Page last updated at 05:26 GMT, Monday, 19 April 2010 06:26 UK

Waders survey launched in Strathspey

Lapwing. Image: RSPB Images
Lapwing are one of the species found in Strathspey

Wild bird conservation charity RSPB Scotland has launched its third annual survey of farmland wading birds in Strathspey.

The count aims to help assess the health of populations of birds such as lapwing, curlew, redshank and snipe.

RSPB Scotland has been concerned about declines in some species between 2000 and 2005 in the area.

Karen Sutcliffe, Insh Marshes National Nature Reserve manager, said Strathspey provided key habitats for waders.

She said: "Despite the recent declines Strathspey is an incredibly important area for farmland wading birds.

"In fact, it is probably one of the most important in the whole of the UK.

"I think this is because the mix of cropping and cattle farming plus, of course, the presence of a large wetland area, makes for an ideal mosaic of habitats for the birds."

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