This years CWA foreshore cleanup took place last week, we picked up two dumpers full of the usual flotsam and jetsam mostly plastic. [picture above]
Three weeks to the start of the season. It has appeared to have been a good year for mallard with ducklings being seen right up to a couple of weeks ago. The dry weather helped and the nesting tubes were well used. If you want to know how to build a wild mallard nesting tube look up ‘Building a mallard hen house’ on utube. Also check out http://www.westmorlandwildfowlersassociation.co.uk click on conservation and then WWA wildfowl nest project.
There are quite a lot of canada geese around at the moment skeins of over forty have been seen also a pair of gadwall were seen locally last week.
We have been helping out with vermin control, mainly crows and also have a couple of crow traps out. This is a service the association provides to landowners whose land we have the sporting rights on.
On the conservation side we have had work parties on two of our oldest ponds carrying out maintenance although this is an ongoing thing and more reed clearance will be done in the next few weeks. One of our members has designed and built a solar pump, this will be used to maintain splashes and certain flooded areas keeping the water levels up and marshy areas wet, benefiting all wildfowl and waders by providing high tide roosts. More reports on the pump will be posted once its up and running.
Finally the CWA have an article in this weeks Countrymans Weekly and will be contributing further pieces.
Upcoming Events – Clay Shoot 19th Aug. Members Gundog Scurry 25th Aug.
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. 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.
Later we repeated the visit for the BASC members who had arrived for the members evening.
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.
The middle ditch on our land at Nailsea moor has now been dammed, with a sluice gate at one end. This will allow us to control the water flow so we can maintain a higher water level [or lower] independent of the main drainage system.
Hopefully we have now said goodbye to the Beast from the East and on to better weather.
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.
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.
Derek this years winner receiving the plaque from the President for the heaviest Wigeon
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.
Merry Christmas and a happy 2017 from all at Clevedon Wildfowling.
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.
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.