News Items

Results of Annual 2013 Photographic Competition

The Annual Report sub-committee have now viewed the entries to the 2013 Annual Report Photographic Competition. They have, finally, decided, from the high quality pictures received, that the winner this year is Barry Pummell with his picture of a Grey Partridge. This will feature on the front cover of the Annual Report. So, congratulations Barry.
All other entrants have been contacted and advised of the decision. Well done to them as well. Hopefully they and many other members will enter the future competitions.

Volunteers required 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 famers 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

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