UOWG Curlew Recovery Appeal

Curlew Recovery Appeal
The UOWG Curlew Recovery Appeal was well supported, but was closed in April 2018.

The proceeds were donated to the SWT/SOS “Save our Curlews” campaign. More information about conservation work and results in 2018, and plans for 2019, can be found on the SOS website www.shropshirebirds.com/save-our-curlews/

If you wish to donate to the appeal, please see www.shropshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/appeals

Reports of Curlew surveys from previous years, including charts showing the decline of Curlew in the area, can be found on the Project Results Page.

Stiperstones and Corndon Hill Country LPS Curlew Recovery Project Summary

The original version of the summary reproduced below can be downloaded from this link. A copy of the original report can be downloaded as a Word file from this link; the document will open in a new window.

LPS LogoGround-nesting Birds Recovery Project

BackgroundFig 1 Curlew
For over 10 years the Upper Onny Wildlife Group has been monitoring Curlew according to BTO methodology in part of the Landscape Partnership Scheme (LPS) area. This has demonstrated that the population has decreased by 26% in 11 years 2004-14. The group have been instrumental in seeking a solution to reverse this decline.

Objectives
• To discover why the Curlew population is failing to breed successfully through implementation of a 3 year nest monitoring project.
• To take action to prevent and reverse the decline of the population in collaboration with farmers and land managers leading to formation of farmer-led groups.

Nest Monitoring Pilot Project Notes
Pilot project field work in 2015 carried out by Tony Cross, ornithological consultant with ground nesting bird experience.

Results:
• 12 nests with eggs monitored, through nest cameras and radio tagging of chicks.
• 38 eggs laid – 4 x 4 egg, 5 x 3 egg and 2 x 2 egg clutches.
• Nest failure – 1 desertion, 6 mammalian (1 fox, 1 badger and 4 almost certainly fox from evidence, but not on camera), 1 avian and 1 unknown
• Chicks – 9 eggs from 3 clutches hatched and all chicks tagged, none survived.Fig 2 Curlew nest
• All chicks almost certainly predated, evidence of fox and avian predation in some cases.
• During the nest location phase, 3 fields under observation because of Curlew activity were mown before any nests were located and there was a further report of a farmer finding an abandoned nest after mowing a field.
The population in the Upper Onny area apparently declined by a further 3-4 pairs. None of the 3 Community Wildlife Groups found evidence of fledged young anywhere in the whole LPS area.

Farmer Liaison
Over 30 farmers gave permission for Curlew to be monitored on their land. All the farmers approached were interested and sympathetic to the plight of Curlew and concerned about the effect of predation that they felt had hitherto been overlooked in efforts to save this species. The farmers with nests on their land were keen to know precise nest locations so that they could reduce any potential disturbance to nests. There have been feedback presentations for farmers and landowners, who have shown support for the project to continue.

The Future
• There are still almost 40 pairs of Curlew in the LPS area. If the Curlews are to be saved the project must be continued.Fig 3 Predated Egg
• Monitoring – It is essential that nest and Curlew behaviour monitoring is carried out over more than one year so that the effect of variables such as weather conditions can be better understood. 2015 was atypical. Modifications learned from the pilot project will need to be implemented.
• Nest Protection – We will also need to trial forms of nest protection and deterrents based on evidence gathered this year.
• Help to locate Curlew – This depends greatly on help from local people. Farmers, Community Wildlife Groups and local residents all play a part.
• Improved training on Curlew behaviour, which is quite different throughout the stages of the breeding season, is needed to help increase the value of observations made by volunteers A document to be produced for the spring will be augmented with a film by the end of the 2016 season.
• An ‘irecord’ system will be set up to enable fast communication of casual Curlew sightings and will provide a link keeping contributors up to date with news of the project.
• Locally Curlews nest in grassland and prefer hay meadows. Accommodating the needs of nesting birds may interrupt farming operations and lead to loss of income. We want to establish what effect supporting Curlew nesting and foraging sites has on the farm business and explore potential avenues for compensating against this.

Current Funding Situation
Funding for the project in the Welsh part of the scheme for a further two years has been secured by Natural Resources Wales.Fig 4 Camera on Nest
Funding will be required for the project to continue in England. The Jean Jackson Trust has recently made a generous contribution to the project for about half the estimated costs.

Over the next two years, we will need to raise an additional £22,000 each year for the project to proceed in its entirety.

Partners represented on Project Steering Group
Natural England, local consultant ornithologists, National Trust, RSPB, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust

For further information please contact:

Amanda Perkins, Project Officer, Curlew Country
c/o Natural England, Rigmoreoak, Pennerley SY5 0NE.

Photos by AV Cross, Ornithologist

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The Upper Onny Wildlife Group received financial support from the Stiperstones & Corndon Hill Country Landscape Partnership Scheme, which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The lead organisation for the Scheme is the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership, and the Scheme is hosted by Shropshire Council. Please see www.stiperstonesandcorndon.co.uk

Page updated: 25/02/2019 by RWS