max temp: 11°C

min temp: 8°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Dunwich: Photographers threatening the wellbeing of rare Dartford warblers by luring them from nests with sound recordings

16:31 30 April 2014

Dunwich Heath National Trust staff members Richard Gilbert and Alison Joseph

Dunwich Heath National Trust staff members Richard Gilbert and Alison Joseph


Over-zealous wildlife photographers on one of Suffolk’s best-loved heaths are threatening the wellbeing of one of Britain’s rarest breeding birds, conservationists fear.

Dunwich Heath, dartford warblerDunwich Heath, dartford warbler

A series of recent incidents involving photographers encroaching into the heather at the National Trust’s Dunwich Heath to obtain close-up images of Dartford warblers has prompted the trust to take action.

The species is often elusive and difficult to observe and enjoys the top level of legal protection afforded by the Wildlife and Countryside Act. It is on the act’s “Schedule 1” and is highly sensitive to disturbance.

Despite it being the breeding season, trust staff say some photographers had recently been seen well away from the heath’s many paths, far too close to nest sites and even trying to lure the warblers onto the heather tops by playing recordings of the species’ song, a highly controversial practice known as tape-luring.

The trust staff have produced a leaflet for photographers and birdwatchers which urges them to adhere to a code of responsible, law-abiding behaviour.

Richard Gilbert, the trust’s senior ranger for the site, said: “We are trying to raise awareness of a problem that has grown, particularly over the last five or six years in my experience. There is now a lot of technically advanced and economically available photography equipment around but unfortunately the advances have not been matched by the capability and experience of some photographers.

“We do recognise that there are other pressures on these birds as well and we do not want to come across as being against photographers. We are trying to be even-handed but we are trying to educate people that there has to be a balance struck that is for the benefit of our wildlife and the enjoyment of all our visitors.”

The trust’s visitor experience manager for the heath, Alison Joseph, said the leaflet was produced after a serious incident involving photographers from Essex.

“There were more photographers on the heath than birds that day – it was amazing,” she said.

“They were tape-luring all day and I spent all day dealing with it, talking to people and explaining about the problem.

“There are other issues, such as dogs off leads and rubbish-dumping, and we would be grateful to be told of any such incidents – people can tell 
us if they are not confident about challenging the people concerned themselves and we will go and investigate, hand out leaflets and talk to people.”

The leaflet, which also refers to another rare breeding bird of the heath, the nightjar, urges people to keep to the heath’s paths, not to linger in one spot for too long and not to tape lure the birds.

There has been a crash on the A12

Part of the A12 which was shut because of collision has been reopened.

A parade of puppets, live bands, fireworks and a packed Angel Hill, Abbey Gardens and town centre - the annual Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre

Tens of thousands of people swarmed to west Suffolk this weekend for what organisers expect to have been a record breaking Christmas Fayre.

Hadleigh High Street

After 16 years running her shop from the same building, Barbara Boyd is ready to take it up a gear as she moves into new premises.

CQC inspectors' decision backed by tribunal. Stock image.

The manager of a Clacton care home where a patient had an ulcer so bad the bone was visible has lost an appeal to get their registration back.

A Colchester young carer, who helps her single mum look after her two sickly little brothers, was a runner–up in Essex Young People of the Year.
Katie Kilpatrick, of Havering Close, received an award known as a ‘YOPEY’, at a lavish ceremony in London this weekend. Left to right, Christopher Merrett, Katie Kilpatrick, Alexander Merrett.

A teenage carer who helps her single mum look after her two brothers who both have complex health needs has been named runner-up in Essex Young People of the Year.

George Woodward, three, with his mum Laura Barber, dad Lee Woodward and little sister Ivy, is receiving funds for a new wheelchair.

One young boy’s family are celebrating today after the Sir Bobby Robson online auction raised enough money to buy him a new power wheelchair.

The Christmas Tree on the Cornhill in 1985,  Grimwades was on the right of the picture

As the festive cheer spreads through Ipswich, reader Janice Poulson has been looking back at how the town used to be at Christmas, and other times of the year.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the East Anglian Daily Times e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24