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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: The effects of grass seeding of heathland on habitat use by whimbrel Numenius phaeopus during the pre-egg-laying period on the islands of Fetlar and Unst, Shetland, Scotland

Published source details

Grant M.C., Chambers R.E. & Evans P.R. (1992) The effects of re-seeding heathland on breeding whimbrel Numenius phaeopus in Shetland. II. Habitat use by adults during the pre-laying period. Journal of Applied Ecology, 29, 509-515


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Employ areas of semi-natural habitat for rough grazing (includes salt marsh, lowland heath, bog, fen) Farmland Conservation

At the same study sites as (Grant 1992), (Grant et al. 1992a) found that areas of heath seeded with grass after ploughing or harrowing, and older pastures, were the main early spring feeding areas for at least 90% of whimbrel Numenius phaeopus pairs in the study. They monitored habitat use by individually marked whimbrels, during the pre-laying period in spring 1987 and 1988, on five Shetland Island heathlands. The birds made little use of unimproved heathland (where most nest) or heathland areas seeded without ploughing/harrowing. The greatest quantities of prey species - earthworms (Lumbricidae) and larval crane-flies (Tipulidae) - were found in the soil of ploughed/harrowed seeded areas of heath and older pastures, with more recently seeded areas holding the highest masses of crane-fly larvae.

 

Plough habitats Bird Conservation

At the same study sites as Grant (1992), Grant et al. (1992) found that areas of heath seeded with grass after ploughing or harrowing, and older pastures, were the main early spring feeding areas for at least 90% of whimbrel pairs in the study. Habitat use by individually marked whimbrels was monitored during the pre-laying period in spring 1987 and 1988, on five Shetland Island heathlands. The birds made little use of unimproved heathland (where most nest) or heathland areas seeded without ploughing/harrowing. The greatest quantities of prey species (earthworms, oligochaetes, and crane-fly larvae, tipulids) were found in the soil of ploughed or harrowed seeded areas of heath and older pastures, with more recently seeded areas holding the highest masses of crane-fly larvae.