Farmers, landowners and gamekeepers were recently invited by GWCT to take part in two wildlife survey trials on the 3rd and 4th on February, which will help inform DEFRA’s future ELM’s scheme on the possible inclusion of wildlife monitoring and surveying.

Participants from the Pewsey Downs Farmers and the Eastern South Downs Farmers Group took part in training with GWCT’s Roger Draycott and Jess Brooks on how to take part in the Big Farmland Bird Count and later went on a farm walk with practical ID session.

High winds on both days made for less than ideal surveying conditions with birds not easy to spot for the Eastern South Downs Farmers Group, despite finding some ideal habitat of wild bird cover bordered by mature hedges. The Wiltshire group had better luck with a slightly more sheltered position adjacent to mature hedgerows which had the benefit of supplementary feeding being undertaken in that area. Despite the strong winds, an impressive variety of birds were spotted with the help of farm cluster facilitator Simon Smart, which included yellowhammer, skylark and linnet. Hopefully lots of birds will be counted as soon as storm Ciara has passed!    

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