WHITBURGH FARMS has been awarded the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust's East Lothian Grey Partridge Trophy for their outstanding achievements for wild grey partridge conservation in the county.

The trophy, sponsored by Dodseed, was presented by GWCT senior advisor, Hugo Straker, to Alastair Salvesen, owner of Whitburgh Estate, his headkeeper Graham Rankine and farm manager Jim Nichol.

Mr Straker said: "Whitburgh Estate is now well known in Scotland’s conservation circles, being the home of the GWCT’s Scottish Wild Grey Partridge Recovery Project. The team’s focused work and commitment since the project’s start in 2011 has resulted in a grey partridge abundance which is mostly higher than regional and national totals.

"The partridges have had to put up with the familiar foes of poor summer weather and raptor predation but have responded well to field margin strips of nesting, brood rearing and winter holding cover carefully distributed across the arable ground."

Head gamekeeper Mr Rankine maintains a feeding regime in all partridge territories, which has also helped to support thriving songbird numbers. Additionally, he undertakes a programme of predation control at key times of the year.

On receiving the life-sized trophy, Alastair Salvesen said: "We are all delighted to be receiving this award for the hard work put in by the estate team and recognising that it has to be a coordinated effort to produce positive results."

Anyone interested in joining the GWCT Partridge Count Scheme should contact the Trust’s Scottish HQ on 01738 551511