Grey partridge enthusiasts have seen bird numbers on shoots across Norfolk plummet after the wettest summer for a century.

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Jake Fiennes, chairman of the Norfolk branch of the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, said that hatching season had been the worst in living memory.

“We’ve seen stock numbers crash by as much as 60pc because of the poor hatching season. And there’s also been loss of adults too,” he added.

“It has been the most appalling year. I’ve spoken to ‘keepers some third generation and into their 80s who can’t recall a year like it. Pheasants normally start hatching in the second week of May. From mid-May to the third week of July, it was just horrendous.

“When I was walking on the conservation headlands, I was coming across partridges still sitting on eggs in the middle of July. Normally, they should be about four weeks old.”

Mr Fiennes said that the challenge after two successful grey partridge years was trying to maintain enthusiasm in such a disastrous year. “The challenge is to bounce back and show that good land management can produce sustainable populations of grey partridge along with high-yielding and productive agriculture.

“When the partridges are doing well, so does everything else. The adage states: Look after the partridge and the pheasants look after themselves.”

Solicitors Mills & Reeve, which have sponsored the Norfolk Grey Partridge Award for the last seven years, will be looking to recognise the effort of shoots despite the difficulties next year. “We know that shoots have made great efforts over the years to reverse the decline in the grey partridge,” said partner, Justin Ripman, who is a judge of the annual award.

“We will try to recognise the best efforts despite what has happened and we know that people are still doing their very best and we want to encourage them,” he added.


  • Less poor defenceless animals this year have been shot for the amusement of the lowest of the low....sounds like a good thing in my book. If you have to kill for amusement, then you really need to evaluate your life as a matter of urgency...

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    Wednesday, October 31, 2012

  • The caring farming community will have to reassess their animal friendly farm to fork campaign. Just as well the EEC props up the security of earnings for our poor agriculturalists. Bad season = high prices. Good season = milk those high prices. Ratchet effect. I`m going to open a specialist bike shop for farmers. Doomed from the outset. They never buy bikes.

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    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, November 4, 2012

  • Certainly a very bad year for farmers, and everyone connected with the countryside. Even the bee keepers have no honey to show for their efforts this year. Lets hope next year has 8 dry weeks at the crucial time. Another bad breeding season will mean that the breeding stock will start to die off due to age leaving us with no greys at all!

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    Friday, November 2, 2012

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