Grey partridges

Help to save grey partridges by noting your numbers

Keepers, farmers and land managers are being urged to take part in the Partridge Count Scheme this spring. The annual monitoring initiative, which started in 1933, is led by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) and collects information on the breeding success of grey partridges, which have been in…

British Trust for Ornithology snipe

Keepers and farmers can help wading birds

A new report by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) has emphasised the key role that gamekeepers on grouse moors can play in the conservation of upland waders. The report highlights a pilot project in Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, which has been trialling methods for involving keepers…

GWCT calls for shooter restraint on declining woodcock

Shooters are being asked to reduce the number of migrant woodcock they shoot due to the species’ poor breeding season. Andrew Hoodless, head of wetland research at the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) has called for restraint from shooters in the UK after concerns were initially raised by woodcock…

plastic pollution on beach

Plastic pollution in the ocean – what can we do about it?

I recently saw a shocking image highlighting one of the perils of 
all that plastic litter that is drifting around our oceans. The photograph, which showed the skeletal remains of a dead juvenile albatross — a decaying pile of feathers and bone with its body cavity crammed full of plastic…

woodcock

How shooters can protect the woodcock

Sportsmen and women are being asked to refrain from shooting woodcock until 1st December, in new guidelines issued by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT). This is due to concern that shooting may be a factor in the decline of home breeding birds. Woodcock has red status The UK…

Scottish keepers restore wild grey partridges

Wild grey partridges have been returned to the Tomatin moors in Inverness-shire thanks to local gamekeepers and some unusual help from bantam chickens. Wild greys had not been seen on the moor since the late 1990s, but in 2011 the team at Clune estate set out to bring them back.…

salmon

Salmon facing myriad threats

A huge decline in the number of young wild salmon returning to British rivers could lead to a national shortage, according to the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT). For 16 years, the GWCT, along with the Government’s Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, has monitored the number of…

Michael Gove

DEFRA boss Michael Gove praises shooters

Environment secretary Michael Gove has once again celebrated the role that game shooting and land management plays in preserving the countryside. Mr Gove addressed an audience at last month’s All Party Parliamentary Group for Game and Wildlife Conservation, in a meeting chaired by esteemed countryman Sir Nicholas Soames. Importance of…

European conservation award for GWCT

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) has received a prestigious European award, recognising its work in wildlife management and conservation. The Jan Van Haaften IUGB (International Union of Game Biologists) Award for Wildlife Management in Europe was presented to members of the GWCT last month in the closing ceremony…

hen harrier

Have you seen a hen harrier?

The hen harrier has a huge global range, from Europe to Taiwan, with an estimated European population of 30,000 to 54,000 breeding pairs (BirdLife International, 2015). However, at the last national survey in 2010, the UK population was 662 breeding pairs, 505 pairs of which were in Scotland with strongholds…

Raptor Golden Eagle

Scottish shooters condemn illegal killing of raptors

The shooting community has condemned the illegal killing of birds of  prey after a new report into the disappearance of golden eagles provided strong evidence of raptor persecution over Scottish grouse moors. The Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) report followed the movements of 131 golden eagles between 2004 and 2016 and…

DIY shoot

Shooting must make friends, not enemies

For this challenging article, I asked the National Trust, the Countryside Alliance (CA), the RSPB, the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO), the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and BASC how shooting is perceived and how it could improve its public…

Lapwing

£100k for Humber wildlife

Barton on Humber Wildfowlers Club has secured a £100,000 loan from the Wildlife Habitat Charitable Trust (WHCT) to turn 16 acres of arable farmland into wetland habitat to benefit species including lapwing, golden plover and redshank. The club, which marks its 50th anniversary this year, plans to purchase 15.82 acres…

Conservation on grouse moors

Police donation to BASC funds school trips on grouse moors

North Yorkshire Police has donated £3,000 to BASC, which will be used to enable hundreds of primary school children to experience first-hand the work done on conservation on grouse moors and 
to meet the people who do it. The grant came from the Police Property Fund, which turns unreturnable stolen…

Nuthatch

Why the nuthatch is a sight to behold

One of the distinguishing features of nuthatches is that they can climb down trees — the only British bird that can do this. Woodpeckers and treecreepers work their way up the trunk, hunting for insects under the bark, then fly to the base of another tree to start again, but nuthatches can descend a tree headfirst. It is…

red squirrels

Volunteers needed to save red squirrels – and cull greys

“In most of the UK there are only a handful of refuges left for red squirrels,” said Dr Cathleen Thomas, programme manager of Red Squirrels United, a conservation partnership started in 2015. “Without help, experts predict this beautiful and treasured creature could be extinct within as little as 35 years.” Volunteers…

Butt used in grouse shoots

Why restrictions on grouse shooting would reduce rural tourism

It will come as no surprise that the inquiry and debate into driven grouse shooting, which was triggered by the online petition on Parliament’s website calling for the sport to be banned, has been at the forefront of the Countryside Alliance’s activities over the past couple of months. However, we have also seen further “attacks” on shooting…

grey partridges

Golden rules for wild grey partridges

The early results of the GWCT 2016 Partridge Count Scheme (PCS) has caused the organisation concern about chick survival success over the colder months. Sporting Gun writer Dr Roger Draycott, head of advisory at the GWCT, said that by taking part in its PCS and adopting certain conservation measures, farmers and keepers can help more birds survive the winter. Wild grey partridge rules for…

Purdey Awards judges

Purdey Awards celebrate the best of game conservation

Portloughan Shoot in Strangford, County Down, has won the 2016 Purdey Gold Award for Game and Conservation. The Purdey awards have been held annually since 1999 and each year the judges seek to celebrate the best game conservation projects to be found across the country. “They show what a well-run shoot can do to preserve and develop nature and wildlife,”…

Grey partridges

How the grey partridge can survive and thrive

If I did a straw poll of those who have worked with the selection of winged game we have in the UK, the grey partridge, Perdix perdix, would come top of the list. This little bird’s tenacity, endearing charm and ability as a parent raises it above almost all the rest, with the red grouse being my…