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Last Updated: Monday, 3 July 2006, 12:45 GMT 13:45 UK
Threatened bird returns to farm
Lapwing (pic by RSPB)
Breeding UK lapwings dropped by 21% between 1994 and 2005.
A Scottish couple have prompted the return of a declining UK bird species after restoring former wetlands on part of their farm.

Angela and Alex McColl encouraged the return of lapwings after allowing the land on their farm near Dunblane to revert to its natural condition.

The move at Loig Farm has also resulted in it being used by 60 other declining bird species.

The couple have now been honoured by the RSPB for their work.

Land at the 92-hectare farm was drained more than 20 years ago but, when the drainage system became blocked, water started to pool which created wet, grassy areas and the start of a new habitat.

'Quick return'

The wetland area at the organic farm is now much larger and has provided a haven for other wading birds as well as wildfowl.

The initiative came as the number of breeding lapwings in the UK dropped by 21% between 1994 and 2005.

Mrs McColl said: "It's been all about letting the farm do what it does best.

"We are letting the land revert to its natural condition, which has made it so much more attractive to wildlife.

"Lapwings and redshank were quick to return and were rapidly followed by many other species."

'Natural opportunity'

The McColls believe their decision to go organic four years ago has enabled wildlife to flourish through leaving crop stubbles over winter and bringing in cattle grazing controls.

The couple beat off competition from 239 other farmers to win the RSBP's Operation Lapwing competition.

RSPB Scottish advisory officer Andy Wight said: "Loig Farm is a fantastic example of a farm being improved for wildlife by using the natural opportunities its location provides.

"The new wetland area had been a difficult area to crop and the return of lapwings and other birds shows that restoring the wetland was exactly the right thing to do."


SEE ALSO
Wetland birds hit hard by drought
19 Jul 05 |  Science/Nature
Farmer boosts lapwing population
05 Jul 04 |  Southern Counties

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