In the United Kingdom generally, over 40 bird species of conservation concern are dependent or partly dependent on remaining wet grasslands such as the Bishop’s Meadow – most are winter visitors.
To survive and breed they require feeding sources, lack of disturbance and suitable nesting sites. As an example, tall grass and sedge tussocks around reed beds provide an ideal habitat for birds such as snipe, which require tall vegetation for nesting. Snipe have been recorded in previous years on the Meadow.
On the Meadow, seeds from the grassland and plants such as teasel provide an important food source for finches and sparrows.
The trees and hedges provide food for blackbirds, dunnocks, song thrushes and long-tailed tits.
Species diverse hedgerows provide a variety of food at different times of the year and they provide excellent cover for nesting birds. With the River Wey flowing through the Meadow, it is also home to riverine birds and you may spot a kingfisher, grey heron or an egret.
Buzzards, red kites and kestrels are all becoming frequent visitors to the Meadow – especially around the time of the annual hay cut.
Farnham is surrounded by some of the best heath land in the UK. The Thames Basin Heath and the Thursley, Hankley and Frensham Common Special Protection Areas (SPAs) are a short drive from the Meadow. These internationally recognised habitats support important populations of vulnerable ground-nesting birds.
Species of interest to be seen in these locations include nightjar, woodlark and Dartford warbler.
To date 62 species of bird have been identified on the Bishop’s Meadow Trust land. Click the bird icon for a printable pdf file which you can take out with you. Perhaps you might see a new species and let us know?