Somerset and Carolyne Charrington of Treshnish farm, Argyll & Bute have been chosen as finalists for the RSPB Nature Of Farming award for the UK. The winner is chosen by your vote.
You can read more about it here.
If you want to support wildlife friendly farming at Treshnish or Mull or Scotland in general, please cast your vote here for Somerset and Carolyne Charrington, Argyll & Bute or call 0870 601 0215 before 31st August and you also have a chance of winning a weekend away in a luxury hotel.
Later I will post hundreds of reasons why they deserve to win but perhaps these testaments will be enough to persuade you.
‘Please vote for Carolyne & Somerset in the Nature of Farming awards, neck & neck so need all the votes you can muster‘
Gordon Buchanan, wildlife cameraman and filmaker
‘The quality of species-rich areas on the farm were exceptional, a testament to the previous and current sympathetic management. I have not seen such a diverse and colourful sward at any other farm or nature reserve in Scotland before‘ Dr Tom Prescott, Species Conservation Officer, Butterfly Conservation Scotland.
‘That’s excellent news. No wonder you get such good moths, not to mention other wildlife.’
Roy Leverton author of Enjoying Moth on hearing of Treshnish winning the Scottish, Nature Of Farming award.
‘It scored top marks as they tick all the right boxes on the score sheet. It’s not just ‘good’, it’s ‘excellent’ throughout. The place has been transformed from being over grazed to a biodiversity hotspot. I always knew it was an amazing place but yesterday’s visit exceeded expectations.’ Dave Sexton, RSPB Scotland. You may have seen him on BBC Autumnwatch and Springwatch.
‘Have sent in my vote for Treshnish. Good luck to you all at Treshnish in getting enough votes.’
Sandy & Brian Coppins, lichen experts and authors.
The proof of Wildlife Friendly farming is in the resulting biodiversity which speaks for itself and is detailed below.
There are several BAP species breeding at Treshnish but the most exciting have been the recent breeding attempts by Corncrake and Quail.
In 2009 a Quail was calling for 3 weeks in the Haunn fields and in 2011 one was calling for one day.
In 2010 two male Corncrakes were calling for several weeks, one at Haunn and the other near Treshnish House. The Haunn bird was seen with a mate but no chicks were seen. In 2011 a male was heard in the spring on one day.
Short-eared Owls were breeding on the farm for the first time in 2011 although in previous years they have bred close by and used Treshnish as a hunting ground.
In 2011 Hen Harriers were seen more often in the summer than in previous years and breeding may be occurring closer to the farm.
In 2011 Bullfinches bred for the first time. This is a BAP species.
In 2010 Grasshopper Warblers were heard reeling for the first time and for several weeks.
In 2010 1 pair of House Martins bred successfully for the first time and in 2011 there was an increase to 3 pairs one of which succeeded.
White-tailed Eagles are frequently seen along the coast and breeding of two new pairs is imminent further along the coast .
Whooper Swans often frequent the lochans in winter.
Other scarce birds that have occurred include: Turtle Dove (on several years), Hawfinch, Wryneck, Sabine’s Gull, Icelandic Gull, White-fronted Goose, Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Green Sandpiper, Purple Sandpiper and Waxwing.
I have recorded 270 species of macro-moths/butterflies and 94 micros on the farm.
Specialities include: The Grey, Transparent Burnet, Bleached Pug and Scotch Annulet. Habitat is perfect for Marsh Fritillary and Slender Scotch Burnet.
Most visitors to Treshnish in the summer will be impressed by the wild flower meadows and reasonably so. Not only is it a beautiful site but it is also a valuable nectar source for all kinds of insects which is why Tom Prescott remarked on it. Treshnish is also home to some rarer flowering plants.
There are 14 species of orchid on the farm (many of which are abundant).
Scarce species and species of conservation concern include:
Hammarbya paludosa (Bog Orchid), Cephalanthera longifolia (Narrow-leaved Helleborine), Coeloglossum viride (Frog Orchid), Pseudorchis albida (Small-white Orchid), Mertensia maritima (Oysterplant), Gentianella campestris (Field Gentian), Vicia orobus (Wood Bitter-vetch), Orobanche alba (Thyme Broomrape) and Ophioglossum azoricum (Small Adder’s-tongue).
Species which are rare on Mull include: Epipactis helleborine (Broad-leaved Helleborine), Viburnum opulus (Guelder-rose), Fumaria capreolata (White Ramping-fumitory), Lamium hybridum (Cut-leaved Dead-nettle), Glechoma hederacea (Ground-ivy) and Cakile maritima (Sea Rocket).
Other interesting plants include: Ligusticum scoticum (Scots Lovage), Geranium sanguineum (Bloody Crane’s-bill), Juniperus communis subsp. nana (Dwarf Juniper), Rosa pimpinellifolia (Burnet Rose), Carlina vulgaris (Carline Thistle), Cirsium heterophyllum (Melancholy Thistle), Eupatorium cannabinum (Hemp-agrimony), Agrimonia eupatoria (Agrimony), Agrimonia procera (Fragrant Agrimony), Scutellaria galericulata (Skullcap), Gymnocarpium dryopteris (Oak Fern) and Hymenophyllum wilsonii (Wilson’s Filmy-fern).
More common but under-recorded plants on Mull include Anagallis minima (Chaffweed), Aphanes arvensis (Parsley-piert), Gnaphalium uliginosum (Marsh Cudweed), Melampyrum pratense (Common Cow-wheat), Scutellaria minor (Lesser Skullcap) and Spergula arvensis (Corn Spurrey).
The most important fungi on the farm is Hazel Gloves.
A good reason to vote for this farm is the way they have managed it for Hazel Gloves fungus and the Atlantic woodland. This is illustrated in a five minute BBC film clip filmed almost exclusively on the farm can be see here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xs_RxT3butQ
The improvements in the woodland on the farm since the Charringtons took over is written about on page 88 of the downloadable Atlantic Hazel by Sandy and Brian Coppins. They have been a witness to these improvements.
I have found literally hundreds of sites with Hazel Gloves fungus scattered around the farm. I am pretty sure this is the highest number of Hazel Gloves fungus records in the whole of Europe. It is classified as Vulnerable.
Other rare fungi include: Amanita battarrae and Clavaria zollingeri.
The section on Hazel Gloves fungus and Atlantic woodland is especially relavant here particularly the film clip.
Andy Acton and Sandy and Brian have visited the farm during Hypocreopsis rhododendri (Hazel Gloves fungus) surveys and Andy during the filming for above BBC Landward clip.
There hasn’t been a full lichen survey but whilst hanging around during the above filming Andy Acton & Anna Griffith recorded 40 species. The total lichen species recorded so far is only 70 so ripe for further field research.
The most important species discovered is Arthothelium macounii which is Nationally Rare and is a Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) species.
First discovered in 1976, this species is now known from eight sites in western Scotland. All sites are by or close to the coast and, although not known elsewhere in Europe, it has recently been discovered in the laurisilva on Madeira, and on Los Tilos in the Canary Islands. Arthothelium macounii is classified as Vulnerable in Great Britain. All sites except two have NNR or SSSI status; one of the remaining sites is under the management of the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the other is on Treshnish farm.
Other lichens which are either of conservation concern or scarce include: