Bird numbers are lower than they would usually be at this time of year – meaning it won’t be a brilliant season for the wildfowling sector of the shooting industry.
Canada and greylag geese have been seen at inland sites and on coastal marshes and estuaries across the UK. Mallard are present in reasonable numbers, while teal appeared in high numbers in the east of England in the last week of August. Small numbers of pink-footed geese were sighted in north Scotland, but were yet to be identified in northern England.
BASC wildfowling officer Mark Greenhough said: “I am not expecting a spectacular start to the season, as bird numbers seem to be a little down on what we may normally expect to see. “I think it will be a case of wait and see what the autumn migration brings our way in terms of bird numbers and how the weather affects their feeding once they arrive. I would like to take the opportunity to wish everyone a good season.”
This follows dour predictions about the 2016 grouse season, with many moors opting to cancel their August days in response to poor bird numbers. BASC Scotland’s Colin Shedden said: “Weather has been the critical factor, as always, and this has led to some areas being reliant on second broods and possibly having to delay the start of their shooting programme.
“Walked up shooting will be less affected than driven shoots. It is clear that for many, including those visiting Scotland from abroad, the season will start well while others will catch up a few weeks later.”