Britain’s largest bird of prey, the sea eagle, looks set to double in numbers over the next decade, which is unwelcome news for hill farmers.

Removing trees where they are nesting, as well as developing new scaring methods, are techniques being tested on some farms in west coast locations.

Appin hill farmer David Colthart and chairman of the Argyll and Lochaber Sea Eagle Stakeholder group is concerned that recent methods haven’t impacted enough on the wider problem: “Nest removal close to lambing parks is only targeting birds that feed on lambs, not the whole species, where losses through predation on livestock has been demonstrated and all other methods to prevent it have failed.

“The same act in law that gives these birds the highest level of protection also allows actions to stop and prevent serious damage to livestock. This action is through agreement of all stakeholders.”