Birdwatchers guilty of "appalling behaviour" as they flush out elusive Lanceolated Warbler
Updated: Oct 7, 2022
The Lanceolated Warbler, or 'Lancey' as it is better known, is a treat for many birdwatchers on their pilgrimage to Shetland. But more recently, the sheer number of birdwatchers turning up to take photographs and the disturbance they are causing is increasingly concerning.
Photos emerged yesterday of packs of photographers turning up on a backcountry lane to watch a Lancey be 'flushed out' from where it was hiding. This is sort of action will likely lead to the bird to abandon the area, as well as stopping it from resting and feeding.
Across the country human disturbance is the main reason so many of our rare birds are under threat. The original photograph has now, unsurprisingly, been deleted.
One commentator, Stewart Abbot, publicly criticised the twitchers in the photo saying: "Awful scene of a Lanceolated Warbler being flushed by twitchers on Shetland. The wildlife must always come 1st when out wildlife watching. This is appalling and needs to be called out and stopped".
Another Twitter user, Jack Baddams, said: "Unsurprisingly this tweet was deleted but it showed a video of a group of birders surrounding a Lanceolated Warbler - some walking into the grass where it was hiding - clapping and making noise to flush it in front of the watching crowd. It was proper grim."
Nowhere was this disdain towards wildlife by so called wildlife photographers clearer than in the Peak District in July 2020, when hundreds of birdwatchers traipsed across private moorland during the rare ground-nesting birds season, disturbing hundreds of curlews and lapwings amongst others, to see the 'bearded vulture'.
Many of those in the Peak District disturbing curlews were some of the loudest critics against moorland managers, who work tirelessly to protect ground nesting birds.
If the RSPB had any integrity left, or even pretended to have an ounce of neutrality, it would start including these sorts of 'confirmed incidents' in their annual birdcrime reports, rather than continuingly inciting hostilities against upland communities.