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Major habitat creation at Belvoir Farm welcomes rare birds

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A major habitat creation and stewardship project has seen the return of several species of rare birds.

In February 2022, Ben Larter, an ornithology expert who lives on Belvoir Farm and Keith Challen, Belvoir Farm manager, teamed up to record 47 species of bird, of which seven are rare, as part of the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s 2022 Big Farmland Bird Count.

The pair were excited to record sightings that included Yellow Hammer, Reed Bunting, Brambling and Chaffinch. Several rare birds were spotted with the appearance of Grey Partridge, Willow Warbler and Cuckoo particular highlights.

Keith Challen and Ben Larter inspecting wildflowers (56184156)
Keith Challen and Ben Larter inspecting wildflowers (56184156)

The 2022 Big Farmland Bird Count involved almost 1,500 farmers who spotted some 130 species across more than 1.5 million acres in the UK.

Keith Challen, Belvoir Farm manager said: “Small-scale conservation initiatives such as rainwater harvesting and creating flower rich margins and grass buffers make such a positive difference to the environment, which all links into the bigger picture of conserving farmland bird species.

“It’s been great to hear the cuckoo on the farm at Belvoir. The project has helped provide habitat friendly areas for so many different species of bird and the results have also allowed for more scattered grazing for deer and hares.”

Bee hives at Belvoir Farm (56184160)
Bee hives at Belvoir Farm (56184160)

Dr Roger Draycott, GWCT head of advisory, who runs the Big Farmland Bird Count, said: “We would like to thank everyone who took part for demonstrating that farmers and land managers can lead the way in protecting our countryside alongside effective food production.

“Every count submitted helps us to build a detailed national picture of the state of Britain’s farmland birds, allowing us to better understand what is really going on in our countryside. It clearly shows that farmers, land managers and gamekeepers care for the land they work and, given that they look after 71% of all the land in the UK, that is extremely good news for the future of our treasured bird species."

Bird feeders at Belvoir Farm (56184158)
Bird feeders at Belvoir Farm (56184158)

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