This project worked with farmers and land managers throughout the Inner Forth to help them find out more about the wildlife that uses their land and to undertake small-scale habitat changes or enhancements to help re-establish wildlife corridors on their land. This project helped to achieve IFLI's aim to create a landscape flourishing with biodiversity. Creating a better environment for nature also creates a more pleasant place for people to walk and cycle around the Inner Forth.
To build knowledge about species using packets of land, fifteen bird surveys and thirteen conservation audits were carried out largely by volunteers. This included land around historic buildings as well as farmed land. Each survey or audit was mapped and a report provided to the owner or manager.
New wildflower meadow planting took place at Kinneil Estate (2016), Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway (2015) and Balfornought Farm. Other small-scale habitat restorations undertaken at Balfornought Farm (2017) included planting of native hedgerow trees and seeding wild bird cover. Through working with Falkirk Council's Ranger Service, a series of nest boxes were installed in the Falkirk area. Barn owl, tawny owl, tree sparrow, tawny owl and kestrel were targetted and subsequent checking of the boxes by suitably trained Rangers and volunteers has shown use and breeding success in 2018. You can follow the Falkirk Wildlife Conservation Group who are looking after the boxes via their facebook page.
Top row: A tawny owl nest box; creating the wildflower meadow at Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway. Bottom row: wild bird seed mix in flower; preparing ground for the Kinneil Estate wildflower meadow.
In March 2017 a land managers' advisory event was held at Alloa Tower to bring land managers from around the landscape together, to share best practise and expertise and to promote opportunities to enhance habitats for wildlife on their land. Talks from Buglife Scotland, RSPB Scotland, Falkirk Council, Delph Pond Forum featured and 37 delegates enjoyed networking and site visits.
You can view the presentations from the day below:
Inner Forth Futurescapes - A Big Problem to a Big Solution (David Anderson, RSPB)
B-Lines - Creating Insect Pathways (Suzanne Burgess, Buglife)
Falkirk Wildlife Conservation Group (Lesley Sweeney, Falkirk Council)
Delph Pond Habitat Restoration (John Lamond, Delph Pond Forum)
Creating Green Roofs Around Falkirk (Jack Aitken, Falkirk Council)
Restoring Wetlands at Black Devon (Hannah Sharrat, RSPB Scotland)
Future plans after March 2018: The Falkirk council Ranger Service, through their volunteer group will continue to monitor and manage the owl and kestrel nest box scheme. Land managers involved in habitat creation will manage these areas going forward. Towards the end of the project, some nest boxes were provided to a community group in Alloa who plan to go in to the local schools to show the kind of nest boxes which can help birds and then put them up in local woodlands, helping to inspire the next generation about their local wildlife.