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- Information, advice or practical assistance is available on a wide range of bird-related issues/enquiries to various sections of the media; a charge may be made for this, depending upon the extent of the contact and the amount of time/work involved. Photographs may be available to media companies on request.
BBC Springwatch Programs
- An active and busy program of nest box provision and general bird species monitoring has operated on the Devon Fishleigh estate from early 2002, at the invitation and subsequent encouragement of the estate. From 2004 the estate also hosted the BBC Natural History Unit during annual production of its three-week live broadcasts in the Springwatch series. Importantly, the Fishleigh nest boxes figured prominently in those broadcasts from the outset and seem to have been a main deciding factor in the BBC’s selection of Fishleigh for this purpose.
However, annually increasing numbers of production staff involved on-site (hundred plus) perhaps inevitably resulted in increased pressures both on birds directly involved and on those around the periphery of all this activity. In some cases to the point where birds died or nests were destroyed and in my opinion it was no longer possible to adequately control those factors. In addition to which, my contracted production workload of trying to control all this activity increasingly detracted from time available for important ongoing routine annual monitoring, a primary objective of the nest box scheme. In consequence of which in summer 2007 I made clear to both the landowner and the Corporation that I would not be prepared, as far as these things rested with me, to involve myself or the nest box scheme with any further production during 2008 or beyond. By far the most unfortunate outcome being the cessation, after six years, of what was designed and indeed promised to be, in conservation terms, a very profitable long-term species monitoring program.
The total number of birds ringed on Fishleigh Estate from spring 2002 to the end of summer 2007 was over 3,700, of 38 species. This includes over 2,600 Blue and Great Tits and 168 of the Red-listed House Sparrow, mostly as nestlings. Plus 925 individual nest record cards were submitted to the British Trust for Ornithology’s National Nest Record Scheme. Whereas the list of bird species recorded on the estate during that same period stands at 103 – a most impressive total for a Devon farmland estate.
Similarly to other Devon farms surveyed for their bird population content, slightly less than 50% of species using the Fishleigh estate are classified as either Red- or Amber-listed, signifying their official UK status as in need of urgent conservation assistance.