Our colleagues at the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) write: “Despite it being the wettest winter since records began in 1910 more than 500 farmers, managing nearly half-million acres of UK farmland, rose to the challenge of counting their farmland birds during the second week in February in the first Big Farmland Bird Count.
“In total, 116 different species were recorded. There were 11 red list species recorded – corn bunting, fieldfare, grey partridge, house sparrow, lapwing, linnet, skylark, song thrush, tree sparrow and yellow hammer. In addition to these, we also had sightings of twite, lesser spotted woodpecker, bittern, wax wing and great grey shrike and encouragingly, six of those red-listed species, linnet, yellowhammer, hedge sparrow, tree sparrow, starling and lapwing appeared in the top 25 of birds counted. Woodpigeon, blackbird, carrion crows, chaffinch and pheasants emerged as the birds seen on most farms. It was fantastic that farmers reported seeing 12 different species of raptor.
“A wide range of farming enterprises took part with the average farm size 924 acres, giving a total area farmed of nearly 500,000 acres. Nearly 80% of those taking part were in Environmental Stewardship.”