Every year, there is a day dedicated by the United Nations to raising awareness of the importance of biodiversity across the world. This is the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB for short), which is held on 22nd May.
The results are in for the 2022 GWCT Big Farmland Bird Count. More than 1,900 farmers and land managers overcame challenging conditions to provide a vital snapshot of the health of our cherished farmland birds by taking part in the count, between 4-20 February.
The GWCT is assisting with an exciting new project initiated by the Norfolk Estate, Sussex, to establish a breeding curlew population on the South Downs. The project involves a technique called headstarting, whereby eggs are taken from the wild (under licence), incubated artificially, and then chicks are reared to fledging age in enclosures before release into the wild.
Bank Holiday weekends are different for most people. Some like to get away, some spend time with friends and family, while some like to make the most of the time off to be at home. Mine was a mixture of all three.
Nature will be protected and enhanced on an unprecedented scale, with the formation of a pioneering new landscape-scale partnership of farmers in the Hampshire Avon Valley. Expected to cover over 40,000 hectares – or around one third the area of all England’s National Nature Reserves – the Environmental Farmers Group (EFG) is the first of its kind in the UK, with 80 farmers united to deliver biodiversity recovery, clean water in the River Avon, and net zero farming by 2040.
According to the Curlew Recovery Partnership, around two thirds of all curlew pairs breeding in the English lowlands occupy agricultural grassland habitats affected by seasonal grass-cutting. Clearly, this presents a major hazard to ground-nesting birds, with vulnerable nests and chicks hiding in hay and silage crops exposed to the whirring blades of mechanical mowers.
Solitary bees are often overlooked in the world of bees, with bumblebees and honeybees being much more familiar to most people. In fact, 90% of the UK’s bee species are actually solitary bees, with around 250 solitary bee species, only 24 bumblebee species, and just one honeybee species.
The GWCT is calling for volunteers to count ‘roding’ woodcock this spring. Potential surveyors are required to conduct two to four dusk surveys between now and 1 July, then enter their count data online.
Watch GWCT advisor Jess Brooks and her family describe their experiences of the Sustainable Farming Incentive on their Isle of Wight farm.
Bird-ringing still presents a very valuable tool for ornithologists, particularly for the study of survival and population dynamics. The GWCT’s Wetland research team runs two long-term woodcock ringing studies, one in Hampshire and one in Cornwall, where we ring a sample of woodcock each winter and record re-encounters with ringed individuals over subsequent years.