Lapwing and Curlew have both suffered a massive contraction in range and population decline in the last 20 years or so, nationally and locally. Curlew has been described as the UK’s highest bird conservation priority, as we have an estimated 28% of the European breeding population, and 19 – 27% of the world population.
The Annual Public Meeting in early March agreed to conduct a Lapwing and Curlew survey in 2017, to complement similar surveys carried out by other Community Wildlife Groups in different parts of the Shropshire Hills. The AGM of the Church Stretton Branch of the Shropshire Ornithological Society also agreed to support the survey.
An area was selected where these species were found breeding in the 2008-13 Shropshire Bird Atlas, comprising 30 2×2 kilometre squares on the Ordnance Survey National Grid, known as “tetrads”.
A well-publicised planning meeting to explain the project and the reasons for it, and recruit surveyors, was held on 15 March 2017. Surveyors were recruited for each of the 30 squares, and were asked to make three visits, around 1 April, 1 May and mid-June, at times convenient to them, with visits concentrating on habitats where the species might be found, and lasting around three hours each. The surveys were conducted from Public Rights of Way, unless individual surveyors obtained landowners permission to leave them. Survey maps and recording instructions were supplied. A practical fieldwork training meeting was held for those that wanted one, on Saturday 25 March.
The aim was to locate the territories of breeding pairs, and record behaviour, to estimate the population. No attempt was made to locate nests. Although the survey concentrated on the two main target species, and their habitats, surveyors were asked to also record on their maps any of 20 other target species seen.
Regular reports on the results of this project will appear here on an annual basis. The first (for 2017) is now available below.
Plans for 2018
The Group plans to repeat the Bird Survey in 2018. New participants are needed, so we hope to recruit new members. A leaflet with information on the 2018 project is available here.
A meeting at 7.30pm on Tuesday, 20th March 2018 at the Methodist Church Hall, Watling Street, Church Stretton will receive a presentation of the results in this report, and plan the 2018 survey.
Everyone interested in birds is welcome to participate. There is still time to play an active part in this important and interesting survey – if you are interested in taking part, please contact the Project Leader, Leo Smith.
Page updated: 22/02/2018 by AJA