extremely grateful to Trai for agreeing to be our Patron. We look forward to meeting her and sharing our future plans with her.
More about Trai -
Trai is best known as a weather forecaster and presenter for the BBC. Having recently left Look North she is going on to present Radio 4's flagship wildlife programme Living World. She is also an exhibited photographer and Creative Director at Enlightened Media, her ethical media production company www.enlightenedmedia.net
June Atkinson Press and Publicity Officer 24 June 2012
Across Europe, birds suffer from a wide range of persecution: illegal poisoning, shooting, trapping, and the theft of chicks for the bird trade are common practices. Recently, five European countries were confronted with cases of illegal killing. The common, even if illegal, practice of using poison baits to eradicate carnivores and rodents causes huge damage to wildlife as well as to livestock and crops. In some cases it can explain the decline of specific bird populations in Europe. Moreover, the poisons used are usually unnecessarily strong and often illegal.
The French fashion of 'chemical treatment campaigns' endangers birds
Despite the alarm sounded by LPO (BirdLife in France) about the damage they cause to wildlife in the French region of Auvergne, ten new French regions have asked the French Ministry of Agriculture to implement, in their territories, chemical treatment campaigns targeting rodents like the vole and wild carnivores such as foxes, ferrets and others weasels.
However, since November 2011, 86 Red Kites (33 of which were victims of poisoning by bromadiolone - ongoing analysis on other suspected cases) have been discovered dead by poisoning in Auvergne, indirect victims of the treatment campaign targeting the vole.
Red Kite is the species hit most by this in the country (58% of birds). The French population of this species is the second largest in Europe. Consequently, France has a responsibility in its conservation at a European level.
Moreover, the "treatment substances" commonly used are strong toxins like bromadiolone but also forbidden substances such as anticoagulants or pesticides like Lindane.
LPO is actively advocating for the French government to stop the treatment campaigns and to implement measures ensuring the protection of Red Kite.
Image courtesy of Francois-Van-Bauwel
This extract is printed with permission.
RSPB News release Last modified: 09 May 2012
Police appeal after red kites illegally poisoned in the Chilterns
Image Steve Round
Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Police are appealing for information following the illegal poisoning of two rare red kites less than a mile apart in the Chilterns. The RSPB is offering a reward of £1,000 for information leading to a conviction.
In January 2012, Hertfordshire Police assisted by officers from the RSPB recovered a dead red kite just south of the village of Hexton. The bird had been found by a member of the public out with her young daughter close to a public footpath.
In March, following a second report from the public, officers from the RSPB recovered a second dead red kite hanging in a bush less than a mile away on the Pegsdon Hills Nature Reserve run by the Bedfordshire Wildlife Trust.
Subsequent toxicological tests confirmed both birds had been poisoned with a highly-toxic banned pesticide. It is suspected both birds had been feeding on carrion placed in the countryside and illegally laced with the chemical.
'Every year we get tragic incidents like this. Illegally placing poison in the countryside puts wildlife, domestic animals and potentially people at risk'
On May 2, 2012, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Police, in conjunction with officers from Natural England, the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) and RSPB, undertook a search in the area including a number of outbuildings. A number of samples were taken and will be submitted for further toxicological tests.
Sergeant Jamie Bartlett, the Rural Wildlife and Environmental Crimes Officer for Hertfordshire Police, said: 'We are appealing to anybody who may have more information about the deaths of these birds.
'The use of poison in these circumstances is highly irresponsible and indiscriminate. The pesticide used is highly toxic and the potential for injury to members of the public or their pets could have been high.
'We take matters such as this very seriously and urge people to come forward with any information that could assist us to progress this matter. Working with various partner agencies in this case is proving to be very useful.'
Guy Shorrock, Investigations Officer with the RSPB, added: 'The reintroduction of red kites has been a fantastic success story and the expansion of the population into Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire has allowed more people to see these amazing birds.
'Unfortunately, every year we get tragic incidents like this. Illegally placing poison in the countryside puts wildlife, domestic animals and potentially members of the public at risk. We would urge anyone with information about this or other wildlife crime to contact the police.'
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Sergeant Jamie Bartlett on the non-emergency number 101. Alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 . You do not have to give your name and you could be entitled to a cash reward.How you can help
Nature is in trouble - so millions of people are stepping up to help. Our wildlife has been disappearing at an alarming rate. But small steps make a big difference. If we all act together and get stuck in, we can save our wildlife.
During the programme, filmed in a secret location in the lower Derwent Valley, Keith Bowey introduces a baby chick which has been ringed and tagged as E3. Keith was Leader of the successful Northern Kites re-introduction of 94 red kite chicks from 2004 - 2009.
Standing alongside is Judy Summerson, Membership Secretary of Friends of Red Kites and Mentor to the two girls who were chosen to participate in this programme.