Grey partridge are a fantastic indicator of farmland ecosystem health. They are the ultimate “farmland” bird and thus reflect the health of the farmland. The GWCT Partridge Count Scheme is an existing monitoring scheme which aims to count spring pairs and autumn coveys, and it’s easy to participate in:
- Only takes one-two evenings/mornings, twice a year for an average holding.
- Register on GWCT website to receive a welcome & instruction pack.
- You’ll need two people, binoculars, farm field map and a 4WD vehicle.
- Choose calm, dry weather, and aim to count in the first or last 2-3hours of daylight
- Count all your land if possible, but on especially large farms try to choose an area greater than 100ha of representative open farmland (particularly arable crops and grass leys).
- Drive around the headlands of smaller fields, looking ahead and inwards. For larger fields, you may need to drive up every other tramline to cover the middle.
- Spring count takes place in March-May, to count breeding pairs.
- Autumn count takes place after harvest and before ploughing (late August to mid September), to count coveys and record numbers of adults and young in each covey.
- Submit count forms to GWCT to receive yearly updates on your partridges, including how well you are reaching your individual farm target (supplied by the GWCT) and how you compare regionally and nationally.