Farming for the Future - Autumn Update

An update on what's been happening during the autumn months, in the Farming for the Future project

Autumn this year has been a particularly busy time for the Farming for the Future project. Following the creation of shallow scrapes and ditches across six different sites of the Nene Valley in August 2019 (including at Summer Leys and Irthlingborough Lakes and Meadows nature reserves) we have restarted monitoring these features with thanks to the wonderful commitment of numerous volunteers carrying out bird surveys.

At the end of October, we organised bird training sessions with Nenescape to give an opportunity for volunteers to meet (socially distanced of course!), brush up on their wetland bird identification knowledge, and provide introductory training to beginners interested in bird watching. These were fantastic sessions and we were even able to catch a starling murmuration as dusk settled over the valley at Stanwick Lakes during one of these meetings.

Results from our surveys so far show the sites are providing habitat for waders such as snipe and lapwing, with other wildfowl making appearances, including teal, wigeon and shoveler.

A glossy ibis was very well received earlier this month at Ferry Meadows, Peterborough, and little egrets continue to be seen at Irthlingborough Lakes and Meadows.

glossy ibis - HBrown

Glossy Ibis - H Brown

Surveys will continue through to May next year (assuming covid-19 restrictions permit) in order to capture the overwintering and breeding waders season.

Next year, we’ll also be carrying out botanical and invertebrate surveys on meadow sites. This is to generate baselines ahead of work and to assess change after restoration and creation has been carried out. Training and walks will be organised to support survey volunteers with any level of knowledge, from beginners to experienced ecologists.

If you’d like to give your time to contribute to botanical and invertebrate monitoring, please get in touch with Helena Darragh, helena.darragh@wildlifebcn.org, 07540 670229 to register your interest.