Sunday, 29 March 2015

SOS

Save Our Skylarks!

The signs are in place and the birds are singing and displaying, but it remains to be seen if the last few remaining pairs of Skylarks on Wanstead Flats are given the chance they need to successfully breed this year.

Early indications suggest there are as little as five pairs of Skylarks currently holding territory on this important grassland habitat on Wanstead Flats. This small fragile population are on the verge of being lost forever on one of London's last remaining breeding sites. This once common bird of our British countryside has seen a dramatic decline in its numbers, and has worryingly slipped onto the BTO's Red List of Birds of Conservation Concern in the last few years, having seen more than a 50% decline in its UK breeding population in the last 25 years. 

The biggest threat to our Wanstead Skylarks isn't the loss of suitable breeding habitat or the changes to agricultural farming methods but something much simpler...DISTURBANCE.

Sign, Wanstead, Skylark
Keep a look out for these signs around the breeding areas of Skylarks and Meadow Pipits on Wanstead Flats
That's right disturbance - it's a minor miracle that Skylarks have ever breed on Wanstead Flats considering its geographical location and its popularity, but somehow they do and that's worth fighting for. 

So what can be done about it? It's quite simple really, as the sign above clearly shows, between the dates of the 31st March through to 31st August - stick to the well trodden paths which criss cross the Flats and always keep your dog under control and on a lead when in the clearly signposted conservation areas, and that's it - simple.

Let's all play our part in helping and protecting this wonderful songster on Wanstead Flats...before it's too late!

Ground Nesting Birds, Wanstead
The Skylark and its typical ground nesting habitat on Wanstead Flats

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