Landfill Communities Fund
Grants from the Landfill Communities Fund and Scottish Landfill Communities Fund support vital community and conservation projects across our reserves.
Conserving curlew at Forsinain Farm
Curlew are large wading birds, instantly recognisable by their slender, down-curved bill, long legs, and unmistakeable ‘cour-lee’ call. This distinctive bird is one of Scotland’s most rapidly declining breeding bird species, falling by a staggering 61% since the mid-90s.
At the heart of the RSPB’s Forsinard Flows Nature Reserve in the north of Scotland, is Forsinain Farm, one of the country’s most important sites for breeding curlew. This once pristine grassland and wetland landscape has degraded dramatically over the years, due to reduced livestock grazing and the resultant encroachment of invasive vegetation across the site. The support of FCC Communities Foundation (a not-for-profit business that awards grants for community projects through the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund) has enabled us to successfully tackle these issues.
With the establishment of a controlled livestock grazing regime and completion of complementary vegetation cutting, we have reduced the overgrown invasive vegetation that had become established across these wet pastures. We also restored the farm’s marshy conditions, by reinstating water control and creating shallow ponds, called scrapes. Together, these have helped restore attractive nesting habitat – favoured by breeding curlew and other wetland birds (like lapwing and greenshank) – and provide ample muddy margins where curlew chicks and other short-billed birds can access an abundance of nutrient-rich invertebrates. The grant awarded also supported the construction of a new visitor footpath and viewing hide, from which visitors can enjoy views, overlook the scrapes and the wildlife spectacle on display.
Protecting birds and their young at Portmore Lough
Portmore Lough is a lowland, wet-grassland reserve in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. A £50,000 grant from the Alpha Programme has helped the site put measures in place to protect a vital breeding area for birds directly below the visitor viewing platform. Using 1.2km of new fencing, the reserve has been able to create a safe space for lapwing, snipe and redshank to lay eggs and rear their chicks without the threat of predators. A series of shallow pools have also been created, so the chicks can feed from the larvae and insects found within their muddy banks. The reserve has put up new signs with information to help explain the annual lifecycles and breeding behaviours of the local birds to visitors.
Establishing natural habitats on a restored coal mining site
Former coal mine Fairburn Tips is located within our Fairburn Ings nature reserve in West Yorkshire. The RSPB previously held a management agreement over the land, but through funding from the Biffa Award and Banister Trust, we have been able to purchase 105 hectares of land, recruit 40 volunteers and work on a conservation plan to improve and protect key habitats from acid dry grassland to reedbeds and lowland heathland. This work has helped protect the home of local birds including bittern, reed bunting, grasshopper warbler, skylark and bearded tit.