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JULY news from the moors

May 24, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Now in mid July we all want to know about prospects for the new grouse season just over a month away.

As usual there is a degree of uncertainty but in the Highland region it looks like an average to good season ahead.  The late cold Spring left some hens under-nourished so egg and chick production was down but whatever hatched has reared very well in the warm Summer.   So there are fewer large broods from the main hatch but there is some late nesting which could yet produce larger broods.

Some our waders have had a second attempt at nesting, producing some good broods.  I have seen Lapwings with 4 young nearly ready to fly and Curlew with 3 strong young.

Moorland work this month will involve removing medicated grouse grit a month before the first shoot so no trace of the drug gets into the shot birds coming into the human food supply.  Grouse butts may need some last minute work before the driven grouse days start.

Most important is the July count of sample areas to assess the number of young grouse which can be shot without reducing the level of breeding stock for next Spring.  Moors which have walked-up days or shooting over pointers can be more selective if necessary  and target single birds and pairs without young.  Old stock are well rid of as they are less fertile and dominate excessively large breeding territory which could contain several extra pairs of young stock.

As 12th August is a Sunday this year, good luck to all who are out on the 13th whether you’ve gun, dog, flag or stick – or a good lunch !

MAY news

Now in mid May it is warm and very dry, so a few showers would be ideal for hatches in early June.  However plenty of insects are seen around our moorland vegetation which is good food for young chicks.

The Spring predator campaign is full on now.   Some foxes have been culled but many of their traditional dens are now occupied by Badgers and their increasing numbers are a major threat to all ground nesting birds, specially our rare wader species of Curlew, Lapwing and Oystercatcher.    Carrion crows have been more scarce than usual; perhaps many years of control are working at last but the long cold winter might have reduced their numbers too.

Moorland works are wound down from now till late June so that broods of young chicks are not disturbed or stressed.  Our best moor is well stocked and we will have to top up the grit points in early July and check and fill the water pans if dry weather persists.

 

Thank you to all who bid for our mini-driven grouse shoot days in shooting charity auctions this Spring.

We look forward to seeing the winners here for some sport this Autumn.

 

 

British Moorlands