10 February 2016

Big Farmland Bird Count at Scone Palace – 13 species in 30 minutes

Dr Dave Parish and Dick Playfair at SconeThis is the week of the annual Big Farmland Bird Count, a UK-wide exercise organised by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), where farmers, landowners and land managers are encouraged to survey the wild birds on a part of their ground for a period of just 30 minutes.

Dr Dave Parish, senior scientist with the GWCT, was out in the grounds of Scone Palace, Perth, the site of the GWCT Scottish Game Fair, to see what bird numbers were making their presence seen and heard – fortunately it was a bright day with intermittent sunshine and some welcome early warmth.

13 species were spotted on one corner of the estate, which serves as car parking during the Scottish Game Fair, these being: wood pigeon (31), pheasant (6), blue tit (5), crow (5), robin (2), buzzard (1), great tit (4), goldfinch (22), chaffinch (1), starling (1), mistle thrush (1), blackbird (2), jackdaw (1).

Dr Dave Parish said: “This was really a very satisfactory result and in line with what we would expect on this type of ground, grassland with mature trees and shrubs close by, in early February.

“I hope that we get a good response to the survey both in Scotland and the whole of the UK for what will be our third Big Farmland Bird Count - it will be interesting to see what other species are recorded on other landholdings, and especially whether there are any surprises.”

Sarah Butler, Chief Executive, Scone Palace said: “This is a very encouraging result and we’re pleased to see that the grounds of Scone Palace are home to such an array of birdlife. Most of our visitors associate a visit to the Palace with seeing our glorious peacocks so it’s particularly encouraging to demonstrate the presence of many other species of bird on the estate. A strong ecosystem of wildlife is important to the sustainability of any rural estate, and we are heartened by these recent results that our efforts to preserve and develop are effective.”

The GWCT Scottish Game Fair takes place in the grounds of Scone Palace, Perthshire from 1 to 3 July 2016.

Photo captions:

Dr Dave Parish (left) and Dick Playfair of GWCT doing the count.

Notes for editors:

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – providing research-led conservation for a thriving countryside. The GWCT is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife since the 1930s. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 14 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies.

* GWCT’s Big Farmland Bird Count is sponsored by the NFU and delivered in partnership with the Farmers Union of Wales, Ulster Farmers’ Union, NFU Cymru, NFU Scotland, Kings, CFE, FWAG, National Sheep Association, Camgrain, LEAF, the CLA and Perdix.

ISDN radio broadcast line - at our Fordingbridge HQ we have an ISDN radio broadcast line, allowing us to conduct interviews remotely.

For information, contact:
James Swyer
Telephone: 01425 651000

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