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‘Lockdown Lammergeier’ leaves the Peak District

After much hype it appears that the "Lockdown Lammergeier" – or the Bearded Vulture as it has been known - has decided to leave the managed moorlands of the Peak District after its three month stay, with reports suggesting it may be heading south eastwards, towards Leicester.

Despite many groups, organisations and individuals desperate to use the bird's visit to try and whip up an anti-shooting media frenzy with stories of how the bird 'is not safe on land managed for shooting interests’ due to whatever headline grabbing sensational reason they could think of, the absurdity of their claims has now been reinforced.

The allegations against the moorland managers of the Peak District, as was predicted in the Telegraph at the time, have proven to be totally fake. The Bearded Vulture leaves the Peak District in fine health.

Peak District gamekeepers and land managers have interacted with it on a daily basis. They have watched where it has chosen to roost at night, watched in wonder at it glides over vast areas of moorland, and have observed, in dismay, at the initial scrum of human observers that descended on our moorland at a critical fledging stage for many of our more regular common and red listed moorland species, in some cases with little regard to their wellbeing.

One unusual benefit of the increase in birdwatchers to our area has been their media reports on the assemblage of birds they have seen whilst trying to get that little bit closer to our wandering visitor. Raptors aplenty according to their own reports – which must be hugely inconvenient for those who say that the way moorland areas are managed has a negative effect on flora and fauna.

Let's hope that if this bird or others of its species ever decide to return to the Peak District Moors, the same kind of management will still be in place, and not one that is devoid of a mosaic of heather age structures supporting healthy numbers of a balance of animal species whilst mitigating against wildfire and increasing the working peatland bog structure of these important moors.

The video below was taken on Friday by a gamekeeper. At times the Vulture was just 20 yards away from him, gliding against the strong winds.


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