I was working Was it You? in the Avon Gorge today and saw a raven repeatedly visit a possible nest site near the belay at the end of pitch 2 of Yellow Edge. It didn't seem bothered by us, but I assume that if it does nest there there will need to be a temporary climbing ban on Yellow Edge, Haystacks, Captain Swing and possible other neighbouring routes. Can someone make sure the local BMC rep knows to check it please?
I have just posted the following on the BMC RAD (awaiting moderation):
There are two further access problems for those wishing to climb on the Unknown Wall area besides the landowner not allowing access to the bottom.
1. There has been a major rockfall from the Dragon area. Dragon and Unknown Pleasures have been affected and are probably unsafe to climb. The climbing on Amanita is unaffected, but the bottom of the route could be exposed to further rockfall. Hammer Horror and routes further right including Yellow Edge and Quip U for Leisure are unaffected and appear fairly safe from rockfall. Based on visual inspection from the ground. 04.03.21.
2. There is now a large twiggy raven's nest on Psychopath Way in the break before the second belay of Yellow Edge. From the top of the Ramp I watched a raven sat on the edge of the nest and flying in and out on 02.03.21. I looked through binoculars from the ground on 04.03.21. but couldn't see over the top of the nest to check if there was a bird on eggs. Egg laying often begins in late February. If the ravens do lay eggs there, then there will have to be a climbing restriction until the young fledge. It would definitely have to cover Unknown Pleasures, Psychopath way, Hammer Horror, Zombie Nation, Yellow Edge, Captain Swing, Haystack and the Imploding Galaxy. Amanita might go a bit close too. My feeling is that Was it You? doesn't need banning as it's tucked round the corner and I couldn't see the nest from the route. I suggest everyone avoids the listed climbs until it's clear what the ravens are doing.
> ...couldn't see over the top of the nest to check if there was a bird on eggs. Egg laying often begins in late February. If the ravens do lay eggs there, then there will have to be a climbing restriction until the young fledge.
The presence of eggs is immaterial. It is an offence to:
"Intentionally or recklessly disturb any wild bird listed on Schedule 1 while it is nest building, or at a nest containing eggs or young, or disturb the dependent young of such a bird"
I don't think there was intended to be any implication that disturbing the ravens would be fine as long as there are no eggs. More that the presence or absence of eggs might indicate how long the ravens are likely to end up sticking around. That's how I read it, anyway.
Knowing John, that's exactly how I read it as well.
Thanks John. I am going to update the Dragon and Unknown Pleasures description to mention the rockfall. I saw a lot of rock at the base when I was up on the ramp the other day but wasn’t sure what was affected. Hopefully the RAD will also be updated for the Raven info and then the link off the UKC page will change to show there are currently access issues.
Yes, I just meant that the ravens might move off without laying or without the young fledging. Be good if people kept an eye out.
Thanks Rich. I guess at some point some brave sole should abseil in on a long rope to take a close look! Maybe Unknown Pleasures will be no more lethal than before!
I wonder how often the RAD is updated? At present it says that the bird ban on Main Wall is off because the peregrines are nesting in Quarry 5, but friends tell me that is last year's info. Not good if true.