Skylark protection measures to continue in Warwick - The Leamington Observer

Skylark protection measures to continue in Warwick

MEASURES to protect endangered bird populations on St Mary’s Lands in Warwick are to continue.

Warwick District Council’s Cabinet agreed to undertake a further trial this summer to aid the recovery of skylarks which have historically nested and raised their young in the long grass.

The trial will run from late February to the end of August on an area known as the Lammas Field where the birds 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.

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.

Officers recommended councilors agree to continue with the trial for another two years while also putting plans in place for a proper public consultation, as well as commissioning a follow up ecologist’s study.

An ecologist’s study was commissioned to evaluate the impact of the measures in 2022 and 2023 and found that skylark numbers were improving.

The study found however that the area north of the public right of way was not a popular location and the fencing should be moved to the south instead.

The ecologist added that unless there were other wildlife gains to installing permanent fencing, it seems too early to commit to that cost. She said she would prefer to continue with the temporary fencing in the alternative location and re-visit in a further two years.

The options before councillors were to do nothing and end the trial, continue with a modified area of fencing for a further two years or move to a permanently fenced off area that is seasonally open with permanent signage and bird watching spots along a ‘Skylark Trail’.

The Cabinet agreed on Thursday February 8 to continue the trail for another two years in a slightly modified area while also forming a working group to look at a more permanent solution to protecting the birds.


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