Schedule 1 species, photography and the law

I'd really appreciate some feedback from the RSPB folk on this one, though of course everyone else is welcome to weigh in too :)

I've seen discussions on this subject cropping up on various different birding and photography forums, and Lepidoptera recently raised it here with regard to Kingfishers. I would like to know if there's any clarification about whether it's OK to photograph Schedule 1 birds 'at or near the nest' when you're doing it from a hide on a nature reserve. The Schedule 1 list can be viewed here: http://www.naturenet.net/law/sched1.html

The licencing is aimed at experienced photographers who want to create independent setups to photograph these vulnerable species at their nests. Applicants will need to demonstrate their ability to achieve this without causing disturbance by submitting images of non-Schedule 1 species photographed under similar circumstances, exhibiting normal breeding behaviour. It's a tough system, as is right and proper to protect the wellbeing of the birds.

But... what about Schedule 1 birds that choose to nest where anyone can easily view them without disturbance? There are quite a few RSPB reserves now where numerous nesting Avocets can be viewed at close range from hides. Likewise Mediterranean Gulls at Rye Harbour nature reserve, Ospreys at Loch Garten and so on. Given that the purpose of the law is to prevent disturbance, it seems vanishingly unlikely that anyone's going to get into trouble for photographing them under these circumstances, and you certainly don't see anyone confiscating visitors' cameras as they enter the hides :) However, is this a matter of interpretation of the law, or is there some specific clause which says 'at or near the nest' photography from a public place or place with public access is OK?

My blog: http://mazzaswildside.blogspot.co.uk/

My Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/124028194@N04/

  • I have bumped this Aiki because i too am interested in anything the RSPB could tell us regarding this. 

     

     

    An optimist sees the beauty of the complete rose.A pessimist sees only the thorn .

  • I would certainly welcome an official response to this question from the RSPB who must know the Laws backwards

    Of all creatures, man is the most detestable, he is the only creature that inflicts pain for sport, knowing it to be pain.
    ~ Mark Twain

  • In reply to JudiM:

    Thanks for the bumpage, people :)

    My blog: http://mazzaswildside.blogspot.co.uk/

    My Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/124028194@N04/

  • In reply to aiki:

    Going off for the night and sad that nobody has responded.Anyway.....Bumped again.

     

     

    An optimist sees the beauty of the complete rose.A pessimist sees only the thorn .

  • In reply to Sheena:

    ... and again! Yoohoo people!

    Make the boy interested in natural history if you can; it is better than games [Robert Falcon Scott]

  • In reply to Cartimandua:

    Well, bumped again.

     

     

    An optimist sees the beauty of the complete rose.A pessimist sees only the thorn .

  • aiki said:
    I would like to know if there's any clarification about whether it's OK to photograph Schedule 1 birds 'at or near the nest' when you're doing it from a hide on a nature reserve.

    Hi aiki,

    As far as photographing Schedule1 species at or near a nest is concerned, the law is technically been broken if birds are photograhed without a licence even at RSPB reserves and public places.

    So for example, if you photographed Avocets at the nest from a hide at Saltholme, or Ospreys from the hide at Rutland Water, you are not causing disturbance as the birds are viewable from a recognizable public site.
    If you start taking photographs elsewhere on the site and it is deemed that you are likely to affect the behaviour or breeding success of the birds, then you are breaking the law where Schedule1 birds are concerned.

    It would would have to be proven that disturbance had been caused and where pursuing a prosecution it would have to be in the public interest, photographing a bird from an RSPB hide is unlikely to cause disturbance and thus would never make it to court. So common sense should prevail.

    I read an article were a Peregrine nest site on anglesey had been photographed. It stated that it was not an offence to photograph the nest providing you took the photo from the public footpath that overlooked it. But if you stepped off the footpath to get a bit closer you were breaking the law, it didn't mention anything about a licence!

    Interesting subject, which I think a lot of birders and photographers are unaware of.

    Regards Buzzard

     

    Nature Is Amazing - Let Us Keep It That Way

  • In reply to Buzzard:

    interesting stuff Buzzard, thanks :-)  It sounds like a sensible way of thinking about things, to me...

    Make the boy interested in natural history if you can; it is better than games [Robert Falcon Scott]

  • In reply to Buzzard:

    Buzzard said:

    Hi aiki,

    As far as photographing Schedule1 species at or near a nest is concerned, the law is technically been broken if birds are photograhed without a licence even at RSPB reserves and public places.

    So for example, if you photographed Avocets at the nest from a hide at Saltholme, or Ospreys from the hide at Rutland Water, you are not causing disturbance as the birds are viewable from a recognizable public site.

    Thanks for your reply, Buzzard.

    I'm a bit confused because your first two paras seem to contradict each other, or maybe I'm misunderstanding? Or are you just saying that the law may be broken but it won't matter if no disturbance has occured? Going by the rest of your post, it seems there isn't anything in the law that explicitly says photography of nesting Sched. 1 birds from public hides on nature reserves is OK.

    If I've got that right, it does seem to me as though the law is in need of revision, with more specifics about what does and doesn't constitute a risk of disturbance, rather than people having to rely on a 'common sense' defence. As it stands (if my understanding is correct) if Joe UnlicensedPhotographer is in a hide looking at a nesting Avocet through a scope that's OK, but if he then puts a camera to the scope's eyepiece and takes a digiscoped photo, he's (technically) breaking the law!

    (edited first para for clarity (I hope!))

    My blog: http://mazzaswildside.blogspot.co.uk/

    My Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/124028194@N04/

  • In reply to aiki:

    Hi aiki,

    yes the first two paragraphs contradict each other, that was my point.

    The whole subject of photograhing schedule1 birds against looking through a scope is confusing for the layman and many digiscopers can't get their head around the law.

    The photographing of schedule1 birds that are nesting, nest building or breeding has to be done under licence. Full stop, no if's or but's.  It doesn't state that if your on a reserve or in a public place then it's ok.

    There are very strict guidelines to follow as well as the The Nature Photographers' Code of Practice. http://www.rpsnaturegroup.com/page7.htm

    The licence is a WMLA-28 and it gives very clear precise information about making an application.

    http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/Images/wmla28_tcm6-9654.doc

    What I'm also saying is if a breeding pair of schedule1 birds happen to nest were they can be photographed from a public place such as an RSPB Reserve Hide were no disturbance is caused then the authorities wouldn't prosecute as it isn't in the publics interest and trying to get a conviction would be near impossible. But the law has been broken by all those who photograph them if no licence is held.

    The whole disturbance issue can be complex, dog walkers on heaths, moorlands and beaches. Boat enthusiasts and anglers on rivers. Service men and women digging in on military land, the list goes on and on.

    That was my reason for the comment, Common Sense Prevails.

    But The single most important thing is "The welfare of the subject is more important than the photograph.”


    Regards Buzzard

    Nature Is Amazing - Let Us Keep It That Way