Enhanced Shepherding: Working together to find solutions to a complex issue

Observing sea eagles during an enhanced shepherding refresher session © C. McIntyre
Katharine Johnston

Lambing season on Scotland’s hills can be a challenging time for farmers and crofters.  In NatureScot's latest guest blog we hear from Freya King from Skye who has been delivering enhanced shepherding supported by the Sea Eagle Management Scheme, a measure aimed at mitigating and better understanding sea eagle predation of lambs on more extensive areas.

For two years now Fraya has been helping her local sheep stock club, North Talisker, with lambing.  In the second year she took up a role supported by the Sea Eagle Management Scheme, working to deliver enhanced shepherding. 

The purpose of enhanced shepherding is to support farmers and crofters experiencing issues with sea eagle predation during lambing on more extensive areas, such as North Talisker common grazing.  

Participating in the scheme has promoted greater awareness of sea eagle movements within the local area and provided an opportunity to advance hill shepherding skills and knowledge of sea eagles.  The enhanced shepherding has also offered seasonal employment opportunities for other people within the local community, which has been essential during the pandemic and is beneficial to those who have an interest in, or are wishing to pursue a career in agriculture or environmental studies.

The data collection has allowed impacts to be recorded and can help our shared understanding of sea eagle movements and behaviour during the season.  The data is analysed and discussed, with a shared report produced at the end of each season; which helps both North Talisker and NatureScot. 

Read Fraya's full blog here on the NatureScot website.