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 VOLUNTARY GUIDE FOR WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHERS

INTRODUCTION

 

The age of digital photography has made photographing wildlife an attractive activity for many people, who follow this pastime enthusiastically and the number of bird photographers has boomed over the past decade.  A considerable number of people are now buying high quality equipment and taking up wildlife photography for the first time, for which the Cleveland area offers excellent opportunities.  Photographers’ desire to get close to a bird or sitting it out in hides can bring them into conflict with others.

 

It is evident that there are a significant number of long-standing, experienced wildlife photographers in our region who are aware of their legal and moral obligations when pursuing their hobby and it is hoped that they will help those who are still gaining knowledge, fieldcraft and experience.

 

This guide has been developed jointly by Teesmouth Bird Club (TBC) and RSPB in response to the growing number of new wildlife photographers in the Tees Valley area.  It is as much advice to new and aspiring photographers as it is a guide to good practice and ensuring that the photographer stays within the law.  It is not intended to be dictatorial, pedantic or to stifle photographers’ enjoyment of their pursuits but merely to provide some legal and moral guidelines which should underpin all responsible wildlife photography.  The guidelines focus on how to take photographs whilst having due regard for the welfare of wildlife, other people’s enjoyment (such as birdwatchers, naturalists and, indeed, other photographers) and legal requirements.

 

 

GUIDELINES FOR WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHERS

 

When photographing wildlife, please remember the following four basic principles:

 

1.        THE WELFARE OF WILDLIFE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN A CLOSER PHOTOGRAPH

 

If, by your actions, you cause wildlife to behave uncharacteristically (e.g. a territorial male stops singing or a female leaves a nest) or to be disturbed (e.g. birds become tense and alert or fly off or a hare runs for cover) then you have had a negative impact on that species.  Repeated flushing and harassing of tired migrants to get a ‘better shot’ should be avoided.  Please keep a reasonable distance and avoid causing any distress or disturbance.  The use of playback vocalisations should be avoided and is illegal in the case of Schedule 1 species under the ‘Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981’.

 

2.        PRESERVE AND RESPECT HABITAT

 

Paths, trails, viewing points, screens and hides are designed to give photographers the best possible chance of photographing wildlife.  This applies particularly to the RSPB Saltholme Reserve, Teesmouth National Nature Reserve and designated sites, such as Dormans Pool SSSI.  If leaving established pathways, please ensure that you are not trespassing, causing unnecessary damage to fragile habitat (such as reed beds and wildflower meadows) or disturbing breeding birds (particularly ground nesters, such as Lapwing and Skylark).  Leaving a ‘trail’ through protective habitat near a nest site may lead to predation or desertion, so exercise sensitive fieldcraft.  By keeping to established paths, wildlife will become familiar and comfortable with people over time, allowing photographers to obtain closer shots than would otherwise be possible.

 

 

3.        THE EXPERIENCE OF OTHERS SHOULD BE CONSIDERED AT ALL TIMES

 

If you see something that you have enjoyed, invite others to share and enjoy that experience.  If, by trying to get a closer photograph, you flush a bird or animal this will result in your enjoyment being denied to others.   When in hides or in groups outside, be mindful of the amount of time you are spending in a position that gives the best opportunity for viewing a particular species or spectacle.  Be courteous, make space and invite others to share the same opportunity.  ‘Hogging’ prime positions is a criticism often levelled at some photographers and birdwatchers, particularly where the subject is a rare species when competition to get the best photograph or view is high.  Keep noise to a minimum.  Avoid flushing birds or animals when getting out of a parked vehicle, particularly when others are using their vehicles as ‘hides’. 

 

4.        REMEMBER YOUR LEGAL OBLIGATIONS

 

Certain activities are illegal under Part 1 of the ‘Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981’ and subsequent amendments under ‘The Countryside and Rights of Way (CroW) Act 2000’.   It is an offence under the former Act if any person intentionally:

 

·         disturbs any wild bird included in Schedule 1 while it is building a nest or is in, or near a nest containing eggs or young, or

 

·         disturbs dependant young of such a bird, or

 

·         enters an area designated by the Secretary of State.

 

A special licence is required from Natural England to photograph a Schedule 1 bird species at its nest or to enter a special area designated by the Secretary of State. 

 

5.        LINKS

         

          Natural England                                                  www.naturalengland.org

            Teesmouth Bird Club                                          www.teesmouthbc.com

            RSPB                                                                 www.rspb.org.uk

            ‘Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981’  `                      http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/pdf/waca1981_schedule1.pdf

  ‘Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000’                http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/37/contents

 

 

PLEASE ADHERE TO THESE GUIDELINES AND ENJOY YOUR HOBBY IN THE KNOWLEDDGE THAT YOU ARE BEING RESPONSIBLE AND CONSIDERATE.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                

 

 

 

 

APPENDIX 1

SCHEDULE 1 BIRDS PROTECTED BY SPECIAL PENALTIES AT ALL TIMES UNDER THE ‘WILDLIFE & COUNTRYSIDE ACT 1981’

 

NAME

LATIN NAME

Storm-petrels

Hydrobatidae

Leach’s Petrel

Oceanodroma leucorhoa

Divers

Gaviidae

Black-throated Diver

Gavia arctica

Great Northern Diver

Gavia immer

Red-throated Diver

Gavia stellata

White-billed Diver

Gavia adamsii

Grebes

Podicipedidae

Black-necked Grebe

Podiceps nigricollis

Slavonian Grebe

Podiceps auritus

Bitterns and Herons

Ardeidae

Great Bittern

Botaurus stellaris

Little Bittern

Ixobrychus minutus

Purple Heron

Ardea purpurea

Ibises and Spoonbills

Threskiornithidae

Eurasian Spoonbill

Platalea leucorodia

Waterfowl

Anatidae

Bewick’s Swan

Cygnus columbianus

Common Scoter

Melanitta nigra

Garganey

Anas querquedula

Long-tailed Duck

Clangula hyemalis

Scaup

Aythya marila

Velvet Scoter

Melanitta fusca

Whooper Swan

Cygnus cygnus

Hawks and eagles

Accipitridae

Golden Eagle

Aquila chrysaetos

Goshawk

Accipiter gentilis

Hen Harrier

Circus cyaneus

Honey Buzzard

Pernis apivorus

Marsh Harrier

Circus aeruginosus

Montagu’s Harrier

Circus pygargus

Pallid Harrier

Circus macrourus

Red Kite

Milvus milvus

White-tailed Eagle

Haliaeetus albicilla

Osprey

Pandionidae

Osprey

Pandion haliaetus

Falcons

Falconidae

Gyrfalcon

Falco rusticolus

Hobby

Falco subbuteo

Merlin

Falco columbarius

Peregrine

Falco peregrinus

Grouse

Tetraonidae

Capercaillie

Tetrao urogallus

Partridges, Pheasants, etc.

Phasianidae

Quail

Coturnix coturnix

Crakes and Rails

Rallidae

Corncrake

Crex crex

Spotted Crake

Porzana porzana

Stilts and Avocets

Recurvirostridae

Avocet

Recurvirostra avosetta

Black-winged Stilt

Himantopus himantopus

Thick-knees

Burhinidae

Stone-curlew

Burhinus oedicnemus

Plovers

Charadriidae

Dotterel

Charadrius morinellus

Kentish Plover

Charadrius alexandrinus

Little Ringed Plover

Charadrius dubius

Waders

Scolopacidae

Black-tailed Godwit

Limosa limosa

Green Sandpiper

Tringa ochropus

Greenshank

Tringa nebularia

Purple Sandpiper

Calidris maritima

Red-necked Phalarope

Phalaropus lobatus

Ruff

Philomachus pugnax

Temminck’s Stint

Calidris temminckii

Whimbrel

Numenius phaeopus

Wood Sandpiper

Tringa glareola

Gulls

Laridae

Little Gull

Larus minutus

Mediterranean Gull

Larus melanocephalus

Terns

Sternidae

Black Tern

Chlidonias niger

Little Tern

Sterna albifrons

Roseate Tern

Sterna dougallii

Barn Owl

Tytonidae

Barn Owl

Tyto alba

Owls

Strigidae

Snowy Owl

Nyctea scandiaca

Kingfishers

Alcedinidae

Kingfisher

Alcedo atthis

Bee-eaters

Meropidae

European Bee-eater

Merops apiaster

Hoopoe

Upupidae

Hoopoe

Upupa epops

Woodpeckers

Picidae

Wryneck

Jynx torquilla

Larks

Alaudidae

Shore Lark

Eremophila alpestris

Woodlark

Lullula arborea

Chats, Starts, Thrushes and Forktails

Turdidae

Black Redstart

Phoenicurus ochruros

Bluethroat

Luscinia svecica

Fieldfare

Turdus pilaris

Redwing

Turdus iliacus

Warblers

Sylviidae

Cetti’s Warbler

Cettia cetti

Dartford Warbler

Sylvia undata

Firecrest

Regulus ignicapillus

Marsh Warbler

Acrocephalus palustris

Savi’s Warbler

Locustella luscinioides

Babblers and Allies

Timaliidae

Bearded Tit

Panurus biarmicus

Tits

Paridae

Crested Tit

Parus cristatus

Treecreepers

Certhiidae

Short-toed Treecreeper

Certhia brachydactyla

Orioles

Oriolidae

Golden Oriole

Oriolus oriolus

Shrikes

Laniidae

Red-backed Shrike

Lanius collurio

Crows and Allies

Corvidae

Chough

Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax

Finches

Fringillidae

Brambling

Fringilla montifringilla

Crossbill

Loxia curvirostra

Parrot Crossbill

Loxia pytyopsittacus

Scarlet Grosbeak

Carpodacus erythrinus

Scottish Crossbill

Loxia scotica

Serin

Serinus serinus

Two-barred Crossbill

Loxia leucoptera

Buntings and Nearctic Sparrows

Emberizidae

Cirl Bunting

Emberiza cirlus

Lapland Bunting

Calcarius lapponicus

Snow Bunting

Plectrophenax nivalis

 

 

 


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