Big bird count at local farm

As part of the Big Farmland Big Count initiative, a count took place last month at Whitburgh Farms, Pathhead, hosted by owner Alastair Salvesen.

Friday, 2nd March 2018, 2:53 pm
Photo shows from left: Graham Rankine (gamekeeper, Whitburgh Farms), Alastair Salvesen (owner, Whitburgh Farms), Dave Parish (GWCT) and Ross MacLeod (GWCT). Photo credit: Keith Cowieson

Despite the snowy conditions for the count, which involved 30 minutes observation over one area of cover crop, 14 species of birds were counted totalling 106 individuals. Highest in number were chaffinch, with a flock of 60 flitting between the crop and one of the nearby feeders, 19 yellowhammers and a few reed buntings also. Five grey partridge were also spotted.

Whitburgh is now one of 10 sites across northern Europe taking part in the PARTRIDGE project, funded by the North Sea Region Interreg programme, which aims to show what can be achieved when the right measures are put in place by farmers, and how these should be part of local agri-environment schemes.

Dr Dave Parish, head of Lowland research for Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust Scotland, said: “Despite the weather it was a very good count, and evidence that measures being taken at Whitburgh Farms are working and working well. Moreover, one of the main elements at all the PARTRIDGE project demonstration sites is a new cover crop comprising many species of plant, all providing different resources at different times of the year. Whitburgh has already started introducing this crop with more planned for planting in 2018.”