Harrier update - June 2016
Despite the low vole numbers we have (so far) confirmed seven harrier nests at Langholm. The first one is hatching now and the last one just started incubation.
Spring grouse counts
The spring density estimate 2016 is 35.4 birds per km2 (95%CL: 31.3-40.0). Overwinter survival (based on distance sampling estimates) was 46.6% (35.6-61.7). Read more >
Langholm Moor Demonstration Project – next steps
Undertaking a review of structure and activity over the final year and a half of the project, the LMDP Board Directors have confirmed the project will continue until October 2017, with important changes to the management of the moor.
Directors acknowledged significant project successes in recovering heather habitats, stimulating black grouse numbers and demonstrating the role of diversionary feeding in reducing hen harrier predation on red grouse broods. The many and varied visitors to the project have illustrated the contribution of LMDP to demonstrating good moorland practice. The hard work of the keepering team was central to these results, with valuable support from the project science and volunteers.
However Directors agreed that with no realistic chance of reaching the target grouse density necessary for driven shooting, game keepering should be wound down, ending fully by April 2016. As well as the cessation of traditional keepering activities, there will be no diversionary food provided at the harrier’s nests or further novel habitat restoration. SRDP funded habitat management measures will continue through Langholm Farms.
Importantly the project will carry out another full year and half of monitoring, tracking habitat quality, numbers of moorland birds and the breeding success of the hen harriers over the 2016 and 2017 breeding seasons. This gives the project time to gather further information on the beneficial effects of moorland management, while the project scientists finalise a variety of reports for the Directors to review before publication.
A detailed review of the project’s achievements is available in the 7-year review. A Question & Answer paper, covering the next steps in more detail, will be available on the website soon.
Simon Lester, the LMDP’s headkeeper, has resigned from the project and will be leaving at the end of March 2016. Simon has provided tireless leadership to the five-man keepering team which has undertaken the key management actions for the project. These have resulted in significant improvement of the heather habitat, the effective use of diversionary feeding of hen harriers each summer and the management of parasites and predators. These measures have increased the numbers of red and black grouse, and breeding raptors, notably hen harriers. This mixture of traditional and novel management has been successfully demonstrated to hundreds of project visitors by Simon in collaboration with the project’s science team.
Despite a larger grouse population than at the start, the project has not been able to produce a sustainably large, harvestable surplus of driven grouse to economically underpin the management. LMDP is now close to its formal end point and the board is reviewing what can and should be achieved in the remaining term of the project. The project board would like to thank Simon for his exceptional contribution.
Seven Year Review
See here for more information about the Seven Year Project Review.
2014 Raptor Monitoring Report
The 2014 report on which and how many breeding raptors there were at Langholm this year is available here.
Position Statements for project up to 2013
We have developed
statements summarising progress to date. More details
can be found here.
We've been on BBC Springwatch...
...and on ITV Border's 'Border Life'