Help build a bigger home for nature
Renowned for its shell-white beaches and machair habitats - a dune grassland found predominantly in eestern Scotland - the Isle of Coll is home to some of Scotland's most iconic and vulnerable wildlife, including the corncrake.
Our nature reserve here already covers around 14% of the island, and we now have the unique opportunity to expand our conservation efforts by purchasing Friesland Farm - a piece of land adjacent to our existing nature reserve. This is one of very few areas outside the reserve where corncrakes and other vulnerable species such as lapwings, redshanks, Arctic skuas and hen harriers are found.
With RSPB funding and a generous legacy donation we have raised a significant contribution for the purchase and set-up costs of Friesland Farm. Please join us in raising the final £44,000 by February 2019 to secure this amazing home for wildlife.
Why is Coll so special?
Well-known for its sandy beaches that rise to form large dunes, Coll is a spectacular Scottish island. The varied habitats, remote location and peaceful nature of RSPB Scotland Coll nature reserve make it one of the best places to see rare UK wildlife.
With the machair, grasslands and beaches also hosting many breeding waders such as lapwings, oystercatchers, snipe and dunlins, Coll is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest as well as a Natura 2000 site. Alongside the waders, the reserve is home to twites, skylarks and huge numbers of starlings – a few lucky visitors might even spot an elusive merlin or hen harrier.
Thanks to supporters like you, we manage the reserve as a working farm where agriculture and wildlife coexist. Our partnership with local farmers and crofters has resulted in plentiful skylarks and swallows feeding over the grassland, as well as the reserve holding more than 50% of the island’s calling corncrakes.
How will my support help?
The land we want to buy is critical to our corncrake conservation efforts. Every brood matters to corncrakes and Friesland Farm (pictured) is one of the few areas outside the Coll Special Protection Area that supports a population of them on the island.
Corncrakes, already one of Scotland’s rarest birds, have continued to decline in numbers over recent years. Once widespread across the UK, in 2018 only 897 calling males were recorded in a few isolated pockets in Scotland. The long-term survival of the corncrake as a Scottish breeding species is under threat.
Corncrakes thrive in rural crofting communities where the focus is on low-intensity food production and, thanks to our work with local farmers and crofters, corncrakes and other species thrive here. Purchasing Friesland Farm will allow us to continue this work on a larger scale – creating more opportunities for corncrakes to prosper.
With your support, we could secure this important land, allowing us to help more vulnerable species in this beautiful location. Together we need to raise £44,000 by the end of February 2019, so we can provide a bigger, better home for nature in Coll.