18 episodes

There's a lot of talk about conservation, but this really is the hands-on kind. Follow wildlife conservation in the field, as Roy Dennis, based in the Highlands of Scotland, works with his team on the restoration of species in the UK and abroad.

Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation: hands-on conservation Moira Dennis

    • Science
    • 4.8 • 19 Ratings

There's a lot of talk about conservation, but this really is the hands-on kind. Follow wildlife conservation in the field, as Roy Dennis, based in the Highlands of Scotland, works with his team on the restoration of species in the UK and abroad.

    A honey buzzard on its first migration

    A honey buzzard on its first migration

    The honey buzzard is one of Britain's most enigmatic and elusive birds, poorly named (being neither a buzzard nor an eater of honey) and under-reported.  In August, Roy Dennis and his team, having discovered a honey buzzard nest in woodland in Moray, where Roy lives, fitted a highly sophisticated satellite transmitter to a female chick. A month later, the bird left on migration for Africa, but experienced the most dramatic start to her journey, blown eastwards across the North Sea to Denmark. She survived, and after several days' rest, continued on her journey, correctly turning south towards her destination.

    Tim Mackrill tells the story of her journey so far, and describes what might yet be waiting for her, while Roy explains more about the species as a whole.

    Producer: Moira Dennis
    Contributors (in order of appearance):  Roy Dennis, Tim Mackrill



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    • 19 min
    White-tailed eagles: a project milestone

    White-tailed eagles: a project milestone

    The project to reintroduce white-tailed eagles to the Isle of Wight continues, and in this - the second year of five - seven birds have been released.  This podcast picks up the story from when they were taken south from Scotland to their new home - pilot Graham and his daughter Helen Mountford of Civil Air UK making two voluntary trips to fly the birds to the Isle of Wight - but instead of focussing on the fortunes of this year's birds, we look instead at a major milestone in the project overall.  One bird - G3-24 - has returned to the Isle of Wight after two months in Scotland. What this means for the project as a whole is discussed by Roy Dennis and his colleagues, as they outline what they hope for the future and reflect on the wider purpose of this reintroduction project.

    Producer: Moira Dennis
    Contributors (in order of appearance): Tim Mackrill, Steve Egerton-Read, Graham Mountford, Helen Mountford, Ian Perks, Fraser Cormack, Leanne Sargeant, Roy Dennis, Lucy Allen

    Music credit: Realness by Kai Engel, form the Free Music Archive
    https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
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    • 19 min
    White-tailed eagles: from Scotland to the Isle of Wight

    White-tailed eagles: from Scotland to the Isle of Wight

    In the previous podcast, Ian Perks described his work collecting eagles for translocation from nests in the Western Isles to a new home on the Isle of Wight.  Now, the chicks safely collected, it's time to care for them while they wait to be taken south. This is the 2020 cohort for the white-tailed eagle reintroduction programme, a joint venture between the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation and Forestry England which had a successful start twelve months ago.  In this year of lockdown, though, it's not as straightforward as it might be, with the usual team unable to travel to help feed the eagles and drive them south.

    The challenges of this year of Covid 19 are dealt with, though, and the birds successfully taken for release on the Isle of Wight, thanks largely to a father-and-daughter volunteer team with exactly the right skills for this project.

    Producer: Moira Dennis
    Contributors (in order of appearance): Leanne Sargeant, Ian Perks, Moira Dennis, Roy Dennis, Graham Mountford, Phoebe Dennis, Helen Mountford

    Music: Realness by Kai Engel, downloadable from the Free Music Archive

    https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/



     


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    • 22 min
    White-tailed eagles: collecting chicks for translocation

    White-tailed eagles: collecting chicks for translocation

    In early August 2020, seven white-tailed eagles were released on the Isle of Wight in the second year of a five-year project to establish a breeding population there.  Using an audio diary recorded by Ian Perks of the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, this podcast looks back at the early stages of this year's work, and finds out how some of the chicks were collected from their nests.  The podcast follows Ian and Justin Grant as they travel to the Western Isles, where with the help of Robin Reid of the RSPB, they check nest sites for suitable candidates for translocation. 

    The Covid 19 outbreak meant a very different way of working for the team, but this podcast hears how, while observing lockdown rules, the project was able to continue uninterrupted.   One of the biggest differences was that, due to the Covid 19 outbreak, the nests had not been checked in advance this year.  Many were found to have only one young, and chicks can only be taken from nests with at least two. In some cases, though, Ian fitted a satellite radio to  single chicks, meaning that data will be fed back from birds that will fledge in the Western Isles as well as on the Isle of Wight.

    Ian and Fraser Cormack later made trips to Mull, Skye and Sutherland, in the north of the mainland, in an effort to get as many chicks as possible for translocation, before the birds were sent south to the Isle of Wight, to be kept in hacking cages prior to their release.

    Contributors (in order of appearance):
    Tim Mackrill
    Ian Perks
    Fraser Cormack
    Roy Dennis
    Robin Reid

    Producer: Moira Dennis

    Music: Realness by Kai Engel, downloadable from the Free Music Archive

    https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/



     



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    • 20 min
    White-tailed eagles, one year on: learning the landscape

    White-tailed eagles, one year on: learning the landscape

    It's exactly a year since the release of six white-tailed eagles on the Isle of Wight, a return to a place where they last bred in 1780.  It's a good moment, then, to take a look at the progress of the birds released in 2019, and to hear about the impact they have had on some of the people who have encountered them.   

    In this five-year project, working in partnership with Forestry England, the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation aims to translocate up to sixty white-tailed eagles from Scotland to the island.  In this, the second year, the Covid 19 outbreak has naturally meant a different way of working, but a second batch of birds has been released, as planned.  Future podcasts will look at the detail of how this translocation was carried out: how the birds were collected from their eyries, how they were cared for by Roy and his team at his home in the Scottish Highlands, moved to the Isle of Wight and finally released in early August of this year. Already, a bond is forming between one of the 2019 birds and the new arrivals, and fascinating satellite data is telling Roy and his colleagues about the way that eagles learn their landscape, shedding light on the amazing journeys they undertake in the years before they are old enough to breed.

    Producer: Moira Dennis

    Contributors (in order of appearance): Fraser Cormack, Tim Mackrill, Dave Sexton, Pauline Jacobs, Roy Dennis, Ian Perks, Steve Egerton-Read, Ed Drewitt, RJ Macaulay

    Music credit: Realness by Kai Engel, from the Free Music Archive
    https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/








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    • 23 min
    The new season starts: rebuilding an osprey nest

    The new season starts: rebuilding an osprey nest

    8th April 1960 was the day when Roy Dennis saw his first ever osprey, while working at the famous Loch Garten site in the Highlands of Scotland. Sixty years on, he's still working with the birds, and this podcast was recorded in early March as (with colleagues Fraser Cormack and Ian Perks) he sets out to rebuild a local osprey nest which is in danger of collapse.  It was built back in 1967 by only the second osprey pair in Scotland and rebuilt by Roy seven years later, after it crashed to the ground, taking with it the chick inside it. Once the new nest was in place, Roy placed the chick in its new home, where the adult birds continued to feed it, and it survived. Since then, the nest has remained a successful breeding site, but the tree on which it sits has now started to lean and looks in serious danger of collapse, so it's time to intervene once more. 

    Using techniques borrowed from the birds themselves, Roy, Ian and Fraser use material from the old nest to make a new one, building a framework of dead sticks lined with moss on a platform hoisted into the tree as a base. It's a tried and tested technique, and the provision of such nests enables ospreys to establish successful breeding partnerships and, it's hoped, boost overall numbers. While the Scottish population has grown to more than 300 pairs since that first pair sixty years ago, it is still far smaller than it could (or should) be, and the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation engages in direct, hands-on conservation as a means to enable it to grow further.   

    This podcast was recorded before the introduction of restrictions on movement due to coronavirus.  




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    • 21 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
19 Ratings

19 Ratings

Mainbanana ,

A superb listen

Voices you could listen to all day. Interesting stories. Knowledge of birds not needed. Excellent

Docking Diamond ,

Magic

Really enjoyed this podcast - fascinating insights into the translocation of rare birds and how it is managed .
Thank you

robertsbarrie ,

Well produced and fascinating

If you want to hear from the top people working in species recovery projects in the UK this is for you. Roy is an inspiration and it is good to hear from the rest of the team. The Sea Eagle story is particularly interesting.

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