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Thread: Grouse / Hen Harrier.

  1. #1

    Grouse / Hen Harrier.

    Country diary: return of the hen harrier is a threat to other birds - Telegraph

    I thought this was well written. . . I don't profess to know a great deal about the grouse / hen harrier debate, but thought much of what was written here made sense.
    Last edited by Cadex; 19-08-2014 at 15:24.

  2. #2
    +1 - thought it too being well written, particularly the comment from an old keeper that each moor should have it own pair of harriers, but alos plenty of grouse.

    In the UK we have for centuries been of a mono culture mindset - we can only have sheep - so lets get rid of all the trees and people, we can only have cereals so lets get rid of all the hedges ditches etc, we can only have deer, so again lets get rid of all the sheep, and then we can only have trees of ones species, so lets get rid of every thing else, and now we can only have windmills.

    And as an economy we have the same mindset - lets get rid of manufacturing, so we pile everything into financial services, that goes tits up so its now high tech and renewables etc etc.

    What we need is balance. I can't see any reason why we should n't have a real mix of different species - there will be a natural rise and fall, but thats nature!

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Heym SR20 View Post
    +1 - thought it too being well written, particularly the comment from an old keeper that each moor should have it own pair of harriers, but alos plenty of grouse.

    In the UK we have for centuries been of a mono culture mindset - we can only have sheep - so lets get rid of all the trees and people, we can only have cereals so lets get rid of all the hedges ditches etc, we can only have deer, so again lets get rid of all the sheep, and then we can only have trees of ones species, so lets get rid of every thing else, and now we can only have windmills.

    And as an economy we have the same mindset - lets get rid of manufacturing, so we pile everything into financial services, that goes tits up so its now high tech and renewables etc etc.

    What we need is balance. I can't see any reason why we should n't have a real mix of different species - there will be a natural rise and fall, but thats nature!
    +1 Well put.

  4. #4
    The Countryside Alliance have just published a report on raptors, it's going to be biased a little towards their views but it shows that all species of raptors, apart from kestrels, are doing better in the UK now than previously and most are doing better in the UK than in Europe. Although Hen Harriers are in small numbers in the UK, globally they are a species of least conservation concern.

    It also suggests that the once critically endangered red kite is doing so well in the UK that British birds are being sent back to bolster the now declining population elsewhere in Europe.
    Last edited by paul k; 20-08-2014 at 12:47.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Heym SR20 View Post
    +1 - thought it too being well written, particularly the comment from an old keeper that each moor should have it own pair of harriers, but alos plenty of grouse.

    In the UK we have for centuries been of a mono culture mindset - we can only have sheep - so lets get rid of all the trees and people, we can only have cereals so lets get rid of all the hedges ditches etc, we can only have deer, so again lets get rid of all the sheep, and then we can only have trees of ones species, so lets get rid of every thing else, and now we can only have windmills.

    And as an economy we have the same mindset - lets get rid of manufacturing, so we pile everything into financial services, that goes tits up so its now high tech and renewables etc etc.

    What we need is balance. I can't see any reason why we should n't have a real mix of different species - there will be a natural rise and fall, but thats nature!
    I can see where you are coming from, but its a rather simplistic view, the only trees that will grow in the Highlands and provide any sort of financial return are conifers, broad leaves other than alders and such like
    which are of no financial value wont grow at these altitudes and even if they do will be so stunted as to be of no commercial value.

    Sheep and deer can work together up to a point and many Grouse moors now run a flock as tick magnets, the conflict arises when you try to have numbers of both large enough to be viable commercially.

    Tick and their associated diseases are arguably the biggest enemy of Grouse,and deer are carriers of tick
    which is why deer are public enemy number one , on a great many Grouse moors, its possible to have a productive Grouse moor with a low deer density, but a large deer population is not conducive to large Grouse numbers, you can't dip deer for tick!Grouse shooting is popular and can generate a fair income but only if you can produce decent numbers.

    One of the reasons possibly that the Yorkshire moors have never had the huge decline in Grouse numbers that we had is the fact there are no deer and hence not the same tick problem.

    As for Harriers on the Grouse moor well that's something you just have to accept, the days of persecuting anything with a hooked beak are gone, but it can be a bitter pill for the grouse keeper to swallow, a harrier
    does not return to kill after it has eaten as a rule, it will return if it has been disturbed at a kill and has not started to feed,( a fact that was exploited as means of trapping them in the old days) but if it has fed it will not return and will make a fresh kill,so a pair hunting the ground will account for a lot of Grouse.

    However disturbance is a bigger problem as they can clear an area of birds quite quickly, even resulting in drives having to be abandoned, however that is just one of the trials in modern keepering.

    The real problem with your mix of species is that in most cases they are in conflict with each other especially
    at levels that have a commercial value, too many see the countryside as a play area forgetting that its a work place for many,those that are making a living from the countryside are the ones who look after it , what happens when they can no longer make a living, what happens to it then.

  6. #6
    Now which version of the scenario will the general public believe?



    Country diary: return of the hen harrier is a threat to other birds

    The hen harrier and other large aerial predators are increasing in numbers in the UK. They are a glorious sight, but a deathly prospect for vulnerable species

    By RobinPage DAILY TELEGRAPH 7:00AM BST 12 Aug 2014

    My recent visit to the Game Fair ended in failure. Not my confrontation with NigelFarage, which went well. If a “clapometer” had been present … well, Nigel, I’m afraid you lost. No, my failure came when I saw a fantastic watercolour of a lapwing painted by Cumbrian artist Ashley Boon and I broke my promise to myself not to buy another picture. Please, I would beg readers not to tell Ashley: I think he undercharges for his paintings. Consequently, I spent £250 on a lapwing picture that I could not afford after our house move, although I reckon it’s worth £500.

    I love lapwings and I fear for them in our modern world. British extinction beckons and part of the trouble stems from the intensification of agriculture, now called “sustainable intensification”. What nonsense. How can increasing intensification be“sustainable”? It’s a contradiction in terms. The other threat involves a twin-pronged attack from predators, such as badgers, foxes, mink and rats, and from certain conservationists who are fixated by raptors – red kites, buzzards,hen harriers, etc, all of which find young lapwings easy prey.

    Has any reader seen a report on the negative impact of any of these birds of prey on the lapwing? Despite the extensive use of nest cameras, I haven’t. However, I am told by friends inOxfordshire and Buckinghamshire that, thanks to raptor predation, the days of skylarks, lapwings and grey partridges are numbered.

    Years ago, when I was writing abook, Journeys into Britain (1981), I made a pilgrimage into Wales to see red kites.The journey was memorable and the kites were wonderful; but now their numbers are so large in some areas that the damage done to other wildlife ismeasurable. It is easy to see how and why kite numbers were controlled historically, with no conservation input. Why can’t they be controlled sensiblyt oday, using nest disturbance to limit numbers and to ensure the protection ofvulnerable species such as the lapwing?

    Now comes another threat to thelast remaining strongholds of the lapwing – our moorlands. The marketing men of conservation are calling for the return of the hen harrier to our traditional grouse moors. The cry is that the “sky-dancer”, as they call the hen harrier, is virtually extinct in England and needs help. Despite being restricted in its criticism of game shooting by its royal charter, the RSPB’s obsession with the hen harrier seems to be a blatant (and an inaccurate) attack on grouseshooting. An anti-grouse shooting, anti-toff stance is easy in an urban world detached from nature, particularly if it receives support from BBC Countryfilea nd tame journalists adept at recycling RSPB press releases as “news” and“comment”.





    Our raptors’ survival depends on banning driven grouse shoots

    Claxton,Norfolk: The reason there are so few hen harriersis that they take grouse chicks and compete with the interests of grouse-moor owners.

    Mark CockerThe Guardian, Sunday3 August 2014 21.00 BST

    Hen harrier day, scheduled for 10 August,is a radical departure in the story of nature conservation. It comprises a sequence of protest gatherings, most notably at Fairholmes visitor centrein the Upper Derwent Valley, but it could just as easily be held at Dersingham Bog in Norfolk. At that site in October 2007 three witnesses, one a Natural Englandemployee, watched as twohen harriers were shot from the sky. No one has yet been charged for that offence.

    The unsolved nature of the crime explains the deep frustration felt by many naturalists, and some now want an outright ban on driven grouse shoots. Since1954, all raptors have been protected by law, but every year the length and breadth of Britain there is a liberal scatter of cases, in which landowners,but usually their gamekeepers, are prosecuted for poisoning or shooting peregrines, golden eagles, kites, buzzards, even kestrels and tawny owls. That these are merely the tip of an iceberg is proven by the breeding statistics for hen harriers. Scientific studies conclude that England alone has sufficient habitat for 300 pairs of hen harrier, but this year, like many others, the totalwill fall abysmally short of that potential. So far 2014 has been a “good”season, with promise of three breeding pairs.

    The reason there are so few is that harriers take grouse chicks and compete with the interests of grouse-moor owners. Driven grouse shoots rely on the moorholding an unnaturally large surplus of young birds in the late summer in orderto justify charges of up to £40,000 for a day’s sport. This proliferation –albeit temporary – of one game bird species has proven to depend on the systematic killing of foxes, crows and every other predator that might possibly interfere with the grouse’s success. This year marks a major departure, and 48 hours before the roar of shotguns spreads across Britain’s landed estates, a smallgroup of activists will gather to proclaim peacefully that enough is enough.

    Last edited by Sinistral; 20-08-2014 at 15:00. Reason: Text editor gobbledegook
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  7. #7
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    48 hours before the roar of shotguns spreads across Britain’s landed estates, a smallgroup of activists will gather to proclaim peacefully that enough is enough.

    This clearly needs the attention of a competent editor [oh, I forgot, it's the Guardian], anyway, I'll stand in for now:

    48 hours before the roar [ins. "popping" - have you never actually heard an upland shoot in progress?] of shotguns spreads across Britain’s landed estates [I suppose that there are "estates" that don't have land, but I find them a bit hard to imagine. I suggest "game reserves" here], a small group of activists [not much support, then? so why exactly are we running this piece?] will gather to proclaim [who issues proclamations these days?], peacefully [that'll make a nice change!] that enough is enough [This seems a rather circular concept. Is it also a principle they also plan to live by themselves? BTW I really am tired of running this bunkum every August when there's no real news to fill the rag... what's that? Iraq? Syria? Lybia? Lebanon? Who cares about that nonsense? It's birds with hooky beaks that no one sees that matter! Oh, and don't bank that cheque we sent you: it's cancelled.]
    "Docendo discimus" - Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC – 65 AD)
    “Comodidad, tranquilidad y buena alimentacion” - A Spanish recipe for contentment that oddly omits hunting.
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