SCOTLAND'S gamekeepers are taking action to try to prevent the country's wading bird populations from suffering the drastic declines seen in Wales.
The move has been welcomed by RSPB Scotland with whom the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) is often at odds.
The SGA says that ground nesting waders such as lapwing, curlew and plover breed up to three times more successfully on grouse moors, due to heather burning and legal predator control by gamekeepers.
The SGA has declared 2014 the Year of the Wader and will invite all grouse moors in Scotland to report counts in an attempt to provide an accurate picture of how waders are faring on keepered land.
The SGA says Scotland has lost 56% of its lapwing and curlew in only 17 years, with conservationists blaming climate change and habitat loss through farming practices.
However the gamekeepers say that unless the Scottish Government listens to practical land managers, waders could pass the point of no return. They cite Wales as an example, where 75% have been lost in the last few decades.