Many readers of this blog will know that there are a pair of little owls not far from the reserve at Strumpshaw. I had the (un)fortunate pleasure of finding them them earlier this year.
The unfortunate part of it is that through word of mouth it seems there is always a car parked at the site or someone standing under the tree in which the Little Owl is trying to roost/nest in.
We/I/the RSPB are receiving complaints from neighbours, landowners and other birders etc about various problems relating to these birds.
People have been trespassing onto private property, blocking the road by bad parking, disturbing a breeding pair of owls, generally loitering in the area for long periods and today I am told that someone was found climbing the tree!
This is unacceptable behaviour and unfortunately it is certainly blackening our name in the local area as well as giving the photographers that have stopped there a bad reputation.
Although it is not RSPB land the people who are visiting are visitors to the reserve and therefore linked to the RSPB.
The message is clear- please avoid stopping at the site, please leave the birds alone now so that links with Strumpshaw Fens landowners and neighbours stay on the positive side. By stopping and looking at these birds, spending long periods of time parked in the area and getting out of your cars you are damaging vital links with the local neighbours, something that has been positive for many years and needs to stay positive for the sake of the RSPB's involvement in the area. Something I am sure that many readers/visitors to the reserve will want to keep enjoying.
Please ensure that this message is told throughout the photography/birding circles- If you see people that you recognise at the LO location please inform them too, and do not give the location to anyone else.
If anyone is seen trespassing/climbing the tree or purposefully disturbing the Little owls to get a photograph please call 101 the non emergency police number and state that a wildlife crime is being carried out, they respond quickly.This number is also to be used throughout the breeding season on and off the reserve- don't get a criminal record for the sake of a photograph.