Known for its beautiful song, the Eurasian skylark will fly up to 100m and then perform a slow, spiral descent whilst singing a complex range of songs, only quietening once it is within 10-20m of the ground. On the ground, they may continue to sing but more quietly. They will spend quite a lot of time on the ground, nesting and feeding, and being well-hidden amongst grasses found on sand dunes. Their nest is built by forming a depression in the ground which the female will line with stems, leaves and hair.
Skylarks are monogamous during the breeding season and with their one mate they can raise up to 3 broods of chicks, producing an average of 3 eggs per brood, and both the male and female will help in gathering food and protecting the nest. A Eurasian skylark can live for as long as 10 years and, whilst it is still fairly common in Britain, population numbers have recently dramatically declined.
The Eurasian skylark is a helpful farm assistant! Whilst it has developed a taste for spring cabbage and other crops cultivated for human use, they also eat the seeds of weeds and insects which would otherwise damage field crops, so they can help control pest populations and be helpful to farmers.
The Eurasian skylark is native and dispersed widely across the UK, with British populations being non-migratory. In terms of Dynamic Dunescapes sites, you could spot skylark on the Sefton Coast, in Cornwall, in Devon, in Lincolnshire, around Anglesey and Gwynedd, and around Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot.
The Eurasian skylark is up to 19cm in length with a wingspan of 30-36cm and weighs 17-55grams, the larger measurements relating to males. The male and female are similar in plumage, which is streaky brown with a white rear edge to the wings which can be seen in flight and a crest of brown feathers on its head, which becomes raised when excited or alarmed.
Dynamic Dunescapes is working to conserve dune habitats by clearing woody scrub which the Eurasian skylark dislikes, and keeping areas of the dune system as diverse grassland, which will encourage the continued use of the dunes as nesting sites.
Projects protecting Eurasian Skylark
Anglesey and Gwynedd
Our work in the areas of Anglesey and Gwynedd covers 1000 hectares of dunes and is led by Natural Resources Wales, working with National Trust, local authorities, Wildlife Trusts, Plantlife and private landowners. We will be working at, Cymyran, Tywyn Trewan, Tywyn Llyn, Tywyn Fferam on Anglesey, and Morfa Bychan in Gwynedd.
At Penhale, you can’t miss these eye-catching dunes, standing around 90 metres above sea level, they’re pretty tall for a dune system. On the north coast of Cornwall near the town of Perranporth, Penhale Dunes are part of the Cornish Killas National Character Area and a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The wide and sandy, three kilometre-long Perran beach in front provides sand for the dune system, which is blown up into the dunes by the wind.
Our project in Devon will help rejuvenate sand dune systems at Braunton Burrows and Woolacombe. Work in Devon is led by Plantlife and National Trust, working closely with Christie Estates.
Our project on the Lincolnshire coast will help rejuvenate sand dune systems at Saltfleetby-Theedlethope, Gibraltar Point and Cleethorpes. Work here is jointly led by Natural England and Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.
Our work on the protected Sefton Coast takes place across the vast sand dune system, including at Ainsdale Sand Dunes NNR (led by Natural England) and Formby (led by National Trust).
Swansea, Neath and Port-Talbot
Our work in the area will occur at Baglan Burrows, Crymlyn Burrows, Pennard Burrows, Penmaen Burrows, Oxwich dunes and Broughton Burrows, and 21 hectares of sand dune will be restored or recreated during the project. Dynamic Dunescapes work in Wales is led by Natural Resources Wales, working with National Trust, local authorities, Wildlife Trusts, Plantlife and private landowners.