Yellow Wagtail Partnership

The Yellow Wagtail Partnership is a landscape scale conservation project which aims to restore four miles of wetland meadows and pastures along the River Thames. Working alongside our partners, Earth Trust, Church Farm Partnership and Lower Farm, we are holistically managing the riparian grasslands to create a place that can be enjoyed by people and allow farming businesses and wildlife to thrive.  

Why is this important?

The Yellow Wagtail would have been a familiar bird in riparian meadows and pastures 60 years ago. It is strongly associated with grazing cattle and still breeds in Oxfordshire but only in tiny numbers. What happened to this charismatic species and how can we get them back?  We believe the Yellow Wagtail has the potential to respond strongly if we can “get management right”.  However, the Yellow Wagtail Partnership is about more than just the Yellow Wagtail. British wetland meadows and pastures have declined by over 97% in the last half century and today, less than 3,000 ha of meadows remain. Many species that are supported by these habitats are also in severe decline, many of which provide vital ecosystem services.

Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava). Photo Credit: MikePollard
Volunteers sampling for insects in the meadows.
Sussex Red cattle grazing the meadows.
Marsh-marigolds (Caltha palustris) growing in the meadows.

What are we doing?

Working with our farming partners, Earth Trust, Church Farm Partnership and Lower Farm we plan to reverse the declines of invertebrates, birds, and riparian grassland. The Yellow Wagtail Partnership is working to re-establish wetland meadows and pastures along the River Thames by identifying sustainable and financially viable management practices that will reverse the declines of the many species that rely on this habitat as well as supporting farming businesses and local communities.  

View of the Yellow Wagtail Partnership project area

Current Research Projects & Opportunities

Our Research
Project officer, Sophie Cunnington is also completing a PhD at the University of Reading to understand Yellow Wagtail breeding and foraging ecology in lowland England.

Research Opportunities
PhD research project: Understanding the role of livestock management on invertebrate communities of wet pastures, University of Reading, Self-funded, more info

How People Can Help

We occasionally ask for volunteers to carry out small projects to help with the Yellow Wagtail Partnership, this can range from helping out with fieldwork and managing data or creating visual aids for our work. Subscribe to you monthly bulletin to be the first to hear about future opportunities.
Our partner, Earth Trust, regularly recruits volunteers. Whether you are out counting insects or sitting at a desk, volunteering your time (with the Earth Trust) will help them carry out the vital work they do for the Yellow Wagtail Partnership as well as their other projects.  

Have an idea for a research project?  
We are keen to hear from students and researchers about their research ideas and would be happy to discuss the possibility of using our site to support your research. Please get in touch to discuss what might be possible.

Record your Yellow Wagtail sightings
Help us learn more about Yellow Wagtails in Oxfordshire by reporting your sightings to TVERC 

Help to look after our grasslands
- Stick to the path, we have ground nesting birds on the site and wandering into the fields may disturb them or lead to nest abandonment.  
- Be respectful of the livestock, keep dogs on leads when there are calves in the fields. 
- Remember to take yours and your dog’s rubbish home with you.
- Don’t have BBQs on the grasslands as you may cause a fire.      

Support our farmers who are doing their bit for nature.
Like Emma, our grazier who owns the cattle on our site. You can find out more about her on her website, Emma's Ewesful Acres

Further Resources

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