Decision time for endangered birds at Warwick's St Mary's Land - The Leamington Observer

Decision time for endangered birds at Warwick's St Mary's Land

Leamington Editorial 11th Feb, 2022   0

COUNCIL bosses are set to decide whether to continue protecting endangered bird populations on St Mary’s Lands in Warwick.

Warwick District Council will consider a report to undertake a further trial this summer to aid the recovery of skylarks and meadow pipits which have historically nested and raised their young in the long grass.

From late February to the end of August the council is proposing to reinstate temporary protective measures around an area known as the Lammas Field where they are nesting.

The continuation of these measures, which has support from the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, local bird protection groups and the Warwick Natural History Society, follows a sharp drop in numbers of ground nesting birds breeding in the location in recent years.

Ward councillor Liam Bartlett said: “An evaluation of last year’s trial indicated that putting the temporary protective measures in place may have had a positive effect.

“Whilst this is encouraging, we do need more data to better understand the impact and see whether leaving this habitat undisturbed during the crucial nesting season encourages the birds to return in greater numbers to breed here. A full review of the impact of these measures, over multiple years, will then be possible.

“We want to thank the public, in particular dog owners for their continued understanding and support while the temporary barriers are in place.”

However, the plans have faced criticism from conservation group The Friends of St Mary’s Lands.

The group is disappointed plastic fencing could continue to encroach on the space enjoyed by residents and dog-walkers.

It also called the report from WDC – which recorded 11 nesting sites compared to eight previously – flawed due to lack of visits, particularly in the second half of the nesting season. They also claimed the grass was longer than recommended for the ground-nesting birds which they fear will not continue to breed in the area.

A spokesperson said: “We would be disappointed if Warwick District Council, having sat on our report for three months and, yet again, with no public consultation, choose to disregard the wishes of local users of the land and erect yet more green plastic fencing. This would fly in the face of clear scientific facts and reduce the area available to the public still further.”

If agreed at a Cabinet meeting next week, the measures will be installed from February 18 until the end of August.

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