DESPITE it being the wettest winter since records began more than 500 farmers, covering nearly half a million acres of UK farmland, rose to the challenge of taking part in the first year of the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust's (GWCT) Big Farmland Bird Count in February.
In total, farmers recorded 116 different types of birds, with starlings being seen on more than 40% of the farms taking part and were the most abundant bird recorded in the survey.
Morag Walker, from GWCT, said: "In Derbyshire the number and variety of birds seen during the count week was really impressive, with many red listed species such as lapwing, starling, linnet, corn bunting and skylark appearing on the farms in reasonable numbers.
"We were particularly delighted to see that one farmer counted four grey partridges on his land, which was an extremely exciting revelation as these are one of our fastest declining farmland bird species and sadly in many areas they are now locally extinct.
"So this was a great achievement and we believe a lot of intensive conservation work is being implemented to help the wonderful grey partridge.
"Birds of prey also featured well in the Derbyshire figures and local farmers saw buzzards, sparrowhawks, red kite and kestrel.
"The GWCT's Big Farmland Bird Count certainly captured the imagination of the farming industry and we were delighted with the response."