Spring Grouse Pair Count Report 2018
As Spring finally arrives and our wild grouse start to nest the moors have completed their Spring Pair Counts for 2018, so they have an idea of what our grouse stocks are looking like for the coming season. Although the weather has been awful to say the least, when we have had gaps in the rain/snow keepers across the North of England and Scotland have been out in force counting their breeding pairs of wild grouse for an indication of what next season might have to offer.
GWCT have done their counts across the UK and anecdotally numbers seem to be down across the North of England around 10% from last year, which saw all time record Spring Counts in many areas. This is not all bad news… In our opinion this is a good thing and speaking with many estates, numbers are down because they have shot their stocks harder last year to reduce the density of birds over the winter months. On our managed Estate’s in the Dales and Pennines our counts are also slightly down, though there are some stronger counts on the North York Moors which seems to be the general theme now.
Snow and has it effected our Grouse stocks?
The snow itself was not much of an issue for the grouse as it was relatively light and blown around due to the high winds which meant the heather was always exposed. However, we have heard higher altitude moors further north having stocks being unable to reach the medicated grit, so the worm burdens have risen causing severe casualties already, especially as grouse congregate in small areas to feed.
The snow has come and gone further south and on the lower altitude moors across most of North Yorkshire the grouse seem in good nick after the snow melted away. The wet weather again has not been a bad thing. All this wet weather has meant that the Hen Grouse should choose to nest in dryer locations which is very positive if we get rain throughout the nesting period. The winter weather was generally no problem until the “Beast from the East” turned up, the continuous rain since will have used up some of the birds reserves. This poor weather may result in smaller clutch sizes especially as the cotton grass is late in flowering, which is a key food source for the grouse in this important period.
It is still very early days now, but from all of the keepers and estates we have been in touch with they are mostly positive about the number of pairs they are seeing on their counting blocks and just as always praying for a kind May/June to give the chicks a good start in their first weeks of their lives.
We will continue to update you all throughout the breeding season and we look forward to seeing all of you over the next shooting season too – Not long now and we are counting down the days!
If you are still looking for shooting, we do still have some availability so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to discuss at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office on 01969 663 096.
Thanks for taking the time to read our Spring Grouse Pair Count Report 2018 and if you have any queries then please let us know.
Adrian & Edd