The ‘Glorious Twelfth’ but sadly not for many of England’s Birds of Prey

GROUSE shooters gearing up for the shooting season in the Pennines, East Lancashire and in Lancashire’s Forest of Bowland are set for a bumper season.

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Today is The Glorious Twelfth which heralds the beginning of the four-month grouse-shooting period. Perhaps the weather will ensure that today’s celebration is somewhat spoiled as heavy rain in many regions of northern England has been falling for almost three consecutive days – what a terrible shame many will add.

Shooters from all over the country and from abroad are planning to head for England’s moorlands today, paying up to £10,000  per day to join exclusive shoots of wild red grouse. We must never forget protected raptors are being sacrificed in large numbers to ensure that a small minority of powerful and rich members of our society can enjoy their moment of selfish indulgence at the expense of our country’s wildlife heritage.  What a time to celebrate this unique event when many of England’s inner cities are being looted and set on fire and law-abiding citizens murdered.

One other consideration, how many of our caring Members of Parliament will be out with their loaded shot-guns on England’s moorlands instead of inside the House of Commons serving the needs of England’s concerned public?

It must be somewhat of a disappointment this year as the breeding season for the Red Grouse, found high of England’s exposed heather moorlands has been a roller coaster with fluctuating temperatures and a hot, dry spring causing crucial insects to hatch too early to feed red grouse chicks.

Edward Bromet, chairman of the Moorland Association, said “shooting parties would be out in the Forest of  Bowland and the Pennine Moors. “

He also added “As always, the weather this year has played a huge role in the success of breeding for the wild red grouse and other important ground nesting birds.” No mention here then of the catastrophe which resulted in the loss of 74 % of all peregrine territories in Lancashire’s Forest of Bowland. We must also consider the fact that this year on England’s red grouse moors only 4 hen harrier nests in the whole of northern England have survived.  

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“Despite another very harsh winter, the grouse have come through it in healthy condition helped by strong populations left from the very good 2010 breeding season.”

In East Lancashire, there are concerns that there will be low populations of grouse because of the harsh winter and unpredictable weather this year.

Mr Bromet said: “Spring pair counts were generally very good, but the dreadful weather from May 12 until mid-June seems to have greatly reduced or wiped out many broods.

“The moors in this region are at very high altitude and being in the west catch most of the wet weather. There are exceptions with pockets that look good, even very good, but generally an average season for most and poor for others. “

“In the north Pennines there are generally good populations of grouse across the area with a few localised patches that report reduced brood sizes.”

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Meanwhile Charles Bowman, who organises shoots from the Inn at Whitewell near Cletheroe, said he was looking forward to a good shooting season with grouse numbers up in pockets of the Trough of Bowland.

1 comment to The ‘Glorious Twelfth’ but sadly not for many of England’s Birds of Prey

  • paul williams

    Well, on this day of bloodshed and wildlife carnage, at least in the Forest of Bowland there will not be many Hen Harriers or Peregrine Falcons to distract the Jessie James brigade, sadly Natural England took care of that!!!