Oxhill News

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South Warwickshire, England.

The Oxhill News

January 2012

This months News




The OWLS groupís latest talk in November was given by Matt Willmott from Natural England. Matt talked about the Environmental Stewardship scheme and the effect is has had on farmland birds which are amongst Englandís most threatened wildlife. Numbers have declined by over 80% in some cases e.g. grey partridges, corn buntings, tree sparrows, yellow hammers, linnets, turtle doves and skylarks.  The decline has been caused by the loss of in-field nesting habitat, lack of seed food during the winter and early spring, and insect rich foraging habitats. By chance, there was a great photo of a short eared owl and mention of a local sighting which Gren followed up (see his Nature Notes).

The ES scheme pays farmers at two levels according to their management of designated areas. The land is not just left wild but is managed to encourage wildlife and greater biodiversity. Plants are grown to give birds all year round food supplies and ground cover in which they can hide. Nesting/roosting sites are protected or increased and hedges are left for a minimum of three years between cuts to leave cover for shelter and berries for winter food. Matt knew several local farmers including Tom Heritage who is a part of the Higher Environmental Stewardship scheme and who was in the audience. There was therefore much friendly banter and discussion around the room, helped along by a pleasant glass of wine!

Jane Smith

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Last modified: January 10, 2012