Summary & Outcomes
By establishing predator exclusion fencing, the project aimed to create a sanctuary for nesting lapwings to protect their eggs and chicks from ground predation. The fencing was undertaken on wetland grassland SSSI to benefit lapwing and redshank.
The project was funded using underspend from the end of the first year. The site chosen, like many others in the region, has lost its entire lapwing population. By protecting the site, it was hoped to encourage lapwings to return and breed, and contribute to the recovery of a locally and nationally threatened species. 2,000 metres of predator exclusion fences were installed during the winter of 2012/13. Solar panels and associated equipment were installed to provide power to the fence line.
Loss of habitat resulting from historic drainage of wetlands and intensification of farming methods are major factors in the general decline of lapwings. However, national research and nest cameras on RSPB reserves have also documented a link between predation of lapwing eggs and low breeding productivity. In response to this finding the RSPB has begun a new and successful approach to lapwing conservation using predator fencing. This has achieved remarkable results in other projects.
The funding received was used to procure and install nearly 2,000 meters of predator exclusion fences to create a sanctuary on lowland grassland that are part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for nesting lapwings to protect their eggs and chicks from ground predators and will also benefit local redshank populations.
Breeding bird site surveys will continue and these will help to inform any further management needed. The aim is to encourage 15 pairs of breeding lapwings on the site within the next five years, and over 25 pairs by 2020.