This is the week of the annual Big Farmland Bird Count, a UK wide exercise organised by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, where farmers, landowners and land managers are encouraged to survey the wild birds on a part of their ground for a period of just 30 minutes.
Dr Dave Parish, senior scientist with the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust on Monday was out in the grounds of Scone Palace, Perth, the site of the GWCT Scottish Game Fair, to see what bird numbers were making their presence seen and heard – fortunately Monday was a bright day with intermittent sunshine and some welcome early warmth.
13 species were spotted on one corner of the estate, which serves as car parking during the Scottish Game Fair, these being: wood pigeon (31), pheasant (6), blue tit (5), crow (5), robin (2), buzzard (1), great tit (4), goldfinch (22), chaffinch (1), starling (1), mistle thrush (1), blackbird (2), jackdaw (1).
Dr Dave Parish said:
This was really a very satisfactory result and in line with what we would expect on this type of ground, grassland with mature trees and shrubs close by, in early February.
I hope that we get a good response to the survey both in Scotland and the whole of the UK for what will be our third Big Farmland Bird Count - it will be interesting to see what other species are recorded on other landholdings, and especially whether there are any surprises.
The GWCT Scottish Game Fair takes place in the grounds of Scone Palace, Perthshire from 1 to 3 July 2016.