The devastating wildfire currently raging on Saddleworth Moor within the Peak District is a harsh reality of what can happen, how difficult a wildfire is to bring under control, and the devastation that is left behind to moorland and wildlife. Gamekeepers and Farmers are assisting the fire services round the clock to try and bring the fire under control and the army are now also on standby. The continuing press coverage gives very little mention to anyone apart from the Fire Services and now the army and we certainly don’t want to take anything away from them we would just like a little recognition for our guys out there who are also doing a fantastic job too.
Here in the North York Moors we too are experiencing an extremely hot and dry period so please be mindful of this when you are visiting. We have spoken with both Natural England and|North York Moors National Park this morning and rest assured we are putting procedures in place to try and protect not only the moorland but also the wildlife.
This morning it has now been declared that the North York Moors is classed as a Fire Risk and today there will be Fire Banners and Signs put out on all moorland access points . Press releases from the Parks will be following shortly as too will Natural England. I have received several messages asking the question whether the moors should be closed to the public for their own safety. Closing the moors in terms of open access has to meet certain criteria regarding the fire severity index which currently at present in our area it isn’t (not to say it wont hit this soon), however even if open access is temporarily withdrawn Rights of Way can’t be closed.
Summarising the best advice we can give is for everyone attending the moors in any capacity to be extra vigilant. DO NOT discard cigarettes, have a Barbecue in close proximity to the moors or even leave an empty glass bottle as all of these could be real Fire Starters. The countryside that we have is so special as are the vast array of wildlife residing in it, we must all unite in doing what we can to protect it. The Red Listed species including Curlews and Lapwings are birds which are in decline overall in the UK but are doing especially well on our managed moorland, help us look after them.
A great day out was had by all who attended our annual clay shoot at Thimbleby Shooting Ground, the location and staff were as always the perfect hosts and a good turn out of entries were met with some good challenging targets.
We had a great turnout of 92 entries in the 100 bird sporting and 15 teams in the 200 bird grouse flush, the number of recorded high scores was definitely the best to date, and a couple of categories went down to the tie-breaker countback on stand 12 to ascertain the winners.
100 Bird Sporting
O/All : 1st Place – Roger Ayton (94), 2nd Place – Mark Webster (93), 3rd Place Martin Doughty (91)
Grouse Keeper – Awarded the Dave Wilson Memorial Cup
1st Place – Roger Ayton (94), 2nd Place – David Renton (90), 3rd Place Mike Wearmouth (87)
1st Place – Lewis Bottomley (80), 2nd Place Joe Chapman (78), 3rd Place D Sanderson (75)
1st Place – Holly Duggan (59), 2nd Place Victoria Snook (51), 3rd Place Louise Voakes (49)
1st Place – Bollihope
Random 12th place overall goes to P Wheatley, who received a custom made pair of ear plugs, very kindly donated by Plugzz
The presentations were made by John Cavana (Connolly’s Red Mills) and Gamekeeper Jimmy Brough from Westerdale and Rosedale Estate with the exception of the highest placed Grousekeeper who received the “Dave Wilson” Memorial trophy presented by Sophie-Ann Wilson and their daughter.
The prizes for the winners have been kindly donated by NYMMO estates, Connolly’s Red Mills, Plugzz, L&A Dent Game Dealers and BASC Taste of Game.
Thank you to everyone who helped us make this day possible, Thimbleby Shooting Ground for allowing us to host, John Cavana for all his support, John Clarke (N.G.O.) for his help, everyone who generously supplied us with raffle prizes and all of the keepers who took on scoring roles for the full duration.
We hope that everyone who attended enjoyed themselves and hope to see you all again next year for more of the same.
Game keepers continually work alongside Bird Ringers and this is essential for monitoring species survival, productivity and movement of the birds.
When the BTO Ringing Scheme was established over 100 years ago, the primary focus was the study of bird movements. While ringing data can still be used to study migration and dispersal, today they are primarily used in the study of population change. ‘Population modelling’ may sound like a complex process, but the basic principle is relatively straightforward – bird numbers are determined by the number of fledglings produced and the subsequent survival of both those youngsters and their parents.
Curlews are classed as Red Listed meaning that they are of the Highest Conservation Priority and the photos below show the ringing of Curlew Chicks.
It’s fantastic to see that the nest boxes the Gamekeepers have been putting up around their estates are getting well used. The old quad bike box turned into one of the nest boxes has made a good home for two barn owls and 3 eggs, and in the others we have a nest of baby Blue Tits and a Red Start.
These successful nest boxes are all on just one of our estates but as all of our estates have now erected nest boxes we are definitely doing our bit to help with the breeding success of all birds and this especially good for the red listed species.
Redstarts are immediately identifiable by their bright orange-red tails, which they often quiver. Breeding males look smart, with slate grey upper parts, black faces and wings and an orange rump and chest. Females and young are duller. Redstarts ‘bob’ in a very robin-like manner, but spend little time at ground level. It is included on the Amber List of species with unfavourable conservation status.
For the 3rd year running NYMMO attended Open Farm Sunday at Stonebeck Gate Farm and I have to say this year was definitely the best so far. The sun was shining, the visitors through the gate increased and the demonstrations were running constantly.
The visitors to the main field were treated to a sheep dog demonstration whereby a sheep jumped a dry stone wall and into the farmhouse and I certainly don’t think that was in the script! Then it was the turn of John Cavana who gave an excellent insight into Gun Dog Training, he also had a little help from a couple of his very young pupils and they certainly didn’t disappoint. NYMMO is privileged to work alongside John on various events and he is a great ambassador of shooting and moorland management. 1 particular sentence of Johns stuck in my mind “A Labrador is born half trained whereas a Spaniel dies half trained”, as a Spaniel owner myself this really made me chuckle!
For anyone who hasn’t attended an Open Farm Sunday it really is well worth a visit, not only do you get to look around a real working farm, you get to go up close and personal with the animals, watch sheep shearing, speak to farmers, and enjoy lots of arts, crafts and quizzes.
We were also treated to the launch of “Shuttle Socks”, these are an absolute must have for shooting enthusiasts, designs include Grouse, Pheasant, Partridge and Woodcock. We will have these for sale at next weeks NYMMO Clay Shoot, you can also purchase from Milbury Hill, Sam Turners and Parnaby’s Saddlery shop and the great thing is that part of the proceeds from these go back into NYMMO to help us fund future projects. (So DIG DEEP – buy them for friends and family!)
With just over 2 months to go till the glorious 12th the preparations being made by the game-keepers are well under way for the upcoming season and one of the more common jobs at this time of year will be repairing or installing lines of butts.
The photos here show the levels of progression in building a new butt, when finished this will be in a row of 9, so at the moment it’s only 1 down and 8 more to go so this is sure to keep the keepers busy for a while! This new line of butts will be completed by August and as you can see by the 1st completed butt they’re going to be pretty impressive.
The game-keepers complete an extensive array of jobs throughout the year from predator control, heather burning, bracken spraying to butt building, is there no end to their talents? I’m sure with the right contacts these excellent skills could be utilised in my garden, I’m thinking nice patio or rockery!!!
⚽️ Maybe the NYMMO keepers weren’t quite as good as they thought they were! ⚽️
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