Roeburn Remembering Restoring Festival

                                    Let us know if you are comingFacebook Event LinkPoster by Eller Everett River Roeburn Remembering and Restoring FestivalSat 12th -Sun 13th August 2017Backsbottom Farm, Roeburndale West, Nr. Wray, Lancaster La2 9llThis Free Festival will celebrate and remember 50 years since the Wray flood on 8th August 1967and will help to engage the local community and general public about the issues around flooding and water management.Events will include:Historical exhibition of the River Roeburn and events of flooding, landslips and other river changes over the years including Wray Flood and Flood Desmond. In Rural Classroom in the farmyard.&nbs...

Mobile Chicken House

This mobile chicken house means that the field doesn't get muddy and eroded and the grass still grows. The chickens are off the ground from predators in their hut, the wire can have left over food put on to it without attracting rodents and the whole thing can be moved by tractor so food remnants will fertilise the ground.There's also no need to go out at night to lock up the chickens as they have a predator proof ladder!the frame ...
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Mulching the Garden

We're lucky to have had Caroline and Charlie ,our fantastic French volunteers, to help in the garden. Here they are mulching the Keder polytunnel and greenhouse with compost made from rotted down bracken. Our vegetable polyculture beds are a mixture of the no dig and hugel methods. No dig is particularly beneficial for the soil as the earthworms do the digging when the mulch is put on top and there is little disturbance to micro-organisms.Caroline filling wheelbarrow loads of compostCharlie in the Keder greenhousepulling out old nasturtiums which will go back into the compost heapsCaroline piling on the composthandfuls of compost go on top of the greenhouse beds...
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Slow the Flow – Check Dams on Fell

As part of the upland restoration work being undertaken by Rod these check dams are shown being put into ditches which in time will slow the flow of rain water down towards the river. Recent flooding around the country have shown that our uplands are severely depleted in water retention capacities. A healthy river needs healthy uplands which absorb water and slowly feed the rivers instead of fast runoff resulting in floods which damage the environment, towns and villages. Here are some photos showing Rod, and our lovely French volunteers Charlie and Caroline working with the various components like sheep wool, river rocks and rushesriver rocks being placed across a ditch--Charlie, Rod and Carolinesteady there they're getting heavier so hurry with that photothe finished "wall" across the ditchthank you Charlie and Caroline you did a great jo...

Raptor Persecution in the Forest of Bowland

The North West Raptor Group are making an appeal to combat the illegal killing of Peregrine Falcons in Lancashire's Forest of Bowland, situated in the North West of England. Classified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it covers 808 square Kilometers of rural Lancashire and North Yorkshire. The Forest of Bowland is internationally important for its upland bird populations and under the Habitats Directive "Bowland Fells" are designated a Special Protection Area for specific birds of prey. The Forest of Bowland may be an SPA, but raptors like Hen Harrier and Peregrine Falcon receive no protection. In 2009 - 25 Peregrine territories in the Forest of Bowland were examined by the NWRG. 17 sites were occupied, 6 nests failed following the loss of eggs, chicks and adult birds. A total of 11 territories produced 24 fledged young. In 2...

Crowdfunding appeal for new raptor satellite tag project © R.P.U.K.

The campaign group Birders Against Wildlife Crime has launched a crowdfunding appeal to help support a new project to fit satellite tags to raptors in northern England, set to begin later this year. Satellite tagging has revolutionised efforts to detect raptor persecution crimes, and has also helped draw public attention to the illegal killing of raptors. The power of satellite-tagging was really first realised in 2009 when a young satellite-tagged golden eagle, ‘Alma’, was found dead on a grouse moor on the Millden Estate in the Angus Glens. She’d been poisoned. It’s highly unlikely her corpse would have been detected had she not been fitted with a satellite tag, which allowed investigators to pinpoint her body as she lay face down in a vast expanse of heather moorland. The resulting publicity about her death was phenomena...

RSPB getting tough? © Mark Avery

RSPB getting tough?Mark ♦ November 10, 2016 ♦ 31 CommentsThere are two recent RSPB blogs which are well worth a read – aren’t they all, always? Martin Harper’s blog is pretty outspoken as these quotes will make clear (but please read it all): it was a deeply frustrating debate – especially to the 123,000 that called for a ban and of course those seeking reform. Our initial reaction tried to pick out some positives, but that was a real challenge. Clearly there is widespread opposition from within the driven grouse shooting community to any real reform.…if pressure for reform remains then the quality of the parliamentary debate will inevitably improve as people won’t be able to brazenly ignore the facts like some did on Monday.When more crimes get into the public domain it will be harder for MPs to turn a blind eye.…...

Wildlife Detective Blog © Alan Stewart

Evidence to Westminster and Scottish Parliament on driven grouse shooting – comment. Posted on October 30, 2016 by wildlifedetective Woodpigeon bait and poisoned buzzard, still warm, found on Glenogil Estate, a driven grouse moor in Angus, in 2011.It’s been an interesting few days reading and listening to responses to Mark Avery’s proposed ban on driven grouse shooting and the proposal by Scottish Raptor Study Groups (SRSG) to licence game shooting. Many of the responses in favour of either of these proposals are compelling, though I have not yet seen an argument against that convinces me Mark or SRSG are on the wrong track. I think the most knowledgeable and convincing argument to ban driven grouse shooting comes from Guy Shorrock. Guy is a senior investigations officer with RSPB and his evidence is...

More Written Evidence to the Driven Grouse Shooting Debate

Written evidence from name withheld (GRO0321)Executive SummaryThe shooting industry and its representatives should be removed from all positions of power where wildlife crime law enforcement policy are discussed or decided upon.Driven grouse moors should be rewilded.  This at a stroke, would remove the many very serious problems of driven grouse moors and provide real, significant, tangible benefits for the whole of society.Driven grouse moor management normally involves very high levels of wildlife crime as well as a range of very serious conservation issues.The illegal persecution of birds of prey in the UK has a very serious detrimental effect, especially on hen harrier and golden eagle populations.Raptor persecution should be treated as organised crime.Detection of wildlife crime on grouse shooting estates is currently ...

Hugh Webster’s Evidence © Mark Avery

Gems from the written evidence 22 – Hugh WebsterMark ♦ October 30, 2016 ♦ Leave Your CommentThis was a very well-written and well expressed piece of evidence. Here are some extracts: I firmly believe that the law should be changed to specifically ban driven red grouse shooting. I am aware that some conservationists would settle for a licensing system as a compromise, but this tempting option fails to address the underlying incontrovertible fact that driven grouse shooting is fundamentally reliant on bird of prey persecution. It is an either or situation.…the grouse industry is always keen to point to the curlews, lapwings and golden plovers that undeniably benefit from their land management, as if an unnatural abundance of a few species of wildfowl should offset an entire ecosystem laid to waste. Can you imagine a gamek...

Gems from the written evidence 13 – name withheld © Mark Avery

Mark ♦ October 29, 2016 ♦ Leave Your Comment Here is the summary of another very powerful piece of written evidence: The shooting industry and its representatives should be removed from all positions of power where wildlife crime law enforcement policy are discussed or decided upon.Driven grouse moors should be rewilded.  This at a stroke, would remove the many very serious problems of driven grouse moors and provide real, significant, tangible benefits for the whole of society.Driven grouse moor management normally involves very high levels of wildlife crime as well as a range of very serious conservation issues.The illegal persecution of birds of prey in the UK has a very serious detrimental effect, especially on hen harrier and golden eagle populations.Raptor persecution shou...

Mark Avery

Your task, should you choose to accept it…Mark ♦ September 30, 2016 ♦ 7 CommentsYour task this weekend, should you choose to accept it, is to submit evidence to the inquiry on grouse shooting – for details of how to do that see here.‘Submit evidence’ sounds a bit scary doesn’t it? How about ‘Send your thoughts’ instead? You could do that couldn’t you?  Look at Question 1 – ‘Should the law on grouse shooting be changed? If so, how?’. I reckon you have thoughts on that.I am writing my evidence and it’s quite a task to limit oneself to 3000 words on such a big subject. You could write a book about it  – hang on! Someone did. I know that many organisations are preparing detailed and erudite submissions to send in by the closing date on Wednesday 5 October but I have already also seen quite ...
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Bowland and It’s Lack of Raptors © Mark Avery

Guest blog – Bowland and its lack of raptors by Terry PickfordMark ♦ June 24, 2016 ♦ 17 CommentsTerry ringing peregrine chicks Forest of BowlandI have been involved with monitoring and protecting raptors, in particular the Peregrine beginning 1967, when the North West Raptor Group was established, then only 7 active territories remained in the North West England. In the 1980s I located the first ground nesting pair of Peregrines close to the A6 on Shap. Field work began in 1974 in the Forest of Bowland when in April of that year Paul Stott, a founder member of the NWRG, discovered the first Peregrine nest in Bowland containing a single abandoned egg. In 1947 this same territory was known to be the only occupied Peregrine site existing in this moorland region following the end of the Second World War. The 1947 nest contain...

Those Awkward Hen Harriers © Mark Avery

Mark ♦ August 14, 2016 ♦ 27 CommentsPhoto: Gordon YatesOK let’s get back to Hen Harriers.  Aren’t they lovely?Those who have been defending or promoting driven grouse shooting find Hen Harriers difficult to talk about.  It will be interesting to see how much utter tripe some MPs may come up with in the debate we expect to see over the future of driven grouse shooting.  As an MP, you can get away with saying almost anything in parliament but you can’t get away with saying it secretly or erasing the account of your saying it. Any MP who misrepresents the facts about Hen Harriers in a debate on the future of driven grouse shooting should expect to be swamped by letters from her or his constituents afterwards.In all modesty, you will find Chapter 1 of Inglorious a good guide to the biology and status of the ...

Hen Harrier missing over…guess what?…a grouse moor © Mark Avery

Mark ♦ August 18, 2016 ♦ 4 Comments The RSPB announced today that a young male Hen Harrier, fitted with a satellite transmitter as part of the Hen Harrier LIFE+ Project, has gone missing on a grouse moor in the Monadhliath Mountains, south-east of Inverness. The bird, named Elwood, was the only chick to fledge from a nest in Banffshire, which was being monitored under the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime Scotland ‘Heads-up for Harriers’ scheme. The transmitter’s data, being monitored by RSPB staff, indicated that Elwood fledged in the first week of July, but stayed close to the nest site in the hills above the River Spey until 20 July, when he began to travel more widely. By the 27 July, Elwood had moved 20 miles to the south west, and had settled in the hills around Tomatin. Elwood remaine...

The grouse shooters aim to kill: the first casualty is the truth © George Monbiot

Their campaign against the RSPB is a shameful example of ‘astroturfing’. The public should beware  ‘Grouse are cosseted at the expense of other life forms. Predators must be eliminated.’ Photograph: Danny Lawson/PAThis is how, in a democracy, you win when you are outnumbered: you purchase the results. It’s how politics now works. The very rich throw money at the parties, lobby groups and thinktanks that project their demands. If they are clever, they keep their names out of it.Here’s an example: a campaign fronted by the former England cricket captain Sir Ian Botham, called You Forgot the Birds. It appears to have two purposes: to bring down the RSPB – the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds – and to get the natural history presenter Chris Packham sacked from the BBC.It likes to present itself as “... a...