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Closed Season Decision In The Spring 2019.


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8 minutes ago, Vaughan said:

I wonder what the RSPB or the NWT have to say about the serious decline of two of the most well known and typical bird species on the Broads?

I expect they would blame:

a) Boaters

b) Otters

c) Brexit

Not necessarily in that order!

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Bird populations fluctuate but there is plenty of evidence that climate change is having a major impact - not necessarily killing them but moving the migratory patterns, and allowing other birds that used to live further south to come up here and benefit from the warmer weather. Equally birds that were common here are moving north.

I am not going to prolong this discussion further because I am not an expert , and certainly many others posting are not either but we have to accept that these trends are happening. The other day at Manningtree, even from the train, it was clearly evident the Little Egrets are becoming commonplace  - this applies to Broadland too. Avocets as well! Now my bird reference book published in 2004, says both are rare and/or scarce with less than 100 pairs in the whole of the UK! Not true any more they aren't!!!

So lets accept that the status quo as it once was, may no longer be the case, but continues to change- but to blame it on the otter is just not proven!!!!!

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Just a thought... But, while we're looking for culprits to blame, for the percieved reduction in numbers of coot and moorhen. The rise in numbers of Egyptian Geese on the Norfolk Broads, might have some bearing. They're known to be very aggressive and territorial, both amongst themselves and to other species of waterbird. They're in direct competition to other ducks (they're actually related to 'Shelducks' rather than geese), geese, coots etc. for both food and nesting areas. They will attack and even kill, both their own and other species, to protect their young and their territory.

Egyptian Geese are yet another species, which has escaped 'ornamental collections' and found the Norfolk Broads to their liking. I'm not sure when they first appeared in this area, I first saw them around the broads in the early 90's, but they appear to have had a huge rise in numbers over recent years, you certainly don't have to travel far on the rivers or broads to see them.

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11 minutes ago, MauriceMynah said:

Are they good to eat?

Don't know, I've never tried it, but someone on the forum may have... I'm told that 'goose fat' makes the best roast potatoes though!... :10_wink:

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1 hour ago, marshman said:

So lets accept that the status quo as it once was, may no longer be the case, but continues to change- but to blame it on the otter is just not proven!!!!!

And neither is blaming it on climate change.

By the way, I didn't know that the coot or the waterhen are migratory birds? I don't think either of them can fly more than 50 yards, about 8 ins off the water. I think they are probably related to the Japanese "OO - me - goolie" bird!

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32 minutes ago, Vaughan said:

 I don't think either of them can fly more than 50 yards, about 8 ins off the water.

Coots are quite capable of flying long distances and they do. Many of those that flock around the larger broads in winter, have migrated here from Central/Eastern/northern Europe, to escape the freeze up of lakes and waterways, where they spend most of their lives. They tend to fly at night, which is the reason few people actually see them flying, other than short, low flights.

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Both Coots and Moorhens are migratory however they both migrate from Europe for the winter months increasing the local population not the other way round. Egyptian Geese were introduced in the 17 century and have increased in both Norfolk & Suffolk over the years, they are now moving further east and south.

Opps Kingfisher666 crossed can obviously type faster than me.



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There are usually up to a dozen egrets (along with all sorts of other water birds) on the right bank of the Yare about a mile above Berney.

I did see some coots in July but can't remember seeing any moorhens. Got loads of these on our local fishing lake - which brings me round to the original post - I would keep the closed season even if (as MM says) "just for nature to recover".

We don't have a closed season on the club lake I belong to, but I don't fish out of season as a matter of principle.


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I join this discussion late, and admittedly without reading all posts.

But my take on it is , the clip above , while not nice viewing , is nature at work . And nature has evolved very wisely to create a good balance . It tends to be humans and their over large brains who mess it up. I ain't no tree hugger, I'm very happy to be part of the top of the food chain , thems the breaks I'm afraid. We should , I think , however , make a marked attempt not to interfere too much with the balance . It has for example seemed for a long time , their is too many geese on parts of the broads. Which dosent usually end well for over populated species . Disease usually intervenes, again nature balancing out the sum of the equation. Otters ( I think) belong on the river , and take out the weak of their prey.

Back on topic , I think a close season on the fishing can only benefit both the nature side , and the fisherman . I am 50 year young , been on the broads many many many times , but only once during close season . Only once for a reason! 

I so enjoy , part of my holiday being rod in hand , chilling out , fishing away . But I can see the pointless part , when I'm not eating my catch . I'm skilled enough to release most of my catch , unharmed , but every now   and then my actions do harm a fish and I have to question my actions . I console myself knowing I have fed many a million fish , in my desire for a bit of sport and relaxation . 

That probably all means only sense to me !!!!


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Yes WW your points make perfect sense to me, but I do see some "howevers" in there.

Had otters naturally reinhabited the broads, I would agree, but they were not. they were re-introduced by man. Once again, man sticks his muddy little oar in and changes things.

It is possible... no probable … that the wildfowl population is returning to a level that it should have been all along and had we not polluted the rivers thus removing the otters we would never have had the high populations you and I have enjoyed over the years.

The "balance of nature" is a myth. Logic tells me it has to be. or at least if not a myth a paradox.   Is man natural? if so, everything mankind does is part of the balance. if not then everything it does erodes that balance. if it tries to restore that balance, it forces the balance in a direction it was not going.

If anyone wishes to restore the balance of nature, there is only one animal that needs a total cull, and I'll leave you to work out which one that is. :) (Clue... it isn't the bloody otter!)

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Wether you like it or not some species die out in some areas, some go extinct completely, it's just evolution at play and the one thing evolution depends upon is death, many of species have gone extinct before and many more will in the future (probably even us) usually to have their place taken by the next front runner in the game of life.

We should eat more goose though....

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11 hours ago, BroadAmbition said:

Yeah proper cuddly

I think my father would have said it's amazing what you see, when you haven't got a gun!

Not exactly the romantic sentiment of "Ring of Bright Water", is it? This is the harsh reality. I wonder how many of those day visitors, in the middle of Wroxham, who saw that happen before them (and their children) will ever come back to the Broads?

I notice that of the animal characters in "The Wind in the Willows", none of them are fish! In real life, Mr Mole, "Ratty" and Toad of Toad Hall, would all have been eaten by their dear friend, the otter!

By the way, there is shooting of geese in the winter months on local estates, to try and keep numbers down, but I believe the otter is still a protected species.

Anyway, as MM says, some of us think the otter is lovely and others think it is an un-controlled verminous pest. I think back to when the coypu had to be eradicated in East Anglia, but they were not carnivores : they were just destroying crops and damaging flood banks, not charging around killing any other species of wildlife that they could catch. Like the coypu, they have no natural enemies on the Broads.

Perhaps we should wait for 3 or 4 years - or even less - and we shall soon see how it turns out.


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