Sunday 18 June 2017

Photographing Red Throated Divers at the nest........ you need a licence!, cunning and patience.

Wildlife programmes on TV and relatively cheap high quality digital cameras might  encourage you  to take up wildlife photography but beware. You need a licence to photograph certain species in the breeding season, on or around the nest in the case of birds in the UK. The full list of these Schedule 1 bird species is on the British Trust for Ornithology website; Protected bird species in Britain

Red throated "loon" in N. America
I had to tell you that because today Hamsa and I were moving his hide so that he could film breeding red throated divers. He has a licence. I was there to help and under his supervision so "legal".

To get one of these licences you have to show to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) that you are an experienced photographer by submitting examples of your work and two references  to support your application. Licences are not easy to get.

You can't just walk up to a nest site and set up your hide. On day 1 the hide might be 150 m from the nest. Then gradually it is moved closer , so that the parent birds are not spooked into abandoning the nest.  After ten days or so you might be in a position to start filming. An assistant is still needed.

Divers are not good at arithmetic so; two people walk up to the hide, the cameraman gets inside and his gofer walks away.  The divers are fooled into thinking there is nobody there. In evolutionary terms they are the neanderthals of the bird world, crows are the intellectuals.

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