Tony Juniper experiences the conservation benefits of wildfowling

Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England, saw first-hand the conservation credentials of wildfowling clubs when he visited the Lytham & District Wildfowling Association (LDWA) earlier this week.

Accompanied by members of BASC’s team, Tony took part in a conservation walk around the club’s land at the mouth of the Ribble Estuary in Lancashire.

Discussions during the visit included importance of wildfowling organisations and their role as the custodians of estuaries and marshes, alongside clubs’ relationships with Natural England and other conservation bodies.

A haven for overwintering birds

The exceptional habitat management demonstrated by the club was without doubt a highlight of the conservation walk. The marsh is a haven for overwintering birds, with a myriad of different species seen on the day, providing 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 quick to extend this praise personally: “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 here. 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, reinforced the ethos at Lytham, saying: “The club has been committed to conservation since its creation in 1954. It was fantastic to welcome Tony to the area and talk him through our efforts.”

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