Dunlin

Endangered birds thriving on Scottish grouse moors

There are 81 species of bird — many red-listed as being of conservation concern — thriving on Scottish grouse moors, according to a new report, published last month by the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association. Many species of bird faring better on managed moors The study conducted wildlife audits on three “key”…

woodcock

Call for restraint shooting woodcock

In an effort to protect the woodcock population, several countryside organisations, including the Scottish Gamekeepers Association, are following the recommendation of conservationists by asking shoots to schedule any shooting until at least after November’s full moon, which falls on Wednesday 25th November. This will allow the declining resident woodcock population…

Concerns over Scotland's Land Reform Bill

Scottish Government accused of threatening rural economy and conservation

Douglas McAdam, chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates, gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs and Climate Change Committee and said further due diligence was needed to prevent ‘perverse outcomes’ from the legislation. “The Scottish Government has failed to undertake an economic impact assessment” In its written evidence…

Red Squirrel

What is the future of the red squirrel?

This week is Red Squirrel Week (Sat 26 Sept – Sun 4 Oct) It’s a travesty that we’ve allowed grey squirrels to out native reds in much of England and proliferate to such an extent that their numbers have now reached an estimated 2.5million. Thanks to squirrel pox spread by greys,…

grouse shooting

Rural communities highlight importance of grouse shooting

A new report published today shows the importance of grouse shooting and moorland management in supporting fragile rural communities. Created by Scotland’s Rural College and the University of the Highlands and Islands’ Centre for Mountain Studies at Perth College it focuses on two areas of Scotland – the Angus Glens…

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…

beaters and pickers up

Cancelled grouse shooting “will hit rural businesses”

Many rural workers could be out of a job this season as up to 70 per cent of grouse shooting days face cancellation in some regions of the country, suggested the Moorland Association (MA) last week. Prolonged extreme weather conditions, described by the MA as “the worst breeding conditions in…

hen harrier

2015 hen harrier breeding season set to be most successful since 2010

Hen harriers remain one of the most endangered breeding birds in England. Yet despite poor weather throughout the recent breeding season, 2015 has brought six successful harrier nests, fledging 18 new chicks. Unfortunately a seventh nest failed towards the end of the season as a result of natural causes. The…

Landowners and wildlife. Friends or foes?

Landowners and wildlife. Friends or foes?

Even before the panel took their seats, there was a keen atmosphere in the theatre with a packed audience arriving early to be sure of a seat and a ringside view. The debate didn’t disappointment, with questions from the floor,  following introduction and comments from the panel members, ably chaired…

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…

BASC Natural England

BASC and Natural England sign partnership agreement

BASC and Natural England will now work on an annual action plan setting out a formula for joint working to achieve common goals, including the delivery of the government’s Biodiversity 2020 programme, coastal access, wildfowling consents and future reviews on general licenses. BASC’s Green Shoots programme will receive particular emphasis,…

Have you booked your Shooting UK Event?

Shooting UK has now launched three exciting new events for the readers of Sporting Gun, Shooting Times, Shooting Gazette and The Field – and of course, visitors to the Shooting UK website. Whether you want to find out what jobs a gamekeeper has to do throughout the year, how you have a…

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…

Wildlife Estates Scotland: estates prove their worth

“We’re in a defensive situation: we want to prove what we’re doing, that we’re doing things well and that we’re trying to do things well on an ongoing basis,” says Hugh Campbell Adamson, owner of the 3,000-acre Stracathro estate in Angus. We’re sitting in the estate office, sipping coffee and…

Scottish Gamekeepers’ Day at Scone Palace

The Scottish Gamekeepers Day’, organised by BASC, provides gamekeepers across Scotland with a forum for debating important issues such as game bird disease management, and allows gamekeepers to stay abreast of changes in the law. A clay shooting competition will also be included in the day’s events. BASC Scotland director…

Red deer

RSPB deer cull under fire from animal rights campaigners

Animal rights activists have tried to stop an RSPB deer cull deer at the charity’s Leighton Moss nature reserve in Lancashire. Campaigners objected to plans to cull eight to 10 red deer before the end of March to protect reeds that provide vital habitat for birds including marsh harriers and…

Britain’s barn owl boom

Barn owls are impressive birds, with the ability to use their ears to locate mice and voles precisely in total darkness. Fortunately, they also feed in daylight, thereby providing some memorable sights for anyone who lives in the countryside. I well recall my own magic moment: while I was counting…

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.