Skylarks benefitting from protected nesting area

Early evaluations indicate that recent measures taken by Warwick District Council to provide a site for endangered grass nesting birds to breed on St Mary’s Lands appear to be working.

In late February Warwick District Council installed temporary fencing around an area known as the Lammas Field, where skylarks and meadow pipits have historically laid their eggs in the long grass, a move which is strongly supported by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust;

Director of Reserves and Community Engagement at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, Karl Curtis commented:  “To successfully breed, these species need wide areas of long grass, which aren’t bordered too closely with other vegetation such as trees and hedges. The area chosen is therefore the perfect habitat. It’s essential that space is made for nature and protecting this small area from disturbance for the breeding season means that local people’s visit to St Mary’s Land is enriched with the sweet song of skylarks, just a stone's throw from Warwick town centre."

Councillor Liam Bartlett (Warwick, Aylesford Ward) added; “I’m very pleased with the positive feedback we have received from dog owners and other regular users of St Mary’s Lands about the conservation work we are doing to protect our native birds. Local bird-watchers have already observed a number of skylarks revisiting the site and displaying behaviour that demonstrates that they feel protected there. We’re cautiously optimistic that they will now go on to successfully breed.”

Local resident Bryony Dunnell, who regularly walks her dog around the Racecourse and St Mary’s Lands added; “Once I realised what the fencing is for, I fully understood the need for it to protect the nesting birds. It only affects a small area and there is still plenty of space for me to exercise my dog.”

A Local Wildlife Evaluation of St Mary’s Lands undertaken in 2011 and an Ecology Study performed in 2019 have shown a 25% decrease in pairs of skylarks and a 40% reduction in meadow pipits. Further estimates taken during 2020/21 have indicated a further decline.

The fencing and signage will be in place until early September.