Topic: Loss of wildlife - Mink?

RAB    -- Apr-26-2017 @ 5:50 PM
  I noticed last year that on the Ant there was no birdlife: no Coots, Greebe, Moorhens, or ducks. There were a few swans and a few Greebe on Barton but otherwise nothing.
There was a letter in the EDP yesterday about the same at Horning and the Ant is the same this year. There is no birdlife at all.
The locals blame mink. Are numbers being controlled and can the birds be re-established?

JP    -- Apr-26-2017 @ 6:34 PM
  Evening RAB,

We support and help trap and dispatch mink as part of the Norfolk Mink Project.

A network of rafts and traps across the Broads, including the Ant valley, are managed on a day to day basis by a large number of volunteers managed by a team of catchment coordinators. In the 14 years the project has been running it has made a significant difference.

So in short yes we are tackling the problem and expect to see bird populations recover.



RAB    -- Apr-26-2017 @ 7:16 PM
  Thats great to hear.
I would love to see the numbers of birdlife  recover.
Can I volunteer to help? I live locally and I'm retired so can give some of my time.
Fine Lady Anne E488

JP    -- Apr-26-2017 @ 7:32 PM
  I’m sure the project would be delighted to have another volunteer on board. Let me find out the best person for you to contact and I will PM you tomorrow ?

jbensley    -- Apr-27-2017 @ 6:17 AM
  Otters are the problem 100% sure of this they will take anything that moves and that will include eggs, there are videos on you tube from the broads where otters have got hold of geese by the neck and dragged them under, fisherman have complained that they have been getting out of control for ages but know one listens but now people are noticing the lack of wildlife maybe something has to happen. You used to be able to go from martham to Somerton and see an abundance of all sorts of wildlife but unfortanatly that is no longer the case.

Steve51    -- Apr-27-2017 @ 7:51 AM
  I'm sorry to disagree with the OP, but I don't see this lack of wildlife.

I spend most weekends (3 day ones!) plus occasional longer periods on the boat and apart from seasonal fluctuations I see no decrease at all.

Regarding coots, in January last year I counted a flock in excess of 200 on Ranworth Dam and have seen similar sized flocks this year. They are just more abundant in the colder months.

At this time of year almost half the bird population are tucked away somewhere sitting on a clutch of eggs.

Earlier this year I saw the largest skein of greylag I have ever seen.

Steve. CM1 and NR12

Marshman    -- Apr-27-2017 @ 8:07 AM
  Steve - don't worry you are absolutely right and I am afraid JP is not even bothering to talk to his own environmental officers if he thinks mink are prevalent in the Ant Valley. I think over the last year or so they have trapped a couple on Catfield Fen but the mink rafts they put out to monitor mink are not showing the evidence others would like to believe!

And yes I know otters take birds and especially young ones but that is not the norm - why would you bother with the feathers bit if the rivers are absolutely stuffed with fish?

And you are right - they are sitting on eggs generally now and often move to the quieter dykes and margins. Incidentally my garden is empty of birds - perhaps I should blame the mink too! Bird populations move in cycles and coot in particular move a lot, mainly to Holland and France, but people deny that too!!

Every year this question comes up, every year the same answer is given and yet they now want to believe a man who regretfully does not seem to know!!

Steve51    -- Apr-27-2017 @ 8:46 AM
  MM said; " they are sitting on eggs generally now and often move to the quieter dykes and margins"

The lower Ant is a good case in point. Between Ant Mouth and How Hill, the creation of flood relief / set-back dykes has more than doubled the surface area of water.

If I were a feathered thing looking to raise a family with all those boats roaring up and down the river, I know which bit I'd choose!  Smile

Steve. CM1 and NR12

Harlequin    -- Apr-27-2017 @ 10:56 AM
  " they are sitting on eggs generally now and often move to the quieter dykes and margins"

I agree with both MM and Steve51 on that.
I do not know how many Mink there are or where they are. I absolutely agree that every effort should be continued to eradicate them. So the more effort on that front the better.
As for Otters...of course they take a few birds and a goodly number of fish. But that is nature and all part of the real environment. They are after all an indigenous species so unlike the mink belong here.
They are also territorial so at no place will they be "getting out of control" as JBensley stated. An otter has a particular sizeable area and defends it from other otters.
Some anglers do not like the fact that otters "compete" for the fish in the rivers as any lower number reduce their chance of a catch. However those anglers that like to be at one with nature and wish to test their skill against the real environment are happy with otters.
If it is numbers and size of fish an angler craves they are surely best to fish in an overstocked lake fishery that contain numerous large fish.

Marshman    -- Apr-27-2017 @ 10:57 AM
  And of course as far as the otters are concerned, it is usually fishermen and associates who complain about them!!! Whilst it is quite difficult to know numbers exactly, it is generally accepted by those involved that the Broads have been "full" of otters for a number of years - otters are extremely territorial and do not tolerate others in their neighbourhood and the young rather than just adding to the population in any area, are sent packing with a flea in their ear!! For what its worth the most recent fish estimates from EA surveys suggest they have little or no impact on fishing by us humans as numbers of fish remain healthy and indeed perhaps growing.

Young otters are known to travel miles to new and other less otter populated areas to establish their territories.

ChrisHGB    -- Apr-27-2017 @ 11:09 AM
  There are also 70+ pairs of Marsh Harrier in Norfolk not averse to young waterfowl.


I have swallowed the anchor but
have not tried mud weight yet!

Harlequin    -- Apr-27-2017 @ 12:03 PM
  Yes lots of Marsh Harriers... maybe they should be shot!!!
As far as I can see the wildlife on the Broads is as rich and diverse as at any point in my lifetime (I was born here). A natural balance seems to have been largely restored by allowing some predators back and sorting some issues like habitat and pollution.
That has been helped by some legislation and is also a feather in the cap of the BA.
In my opinion the conservation bodies have a mixed record. Some have been excellent both at their aims whilst facilitating other people and activities. Others have been exclusive, self centred and myopic.

This message was edited by Harlequin on Apr-27-17 @ 1:05 PM

PAMPATHA    -- Apr-27-2017 @ 6:48 PM
  The effects that otters have on the fish population was clearly demonstrated about 3 years ago when there was an explosion of prymnesium between West Somerton and Potter Heigham.  There were massive numbers of dead fish lining both banks.  The fish varied in size from small fry to large bream and pike.
It's not that the otters were eating all the fish, its' that the fishermen are incapable of catching them.

Dzign    -- Apr-27-2017 @ 9:42 PM
  otters are a problem that will grow in my opinion


Harlequin    -- Apr-28-2017 @ 12:08 AM
  How can the problem grow when as Marshman has already pointed out that the Broads are already full otter wise?

Otters had always been on the broads until man virtually eradicated them. The fish, birds and other wildlife survived their attentions for thousands of years and will do so into the future.

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