GWCT’s North of England Grouse Seminar 2018

The GWCT is hosting another North of England Grouse Seminar on March 8th at The Morritt Hotel & Garage Spa, Greta Bridge, nr Barnard Castle in County Durham.

Here’s the planned programme:

What an exciting line-up! First some news about how intensive grouse moor management has caused the rapid spread of disease across moors in England & Scotland.

Then some science that shows if you kill off predators, waders will have improved breeding success (duh!). Oh, and so will your red grouse, meaning there’ll be more birds for you to kill later in the year. Not that that’s your primary motive – no, you’re all about wader conservation and any side benefits that help increase your already-way-too-high red grouse population are simply unintended.

Then a bit about how great it is to repeatedly burn the heather on your grouse moor (as long as you ignore the widespread environmental damage this causes). It’s no big deal, it’s just like getting your hair cut. The fact that moorland burning has been detected in 55% of Special Areas of Conservation and in 63% of Special Protection Areas, (sites that are designated under EU legislation for their conservation value) and yet many are in ‘unfavourable condition’ with burning identified as the primary cause, is nothing to worry about.

Then after a spot of lunch, there’s an as yet to be revealed guest speaker from Natural England, talking about er, something.

Perhaps it’ll be someone coming along to reassure the room full of grouse moor owners that they needn’t worry, Natural England is doing its level best to ensure the last known fixes of all those missing satellite-tagged hen harriers remain a secret. [Incidentally, we have an update on this – blog coming soon].

Or perhaps it’ll be someone coming along to advise grouse moor owners how to get a licence to kill marsh harriers.

Then there’s some stuff about black grouse, and then a chance to hear the ‘final results’ from the Langholm 2 Project. Perhaps this time Dr Sonja Ludwig will be allowed to answer any questions about the science by herself, instead of being bulldozed off stage by someone who clearly doesn’t understand etiquette, nor science, and doesn’t like buzzards.

You don’t have to be a grouse moor owner to attend this seminar. If you’ve got a spare £40, you can book your ticket here.

5 thoughts on “GWCT’s North of England Grouse Seminar 2018”

  1. I had noticed in the programme on the item on Grouse diseases, Crytosporidiosis, in particular, the sub-heading “reservoirs of infection”. I can imagine that someone, somewhere within the GWCT will be questioning the wisdom of that phraseology where it is recognised that Cryptosporidium can be a difficult to treat, threat to water supplies.

  2. I find it incredibly frustrating to read all this nonsense spoken at the previous conference as reported in Dr Ruth Tingay’s guest blog on Mark Avery’s site. It is a particularly worrying reflection of the standard of work carried out by a few scientists, and can’t help a lay person from feeling concerned at the value of peer review. How can this operate effectively when the papers in question are peer-reviewed by fellow scientists with similar prejudices to the scientist who has carried out fundamentally flawed research? I could give plenty examples of this across the spectrum of biological scientists, as I’m sure most of us could, but I’m not on here to embarrass or challenge named individuals. Science requires debate and disagreement to progress, but with the hunting and shooting industry we have entered a whole new arena of debate consisting of one side persistently being disingenuous or even downright dishonest in the pursuit of an alternative truth. I’ve always believed that the best biological scientists are mainly those who have combined scientific rigour with a fundamental knowledge of natural history, personally experienced first hand in the field. Within the shooting field, there are too many wild presumptions made, usually via received wisdom, concerning the impact of harriers and buzzards, and now even ravens. It is simply ridiculous for an (unidentified) audience member to say that “We’ve talked briefly about ravens but it’s also what the buzzards do on the ground when the red grouse have got chicks. They harry those chicks and hoover them [sic], which is the anecdotal evidence that we’re always getting from the keepers.” As someone who has closely and intimately observed breeding pairs and non-breeding flocks of ravens on grouse moors for many years, I know this to be yet another set of pseudo-observations gamekeepers have concocted to justify their existence. The grouse moor managers of course are generally happy to present these ‘facts’ as gospel. I could tear to pieces most of the untruths based on claimed observations by gamekeepers et al, but it would take all night and possibly not appreciated by readers of this blog. RPUK is already doing so quite effectively without my help. I must say that it is refreshing to read their blogs, obviously written by real experts in the field of raptors and their persecution. Their analyses and exposure of the widespread hypocrisy are excellent and greatly appreciated.

  3. ‘no, you’re all about wader conservation and any side benefits that help increase your already-way-too-high red grouse population are simply unintended.’

  4. with Waders still in decline despite hundreds of pairs breeding on individual Grouse moors you have to start either questioning whether this is true or not or if they are still being over hunted and as Chris Packem suggested it is time to remove them from the game list.
    I believe gypsy Rose Lee will be outside selling lucky Heather, please give generously to help the local economy, did you know that Heather Moorland is actually rarer than tropical rain-forest, I actually did, tropical rain-forest covers 2% of the earths surface, Wheat fields, Rice fields, rape seed fields etc etc are also all rarer than rain forests, all have limited bio diversity and all are obviously many times more important than the other man made mono culture heather moorland, rain forests however are in severe decline, they contain 50% of all the plant and animal species on the planet, to compare a heather moorland in any way to these fantastic forests stinks of extreme ignorance, on that point speaking of extreme ignorance what is the odds on a repeat performance from Tiny Temper?

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