Red sky on the Black Isle: new film on the Ross-shire Massacre

A short, 12 minute film has been released about the 2014 Ross-shire Massacre, the mass illegal poisoning of 22 red kites and buzzards.

Entitled ‘Red Sky on the Black Isle’, this is an excellent film and includes interviews with some of the key individuals involved with the investigation which, as you’ll know, still remains unsolved 19 months on (see here).

Watch the film here

Rossshire Massacre film

15 thoughts on “Red sky on the Black Isle: new film on the Ross-shire Massacre”

  1. Thank you RPS for sharing this excellent video. There must be so few kites in the Black Isle area, as in medieval times they were well known as scavengers in our cities, in fact in those days people were prosecuted if they killed one as they were doing such a good job in keeping the cities clean. Now I can understand them not getting south of Inverness because of all those killing estates, but as a frequent visitor to Inverness, I am surprised that I don’t see more over the city.

    As I’ve said on numerous occasions, when in the Chilterns the sky is full of these beautiful birds – so come on Scotland clean up your act, surely with our (now at risk) reputation as a wildlife hotspot, we can do better than England!

  2. Beautiful film with a sad story of what happened in the Black Isle to a local population of Red Kites and Buzzards.

    1. Really think there has to be an effort to establish red kites in parts of the central belt, as far as possible away from the estates. At present too many of the populations here are close to places where they are most unwelcome.

  3. Excellent film, shows just what our so-called legally protected raptors are up against, and still the police sit on their arses even though they know and lots of other people know they know who the culprit is ???

    1. A very professional film – no ‘gimmicks’ and not overstated. Yet again, Police Scotland come out of it in none too good a light but at least, one has to admit, they are becoming consistent! It is very clear to me that Police Scotland have little-to-no interest in getting to the bottom of wildlife crime despite what they say to the contrary. Why is that? Vested interests? That may well be the case in some instances, or is it simply because it doesn’t involve chasing boy drivers in powerful cars? Clearly, something has to be done to change their attitudes and priorities.

      1. I think possibly ‘vested interests’, particularly as our current SNP environment minister appears to be sucking up to the estates and their gamekeepers. Her predecessor was obviously ruffling too many feathers!

  4. We all despair at the inactivity of Police Scotland but just think what they would have to do to change things around.
    According to law any crime must be seen by two people as any such criminal activity must be witnessed. We know too that such raptor crimes occur on or around private ground/estates and that the chance of two police officers being there to witness any crime is doubtful unless they go undercover acting on intelligence. When police officers are going ‘after’ people who are engaged in drug dealing, that is exactly what they do. They lie in wait to catch the perpetrators in action.
    Now can you ‘really’ imagine that our present police force has the manpower or political will to carry out this type of action where raptor crimes are occurring.
    I don’t think so and unless they do the ‘status quo’ will be the order of the day.

    1. Before the police can even begin to catch wildlife persecuting criminals on the shooting estates they have to first of all accept that it is the people of this country who employ them, not the shooting estate owners and their gamekeepers. If the chief constables have any balls left or the slightest bit of integrity, they should do their job properly and tell them their time of breaking the wildlife laws anytime they feel like it is well and truly over. Having said that, I won’t hold my breath in anticipation because I don’t think they’ve got the bottle !!!

    2. Corroboration doesn’t mean that ‘any crime must be seen by two people’ (and they most certainly needn’t be police officers).

      ‘At present, before an accused person can be convicted, each of the essential elements of the charge requires to be proved by corroborated evidence. Identification of the accused as the perpetrator of the crime is one such essential element. The rule does not require two independent eyewitnesses.’
      Iain Bonomy, The Post-corroboration Safeguards Review (2014) para 6.1

  5. Yes, a brilliant film for all the wrong reasons. But ponder his….who supplies the meat for these Red Kites at feeding time??

    1. I think this question has been dealt with and proved to be improbable for reasons already given in previous posts !!!

  6. I always found in this case that it was extremely strange that there was no collateral damage caused with these poisonings which would normally be the case. So if Brian Etheridge wants to accuse ‘the landowner’ with his hypothesis of deliberate poisoning why doesn’t he produce the evidence to back up his suspicions he so pointedly accuses ‘the landowner’ of? Anyhow why would any landowner in their right mind risk their single farm payment by doing this? It is probable that the dark art of coverup is at work here and very likely by someone in a ‘responsible’ position who daren’t put their hand up & admit they’ve actually cocked up and messed in their own nest!

    1. There are suspicions as to the culprit, but there is no evidence that we are privy to. The police are the only ones who could have gained any such evidence, so maybe you should ask them, Howard. Brian is not accusing anyone particularly, he has years of experience in the field and is putting his best estimate forward based on historical evidence and statistical probability.
      If you are suggesting a cover up on the part of the RSPB, then I can categorically state that this is pure nonsense, as has been refuted many times. There are three resident pairs of kites at the feeding centre, which feed almost every day and which were unaffected by the poisoning. The centre is also outside the area in which all the birds were found dead. Your accusations are baseless.
      We at ‘Let’s get MAD for Wildlife’ – the local group set up in the wake of the poisoning- have tried and tried to keep this story alive for as long as the case is open and a prosecution is possible. We live in hope that someday someone will come forward – or the police press charges against the person responsible (they have implied they know who it is).
      We will not let the deaths of 22 beautiful raptors be for nothing.

      1. I very much doubt the police will offer me any evidence they have! Sorry but Brian Etheridge definitely points a finger at ‘the landowner’ in this film. I’ve watched it! Also can you tell me what collateral damage of other wildlife there was if you are party to the available evidence or is their reluctance to produce it because their wasn’t any at all? Best estimates based on historical evidence and statistical probability suggests that other carrion feeders would have definitely been affected. Very strange indeed if there wasn’t any at all? A lot of things certainly don’t add up in this case, this being the primary one in my mind. Also why are the RSPB not trusted by a number of landowners in the surrounding area now?

        1. There may well have been ‘collateral damage’ to other wildlife in the are that was ‘tidied up’. Smaller birds and animals would have died instantly and would have been easy to clear away. The BoP that were killed had flown off the land to eat and died very near by, so not so easy to hide. Again, no-one knows this but the police and the perpetrator. We are not party to any evidence.
          The RSPB aren’t liked by one major landowner in the area who has put up some signs ( so may appear that its a group of people, when it’s in fact just one person) He basically lost a lot of money a few years ago because the RSPB (and others) objected to a hydro scheme he had planned as it would have destroyed a load of pearl mussel beds. This has no connection to the poisoning case.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: