We are delighted to hand our blog over to a special guest contributor this month!
Keith Betton is the Chairman and County Recorder of the Hampshire Ornithological Society. Keith has kindly agreed to let us share his findings from his 2019 visit to Ashe Warren Farm, where he discovered a few lovely surprises.
The wildflower and grass turf strips at Ashe Warren Farm are attractive to breeding birds with good numbers of common birds but also some scarce and declining ones. On visiting in April 2019, I was amazed to find 14 pairs of Lapwings incubating eggs. This is a Red-listed species, treated as Vulnerable in the UK and Near-threatened globally. Farming changes and an increase in predators in England have driven the steep decline in the breeding population and since 1960 numbers have dropped by 80 percent. So, to find 14 pairs nesting was tremendous. These days they only succeed well when they can group together and work as a team to chase off predators. Also, the lack of foxes and badgers at Ashe Warren will have helped.
Another great discovery was a nesting pair of Stone-curlews. Although this is much rarer…