The success of the RSPB’s Hope Farm project gave me a lot of pleasure when I worked for the RSPB and I hope its continued success brightens the life of my successor, the excellent Martin Harper, now and again too.
And it still pleases me that bird numbers continue to be so impressive on this rather ordinary farm in Cambridgeshire. This year’s results have quite a few highlights and just a couple of (temporary?) disappointments.
Low points: no breeding lapwing for the first time since lapwings recolonised the farm in 2006; greenfiches slump to their lowest level (disease?).
High points: corn buntings return to breed (2 pairs); skylark numbers remain very high; kestrels, wood pigeons, whitethroats and starlings all reach record numbers.
It’s really quite impressive given that this has been achieved alongside better than respectable crop yields.
If this type of thing were happening on every farm in the country we would not starve, farmers would not be poor and wildlife in our countryside would be very much richer. It’s a simple message but Defra doesn’t appear to be listening and the NFU are conspicuous in never trumpetting these fantastic results to their membership as an example to follow.
There can be few better examples of an environmental problem that has a proven solution which is not implemented because of government inactivity and industry indifference. So keep that in mind when we come to CAP proposals in tomorrow’s blog.