Sunday, 29 March 2015

Peewits a distant memory?

Growing up on the edge of the Chilterns in the 70s & 80s, I can remember that almost every farmland field had at least one pair of breeding Lapwings. Displaying pairs in March and April with their loud 'peewit' calls and aerial acrobatics was a common sight and an almost continuous soundtrack to a walk in the countryside.

Sadly Lapwings have declined continuously on lowland farmland since the mid 1980s, with a 49% population decline between 1987 and 1998, The decline has continued and since the mid 2000s the decline has steepened!

There is strong evidence that the cause of the decline is due to loss of habitat and changes in farming practice. In particular the change from spring to autumn sowing, drainage of grasslands and loss of mixed farmland have all lead to the decline in our breeding Lapwings.

The images below were all taken at RSPB Rainham Marshes on Friday, and I really do fear that the only chance we will have to see and hear the Lapwings display is on nature reserves, a very sad situation indeed.

Play the soundtrack, look at the images and let us hope that this is not lost from our countryside!