Farmers and land managers around Tomintoul and Glenlivet are being offered the use of specialist equipment to improve habitats for nationally declining wading birds.
A rush topper and weed wiper are available for loan to farmers to manage rushes on their land and create better conditions for feeding and nesting birds, and to improve grazing for livestock.
The machinery was purchased through the RSPB Scotland-led Peesie Project, with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund provided through the Tomintoul & Glenvliet Landscape Partnership (TGLP). The project aims to protect and create the best possible habitat for lowland farmland waders such as lapwing, known locally as peesies, curlew and redshank.
Andy Duffus, who farms at Auchriachan, Tomintoul, used the equipment last year to cut an area of rank rushes in front of a bird hide.
He said: “Since cutting back the rushes last autumn, the fields have attracted more lapwings this year and we have seen a lot more chicks and birds feeding around the muddy scrapes. It’s also improved the quality of grazing for the cattle”.
TGLP land management officer, Polly Freeman, said: “The equipment is available for loan to farmers annually between August 1 and March 1 which is the recommended time to use the equipment outwith the nesting and breeding season. There is a small administrative fee of £70 which includes delivery and collection.”
For more information on borrowing the machinery, please contact 01309 611335 or 01807 580350.