Objective 2: Target habitat management for key species as identified by the landscape character action plan
2a – Elan Rare Birds
The Elan Links area is a traditional stronghold for upland breeding birds such as golden plover, red grouse, curlew, merlin, ring ouzel,whinchat, and skylark. The importance of the area is recognised by designation as a Special Protection Area (SPA) across much of the area. In addition, the area has been targeted for action as an Important Upland Bird Area (IUBA) by RSPB and CCW (now NRW).
This project will improve key habitat areas and make other interventions to contribute towards improving the breeding success of component bird species in the upland breeding bird assemblage at Elan.
In very general terms the priority species are dependent on vegetation mosaics, both in terms of density and height, at a variety of spatial scales as breeding habitat. All except red grouse are dependent on foraging habitat away from the immediate vicinity of a nest site and this is frequently “below the mountain wall”. Golden plover and curlew also benefit from damp to wet soil conditions. Again, in very general terms, declines in populations within the Elan Links area are considered most likely to be associated with a reduction in livestock management practices that created and maintained heterogeneity of vegetation. Planned interventions are aimed at recreating this heterogeneity using sustainable methods – these being delivered by supporting projects throughout Objectives 1-3 under a Natural Heritage Delivery Contract.
2b – Elan Rare Species
The Elan Links area is a traditional stronghold for many rare species and habitats. In order to undertake targeted actions for these species to ensure they survive and thrive in the future it is important to understand where they live and any changes there may be in their abundance over time,including in response to works undertaken through Elan Links. This project will combine the skills of professional nature conservationists and trained volunteers to search for rare species, monitor biodiversity changes and undertake activity to support important species and habitats in conjunction with the other natural heritage projects.