A view from the Peak District

Please sign Gavin Gamble’s e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting.

 

 

 

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12 Comments

  1. Daniel says:

    What an awfull, barren landscape devoid of life!

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  2. Iain Gibson says:

    How many lizards, adders, frogs, voles, eggar moths and numerous other invertebrates were killed in this act of environmental vandalism? Not to mention the long term loss of plant biodiversity including rarities and scarce lichens. And the fact that somewhere in the region of 100 pairs of Meadow Pipit per square kilometre have been displaced, and brood productivity lost, due to loss of habitat. The loss of voles and pipits alone seriously reduces the carrying capacity of the moor for breeding Hen Harriers, which no doubt is another reason why this outdated form of management is maintained.

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  3. Gavin Gamble says:

    A literal and metaphorical wasteland.

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  4. Trapit says:

    I do not for a moment wish to detract from discussion on the merits, or otherwise, of burning heather, and Mr Gibson raises some valid questions, which is nice of me to say.
    However judging by the burnt stalks, this ground has provided habitat to a variety of species for maybe seven or eight years, and new heather could be showing in eighteen months, maybe less, and before that possibly various grasses and mosses. Curlew could breed on it next spring.
    The real " literal and metaphorical wasteland", year on year, look to be the silage fields? across the valley. Obviously the argument will be food production, against rich man's sport, but it doesn't alter the fact.
    Fingers on the dislike buttons.

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  5. Trapit says:

    I do not for a moment wish to detract from discussion on the merits, or otherwise, of burning heather, and Mr Gibson raises some valid questions, which is nice of me to say.
    However judging by the burnt stalks, this ground has provided habitat to a variety of species for maybe seven or eight years, and new heather could be showing in eighteen months, maybe less, and before that possibly various grasses and mosses. Curlew could breed on it next spring.
    The real " literal and metaphorical wasteland", year on year, looks to be the silage fields? across the valley. Obviously the argument will be food production, against rich man's sport, but it doesn't alter the fact.
    Fingers on the dislike buttons.

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    • J.Coogan says:

      "habitat to a variety of species for seven/eight years , could you expand , which species? Then we get the usual nonsense about burned wasteland being good for waders, there is a slight argument that golden plover seem to favour burned areas and Merlin seem to disperse into burned heather , Curlew prefer rough grassland, lapwing short sward and snipe boggy areas none seek out burned ground.
      To quote George Monbiot -woodland habitat is 13% richer than moorland. There are 223 species on the Cairngorm massif 100 are associated with woodland or trees. Just ONE- a fungus relies on moorland for its survival.

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    • Jim Clarke says:

      New York, New York....

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  6. Trapit says:

    Obviously all ground is different, but an example from an area with three or four, burnt /regenerating patches. Curlew i have seen on a number of occasions favouring previous seasons burns, the stalks possibly giving some protection. The first flush of new Heather, among now bleached stalks, drawing Lapwing,Golden Plover, and Nightjar, a bit more growth favours Skylark. Meadow Pipit follow especially when a bit of grass mixes in the heather. The growth now beginning to encourage Red Grouse to nest,while still holding on to curlew and meadow pipit.
    The salient point being they can all nest successfully.
    The silage fields round our house have NO birds nesting directly on them, have this week had the third crop taken off them, and the second helping of foul slurry.
    Like I said, there are valid questions to be asked of burning, but there really are people who will read this blog, and think it means the end of all life except grouse, which doesn't have to be the case.

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    • J.Coogan says:

      Don't agree with your upbeat assessment of our blasted upland at all , do agree about the state of our farmland. Intensive "farming "in uplands or lowlands is a disaster for nature.

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  7. Jim Clarke says:

    If you don't mind me saying, Trapit, in terms of driven grouse moor management Nightjar is a particularly poor example. They will certainly nest in recently burnt patches on the fringes of grouse moors where there is some tree cover and/or bracken. But, as counterpoint, grouse moor management creates massive areas of heather monoculture that are entirely unsuitable for nesting Nightjar and consequently decreasing their potential breeding range on a landscape scale.

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  8. Iain Gibson says:

    Trapit, I agree that conversion from hay to silage production on lowland farmland has been a disaster for a range of species, mainly Skylark but including others such as Lapwing, Curlew and Yellow Wagtail. However regarding the muirburn issue this is a red herring; you are ignoring the bigger picture, and also showing a lack of insight or ornithological knowledge. Your contention is that burning somehow enhances the breeding opportunities of waders to some significant degree. You might claim to have witnessed this phenomenon, but somehow it seems to have escaped the observation of experienced moorland ecologists and ornithologists. Put simply, burning devastates the ecology, and restoration to anything resembling the natural ecosystem of dwarf shrub heath (and blanket bog which is also frequently burned contrary to the muirburn code) takes an estimated minimum of twenty years, probably far more. There has been little scientific research into the wider holistic problem. The reduction in invertebrate, reptile and amphibian, Meadow Pipit and Skylark populations is highly significant, and also reduces the productivity of various other species, including those that you mention. So the perceived advantages that you describe are relatively minor, and heavily outweighed by the extent of the ecological damage. There are also, of course, other negative environmental effects to be taken into consideration.

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  9. Trapit says:

    I've been off grid since last Thursday, no WI-FI at the static caravan, plenty of Pinkfeet with shooting in the distance, hopefully with non - toxic shot.
    Agreed Jim, Nightjar is not usually in the frame when discussing grouse management.
    These were the first birds known back at this site for many years, returning to breed on burnt ground for a few seasons,which provided a useful stop-gap, before recent clearfells have proved a bigger attraction.
    There are hundreds of acres of fringe habitat around the Peak District moors, where the summer nights are the poorer for the absence of the fern- owls call, many of these areas are unmanaged for grouse, so I doubt that burning is having a negative effect, with so much better (?) nesting habitat available.
    Anyway, for various reasons, the piece of ground I mention has not had a burn on it for, I think, about nine years. Floundering around, sometimes in waist deep heather, the only reliable find now is Meadow pipit.

    Mr Gibson, not for the first time do you allude to my lack of ornithological knowledge.
    I am fully conversant with most of the arguments, for and against, management for grouse. At no point do I state that burning "enhances the breeding opportunities of waders to some significant degree".
    The ground I speak of has never been intensively managed for grouse, in the now accepted sense. I was merely giving an example of how burning can attract, for whatever reason, an on going variety of species, from seemingly more suitable areas, eg: Golden Plover from a wetter, Tussocky area of the moor. It happens frequently, there has to be a good reason.
    I have stated many times that I am against the worst excesses of driven shooting, but as said earlier, burning does not have to mean the end of life other than grouse.

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