It’s been a very busy start of the year for Shifting Sands.
We have been finalising our designs for our rabbit habitat enhancement plots and getting all sorts of surveys done on our sites. As we are working on mainly SSSIs (Sites of Special Scientific Interest), our sites are home to many rare species which we wouldn’t want to disturb with the work we are doing for Back from the Brink. Because of this, we have a very detailed survey programme before work takes place to make sure we know exactly what’s there and so we can accurately see the difference Shifting Sands is making.
The ground work and practical conservation tasks sometimes take all of our focus, and it’s important for us to remember that engaging people is just as much a part of conservation work.
Last week, I was invited by the RSPB to speak at an event. This event is held to thank farmers in East Anglia for getting involved with Stone Curlew conservation and helping these rare birds on their land.
Collaborating with lots of organisations gives us the opportunity to get involved with events like this which is great for promoting the work we’re doing, but also meeting like-minded conservationists and hearing about the other projects going on in the region. It was great to be a part of this event - there were fantastic talks given by the RSPB and the Nature Friendly Farming Network, and I met lots of farmers who were very interested in our project and the work we’re going to be doing.
Shifting Sands is also hoping to benefit Stone Curlew. An increase in rabbit populations can help this bird as rabbits create many areas of bare ground and bring lots of stones and flint to the surface, creating ideal conditions for Stone Curlew nests. Some of the farmers also raised very interesting questions and concerns - if rabbit numbers continue to fall, this could mean predators such as foxes, buzzards and stoats move to some of our rare farmland birds as a food source instead.
Overall it was a great event and I hope to attend many more like this over the course of the project.