Farming for bustards and linnets…

Posted on Friday, October 11th, 2013

…and plenty more besides! We have been doing lots of work on our second release site over the last few months, all targeted at great bustards but with lots of benefits for other farmland birds too. The site has a range of options funded by Higher Level Stewardship, the government agri-environment scheme, providing nesting habitat, chick rearing habitat and winter feeding habitat for birds such as skylark, lapwing and corn bunting.

Even this summer, before most of these options were established, the site proved successful in attracting stone-curlews, lapwings and even a calling quail. As we approach the winter, an area of barley and rape which has been left uncut is now supporting a flock of at least 300 linnets. Some of these (by our count, about 200, with a few goldfinches too!) are in the picture above. Merlins have been seen there several times. Bustards have given it their seal of approval too – birds released elsewhere have found it independently, and spent long periods there.

We have only been managing the site for just over a year, and as the habitats develop it should become ever more attractive to the wide range of threatened farmland bird species which live on and around Salisbury Plain.

Categories: Great Bustards, LIFE +, News

Andrew Taylor

Posted by Andrew Taylor

Andrew has worked for the RSPB in Wiltshire for three years, mainly as part of the Wessex Stone-curlew Project. In March 2011,he joined the LIFE+ team.

2 Responses to “Farming for bustards and linnets…”

  1. Chris Griffiths says:

    Why is it that Salisbury Plain is being used primarily as the site for reintroduction of the Great Bustard?
    Also is the reintroduction of the Great Bustard having any effect on other species in the area? Positive or Negative?

    • Andrew Taylor says:

      Chris,
      Salisbury Plain was one of the last areas in the UK where great bustards survived before becoming extinct in the early 1800s. It was specifically chosen because it is thought not to have changed too much since then, compared to other areas where bustards used to occur. I think the effect of the project on other wildlife can only be positive, as the low intensity farming we promote to support bustards is excellent for a wide range of other farmland wildlife.
      Andrew

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