Friday, 28 November 2014

Guest blog: BASF delighted to be sponsoring Big Farmland Bird Count

by Graham Hartwell, Environmental Stewardship Manager, BASF plc, Crop Protection

We at BASF are delighted to be continuing our sponsorship of the Big Farmland Bird Count and are very much looking forward to the launch event on 5 December that will be kindly hosted by Patrick Barker at Stowmarket.

I'm also keen to share in the enthusiasm of the GWCT, RSPB, LEAF and FWAG Association in support of the farmland bird ID days planned for January.

That so many farmers responded to the 2014 Big Farmland Bird was testament to the good work and farm management that many farmers have already carried out to help farmland bird numbers.

I hope to learn more from Peter Thompson and Patrick Barker who will keep us all on our toes with bird identification tips and their experience of "making it work" in a practical way.

Resilient habitat creation, well planned field margins and attention to detail are the recipe for success and I was particularly pleased to see so many birds recorded by the Pitts family at Mears Ashby in the BFBC results of 2014. BASF are pleased to be able to work with the Pitts family to communicate their splendid results to many visitors.

Though recent wet summers and hard winters have been difficult for many species, Andrew and William Pitts' approach to habitat creation and winter food provision have paid dividends and bring a resilience to many of the species located on their land.

Their good work is mirrored by James Hinchliffe at Rawcliffe Bridge, Yorkshire who has also made it work for him on his land. As he enters his 12th year of data collection I'm hoping his computer behaves this year and allows him to record his data too - we are already seeing good sized flocks of 'little brown jobs' on the field margin strips.

James will be hosting a training day at Rawcliffe Bridge in January with the RSPB's Chris Thompson and Fraser Hugill of CFE to enlighten us - they always deliver great value and we look forward to an informative day on this well established family farm. Why not register your interest in attending an ID day, click here for details and to get your invite.

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