This is stunning Winsy, does anyone have any official information about this ? I'd be happy to dig into it a bit more - I'd really love to be able to walk the dog 'off lead' but the wildlife lobby won the argument I understand, as ever there must be an hidden agenda here ... Roger
Hi Roger, I have tried to contact Peter Holloway but the line was constantly engaged. I also spoke to one of the volunteer wardens but he denied all knowledge. Strangely enough, I thought I recognised one of the shooters as being a volunteer warden himself, although I must admit I can't be 100% sure about this as he was some way away from me when I saw him. The shooting is still going on, usually just before dawn and dusk. ATB Winsy
Well I'm pleased to say Peter Holloway from the Christchurch Countryside Service contacted me and explained that the incident of shooting wasn't actually ON the marsh but adjacent to it, an area controlled by the water company and that they have for many years granted permission for wildfowlers so unless there's been another incident then that explains it, he assured me that shooting is not allowed on the nature reserve and also that the licence ensures the most sensitive areas of the harbour are also out of bounds ... good news for the birds as long as they don't fly to the marsh over the harbour !
Thanks for your help Roger. When I saw the shooters the first time they were actually in the reeds behind the boat - is this not part of the Marsh? I suppose the other times they might have actually been on a small boat in the reeds, but this still seems to be too near to the Marsh itself. It's such a shame that these poor birds are hunted in this way, I understand they have to be controlled but surely nature deals with this.
Anyway, thanks again Roger for looking into this - much appreciated!