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Coronavirus / Fresh Covid-19 advice issued to bird watchers

SHETLAND Bird Club has issued advice to local and visiting bird watchers reminding them to comply with government coronavirus rules.

Bird club chair Julie Redpath said the “Shetland community is normally very tolerant and accommodating to birders [but] we have to accept that this year is different”.

It comes after the police reminded people about the rules on gatherings following a sighting of a rare bird in Yell.

In a letter published on the Nature in Shetland website, Redpath said: “Visitors might think they are coming into a ‘low-Covid area’ and therefore, can take less notice of any regulations.

“Local folk may view visitors as ‘high-risk’ to bring Covid into the community. This creates a difficult set of circumstances.

“Everyone is feeling the effects of living in a pandemic for over six months now – patience is growing thinner as we all cope with the demands made on us.”

She encouraged bird watchers to take heed of Scottish Government Covid-19 regulations, the Outdoor Access Code and the Shetland Bird Club code of conduct.

Currently six people from two households can gather outside, and only people from the same household are advised to share a car.

Redpath said to consider wearing a mask outside when social distancing is difficult.

She added that at twitches people should leave if there is a gathering which exceeds the current limits and come back later.

They are also advised to leave once they have viewed the bird, and also to use alcohol hand gel.

Redpath also said to “think carefully about how you park and the speed you drive – think about other road users, land use and access”.

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