September Update

It’s now over three weeks since the start of the season and although wildfowlers can be as secretive as their quarry I have had some reports.

Those members who have ventured onto the foreshore say there are a few duck about but that they are probably staying in the ponds and ditches with this mild weather, which means flighting is unreliable. However wigeon have been seen on the foreshore and the weather will surely get colder and rougher as we head towards winter.

Inland is much the same story, there is still plenty of natural food in the ditches and ponds for the the duck and while the weather is quiet they will be roosting on the ponds.  So not much moving, a usual start to the season around Clevedon.

Other news.   We have been asked and agreed to doing a talk and presentation at the 2018 BASC  Wildfowling Conference. The conference is usually held in March near Birmingham. The subject of the talk and more details will be posted later as they become available.

The accompanying picture shows one of the recently cleaned out ditches [at our land on Nailsea moor] where we are intending to put a sluice, up to two more ditches will have similar sluices.    The ‘North Somerset Levels Internal Drainage Board’ and the ‘Environment Agency’ control the water levels on the North Somerset Moors. They do this by using a intricate system of interconnecting drainage rhynes, ditches, sluices and floodgates. They reduce the water level in the winter and raise it again in the summer months these are called the ‘Winter Pen’ and the ‘Summer Pen’. By putting sluices at the appropriate places in our ditches we can ensure there will always be water in them, this will be of benefit to ditch life and should keep the field wetter. This work will be most likely be done in December.

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Work Starts On The Splash

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Work commenced on digging out the slash Tuesday and should be finished in a couple of days.IMG_20170829_101838

The digger taking the top off with the lake in the background.

 

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This picture shows the field containing the lake and the splash. [Sorry about the quality it was taken off a video]. The field in the area ringed in red is the whole site of 13.8 acres with the lake being about 10 acres, in this picture the water level is high. The splash area is on the left of the site and shaded blue and will be about 0.75 acres.

The funding for the project comes from Natural England. Some of the area will be sown with the appropriate seed mix, other areas may be left to self seed. Invasive plants like thistles and hard rush will be controlled by mowing or grazing.

We look forward to seeing it mature and will be posting on its development.

 

 

 

Pond Maintenance

We have been having work parties over the past few weeks on our ponds, clearing brambles and pulling out reeds. These jobs need to be done to keep the ponds in good shape to benefit as wide a range of wildlife as possible.

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Once the breeding and nesting season is over we can safely do the work causing the minimum disturbance. Brambles and reeds are the most invasive plants and are controlled by cutting down the brambles and pulling up the reeds. Some reedbed is maintained mainly on the edges of the ponds or marshy land adjacent.

Also some tree management will be done and hides refurbished.

All the ponds are looking good this year and thanks to all the rain the water levels have stayed well up this summer.

Further news, the CWA have been releasing  English Partridges in the Kingston Seymour area and two broods have been reported this year. Partridge are a natural species and until about forty years ago where common but agricultural practices caused their numbers to decline that they more or less disappeared as a breeding bird around here. However farming nowadays in our area has changed and we hope that these birds could reestablish themselves.

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CWA Gundog scurry results

The scurry was held last Sunday consisting of 4 retrieves.

First retrieve, a hundred yard marked retrieve followed by a blind from the same position.

Second retrieve, a blind retrieve from 50 yards.

Third retrieve, marked 100 yards over a ditch and a marsh.

Fourth retrieve, marked retrieve over a small tidal river at low tide.

All retrieves were timed and the winner was Bruce with Fidget, runner up was Stuart with Tarka and third was Ian with Drake.

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Bruce on the right receiving the trophy.

 

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“It’s somewhere up there boy!”

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“Found it Boss!”

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A good day was had by all!

Conservation projects

Attwells pond work party July 2016 (11)

We now have funding for two projects, each on separate sites that we own.

One is the installation of four sluices on the ends of ditches on the site. The sluices will enable us to better control the water levels in ditches and the flooding in the fields as well as keeping the ground wetter.

The other is to create a scrape/splash this will be at the land which we recently purchased. An area of about 3000 square metres adjacent to a 10 acre pond will be reduced down so it remains wet and/or flooded depending on the time of year.

Both projects will benefit all wildlife but in particular waders, providing a feeding habitat as well as a high tide roost and hopefully a breeding place in the future.

These projects have to  be completed by March 2018 so we will be posting progress as it happens.

Family Clay Shoot

Clays shot

We managed to hit a few

The JULY clay shoot will be on Sunday 16th, 10am – 12am and will be a family shoot. It will include airguns, black powder, muzzle loading and the usual clay layout plus some novice stands. Hot filled rolls and tea and coffee available.

The next shoot will be on Sunday, June 18 as usual.

For more information email clevedonwildfowling@gmail.com