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Natural England Breeding Wader Surveys.

lapwing copyright Miss Steel and licensed for re-use under creative commons licence

copyright Miss Steel and licensed for re-use under creative commons licence

Carol J Donaldson Associates are delighted to be involved in Natural England’s breeding wader surveys.

The surveys cover a selection of farms in North Kent which receive Stewardship money to manage land to benefit breeding waders such as redshank and lapwings. Farms are surveyed a minimum of 3 times during the season with 2 further counts taking place to monitor how many chicks are fledged. Advice for landowners is also on offer to improve management for waders.

Many waders prefer short, grassy fields with some tussocks left behind and a topography which allows water to remain on the land for longer into the year. Cows are key to lapwings and redshanks breeding success as they graze in a way that creates an ideal sward. More docile animals are preferable to youngsters with spring fever who can easily trample eggs and chicks.

When the mixture is just right then an area can be transformed. At Higham Marshes the RSPB have been working with local landowners to restore wet meadows. A few years ago you would have been lucky to see a single lapwing in these fields now the place is alive with birds wheeling and plummeting overhead with a beautiful fluting call which has to be one of the most joyous sounds of the spring.

Surveys begin this week and will continue throughout the spring and early summer.

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