Friday, 18 October 2013

The Cranborne Estate - ahead of the game!

Viscount Cranborne and his estate team receiving the trophy from GWCT's Mike Swan
Congratulations to the Cranborne Estate who has been awarded the GWCT's Wessex Grey Partridge trophy this year. The estate team has put in place a programme of measures which combine together to support grey partridges (and many other farmland bird species) throughout their life cycle. These include improved hedgerow management, grass margins, beetle banks and insect rich brood strips to provide food for chicks.

There is also abundant winter escape cover, large areas of wild bird seed mixes and a generous winter and spring supplementary feeding programme. All of this has been coupled with targeted predation control to maximise the number of pairs that successfully rear their young. This has resulted in an increase from just a few pairs to a total of 34 pairs in 2012. Sadly the dire summer of 2012 saw very few chicks surviving, and resulted in a reduction to 18 pairs in the spring of 2013. Despite this halving of the pair count, there were many more partridges to be seen this autumn than last year, and we can anticipate continued population growth from here on. 

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