Wild bird surveys carried out across East Sussex by RSPB

FARMS in Uckfield, Lewes, Ringmer, Robertsbridge, Stanmer, Eastbourne and Brighton were the sites for special surveys of wild birds this year.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ volunteer and farmer alliance surveys have shown how vital the county’s farmland is to providing habitats for birds, even more vital now in harsh weather.

The free surveys, carried out by volunteers, help farmers identify birds of conservation concern on their land. The RSPB can then advise them on how to help these species and make the most of their farms for wildlife.

Bruce Fowkes, RSPB South East’s farmland adviser, said: “We’ve had a great response from farmers in East Sussex wanting to take part. 

The volunteer and farmer alliance is all about helping them to help the birds. Distribution maps produced from the surveys show where priority species are so that target conservation measures can be put in place on farms.”

In East Sussex farms covering 1,504 hectares were surveyed this summer. In the South East, the top three birds seen during surveys were the chaffinch and blackbird which were both seen on 97 per cent of farms, the blue tit which was present on 95 per cent and the wren, on 93 per cent.

Some of the least seen birds included key species of conservation concern such as the corn bunting and the grey partridge, seen only on 16 percent of farms surveyed.

The surveys take place over three visits between April and July, in the early morning when birds are most active.

Work is being done with farmers in East Sussex to help benefit some of the birds seeing the greatest decline.

The data from surveys will add to the understanding of how these birds are doing and enable further conservation action to be taken.

It’s hoped to increase the number of surveys next year.

Any farmers or volunteers can contact Eleanor Burke at: eleanor.burke@rspb.org.uk or by calling 01273 763616.