I am now back from my trip to Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire where I volunteered for a day with the RSPB Corncrake project on the Nene Washes (see here) and I photographed a red kite near Denton Woods in Northamptonshire (see here). Two birds with very different recent histories! I’ve now had a chance to refer to a couple of books which detail their recent fortunes.
If you haven’t come across this book ‘The Historical Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland 1975-1900’ by Simon Holloway published by Poyser I can thoroughly recommend it to you – it is one of my favourites. Using historical published data it maps out the distribution of Britain’s breeding birds in the Victorian era.
Here is the decline in the species since the 1968-72 survey – downward pointing triangles = loss, dramatic to say the least – all associated with the intensification of agriculture and the loss of hay meadows. (source BTO Atlas 2007-11)
And here is the distribution between 2008-11 – major success conservation success story as a result of the highly successful re-introduction story led by English Nature. You can clearly see the re-introduction sites in the Chilterns, Northamptonshire, Yorkshire and Scotland etc. (source BTO Atlas 2007-11)
Let’s hope that in 20 years time the corncrake map shows the same trends.