Page last updated at 14:03 GMT, Thursday, 4 September 2008 15:03 UK

Bee sanctuary becomes geese haven

Bumblebee sanctuary  (Picture: Uwe Stoneman)
The meadow will reinstate itself next summer

A specially designed bumblebee meadow in Perth and Kinross has been cut to make way for the arrival of thousands of Pink Footed Geese.

The birds are due to winter at the site at the Vane Farm nature reserve beside Loch Leven.

The bumblebee sanctuary was planted two years ago as a haven for threatened species such as the Great Yellow and the Blaeberry Bumblebee.

Conservationists said the field would become a bee meadow again next summer.

It was created by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) in partnership with RSPB Scotland.

Farming method

Once cut short, the stubble will be left to provide a giant bird-table of seeds for the geese.

They return in their thousands to the site from Iceland each year between September and October.

The RSPB said the bumblebees, of which 10 species were spotted in the field over the summer, would now die off with only the queen remaining in a nest below ground.

When the geese leave the site in March, the meadow will naturally reinstate itself in time for the arrival of a new generation of bees.

Vane Farm warden Chris Rodger explained the advantages of this more old-fashioned type of farming method.

He said: "It's ideal to cut or graze meadows as late as possible and leave some stubble over the winter to benefit birds such as the Pink Footed Geese and other farmland birds like the Skylark and the Yellowhammer."

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