The North Wessex Downs is a home to some of our most precious farmland birds

The farmed landscape of the AONB provides a habitat for lots of rare bird species.  Listen out for the ‘peewit’ call of the lapwing or the distinctive chirruping of the skylark.  The stone curlew with its long yellow legs and round yellow eyes is a regular summer visitor and field margins provides food and shelter for other species such as the yellowhammer and stonechat.

Species may be seen across the North Wessex Downs in any farmed area – of course, they are notorious for not staying in any one place so bird-spotting is just a very good excuse for getting outside and doing lots of exploring!  Many farmland species, such as the lapwing and the stone curlew, nest on the ground so it is vitally important that during nesting season in particular (March to July) walkers stay on waymarked paths and dogs are kept under close control on a lead.

For more information on identification of birds, where and when to see them, visit the RSPB website.

Image: Yellowhammer (adult male)