BASC Southwest – Members Evening

This week BASC Southwest hosted the BASC council meeting with a members evening on Wednesday. The Clevedon Wildfowling Association were very pleased to be asked to co-host the event.IMG_20180523_183323 In the afternoon council members were taken by the CWA on a visit to some of our conservation projects including our award winning pond at Nailsea moor. During the visit they were given a talk about our habitat and shoot improvement schemes and ideas.

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Later we repeated the visit for the BASC members who had arrived for the members evening.

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The members evening was a great success an excellent game buffet was put on by the BASC southwest team and we all had a chance to meet Ian Bell BASC chief executive as well as council members.  Many thanks to David Gervers and the southwest team. Between us all and including the beautiful weather it was a very successful and enjoyable day.

 

 

 

End Of Season Summary

Nesting tube with duck

Duck sitting on eggs in a Clevedon Wildfowling Association made nesting tube.

Now the season has come to an end here is a brief summary gained from some of our members.

Firstly the weather, up to December it was fairly mild with average rainfall and hardly any frost. During December and January it became colder but the temperature mainly stayed above freezing and any sub zero periods were brief just overnight frosts.      Rainfall during the season again was unexceptional although some heavy rain fell in the month of December during which the moors flooded up. Sunshine in December was slightly above average but below during January, which may account for some saying the moors were wetter than usual this winter.

Generally the season has been unremarkable although wigeon numbers may be down on previous years. Certainly inland all reports say when wigeon have been seen on the moor they are not in flocks but just in pairs or very low numbers dropping in on the splashes after dark. On the foreshore however, the reports are more mixed some say wigeon numbers are good whilst others are reporting poor numbers.

Teal and Mallard numbers seem to be the same as usual. Some say Mallard are down especially later in the season.

Snipe have been around in good numbers probably due to the wet moors and lack of hard frosts, in fact many wader species seem to be doing well especially on the foreshore.

Canada geese continue to become a more common quarry species and numbers seem to be leveling out.

All the above is anecdotal and based on reports and comments from club members.

As was mentioned in a previous post The CWA will be giving a talk at the BASC Wildfowling Conference. The presentation will center the clubs conservation work past present and future working with the BTO, NE and other groups and organisations. I hope to publish a full transcript either on the blog or through a link after the conference, which is on March 3rd.

Finally our AGM is in March and following that there should be some dates for events such as clay meets etc.

 

Bird Flu Updated Guidance

BASC is advising its members that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has declared an avian influenza prevention zone across the whole of England.

The announcement comes after Defra confirmed bird ‘flu has been detected in 31 wild birds in Dorset and 13 wild birds in Warwickshire.

Defra established a local prevention zone in Dorset but has now extended the zone across the country on a precautionary basis.  It does not cover Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

The zone makes it a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures. There are no plans to carry out any culls or put movement restrictions in place.

Public Health England have advised the risk to public health remains very low and the Food Standards Agency have said that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

Glynn Evans, BASC head of game and deer management, said: “Shooting is not restricted by the arrival of bird ‘flu in the UK. But it is important the wider shooting community remains vigilant to bird ‘flu and makes itself aware of how to spot symptoms of the disease.”

The government’s chief veterinary officer Nigel Gibbens said: “Following the latest finding of bird flu in wild birds in Warwickshire, we are extending our action to help prevent the virus spreading to poultry and other domestic birds.

“Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, you are now legally required to meet enhanced biosecurity requirements and this is in your interests to do, to protect your birds from this highly infectious virus.”

The prevention zone will be in place until further notice and will be kept under regular review as part of Defra’s work to monitor the threat of bird flu.

Members of the public should report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 and keepers should report suspicion of disease to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) on 03000 200 301.

ENDS

Presidents Shoot

This years Presidents Shoot saw a fair turnout, with all the standing water about hopes were not high but a reasonable bag was achieved. See below for details on the bag and winner.  Once again thanks to the Drum and Monkey.

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Derek this years winner receiving the plaque from the President for the heaviest Wigeon

BAG

1 Shoveler – 1lb 9oz .    4 Wigeon, heaviest – 1lb 11oz.    6 Mallard, heaviest –  2lb 12oz.              2 Teal, heaviest – 13oz.   And 2 Canada Geese that were too heavy for the scales.

 

N.E. Wildfowling Guidance Review & Consultation

Best pre-season shot

Canada Geese In flight

The CWA have made a response to Natural England on the Wildfowling Guidance Review and encourage all wildfowlers to respond as well.

Briefly the document is asking for your views on the changes Natural England wants to make on how they process wildfowling consents.

Here is a link to take you to the consultation and response documents  https://consult.defra.gov.uk/natural-england/wildfowling-guidance-review

or contact BASC.

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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