Farmland Birds at The Hawthorns

September 20, 2012

The Hawthorns took part in the RSPB Volunteer and Farmer Alliance Project 2012 this summer. This was undertaken by a local RSPB volunteer and provided a survey of the birds breeding on the farm. The project began in 1999 and now over 6,000 farms in the country have been surveyed providing a wealth of information to the RSPB and farmers. The RSPB volunteer is provided with training so that the surveys can be conducted with confidence and then carries out three or four early morning surveys between April and June.

The RSPB volunteer called at the farm one evening to discuss the area of the farm, studied maps and took advice as to where the most habitat rich locations were situated. He then outlined that he would be undertaking three or four (very) early morning surveys. After each survey we would be provided with a species list of birds spotted that day. At the end of the survey period the results would be analysed and a map produced showing the location and behaviour of the birds seen throughout the project. The results are made available for conservation purposes and help contribute towards the Bird Conservation Targeting Project (BCTP) and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) atlas.

To date results have shown that Environmental Stewardship for birds has resulted in a drop in the decline for farmland species in the local area.

It was encouraging to see that some of the bird species were seen and heard on all of the four survey visits this included Blackbirds, Blackcaps, Blue tits, Buzzards, Carrion Crows, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Dunnock, Great tits, Greylag Geese, Lapwings ,Linnets, Mallards, Robins, Skylarks, Stock Doves, Swallows, Whitethroats, Wood pigeons, Wrens and Yellowhammers.

The RSPB website is very useful and can help you identify birds by using the following web link http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdidentifier/form.aspx

Here is a brief overview of some of the species noted above.

Blackcaps

Male                                                      Female

Blackcaps are more or less resident in this area of the country. They tend to favour sites that have woodland and dense undergrowth including areas of scrub. The male Blackcap has a particularly attractive song.

Chaffinch

Male                                                      Female

The chaffinch is one of the most common birds found in Britain and Ireland; nevertheless it is still a joy to see around the farm. It is able to live in a wide range of habitats and can often be heard if not seen.

Chiffchaff

Chiffchaffs are quite small birds, usually being about 11cm in length. They are most distinguishable by their song and their dark coloured legs. Chiffchaffs like habitats with trees and shrubs.

Linnets

Male                                                        Female

Male linnets acquire pinky patches on their head and breast during the breeding season but loses the colour in the winter months. They belong to the finch family and are a common resident in this area.

Whitethroats

Male                                                      Female

The whitethroat can often be seen between May and September and is characteristic of scrub, hedgerows and bramble covered ares. They eat insects and berries and overwinter in Africa.

The pictures shown here were taken from the RSPB website. The results here form a small part of the RSPB Volunteer and Farmer Alliance Project 2012 at The Hawthorns. More information on the bird survey and species identified on the farm will be released in a short time.

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