February 8th   Leave a comment

One of the joys of the winter are the stubble fields: both for the freedom they allow you to walk over the landscape and the wildlife they contain. There has been a shift in recent years back to stubble fields, with fewer fields being directly ploughed and resown in the autumn. Stubble fields may have even been about 50% of the fields around Crail for most of this winter. Forty years ago spring sowing was common and the birds benefitted from the many stubble fields – the spilled crop that stayed in the field all winter as well as late summer weeds growing undisturbed and setting seed for another winter food source. The shift to autumn sowing coincided with declines of many farmland bird species. There were many contributing factors but the direct loss of stubble fields and many consequential indirect effects were certainly important. So a shift back to spring sowing, for even some of the fields around Crail is good news. At this time of year they inevitably all start to disappear, which is always a shame, but it is also a hopeful sign that spring is on the way.

A curlew, perfectly at home in a Crail stubble field

Posted February 8, 2018 by wildcrail in Sightings

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