Visit to Glen Prosen
The Working for Waders Raising Awareness and Sharing Best Practice Group met at Glen Prosen this week to see some of the work being undertaken to conserve waders on an upland hill farm and grouse moor.
Estate Manager Bruce Cooper (who is a joint chair of the sub-group) was on hand to talk visitors through the estate’s management, particularly in relation to waders breeding in lambing fields and the significance of commercial forestry plantations.
The team at Glen Prosen has spent a lot of time thinking about how best to mitigate farming and forestry for the benefit of waders, and their success was obvious during a short walk along a farm track with oystercatchers, lapwings and curlews providing a constant backdrop of song. Lapwing chicks scuttled through the rushes, and common sandpipers called from the riverside on a gloriously warm June morning.
Representatives from SNH, RSPB Scotland, GWCT and the Heather Trust discussed the practicalities of habitat management, and there was a good turn-out from local gamekeepers, naturalists and land managers who all joined the discussion. Particular emphasis was placed on marking vulnerable nests in areas of agricultural activity, and visitors were able to draw on experience which seems to suggest that a single well-defined route around lambing fields allows the shepherd to minimize the risk of crushing eggs and disturbing chicks. This may be more applicable to some farms than others, but this turned into a useful discussion which demonstrated the value of sharing knowledge between partners.
Working for Waders is still in its infancy, but the initiative has great potential to make a real difference for wading birds.