You’ll have seen the guidance sent yesterday that the Community Wildlife Group surveys are suspended, although if the survey can be done within the coronavirus restrictions on daily exercise, it should be. Further guidance will be provided before the second survey visits due to start on 18 April.

However, the Curlew situation is critical, with a 77% decline between 1990 and 2010, and a further decline since. There’s probably only 120 pairs left in the whole of the County now, and we haven’t got long to save them from local extinction. We can’t afford a total loss of data on their population and distribution in 2020. Therefore, within the restrictions, I’d be grateful if you could continue to look for, and record, the Curlews, please.

I still want to build up as complete a picture as possible this year,  and I’d be grateful for your help, please. 

Please consider carefully how the Government guidance and restrictions apply to you, but your options include 

  • Recording any Curlews you see or hear from home, or on your daily exercise.
  • If you can cover all or part of your allocated square as part of your daily exercise, please do so. It’s not necessary to cover the whole square, and you may be able to do different parts of it on different days. Concentrate on the areas where you might find Curlew.
  • You may know other people who live in your square, or in part of the wider area, who also recognise Curlews, or their calls. Please ask them to telephone or email you with any information. Such informal social networks may also have wider community benefits, by helping to overcome the worst aspects of self-isolation.
  • Don’t restrict your recording to your survey square. There might be other places where you can exercise, where you might see or hear Curlews. 
  • If you have to go out, to buy food or medicine, take your binoculars in your car with you. You can stop and scan likely places. You could also consider taking your daily exercise from somewhere on your route, especially if that means you’ll meet fewer people while you’re exercising, but beware the danger of antagonising locals and farmers if they meet you unexpectedly and think you are putting them at risk. 

All information will be valuable in building the overall picture.

All records should indicate number of Curlews, behaviour (feeding, in flight, nesting, display (bubbling) call, agitated call, chasing off crows, Buzzards, etc.), and date and place.

Please also check Curlews for colour-rings.

You can send Curlew records to me on survey tetrad maps, or the casual records maps for the CWG area, or by email with the record and grid reference.

Leo Smith