Volunteers for RSPB Farmland Bird Surveys in the Upper Wensum Valley.

Following from the very successful Volunteer and Farmer Alliance project, which came to an end in 2013, the RSPB has now embarked on a new farmland bird population monitoring project within the UK. This project is centred on 27 discrete areas called Farm Advisory Focus Areas. These have been chosen as they are areas where priority birds of conservation concern are present. Within these, volunteers undertake surveys to monitor population trends of the priority bird species. We then provide targeted advice to farmers and landowners to ensure proper conservation management. This tests whether we can make a clear, demonstrable difference at a landscape scale as well as a farm scale to farmland bird populations.
Within the RSPB Eastern England Region we are currently concentrating effort on two Focus Areas, The Fens and the Upper Wensum Valley. In each Focus Area, 30 farms are being recruited and the number of breeding territories of 10 target species; lapwing, tree sparrow, grey partridge, corn bunting, turtle dove, yellow wagtail, skylark, linnet, reed bunting and yellowhammer determined from 4 surveys undertaken by volunteers during the breeding season. Initial surveys of each farm set the baseline of what exists before conservation management, guided by expert RSPB Farmland Advisors, is implemented. The plan is to then return to the recruited farms on a 3 year rolling programme to assess population changes.
For 2015, I hope to recruit 15 new farms in the Upper Wensum Valley Focus Area and I need a complementary number of volunteer farmland bird surveyors. I hope members of Wensum Valley Birdwatching Society will be keen to take part in this exciting project.
For more details please contact,
Andrew Wilkinson
Conservation Monitoring Officer Tel : 01603 697592

If members are intending volunteering for this survey could they please notify committee member Alwyn Jackson on 01362-637752 OR email ajackson752@btinternet.com so we are aware of the level of the Society’s involvement. Thank you.

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