We are fortunate to have two expert speakers: Des Sussex, Team Leader from Natural England will set the context and outline reasons for the catastrophic decline in farmland birds across the country; Neil Bucknell from the Berkshire Ornithological Club will discuss the key farmland bird species in the North Wessex Downs AONB, their habitat requirements and why some areas are better for them than others. Finally, Des will cover the three big Countryside Stewardship options that benefit farmland birds. There will be plenty of opportunity for Q and A’s.
In addition, Henry Oliver, Director of the North Wessex Downs AONB, will provide an update on the latest information about the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme.
Des Sussex has been a Lead Adviser for Natural England since 2004, with much of his work helping farms in various stewardship schemes in Berkshire and neighbouring counties. Now, as team leader, he covers a variety of work in Berkshire and manages Natural England’s National Nature Reserves from the Chilterns down to the Solent. He has previously worked as a nature reserve warden, countryside ranger, ecologist, and also spent three years as a science teacher.
Neil Bucknell was brought up on a farm on the edge of the North Wessex Downs AONB. An active birdwatcher and surveyor since his school days, he has been both chair and president of the Berkshire Ornithological Club. He was a member of the groups that organised the first Berkshire Bird Atlas in 1987-9 and the second one between 2007 and 2011. He also co-authored two editions of The Birds of Berkshire (1996 and 2013) in which the results were published. He is a member of the Conservation Committee of the club and involved with organising surveys of farmland as part of their activities.