Bowland Gull Cull 14 – some information

At 14:59 this afternoon I received some answers to my FOI request of 10 July 2017 about the Bowland gull cull (see here for summary).  I’m very grateful to NE for their response.

It will take me a few days to read the large documents that I have been sent and to figure out what is going on but I’ll come back to this later in the week – I promise.

In the meantime I thought it worth sharing this from a Habitats Regulations Assessment of June 2017.

This is a timely reminder as we head towards Hen Harrier Day and the excitement of the results of  NE’s Hen Harrier study being revealed 6000 miles away about the not too distant history of Hen Harriers in the Bowland Fells SPA.

The Bowland Fells qualiied as an SPA under the Birds Directive because it had on average at least 12 pairs of Hen Harrier in the qualifying period (1986-90). That seems a long time ago.

The table continues on the next page of the document – I’m not sure why it wasn’t brought up to date (at least 2016, since this document was dated June 2017) but who am I to quibble. We know that numbers have been low since then.

I did like the last sentence though ”…persecution is the main constraint on population growth in England and evidence from satellite tags strongly suggests this is likely to be a key causal factor in the decline in the Bowland population and the potential for recolonisation from other parts of England‘.

Well, we now know that all we had to do to get a clear expression of what NE thinks is the problem for Hen Harriers in England, and what their own satellite-tagging study has shown, was to ask questions about Lesser Black-backed Gulls, keep asking the questions for over a year and then look at a part of the document that isn’t primarily about Lesser Black-backed Gulls and then we’d get some sense out of Natural England!   Silly us!  Silly me!

 

 

 

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6 Replies to “Bowland Gull Cull 14 – some information”

  1. "and the potential for recolonisation from other parts of England‘." ....... Presumably talking about brood meddling?

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  2. I'm not sure where those Hen Harrier breeding figures come from but those for 1991 are certainly wrong! I was warden in Bowland in 1991, as I had been since 1986 and even if we exclude the two nests in the adjacent part of North Yorkshire (both of which failed) There were between 19 and 22 nesting attempts in that year by 14-17 females although 20-24 females had been present in early season and 14-16 males, again excluding the Yorkshire birds. There were 16 nests containing 66 eggs of which 24 hatched and 20 young fledged from 8 successful nests.
    I have grid references and details of what happened to each attempt, ages of adults, where possible and sexes of most young fledged.

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    1. Paul - I'm not surprised. I had hoped that some of the players with knowledge of this subject would come together and put a list together - but that iniiative came to nothing.

      I wonder, I don't know, whether one issue might be that the SPA boundary (which is what NE are using here) is not the same as others' definition of 'Bowland'.

      A definitive list would be helpful as everyone agrees that there were laods in the past compared with very few now.

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  3. I know all bar the possibility of one are within the SPA boundary, I excluded the Yorkshire ones for that reason although that area may indeed be within the SPA ( John Fell/ Burn Moor to the immediate north of Cold Stone) I think 1990 was the last time that area held successful harriers! I think it may be possible in conjunction with others to arrive at figures for all years post RSPB involvement and the first nest (s) were found in 1969 the same year birds first returned as breeders to Nidderdale. Although there are claims unpublished that both areas had breeding harriers during the 1940s but his is difficult to ascertain as they may have been Montagu's as Nidderdale and Wharfedale were proved to hold monties subsequently but not since the early sixties bar 1981. YNU reports deliberately published no details at all!

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