curlew

Saving the curlew

Multiple campaigns are under way to help reverse the decline of the curlew, led by shooting and conservation organisations. There are only around 300 pairs of breeding curlew left south of Birmingham and, at the current rate of loss, they are expected to disappear from the region in the next…

grouse moor licensing

What did we learn from Langholm?

(More background on Rob Yorke here). There is a chunk of moorland in Scotland that has been subject to a 24-year project involving upland land uses, habitat, nature conservation designations, biodiversity, fieldsports and rural economics. It all started with the Joint Raptor Study (JRS), funded by major conservation organisations, on…

How to hand rear wildlife

How to hand rear injured or orphaned wildlife properly

What would you do if you saw an injured squirrel or orphaned deer in trouble on land near you? David Whitby examines the ethics behind hand rearing wildlife back to health and even keeping them as pets – have you ever had to hand rear corvids, foxes or deer in…

House martins

Why are the house martins moving out?

When we moved into our current Norfolk home there were house martins nesting under the eaves, but there aren’t any now. Some people dislike the mess made by these delightful little birds, especially if the nest is attached to the eaves directly above a window, but we miss our house…

gamekeeper on horse

Meet Dragon – the last horse on the beating line?

A horse moving with a line of beaters isn’t a sight you’re going to see much these days. In fact Frank Shellard says he is probably the last person riding on the beating line in the UK. (If you know anybody else, please get in touch.) I asked him what…

Golden plovers: a rare asset

We never know how many migrant birds will return each autumn, but I am anticipating a shortage of golden plovers in the west of the UK, because this has been a strange spring and summer in Iceland. The national picture will be complicated by the fact that our winter flocks…

Sir Peter Scott

Father of the conservation movement

I am not a great one for conspiracy theories, but every now and then you come across an omission that is repeated so often and so consistently that it can only be a result of an attempt to deceive, whether conscious or unconscious. One such involves the life of Sir…

curlew

Moors “vital” for curlew

The curlew is in serious decline across much of Scotland and the bird was recently named as this year’s “Bird of Focus” for the RSPB Scotland’s Big Nature Festival. The RSPB wishes to introduce the licensing of grouse moors, but the Scottish Moorland Group says it is managed moorland that…

Catherine Leach Holkham Hall

Holkham Hall Norfolk’s lady gamekeeper Catherine Leach

What springs to mind when you think of Holkham Hall in Norfolk? The fabulous beach featured in Shakespeare in Love? Perhaps the tremendous 25,000-acre estate that covers miles of shoreline and some of the most beautiful parts of Norfolk? What about the Victoria Inn, where you can sit and listen…

red kite

Why back-garden bird lovers are wrong to feed kites

The town of Reading is home to a different type of commuter these days, with hundreds of red kites arriving each morning to take advantage of food that is put out for them by people who like getting close to nature without having to leave their own homes. In a…

blackgrouse

The battle to bring back Welsh grouse

It is difficult to imagine the grouse moors of Wales as they were 100 years ago. A look at the gamebook of one of the estates in the Ceiriog Valley in north-east Wales shows that 2,360 red grouse were shot in the 1913 season, and the same record shows this…

Why we need predator control

How much more evidence will they have to amass before countryside saviours GWCT are listened to by the Government? asks Editor-at-Large, Robin Scott.

buzzards

Our sport has a reputation to uphold

The line in the email subject box said: “Watch this, NOW!” The sender was a shooting colleague and he’d sent me a link to a YouTube clip. Curiosity got the better of me so I opened the link. I wish I hadn’t! No, it wasn’t a computer virus — it…

Changing attitudes to firearms

“A great deal, of late, has been said and has been written against shooting. It has been denounced as unnatural, cruel, useless, and absurd.” I like that, but the words are not mine. They were written in 1876 by Wildfowler, the nom de plume of Lewis Clement, who was to…

Avocet

Gamekeepers’ conservation evidence is valid

When the "conservation" community dismisses the evidence of those with direct experience of the natural world, it is, effectively masking the truth, writes Lindsay Waddell, chairman of the National Gamekeepers' Organisation

fieldsports scotland

What Scottish independence means for fieldsports

I can honestly say not one person has asked me about independence,” says Robert Rattray, hand dramatically over his heart. As the head of CKD Galbraith’s sporting lets agency in Perth, Robert is someone you’d expect to be asked about the future for Scotland’s £360million fieldsports industry, should the nation…