Watch the farmland birdie

Whitburgh Bird ID DayA Bird Identification Day was held on Tuesday 27 January at Whitburgh Farms, Midlothian to prepare Scottish farmers for one of the biggest volunteer-led surveys of farmland birds in the UK.

Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust hosted the day, by kind permission of Mr Alastair Salvesen, which attracted people from throughout Scotland keen to get their eye in before the Big Farmland Bird Count took place nationwide between 7 and 15 February.

The 2015 Big Farmland Bird Count was run in partnership with LEAF and the FWAG Association and, together with 12 UK-wide ID days, is generously sponsored by industry partner BASF.

Dave Parish, GWCT’s senior lowground scientist, outlined the significance of the count: “The BFBC was initiated in 2014 to highlight the good work done by farmers and gamekeepers in helping to reverse the decline in farmland bird numbers and we want to help them record the effect of any conservation work on their land.

“The Whitburgh ID day was an excellent introduction to identifying those bird species volunteers can expect to find during their actual counts. Some species have very subtle differences and it is sometimes easier to identify them by song. During the count itself, we are asking people to spend 30 minutes noting the species and number of birds seen on one particular area of the farm.”

Photo Caption: On the lookout for farmland birds – participants of the Whitburgh Bird ID day.