Monday, 6 August 2012

Pursuing Peewits

Now that the nesting season is coming to an end and things are starting to quiet down I am finding myself spending less time looking for new nests and more time in front of the computer working on databases, reports and finding time to blog!

One of my favourite parts of this summer was finding and monitoring Lapwing nests or Peewits as they are referred to back home.

As part of our partnership’s (Brides, Bridge & Dinsmore) nest challenge this year we decided to spend a lot of time early on in the season searching for Lapwing nests as Lapwing are on the red list due to recent decline and are also on the BTO nest recording priority list.

This is the first year I have monitored Lapwing nests. I really enjoy searching for them as it yields quite the challenge. The search is best done in a team as sitting adults are very hard to keep track off as they silently sneak off their nests as soon as they spot you, making the nests incredibly hard to pin down.

Once found we carefully and discreetly mark the nests a few metres away so that we can find them again in the vast fields. Once the chicks hatch however we enter an entirely different ball game. If you are lucky enough to find the chicks when they are young then they often stay in the nest and are easier to find.

Perfectly hidden - chicks in the nest

A newly hatched chick complete with egg tooth

As soon as the chicks are strong enough they leave the nest. When the adults sense danger they alarm call and the chicks in turn hide amongst their perfectly camouflaged surroundings. Again teamwork comes in extremely importantly here as whilst one member walks out to the chicks the other members can watch the chicks through binoculars and direct them to their exact location.

I really enjoy monitoring and ringing Peewit chicks as I find their fluffy appearance too cute to resist (very girly I know!)

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