Friday, 10 May 2013

The Burn.

 The Burn.Pete Woodruff.

Shooting is an important part of upland economy which is estimated to put £190 million into the purse every year. As a result of this reliance on the shooting of - in particular - Red Grouse, and the keeping of the land in good condition for this end, the wildlife of our moorlands are slowly being eroded away one way or another.

Older Red Grouse prefer to shelter in tall heather, whilst the young feed on fresh shoots. So as to accommodate these kind of needs, landowners routinely burn patches of vegetation to create a mosaic of habitats to suit the young and old of this game bird. But burning these patches causes many problems, not least of which is that the ecosystem of upland streams are altered by an influx of material which affects water quality in them, which in turn affects their biodiversity. In streams where burning has taken place nearby, the decline of stoneflies and mayflies and some other macro-invertebrate species - which are an important part of the freshwater community - is associated and affected by these burns. In burnt catchments higher levels of material are washed into the streams which not only damages stream ecosystems, but also has an effect on the birds which come to feed on invertebrates in the waters.  

In the photograph above which I took on a fell on Tuesday, is an example of what the after-affects are following a burn. I never fail to feel sickened by this act of countryside vandalism which serves the purpose of only making good the land to ultimately feed the appetite of the shooting industry....and for no other purpose at all.     

Bowlands M6. Pete Woodruff.

In another photograph I took on Tuesday, this one illustrates what the 'Guardians of the Countryside' are doing to places like the Forest of Bowland, by building 'roads' like this one which takes the shooters - saving them the long uphill walk - to the very summit of this fell in the top right hand of the image. 

This is no longer the beautiful upland fell it once was, and no longer the habitat of lots of species and numbers of birds, but has now become an 'industrial estate' with a good quality road through its heart and not much chance - if any - of a raptor of any description being found anywhere within its boundaries. I spent in excess of six hours in this - and other areas - in the Forest of Bowland this week and saw just one female Kestrel.

And, as if to brighten up and liven up Birds2blog....

 Orange Tip Marc Heath

Hopefully we should be seeing butterflies soon, and macro shots of them don't come any more stunning than this one, showing the colour and pattern on the underwing of an Orange Tip butterfly. 

Thanks Marc, like I said....Stunning.
Seeing Red. Pete Woodruff.

And....I wonder if the flowers will look as good in 2013 at Pilling Lane Ends which is where I took this photograph in August 2011. 

Did you 'clik the pik''re missing a treat if you don't.


Warren Baker said...

I keep reading about these estates and all the damage they do, but nothing ever gets done does it talks ;-/

Marc Heath said...

Thats a cracking Orange Tip shot there Pete. Thanks for the publicity, keep up the work.

Sharon Whitley said...

the heather where I regularly walk around Moel Famau is controlled by cutting and burning strips of land particularly for the protection of red and black grouse - I've seen red but not black yet, they're still pretty rare but apparently their numbers are rising - it gives the landscape a very unnatural look but until reading your post I thought it was done for the better good - I don't know of any shooting in this area thankfully

Pete Woodruff said...

Warren/Marc/Sharon....Your comments are appreciated and noted.

Definitely a cracking Orange Tip shot Marc, as are ALL shots on Birds2blog.