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Peregrine Watch 10 July 2007

The Department’s commitment to helping people learn more about the countryside and it’s flora and fauna was demonstrated recently when its forestry team took a small group of primary school children to a hide in one of the plantations to view nesting Peregrine’s and their two chicks.

The Department’s Forestry Ranger has constructed a temporary hide with a telescope to ensure that even though any movements were more than sufficiently far away from the birds to avoid disturbance there was no chance of upsetting the family.

Disturbance of this specially protected bird is an offence under the Wildlife Act and DAFF would not have undertaken this exercise if there had been a risk of disturbance.

Whilst the Peregrine is not a rare sight on the Island it is rare to find a nest site, which are always on inaccessible ledges and even more unusual to be able to see the chicks.

Minister, Phil Gawne, explained “This was a fantastic opportunity for children to have the opportunity to see the peregrines and I am sure the day will leave a lasting memory with the children. Equally, it gives me great pleasure to know that the Department and its staff can offer such a fantastic learning experience. A respect for the Island, its landscapes and its wildlife can only be developed through a living education at an early age and we aim to be the gateway to much of this learning experience over the coming years.”

“This project has again shown how the Department continues to work together with other Departments, stakeholders and partners with the Forestry, Amenity & Lands Division co-ordinating a joint effort with Manx Wildlife Trust, the Manx Bird Atlas and the Wildlife and Conservation Division.”

Shaun Gelling, Forestry Division Ranger, commented of the children from Foxdale Primary School that “I have never met such a well behaved group of children and to say that they were enthusiastic would be an understatement.”

The chicks have now fledged but not before a further school visit took place.

The Department will review how best to make available such an educational facility in the future and hope to be able to offer the experience to further schools in forthcoming years.

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