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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Farmland Birds in Decline

This scruffy little chaffinch is to illustrate an article I have just been reading. Quite apart from climate change, in the UK there have been many changes to the agricultural scene over the last two or three decades and some of these have affected wildlife. Some species have declined but some have increased over the period and are continuing to do so. Among the losers have been skylarks, corn buntings, tree sparrows, bullfinches and turtle doves, while song thrushes and some of the rarer birds have been increasing.

I have been lucky this spring and summer to have seen or at least heard, many species of birds. The chaffinch was singing in a tree above the lane in Marshfield, near Bath at the end of June where I was able to try out my new camera and zoom lens for the first time. In farmland I have also seen skylarks, thrushes corn buntings and yellowhammers in good numbers as well as many other species like grey partridge, little egrets, herons, quail (heard). I could go on, and while none of my species seen is particularly rare or even endangered it is worrying to note that there are still marked declines in formerly common species.

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