Monday, 23 April 2012

And then there was one

Only two of the three Tawny Owl eggs in the BTO nestbox hatched. The smaller of the two young owls quickly disappeared, leaving a single chick. Nevertheless, both parents have been busy bringing in a variety of food, including the odd Blackbird.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Farm manager pleads guilty to charge of possessing illegal pesticide

A 50 year old man has pled guilty to a charge of possession of the banned pesticide Carbofuran.
Today at Oban Sheriff Court, Tom McKellar pled guilty to a charge of having the poison while working as a Farm Manager at the Auch Estate, near Bridge of Orchy in Argyll in 2009.
Outlining the background of the case the Procurator Fiscal, Kate Fleming, noted that McKellar had admitted to police that a gamebag found on the porch of his home with a container holding Carbofuran belonged to him.  He also admitted that he set out meat laced with the poison as bait for foxes.
The police were first alerted to the estate on 8th June 2009, when a group of hillwalkers phoned RSPB Scotland to report finding the body of a Golden Eagle on the slopes of Beinn Udlaidh, near Bridge of Orchy.
RSPB Scotland Investigations staff, accompanied by a Wildlife Crime Officer from Strathclyde Police, retrieved the body as evidence.
Tests by the Scottish Government laboratories revealed that the adult Golden Eagle had been poisoned with Carbofuran, which has been illegal to possess or use in the UK since 2001.
A follow-up search of land and buildings on Auch Estate, led by the police, with the assistance of RSPB Scotland, SSPCA, Scottish Government and the National Wildlife Crime Unit, revealed a dead fox, confirmed as poisoned, and a sheep carcass laced with Carbofuran.
Sheriff Small asked that the case be continued for preparation of social enquiry reports. Defence agents will outline the mitigation for the offence when the case resumes on the 29th May.
At an earlier hearing in December 2010 at the High Court in Glasgow, McKellar also plead guilty to various firearms offences and was sentenced to 300 hours community service.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Lyster on the move

Everyone following the BTO Cuckoos was worried about Lyster; there had been no news from him since 1st April, when he was in Ivory Coast. At 12.55 on Friday afternoon, a partial signal was received showing his location as Algeria! There was an anxiously wait for a stronger signal. Sure enough this data came through an hour later, enabling confirmation that Lyster is still very much with us and has nearly completed his Sahara crossing.

The signal came from a location just 75 miles west of where Chris was recorded in the Great Erg desert on his way to Italy.

Chris and Martin have stayed put in Italy and Spain respectively. One of the reasons for this may be because of adverse weather. Southern Spain, where we last heard from Martin, has had thunderstorms, hail and strong northerly winds in the last few days — just one of the many hazards faced by migrating birds.

Monday, 2 April 2012

BTO Tawny Owls have chicks

Two of the three eggs in the Tawny Owl nestbox have hatched; the first on 29th March and the second on 31st March. You can watch all of the Tawny Owl videos on the BTO's YouTube channel.