The English Grey Partridge?

Discussion in 'Agricultural Matters' started by MX7, May 23, 2019.

  1. We have increased numbers here compared to the 1980/1990s when every field had insecticide in the autumn and winter cropping with a full cultivation system non seen most years in a dry autumn there would be no cover till November

    Now with notill spring cropping cover crops and undisturbed winter stubbles and no insecticide there is cover all year round except wheat after beans there are grey partridge on some blocks where predictors are controlled particularly one 450 acre farm that has livestock and muck 3 large covys last year
    Foot paths deter them as do released red legs

    In Dryer summers always see more wild game

    Last autumn the large blocks of cultivated dry land did not help wild life
    Notilled land had cover with plenty of wildlife
  2. MX7

    MX7 Member

    Also the first peaviners spring into action,sadly vining wild life as well as peas,but sadly can’t be helped.
    Sometimes in the day time one could spot a nest of eggs, that were still intact from the previous time round,but poor mother decimated.
  3. MX7

    MX7 Member

    It is very pleasing to hear that some of you still have the English Grey Partridge. Unfortunately I don’t think there are any near our cottage as I never here that familiar call in the evening that the Greys make, completely different to the red legs.
  4. turbo

    turbo Member

    I have a pair in my garden and can be seen most days dusting themselves in the horse paddock,there is no better alarm call than hearing them chattering in the morning along with all the other birds that aren’t supposed to be here on my barren monocultured land
    faircomment and MX7 like this.
  5. MX7

    MX7 Member

  6. Weirdly we have the most in probably our most prairie-like area of farmland with very few hedges. I do really enjoy seeing them. I like to hope that my odd grass margin and flower corner will help out, but I imagine without a proper predator control program that this will only get a little way.
    turbo likes this.
  7. turbo

    turbo Member

    The predator control is key!
  8. Similarly here we used to see the odd pair or hen with chicks (its spelt covey btw, not covy ) they liked the wider tramlines and misses with the drill .. no insecticide used here at all so its not that either...

    The real decline came gradually as the Badger population exploded and that was in the days before Maize growing became more popular as well...
  9. MX7

    MX7 Member

    If only people like Packham etc ,would realise that farmers only want to control predators and not obliterate wild life.
    SF1, Brisel and Dry Rot like this.
  10. I’m loving all this talk of grey partridges and the content on the conservation thread. We have a bit of an obsession with our wild greys here and do all we can to help them. I run Larsen traps over an area a couple thousand acres of mine and neighbors land, keep on top of foxes and rats, feed through to spring and keep dog walkers off (annoys me we get the blame for decline in farmland birds when only yday I caught someone for the second time running a dog down a hedge I have three grey nests in).
    Currently in the middle of our spring count as I’m spraying/driving round. I’d encourage everyone to fill in the GWCT partridge count forms. Just make a note of pairs seen whilst you’re spraying so it’s no additional work.

    I doubt we’d have many greys without taking out the corvids that I do. Again I’d encourage everyone to do their bit and run a trap or two to sort a few carrions out.
    A lot of ours have started sitting this week. As stated on other posts it’s scary what impact a single storm can have on the chicks but hopefully we’re stacking the odds in their favour!
  11. Northdowns Martin

    Snodland kent
    We’ve see an increase in red partridge across the farm, since switch to no-till, cover crops and more spring drilling and also better hedge management. I’m hoping a few greys will like the environment we are creating, however one species which we have lost and no sure whether we want back are hares! When we had a few around we also had nighttime lamp wielding intruders!
  12. Brisel

    Brisel Member

    Good post (y)

    There's little that's natural about the greys. Their heydays of 1850s - 1980s were down to gamekeepers and their employers, not "nature." Whilst it is great to see Conservation Ag farmers and those putting in extra habitat with or without the help of stewardship schemes spotting more on their farms, without the predator control they will never truly proliferate back to previous levels without serious management.

    The best time for counting them is early spring before the ground cover becomes tall enough for them to jug down and hide. Their habits of ducking down and staying quiet is why many bird twitchers don't count them. My lot do counts twice each year - Feb and September. The autumn one is to see if my boss might be able to "harvest" a small surplus whilst leaving a good breeding stock. Most conservation is done by those who spend days in the winter looking down the barrels of a gun - something most of the haters still don't quite understand ;) No shooting would mean less investment in gamekeepers to manage game birds and the other species that benefit from their husbandry like yellowhammers, linnets, skylarks etc etc.
  13. Clive

    Clive Staff Member

    I don’t recall being critical of your farming system ? Or suggesting you don’t have great wildlife diversity?

    I didn’t jump to any conclusions ?

    I simply stated we have grey partridge now, we didn’t used to and all I changed over that period was my farming system. That’s the title of this thread and I was simply answering the question asked by the first post

    You then seem to have filled in some gaps yourself - as I say if how I farm upsets you or what I posted upsets you then I apologise as that’s not my intention

    Farming has issues, pretending it doesn’t really isn’t working and is distancing us from tax paying subsidy providers and customers
  14. crazy_bull

    crazy_bull Member

    There weren't many round here 5 years ago, so I bunged 100 eggs under broody bantams, ended up releasing a covey of about 60. Now they are all over the place, especially down on the big nature reserve, early mornings down there is a chorus of partridge calling.

    C B
  15. turbo

    turbo Member

    The way you farm doesn’t upset me one bit,it’s your choice and some of us tried it years ago (I started dd in 2000) and it failed for me but that doesn’t mean it will for everyone . The 3 quotes that you put in a previous quote is what got my back up and I take your word that it wasn’t meant to offend. I do agree farming has issues but neither your system or mine is the whole answer and trying to say it is just gives more ammunition to the likes of packham and may to undermine the good work most farmers are doing.
  16. Ground nesting birds biggest problem is predators move about down hedgerows
    Some on the ground some in the trees

    Open fields with no hedges have more

    When we started making spillage in the 1970s the pheasant and partridge nests were just off the headland 12 to 20 yards

    The grey partridge lapwing chicks need insects so any farming system with an abundance helps but is there are periods of the year with no cover then predators can see the prey
    IMHO increasingly I believe that straw burning was a big factor in the reduction in wild life as because of the removal of food for the worms and insects this along with organic matter reduction ( oxidation)from cultivation 1939 to 1980

    DD failed during the burning days because the worms had much less food
    It takes 5 to 10 years to build up worm numbers especially on lower organic matter heavy soils ( 50 to 80 years cereal arable fields )
    Clive likes this.
  17. snarling bee

    snarling bee Member

    That's what I thought. BUT they kill themselves by flying into the fence. Redlegs and Pheasants will see the fence and either fly over it, or as I have seen twice, fold their wings and fly through the fence. English just fly into it. Heartbreaking.
    We have essentially deer fence around ours, ie tall sheep netting, perhaps a more solid fence will be visible to them.
  18. herman

    herman Member

    Hatched 3 lots this week under broodys. Have done so for the last 3 years , and have a nice population going in the area nowadays. 20190530_102435.jpg
    pycoed, Lindell, GOPHER89 and 9 others like this.
  19. Dry Rot

    Dry Rot Member

    Grouse do the same where there is deer fencing near to grouse moorland. I've seen sprigs of heather clipped on to the top wire for visibility which presumably helps.
  20. We have one pair here at the moment. I'm endeavouring to help them in every way I can.
    Brisel likes this.

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