Tony Juniper experiences the conservation benefits of shooting with Lancashire wildfowling club
Tony Juniper, chair of Natural England, had the opportunity to see first-hand the conservation efforts of wildfowling clubs when he visited the Lytham & District Wildfowling Association (LDWA).
Accompanied by staff from the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), Tony took part in a conservation walk around the club’s land at the mouth of the Ribble Estuary in Lancashire.
Topics discussed over the visit included the importance of wildfowling clubs and their role as the custodians of estuaries and marshes. As well as wildfowling clubs’ relationship with the regulator Natural England, and other conservation organisations, through data collection, surveys and conservation projects.
The highlight of the conservation walk was seeing first-hand the positive habitat management facilitated by the club. The club’s marsh is a thriving site for overwintering birds, with a myriad of different species seen on the day, and provides fantastic breeding habitat. In a recent RSPB survey, the site was identified as holding the estuary’s highest population of breeding birds.
The LDWA has been commended previously by Natural England for their conservation efforts and Tony was keen to keep the praise going. He said: “It was excellent to see the conservation work being done by the Lytham Association, and to learn of their passion to protect this special place and its wonderful bird populations. It was also very good to learn about the cooperation and common cause that exists between Natural England and wildfowlers there. I hope this example of good practice is something that we might replicate across the country as we go forward.”
Andy Lee, the marsh warden for LDWA, said: “The club has been committed to conservation since its creation in 1954. Members are fully committed to the shooting and conservation message. It was fantastic to welcome Tony to the area and talk him through our efforts.”
Eoghan Cameron, BASC chairman, said: “It was great to see first-hand the passion the club showed for the site and to be able to demonstrate to Tony Juniper the value of our wildfowling clubs’ work across England and further afield.”