6 September 2002

Farmers play part in bird protection

ONE of Europes rarest birds – the corncrake – has successfully bred in Yorks for the first time in decades.

A farmer in the Pennine Dales Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) alerted DEFRA of the birds presence. Ministry staff and the Yorkshire Dales National Park then developed a management plan allowing farming to continue while the birds were protected.

Meanwhile, farmers are helping to boost grey partridge populations in Scotland by taking part in a scheme that helps them grow bird-friendly crops on their land.

Results from a pilot project carried out on 40 East Lothian farms show that, in the first count since crops were sown in spring this year, 136 pairs of birds were recorded.

And a Co Durham farming couple benefited after 15,000 birdwatchers descended on the village of Bishop Middleham to see a pair of southern European bee-eaters.

The bee-eaters – the first to be seen in Britain for nearly 50 years – nested in a quarry next to Stuart and Daphne Andersons Farnless Farm.

To ease congestion, Mr and Mrs Anderson charged visitors to park in one of their fields. &#42

Bee-eater here now… After a

50-year absence from UK skies.