Is Edradynate Estate the place where the red kite was found poisoned?

The location where the dead red kite was found in July (now confirmed to have been poisoned – see earlier blog below) was given by Tayside Police as “Strathtay, near Aberfeldy”, Perthshire. I mentioned a number of sporting estates in my earlier post that have their addresses in this area. I’ve since investigated further and look what I’ve found –

According to Tayside Police’s press release about the latest dead red kite, over the last 15 years the following have been found poisoned in the same area where the recent red kite was found dead – 9 buzzards, 2 sparrowhawks, 2 crows, 1 common gull, 1 tawny owl, 1 pole cat and 1 domestic cat. In addition, they say 12 poisoned baits have also been found.

Compare the above list of dead animals & poisoned baits with the following list of dead animals & poisoned baits, which was reported in the RSPB’s Legal Eagle newsletter (January 2005, #43, page 3) – “In 14 separate incidents since 1998, 16 poisoned victims (9 buzzards, a cat, a tawny owl, 2 sparrowhawks, a common gull, a pole cat and a crow and 12 poisoned baits [rabbits, woodpigeons and a pheasant]) have been found, with traces of the pesticides mevinphos, carbofuran and alphachloralose“.

The 2005 RSPB report relates to the Edradynate Estate, which is situated in Strathtay, near Aberfeldy. Coincidence? You decide.

Edradynate Estate

Nobody was convicted for the earlier alleged offences at Edradynate Estate  thanks to the apparent chronic mishandling of the prosecution case. The Edradynate Estate head gamekeeper (aged 55) and underkeeper (22), both of Aberfeldy, were arrested in 2002 and charged with nine offences relating to the use of poisoned baits and also bird cruelty, including the use of spring traps. On 22 July 2004, two years after the original arrests and 13 court hearings later, the Fiscal dropped the case against them at Perth Sheriff Court. A spokeswoman for the Crown Office admitted the time taken to prepare the case for a trial had been a major factor in the decision to scrap it.

Link to RSPB Legal Eagle #43 here: legal_eagle_43_Jan2005

News report about the failed 2004 court case here:’bird+killers’+walk+free.-a0119726014

and here:


Tayside police investigate after dead red kite confirmed poisoned

Poisoned red kite

Tayside police have launched an investigation after yet another incident of illegal raptor poisoning. A red kite was found dead in the Strathtay area (near Aberfeldy, Perthshire) at the end of July, and government toxicology reports have confirmed the kite was poisoned.

According to Tayside police, 5 buzzards and a tawny owl met with the same fate in the same area last year. In addition, 9 buzzards, 2 sparrowhawks, 2 crows, 1 gull, 1 tawny owl, 1 pole cat and 1 domestic cat have also been found poisoned in the same region over the last 15 years.

According to the Scottish Raptor Study Groups website, a total of 12 poisoned baits have also been recovered from the same estate where the red kite was found dead.

Tayside Police’s Wildlife Crime Officer Alan Stewart had the following insight:

There is no doubt that the scourge of poisoning wildlife in Scotland has decreased in general terms in recent years. However, there remain a number of ‘hotspots’ that blight our civilisation and our reputation worldwide“.

Alan Stewart

It’s an interesting perspective from someone closely involved with the PAW Scotland group and who really should know better. Has he not read the latest figures that were only published in August this year that demonstrate an increase in illegal wildlife poisoning events? The only thing that has decreased in recent years is probably Tayside Police’s track record of successful prosecutions for raptor persecution incidents.

It’s also interesting to note that once again, the name of the estate involved has not been made public, even though poisoned baits have been found there. There are a number of sporting estates in this area, and it could be any one of the following:

Finynate Estate, Innerwick Estate, Edradynate Estate, Glen Lyon Estate, Chesthill Estate, Remony Estate.

Or may be it’s another estate? Who knows. That’s reassuring for those of you who live in the area, whose children play in the area, whose pets walk in the area, and also for you visitors who come to our countryside to enjoy it, not to find dead raptors or have your dog/child poisoned while out on your holidays.

BBC news story:

Scottish Raptor Study Groups website:

“Map of Shame” doesn’t say anything new

Map of Shame 2004-2008

In January 2009, the Scottish government released its ‘Map of Shame’ showing confirmed poisoning incidents between 2004-2008. The map, using data from the Scottish Agricultural Science Agency (SASA), was hailed as a “significant step” in the fight against wildlife crime as it showed the scale of raptor persecution.

In reality, the map doesn’t tell us anything new at all. The RSPB has been producing these maps for years; the difference with this one is that for the first time, the Scottish Rural Property & Business Association (SRPBA) which represents landowners, agreed to its contents.

The map locates 88 incidents in which raptors were poisoned over the previous 5 years, including iconic species such as the golden eagle, white-tailed sea eagle, red kite, buzzard, tawny owl and peregrine.

What the map fails to tell us is the name of the shooting estates involved. What is the point of providing such a vague map? There is no point, other than to confirm what was already known – raptor persecution incidents are widespread across Scotland. If the SRPBA is as committed to stamping out wildlife crime as it claims it is, why wouldn’t it take every opportunity to name and shame those known to be involved?

It is not just wildlife-interest groups that are asking for the estates to be named. In September 2009, MSP Sarah Boyack (Scottish Labour) called for the government to name and shame the offending estates and said taking steps to reduce the number of incidents of wild raptors being shot and poisoned was a “matter of urgency”.

The government is due to release the official 2009 raptor poisoning figures shortly….

Eighth red kite to die in scotland from poisoning in 2001

Red kite

A red kite released in the summer of 2001 as part of a programme to reintroduce the species to Britain was found poisoned later the same year. The rare bird of prey was found in the Balmagie area, north of Castle Douglas in Dumfries & Galloway, and was the 8th red kite to be poisoned in Scotland during 2001. The bird was one of 33 radio-tagged kites released this summer in Dumfries & Galloway. It is the fifth bird of prey that has been found poisoned in the area after the bodies of two buzzards, a tawny owl and a sparrowhawk were found.

Also in 2001, a red kite was found poisoned in the Borders, and six red kites were found poisoned on or near shotting estates in Perthshire, Stirlingshire and Inverness-shire.


Red kites were persecuted to extinction north and south of the border and were reintroduced into Scotland in the late 1980s. In 2001, there were around 40 breeding pairs.

Gamekeeper guilty of multiple bird deaths on Barns Estate, Peebleshire

A gamekeeper on the Barns Estate near Kirkton Manor, Peebleshire, was found guilty of killing 20 raptors by poisoning them. The keeper was charged with killing 25 birds originally, but several of the corpses were too badly decomposed to ascertain their cause of death. The gruesome discovery on the Barns Estate, where the accused had worked as a gamekeeper for 17 years, was made in March 2004 and included buzzards, a goshawk and a tawny owl. Investigators found 12 rabbit and pheasant carcasses that had been slit open and laced with blue poison granules.

The keeper’s defence lawyer: “He is clearly someone who has respect for the countryside. I think it would have been wrong to portray [him] as someone who has no respect for birds of prey”.

Fortunately, Sheriff James Farrell (Selkirk Sheriff Court) disagreed and the keeper was convicted and fined £5,500.

A spokesman for Wemyss & March Estates Ltd (who manages the Barns Estate) said he was completely unaware of his gamekeeper’s illegal activities.

Further info:

Poisoned bait found on Raeshaw Estate, nr Peebles

Red kites, like buzzards, are easy targets for poisoners as their diet includes lots of carrion.

According to an article in The Guardian, poisoned bait was found on the Raeshaw Estate in the Moorfoot hills, near Peebles, in June 2009, during a police raid. The raid followed the discovery of a poisoned red kite on neighbouring land. Several injured dogs were found during the raid and were removed by the SSPCA, who suspected they had been used for badger baiting. Further information can be found here:

In 2004, the bodies of nine raptors (5 barn owls, 2 buzzards, 1 kestrel & 1 tawny owl) were found dead on Raeshaw Estate (see here). Nobody was ever prosecuted.