A recent count of rare blackgrouse in England has revealed that the population in 2007 has increased to an estimated 1,200 males, a 55 per cent increase since 1998 when the population was just 773 males.

This extraordinary result is down to the hard work of those involved in the Blackgrouse Recovery Project, including many gamekeepers, farmers, conservationists and grouse moor managers.

Blackgrouse Recovery Project officer Phil Warren is responsible for an annual survey of the birds, which involves visiting their traditional spring mating or lek sites each morning at dawn to count the number of males present. He told www.shootingtimes.co.uk, ?Blackgrouse are responding extremely well in areas where habitat improvements in combination with predator control are being undertaken by moorland gamekeepers. However, to prevent further decline and range contraction in north Northumberland it is vitally important to secure increased funding for further work, including support and advice for landowners. These stunning birds are an amazing spectacle and it’s a rare treat to see one. With the continued success of the project the future for the species in England will be more secure?.

For free advice on managing land for the benefit of black grouse, please contact Phil Warren on 01833 622208