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Mobile app to transform recording of raptors on grouse moors

Dee Ward (right) owner of the Rottal Estate in Angus pictured trialing the new Raptor Monitoring App.
See Press Release from Mediahouse Tel: 0141 220 6040
Picture by Graeme Hart.
Copyright Perthshire Picture Agency
Tel: 01738 623350  Mobile: 07990 594431
Dee Ward (right) owner of the Rottal Estate in Angus pictured trialing the new Raptor Monitoring App. See Press Release from Mediahouse Tel: 0141 220 6040 Picture by Graeme Hart. Copyright Perthshire Picture Agency Tel: 01738 623350 Mobile: 07990 594431

A new mobile app is being developed to record bird of prey sightings across Scotland.

It is hoped the data it gathers will contribute to an authoritative reflection of raptor numbers on moorland managed for grouse.

The app is currently being trialled by gamekeepers and landowners and uses the EpiCollect5 platform developed by Imperial College London.

Use of the new technology follows the successful introduction of the phone app for mountain hare counting.

This has enabled data to be reported from estates directly to the lead research organisation for the species, the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, and then shared with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

Dee Ward (right) owner of the Rottal Estate in Angus pictured with his Head Gamekeeper Mark trialing the new Raptor Monitoring App.

Data collected on mountain hares demonstrated there were around 35 times more hares on grouse moors compared with unmanaged upland habitat.

Keepers and land managers using the app can record species such as eagles, hen harriers and buzzards and log photographs and behaviours of the birds and the time they are spotted.

Research has shown that some populations of raptors such as buzzards are at very high levels and populations of golden eagles in Scotland have reached their highest consistent numbers since the early 20th century.

Researchers and land managers involved in developing the new app said it could transform the way biodiversity and species is recorded on estates.

Ross Macleod, of the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, said: “Whatever form of land management we are involved in, the production of evidence to demonstrate best practice is vital.

“This will allow land managers and surveyors we work with to let us know which and how many birds of prey are present on moorland managed for grouse.”

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