Research into Genetic Health of Irish Red Grouse Published

This research would not have been possible without the assistance of The Native Species Conservation Committee of Dublin & Belfast Zoos and Fota Wildlife Park, members of the Shooting and field trial communities for the provision of samples, University College Dublin and the University of Upsala, Finland.

The paper can be downloaded from here

Volunteers Plant 3000 trees for Black Grouse

The GWCT’s project, which is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, has worked with volunteers to plant small pockets of birch, hawthorn, rowan, alder and willow at several key sites in Weardale and Teesdale where, in time, the buds and berries will provide an important food resource during harsh winter weather.

The generous support of the Woodland Trust, who have donated the trees for all the volunteer planting projects, has been instrumental in the success of the season, as has the cooperation and enthusiasm of the moor owners and farmers on whose land these important new habitats have been created.

A variety of local groups and youngsters have enthusiastically given their time to help create these woodlands including; Stanhope Duke of Edinburgh Group, St John’s Chapel Primary School, Cotherstone Primary School with visitors from Tufnell Park Primary School Islington, Trees for Cotherstone, Moorhouse NNR Volunteer Group, and 1st Barnard Castle Scout Group. The planting events, which were run in partnership with Natural England Moorhouse NNR reserve staff, have helped over 100 volunteers learn about black grouse and their unique place in our upland heritage.

Fran Atterton, from the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, said, “We have had a really productive season and planted trees in areas which are particularly harsh for black grouse during winters with deep snow. Two winters ago black grouse suffered huge losses because they had no protection and so this project is a lifeline for them. We have also had a lot of fun and it has given the children fantastic insight on a wonderful but very threatened wildlife species.” The Project will run for a further year, with more planting events planned for next winter.

Black Grouse numbers on the Rise

Surveys of traditional lek sites across black grouse strongholds in Scotland have revealed a dramatic rise in numbers of the rare bird.

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), which worked on the study with groups including RSPB Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), says that the results show that woodland initiatives and conservation efforts, boosted by a good breeding season in 2010, may be beginning to pay off.

GWCT Scotland director Dr Adam Smith said: “Well-focused advice, along with the support of farmers, gamekeepers and foresters, has surely helped the blackgrouse exploit to the full a couple of years of good weather in some of the more northerly parts of Scotland, with many parts of the Cairngorms showing strong populations.”

The new figures show that even the severely threatened populations in the South have bred well in the past 12 months. In Dumfries and Galloway, surveyors counted 194 males at 71 lek sites in 2011, a 31 per cent increase on 2010.

Figures collated by the Speyside Black Grouse Study Group, which includes 19 private sporting estates, were also positive, revealing the highest annual total of displaying black grouse since surveying began in 2001.

Trust Calls for Implementation of Grey Partridge Agri Environment scheme

The Irish Grey Partridge Conservation Trust, Birdwatch Ireland and the National Association Regional Game Councils have called on the Minister of Agriculture Simon Coveney TD to implement the Grey Partridge Agri environment scheme as soon as possible.

The Trust would like to recognise the continued support and funding of the Boora Project by the National Parks and Wildlife Service without whose support the project could not be as successfull as it has been to date.

Trusts Work with Grouse Highlighted

The IGPCT is playing a leading role in developing an All Ireland Species action plan for Red Grouse.

This is happening in conjunction with partner organisations. BASC (NI) is one of these bodies.

The February 2012 edition of the Sporting Shooter magazine highlights the latest developments

Click on the link below to get to our downloads section:
Feb 2012 – Sporting Shooter pdf