Farmers have spotted 26 rare birds in this year's Big Farmland Count.

More than 1,900 farmers and land managers overcame challenging conditions to provide a vital snapshot of the health of our cherished farmland birds by taking part in the count, between February 4-20.

The weather did its best to hamper efforts with two major storms hitting during the count, but dedicated farmers and gamekeepers braved the conditions to spot 130 species across more than 1.5million acres (607,000 hectares).

More than 420,000 individual birds were counted in the survey organised by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), which is now in its ninth year.

An impressive 26 red-listed species were recorded, with seven amongst the 25 most frequently seen species.

Of these, starlings, lapwings, fieldfares, and linnets were the four most abundant red-listed species to be spotted, with more than 125,000 counted, which equates to 29 per cent of all species recorded.

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The most commonly seen species were blackbirds and woodpigeons, sighted by more nearly a third of participants, while more than 63 per cent saw robins, carrion crows and pheasants.

The five most abundant birds seen were woodpigeons, starlings, lapwings, fieldfares and rooks: a total of 204,398 individuals, making up over 48 per cent of the total number of birds counted.

“The GWCT Big Farmland Bird Count shows that farmers are not only on the frontline of the country’s ever more important food security, but also its conservation efforts,” said Dr Roger Draycott, GWCT head of advisory, who co-ordinates the survey.

“The count highlights the commitment of land managers to not only undertake farmland wildlife conservation measures, but also to record and evaluate the benefits of that vital work.”

The Big Farmland Bird Count was launched in 2014 to highlight the positive work done by farmers and gamekeepers in helping to reverse the decline in farmland bird numbers.

The count offers a simple means of recording the effect of any conservation work carried out by land managers, such as scatter feeding birds through winter or growing crops specifically to provide seed for birds.

NFU President Minette Batters said: “I’m delighted that so many farmers responded to this year’s count despite the disruption of the stormy weather throughout February which hit the entire country.

“Although Britain’s farmers are focused on the importance of producing the nation’s food, they are passionate about protecting the countryside, and the results from the latest Big Farmland Bird Count provide a fantastic snapshot of the huge amount of work being carried out on our farms to encourage wildlife.”