You will find out about all the exciting stuff going on with the RSPB in the east of the UK. We cover our sites in the following counties: Norfolk, Suffolk, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, and some of our great Lincolnshire ones. So if you are if you have never heard of the Strumpshaws and Snettishams or Stour Estuary or Sutton Fens here is you chance.
Blogger: Rachael Murray, Media Assistant
It's that time of year when many great volunteers in the Eastern Region get their boots on and stomp around farmer's fields, absorbing the glorious sunrises whilst surveying the farmland birds.
The RSPB's Volunteer and Farmer Alliance Project (V&FA) has been running for twelve years in the region. The scheme aims to help reverse the decline of farmland bird populations by providing farmers with information on the birds breeding on their land. This information can help farmers to ensure that they are making space for nature on their farms by creating habitats for our vulnerable species.
Volunteers arrange from three to five farm visits between April and July, ideally around dawn (yes, many yawns!) During these visits, the volunteers will survey birds and their activities from the field boundaries. The survey helps farmers to understand how many of each species are present particularly key species of conservation concern such as skylarks and lapwings. With this information we can suggest to farmers land management advice tips e.g. how to create skylark plots for safe breeding.
This year 140 volunteers have signed up to help on 100 farms. People can undertake the surveys on their own or in groups. New volunteers who may not be as confident in their surveying skills can be matched with more experienced volunteers. Volunteers just need to know their birds, and be able to walk around fields mapping them for up to four hours.
Annie Sadler, Volunteering Development Officer for the RSPB says: "We are keen to hear from anyone that is passionate about wildlife, and wants their boots mucky in support of bird species that rely on a farmland habitat. This year we have a gap in volunteers in Boston, South Lincolnshire and Maldon, on the Essex Coast, so if you live in these areas we would particularly love to hear from you! We also need volunteers to help with collating the maps using GIS, so if you have an understanding of GIS and have some spare time in the autumn, please do get in touch."
Why not help shape the countryside for the benefit of wildlife by taking that step for nature yourself? For more information about V&FA please contact Emily Field on 01603 660066 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Skylark plot - home sweet home thanks to volunteers and farmers. Credit: Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)