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    • New option for corn buntings

      8th Oct 2015
      Corn buntings, or fat bird of the barley as they are sometimes known, occur in relatively good numbers across the chalk soils of the South Downs.  They are often associated with spring barley, hence the name, but will also use winter cereals and rough grassland to nest and feed. Corn buntings or 'fat bird of the barley' are a regula...Read More...

      Pallid Harrier returns to the Downs

      2nd Oct 2015
      In 2011, a juvenile Pallid Harrier turned up on the South Downs at the Burgh near Arundel and caused quite a stir amongst not only local but also national bird watchers.  It was thought that it would be a one off event, but over the last few days a juvenile Pallid Harrier has been spotted in the same area again. Usually found in parts of East...Read More...

      CSS record keeping requirements released

      29th Sep 2015
      As the new Countryside Stewardship Scheme approaches the end of its first application window, details of the record keeping requirements have been released.  These are necessary to satisfy the EU and provide evidence that public money is being spent effectively and delivering the intended results. Record keeping and evidence will be needed wh...Read More...

      Arun to Adur Farmers Group is launched

      3rd Sep 2015
      Following a successful application to the first round of the Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund, the newly formed Arun to Adur Famers Group is now up and running.  Consisting of 24 farmers covering some 8299ha, the group spans the chalk downland between the Rivers Arun and Adur.  It is one of 19 successful applications across Engla...Read More...

      Stone-curlew fledging success on the Downs

      1st Sep 2015
      After a run of three unsuccessful years, a pair of breeding stone-curlew have managed to fledge a chick on the South Downs this summer.  Despite failing at their first breeding attempt to an unknown cause, they re-nested and managed to successfully fledge their chick at the end of August. As was described in a previous blog post here, stone-c...Read More...

      CSS Higher Tier deadline extended

      27th Aug 2015
      Natural England have announced that the deadline for Countryside Stewardship higher-tier applications has been extended to the 31st October. This is only relevant to those that have submitted a successful Expression of Interest (EoI) form. This does not apply to mid-tier applications, which still have a deadline of 30th September....Read More...

      CFE seed offer

      24th Aug 2015
      The Campaign for the Farmed Environment (CFE), working with BASF, Limagrain, Syngenta and Kings have developed fantastic seed mixes with UK native wildflowers and grasses that are available at discounted prices on a first come first served basis.  They include the Operation Pollinator Annual Wildflower seed mix, a Bees'n'Seeds mix...Read More...

      Bringing water back onto the Downs

      24th Jul 2015
      Dewponds are a fantastic feature of the South Downs landscape, and were traditionally used by roving shepherds as a water source for their sheep.  Their ability to collect water from dew, mist, rain and surface run-off meant they were very useful in areas where water would otherwise soak into the chalk.  Over the years, as the landscape b...Read More...

      Countryside Stewardship Scheme July update

      16th Jul 2015
      The Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) is now 'live', and more information about the application process and supporting information is being released.  Below are a series of links that you may find useful if you are looking into the possibilities of the scheme and how it may apply to you: The Middle Tier of Countryside Stewardship...Read More...

      Pollinator awareness week

      14th Jul 2015
      This week (13th-19th July) is Pollinator Awareness Week, which provides an opportunity to raise awareness of pollinators needs and encourage everyone to take action to support them.  A number of South Downs farmers are already doing this by managing habitats such as pollen and nectar mixes and species rich grasslands. To help promote Pollinat...Read More...

      CFE Pollinator photographic competition

      8th Jul 2015
      As part of the CFE's Pollinator work with Syngenta and Kings, they are organising a photographic competition -  “Picture a pollinator” - to find the best pollen and nectar plot.  Many of you have pollen and nectar plots as part of ELS and HLS agreements, and it would be great to see yet another award come to the South Down...Read More...

      South Downs Farmer wins FWAG Silver Lapwing Award

      18th Jun 2015
      A female farmer has been recognised by the farming and conservation industry for her outstanding efforts to promote good habitat management on the farm she runs in the South Downs National Park. Annie Brown of Lower Paythorne and Perching Manor Farms, Sussex, is the first woman to receive the highly-coveted ‘Farming & Wildlife Advisory Gr...Read More...

      Countryside Stewardship management options

      16th Jun 2015
      As more information about the new Countryside Stewardship Scheme emerges, a list of management options, the amount you'll be paid for doing them and what management is required is now available here on www.gov.uk. By clicking on the option you are interested in, you can also see what tier of the scheme it is available under (Middle and/or High...Read More...

      Countryside Stewardship Expression of Interest 2015

      12th Jun 2015
      As part of the new Countryside Stewardship Scheme, an Expression of Interest (EoI) will be required if you would like to apply for the Higher Tier.  This will allow Natural England to assess the priority of potential applications and allocate their resources accordingly.  As they are scored at the beginning of the process, it will also gi...Read More...

      South Downs farmers take part in million acre count

      8th Jun 2015
      The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) has just announced the results of its second Big Farmland Bird Count, which took place across the country last winter. Although this was only the second year of the count, nearly one thousand  farmers, gamekeepers and land managers  looking after nearly one million acres of farmland spent...Read More...

      New look SDFBI website

      21st May 2015
      Over the last few weeks, we have moved sdfarmbirds.com to a new web host and developed a new look for the website.  We hope that this will make it easier to navigate and find the information you are looking for. Now that the update is complete, a few changes have already been made already.  Clearer maps showing the results from the 2014 ...Read More...

      Can you give lapwings a helping hand?

      5th Mar 2015
      Lapwing are often thought of as a bird of wet grasslands, but on the South Downs, a large part of the population breed on the drier chalk soils.  For this they prefer to use bare or sparsely vegetation soil, where they make a tiny scrape to lay their eggs.  As we are now in March, and the weather seems to be warming, it won’t be lon...Read More...

      Blogs, blogs and more blogs

      27th Feb 2015
      Blogs are a great way to share thoughts, viewpoints and information, which is the main reason we have added one to the SDFBI website.  Topics covered in blogs are wide and varied, and often provide interesting food for thought for the reader.  With the aim of providing a hub for advice and information, the following blogs may be of inter...Read More...

      Yellow eyed thick-knees return to the South Downs

      19th Feb 2015
      The stone-curlew is a summer visitor to England, breeding on downland, heathland and arable farmland.  The UK population is estimated at approximately 350 pairs, and confined to two core areas, Wessex in Southern England, and the Brecklands in East Anglia. In the early part of the 20th Century, an estimated population of 60 pairs bred on...Read More...

      Winter farmland bird flocks

      5th Feb 2015
      Over the last week or so, the weather has taken a decidedly wintery turn.  The frost, and even some snow, has arrived and the northerly wind provides a biting chill on top of the Downs.  As a result many farmland birds will move to find readily available food sources, often in quite large numbers.  Wild bird seed mixtures, winter stu...Read More...