Message from Stephen Martin:
You may have heard about the disastrous wildfire over Darwen Moor, near Bolton, Lancashire, (2.5km²) last weekend (30/31 May).
Survey work has always established a good density of breeding Curlew in that section of the West Pennine Moors (up to 6 pairs/km²).
The loss of an estimated six broods due to the fire was heart wrenching…especially having been at the sharp end all weekend hearing the pitiful cries of the adults as their broods were engulfed by the fire …all due to one disposable BBQ!!
We have lost six Curlew broods, five Golden Plover broods, two Short-eared Owl broods, one Snipe brood, about 70 Grouse broods, 45 Skylark broods and about 160 Meadow Pipit broods, plus the odd Stonechat, Linnet, Grasshopper Warbler brood.
The two lads with the BBQ are being questioned by police.
Breaking good news (as I was writing this).…the last photo (sorry for the quality) is of a Curlew chick found within the last hour by the gamekeeper…it’s a miracle it survived!!