Scotland Conference 2018

The fourth meeting on the problems faced by breeding Curlews in lowland Ireland and UK took place at Scottish Natural Heritage’s Battleby Conference Centre near Perth on 27 September 2018. The Conference was organized by the Curlew Forum and Working for Waders, and was strongly supported by Scottish Natural Heritage. This meeting, like earlier sessions in the series, aimed to bring together all those involved in Curlew conservation, not only Curlew experts, but land managers, farmers and crofters,  forestry experts, gamekeepers and the Scottish Parliament’s Curlew Champion, as well as members of the public who simply love Curlews.

Breeding Curlews have clearly declined in Scotland, especially in the last 20 years, for a variety of reasons, among them changes in habitat and land use, predation by foxes and crows and climate change: yet there remain reasons for hope because of the large contiguous areas with breeding Curlews and the surviving large concentrations of breeding birds. Under the ‘Conferences’ section of this website, the agenda, biographies of speakers and the texts of some of the presentations can be found; it is planned to post the texts of all presentations in due course, together with a summary of the discussions and conclusions. See here: Scotland Conference 2018

Participants in the Battleby Conference who have attended previous Curlew meetings; from left to right: Geoff Hilton (Curlew Forum and WWT), Phil Sheldrake (Curlew Forum and RSPB), Mary Colwell (Curlew Forum), Barry O’Donoghue (Irish National Parks and Wildlife Service), Alan Lauder (Chairman of the Irish Curlew Task Force), Mike Smart (Curlew Forum).

One participant commented afterwards:

“I just wanted to say thank you for a wonderful day with the Curlew. To be in a room with so many people passionate about this very special wader was truly inspiring. I learnt so much and I am now resolved to look more closely at the habitat here on the farm, on Flanders Moss NNR and in the wider Carse of Stirling. I am also totally immersed in Mary’s book and enjoying it immensely.  I hope that we will be able to report increased curlew numbers breeding with a target of the next 5 years. We hope to put together a cooperation project with the Carse of Stirling Partnership.”

No question the Curlew tugs at the soul:
“a crescendo of
Sound bubbles
Bursting in cadences
Of liquid joy”
Anon (from Mary’s book)

One of the speakers commented afterwards:

“Just wanted to say thanks so much for all you did and continue to do to support the event. It was a superb, stimulating day and I am sure what took place will make a major contribution to further our actions to conserve breeding waders, and importantly Curlew, in Scotland. I came away extremely fired up, as did my two colleagues!”

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