In response to Mr Neville’s letter (SNH provides advice, it doesn’t monitor or police; SN, 21 August 2019) I am surprised at his ignorance regarding breeding bird disturbance.
He claims “the young of these (whimbrel and merlin) have fledged by mid-July so disturbance would no longer constitute an offence”. That statement is not correct.
Merlin and whimbrel have not necessarily fledged by mid-July. These Schedule 1 breeding birds are vulnerable to disturbance until at least mid-August. Merlin is often vulnerable until September. That is when the juveniles disperse.
His response would indicate SNH have no idea whether these birds had nests and young chicks nor probable even looked for them!
To expect one officer, the Ecological Clerk of Works (ECoW), to have accurate knowledge of 30 square kilometres of rough and wild hillside and to know where all shy and highly camouflaged birds may have young is nonsense.
I would have hoped for less ignorance from SNH and a modicum of professionalism. If this is the level of the ‘expert advice’ from SNH, heaven help our wildlife.