North East Scotland Raptor Study Group

The North-east of Scotland Raptor Study Group was formed in 1981 and currently has around 20 members who meet biannually, before and after the breeding season, to coordinate their monitoring efforts. The group monitors the populations and breeding performance of raptors, owls and ravens within its area.

The group’s area includes Moray south and east of the River Spey, Aberdeen city and the county of Aberdeenshire down to the River North Esk at the boundary with Angus. This covers a diverse range of habitats; to the west, there are the high montane plateaus of the eastern Cairngorms and Lochnagar with remnant Caledonian pine forests in the adjacent glens. These areas are largely managed for deer stalking and grouse shooting. Much of the area is covered in forest plantation of both native and non-native woodland. Beyond these plantations and moors lies farmland which is intensive in the productive Buchan coastal plain.

The main species monitored are:

  • Golden eagle as part of a long-running Cairngorms project;
  • the recolonising goshawk;
  • merlin;
  • peregrine – another long running project which monitors the species in a variety of habitats;
  • the newly-reintroduced red kite;
  • studies on buzzard, long-eared owl and barn owl are also ongoing but on a more localised basis;
  • Hen harrier was once a common species in our area, and hence it is represented on our logo. Things have changed however, and in 2012 there were no successful breeding records in the region.

Chairs: Ewan Weston

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