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Free land surveys for south west farmers

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Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 11:53 UK time, Friday, 22 January 2010

RSPB Cymru is giving farmers in South West Wales the chance to have their land surveyed by trained volunteers.

The free Volunteer & Farmer Alliance (V&FA) surveys provide farmers with information about the birds on their land, and enable them to make the most of their farms for local wildlife.

One of the farms surveyed in 2003 was Fferm Tresinwen in Pen Caer, Pembrokeshire, where 45 different bird species were identified, including, bullfinches, starlings and skylark - three farmland species that have suffered losses in Wales during recent years.

The 155 acre farm owned by Mr Lewis was surveyed by RSPB volunteer, Stephen Berry.

Mr Lewis said: "The information provided by the RSPB was very interesting. I knew the farm had lots of birds, but now I know exactly where they are and how I can take the appropriate action to continue to keep them."

RSPB Cymru has carried out V&FA surveys for the past eight years. The surveys are done during April, May, and June by volunteers when the birds are breeding, with confidential maps being produced for farmers by November.
The surveys take place during the morning - when the birds are most active and the volunteers will cover an area of approximately 80 hectares. However if a farm is smaller than 80 hectares it could still be suitable and eligible for a survey.

Lapwings by Jodie Randall, rspb-images.com:
They provide useful information for the landholder, and for RSPB Cymru. The maps show breeding populations for birds of conservation concern, which can be used to identify areas where more work is needed to help these species.

These include: Lapwings, yellowhammers, tree sparrows and curlews, which have all seen marked declines in recent years, and are of the highest conservation priority in Wales.

Work is already being done around Wales to benefit some of the birds seeing the most decline and collecting more data for these and other species will help further.

Around 290 farms have been surveyed in Wales as part of the V&FA scheme during the last eight years.

Whether you are a farmer interested in having a bird survey done or a volunteer wanting to help please call Mark Vercoe on 01248 672864 or email mark.vercoe@rspb.org.uk.

The surveys are completely free and confidential, for more information about the scheme please visit www.rspb.org.uk/ourwork/farming 


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