Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Callows Farmers

The Callows farmers really get behind conservation projects and the wader grant scheme farmers are no different.  Often they go out of their way to help us in our daily work; many lend us their boats, so we can survey their islands on the Shannon. Others change their whole stocking system around so we won’t have to survey a field with a bull in it. Still more keep watch over the birds between our survey visits, filling us in on anything we may have missed and letting us know when predators are about.

Steven unlocking his boat for us. © K. Finney 

A number of our farmers have gone far beyond the requirements of their management agreement to improve their land for breeding waders. Several farmers have granted permission for scrub and tree removal, while others have allowed drains to be reprofiled and the creation of wader scrapes. On Inishee the farmers worked closely with us and allowed us to erect a predator proof fence, a first for Ireland.

Mute Swans using Brendan's newly created wader pond. © K. Finney
All have partaken in regular workshops on wader ecology and receive numerous advisory visits and phone calls each year. Many ring us for advice or “just to pass things by us”. It’s a system that works well and today it was really great to see it pay off for one of our farmers.

When cleaning his drains last autumn Brendan asked us to advise him on how to make them more suitable for chick rearing. He duly implemented our recommendations and today we recorded up to six pairs of Redshank, two pair of Lapwing and a pair of Mute Swans using his field. A great result.

Brendan and myself talking about his plan to usurp Inishee.
© K. Finney

His land is adjacent to Inishee and he is determined to rival its success. In fact he prides himself on the fact that the Lapwing moved over from Inshee to rear their chicks on his land!!

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