This is an archived press release
Monday 30 April 2007
30 April 2007
Winging in to count lapwings in the Peak District
A “flying squad” of more than 60 volunteers is counting lapwings across the Peak District.
They are all helping with a survey to find out how the distinctive black and white crested birds are faring on upland farms.
Once a very common sight with their tumbling flight displays, lapwings have halved in number since the 1970s. At the last count in 2002 there were just over 1,000 pairs in the Peak District.
The survey is part of the Peak Birds Project, which was set up in 2001 to try to halt a steep decline in farmland birds – primarily lapwing, curlew and twite. The project is a partnership between the Peak District National Park Authority and RSPB, and it contributes to the Peak District Biodiversity Action Plan.
The volunteers, mostly from local birdwatching groups, are surveying lapwings from April to June to find out how well the project is working. They work from public rights of way and do not need to enter private farmland, which also minimises disturbance to breeding birds.
Peak Birds Project officer Catherine Gray, explained: “The results will show how the lapwing population has changed in the last five years, since the start of the project. It will also let us know where the lapwings are nesting, so that we can focus our work on these areas.
“This survey would not be possible without the generous support of our volunteer surveyors.”
The survey results will be publicised later in the year.
The Peak Birds Project also offers free advice to farmers and landowners about how to help birds, and about grants such as the Environmental Stewardship Scheme. For more information about the survey, or about the Peak Birds Project, contact Catherine Gray at the National Park Authority on 01629 816247.