An ornithologist member of FoSML has made the following observation about the skylarks overgrown home.
“I’ve just returned from walking my dogs on St. Mary’s Lands after an absence of a year due to surgery. This is an area I loved to visit and listen to the skylarks as they soared advertising their territories by a spectacular song-dance, but none were visible or audible this morning. In mid-July I would have expected to hear and see them as it is still their breeding season.
I walked around the green plastic fencing and eventually on the third side found a laminated A4 sheet informing me that this area was fenced off to protect the skylarks nesting ground. Indeed they do nest on the ground, and have done so in this area for several years.
According to the RSPB
‘Their breeding season is from April to August and they generally make 2-3 nesting attempts during the breeding season.
Their choice of nesting site is influenced by the height and density of the surrounding vegetation – ideally 20-50cm. They will stop nesting if the vegetation becomes too tall or dense to allow them easy access.’
The grass sward inside the fencing was at least chest high and dense. If it is indeed the case that this is ‘too tall and dense’ to encourage nesting then perhaps whosoever authorised this should have looked deeper into their particular nesting requirements? If these red-listed birds are to thrive they need to produce more than one brood a year and I sincerely hope that this measure, designed to protect their nesting ground, has not instead had the opposite effect.