The intellectual capacity of a cabbage

CabbageThere was an article in Country Life magazine recently (26th Aug edition) on the proposed plan (see here) to bolster the golden eagle population in southern Scotland. (Thanks to the contributor who sent us a copy).

The short piece included commentary from Dr Cat Barlow (the new project officer) and also a bit from everybody’s favourite ecological expert, Alex Hogg of the SGA:

Alex Hogg, Chairman of the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association, believes that the large raptors [golden eagles] could threaten not only grouse, but, ironically, the endangered hen harrier. “Grouse cover a huge area and can stand the pressure of hunting, but hen harriers nest en masse and are thus particularly vulnerable. And white hares, one of the eagle’s favourite prey, only breed well in areas where foxes are controlled”, he points out. He adds: “I’m delighted about the idea of the golden-eagle release, but I’m worried there won’t be enough food supply. My overriding feeling is that if the golden eagle had wanted to settle in southern Scotland, it would have done so“‘.

My ‘overriding feeling’ is that Alex Hogg has the intellectual capacity of a cabbage.

How many “en masse nesting” hen harriers are there in southern Scotland? According to the most recent data available from the Scottish Raptor Monitoring Scheme, in 2013 one hundred hen harrier home ranges were checked across southern Scotland for occupancy. Of those 100, there were only 23 breeding attempts and of those, only 18 nests produced fledglings. Here are the data:

Dumfries & Galloway: 24 home ranges checked, 10 breeding attempts, 8 nests producing fledglings.

Lothian & Borders: 5 home ranges checked, 3 breeding attempts, 2 nests producing fledglings.

South Strathclyde: 71 home ranges checked, 10 breeding attempts, 8 nests producing fledglings.

As for a shortage of food, perhaps if the grouse moor gamekeepers in southern Scotland (and elsewhere) weren’t slaughtering mountain hares in their thousands (e.g. see here), in addition to the mass killing of other eagle prey items such as crows, stoats, weasels, fox cubs etc, Alex’s touching concern could be put to rest.


15 Responses to “The intellectual capacity of a cabbage”

  1. September 7, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    As always, concise and to the point RPS. However, if I was to put my money on one of them in a ‘Mastermind’ challenge, my money would definitely be on the cabbage! Just a thought – perhaps no-one has told Alex that Golden Eagles eat Mountain Hares?

  2. September 7, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    I don’t know why ‘ecological expert’ and Chairman of the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association, Alex Hogg is so worried that there won’t be sufficient food supply for the Golden Eagles when there’s all those grouse….

  3. 4 Douglas Malpus
    September 7, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Mountain Hares are on the “kill on sight” for people like Mr Hogg. They eat things that grouse eat and therefore endanger grouse!
    Sadly some dumb folk have too much power, money and influence, they will believe Mr Hogg.
    I fancy some bacon now!

  4. 5 John Mills
    September 7, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    My cabbages are deeply offended at the comparison you have made!

  5. 6 Chris Roberts
    September 7, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    Hogg says “If the golden eagle had wanted to settle in southern Scotland, it would have done so”. I always thought that they were there historically, until the gamekeepers eliminated them.

  6. 7 Marco McGinty
    September 7, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    I still maintain that this project should not even be considered until the many issues affecting raptors have been successfully tackled. That will simply not happen until driven grouse shooting is banned, and the shooting industry changes its collective mindset. It just seems to be a case of “jobs for the boys” (or non-girls if you follow the Green Party!) and prolonging those jobs by any means possible.

    It is patently clear that nothing has changed since the reintroductions of the White-tailed Eagle or the Red Kite, with these, and other raptor species, being targeted and killed on a regular basis, so I honestly cannot see anything positive about this project. Illegal killings will ensue, conservationists will complain, fake condemnations will follow from the shooting industry, and the governments of the day will state that work is being done to prevent and stop all of the illegal activity.

    Twenty years from now, providing driven grouse shooting has not been banned, raptor persecution will still be high on our agenda, and this project will just give the criminals more things to shoot at, so shame on all of those involved in this sham.

  7. 8 Anand Prasad
    September 7, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    “I’m delighted about the idea of the golden-eagle release, but I’m worried there won’t be enough food supply. My overriding feeling is that if the golden eagle had wanted to settle in southern Scotland, it would have done so“‘
    I believe the technical term for the above is a ‘concern troll’.
    Pretty much everything spouted by the grouse shooting lobby fits that category.
    I call it lying but i’m old fashioned.
    Last year Hogg said that the SGA likes Golden Eagles because he believes they get rid of other raptors. Can’t seem to make up his mind but there again that is what trolling is all about.

  8. 9 nirofo
    September 7, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    I know he comes across as a total pillock but don’t be too hard on the man, after all he’s a revered countryman, a gamekeeper, you know one of those stalwarts of the countryside. Lets face it if he doesn’t know about the wildlife of the countryside if it’s not grouse isn’t worth knowing about, respect?

    I prefer sprouts to cabbage !!!

  9. September 7, 2015 at 11:51 pm

    Surely you should have reserved the finest Savoy cabbage for the “land owner”? The SGA? More of a pickled cabbage?

  10. 11 Jimmy
    September 8, 2015 at 12:46 am

    Maybe Hogg could ask his buddies to stop slaughtering Hares in there tens of thousands on these grouse moors??. He is some combination of an idiot and a hypocrite!!!!!!!

    • September 8, 2015 at 9:00 am

      Since we are all of the same view why do we have interminable posts with variations of condemnation re. the driven grouse shoot?
      We should be organising a mass rally / demonstration outside Hollyrood demanding that enough is enough for our raptors (and other wildlife) and pushing forward land reform to sort this scandal out once and for all!

  11. September 8, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    My feelings are you insult the humble cabbage.

  12. 15 cairnton
    September 22, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    okay 905 people here are sympathetic to raptors so when are we all going to Hollyrood? I’m new to activism but I am happy to come along and do what I can.

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