On the farm at Notgrove we are part of an environmental scheme which helps encourage natural birdlife, such as the ground nesting Lapwing or Green Plover. One of our jobs this month was to prepare our lapwing plots which are small sections of the fields left un-cropped and unharvested throughout the year. We have nearly 8.5 ha (the size of 21 football pitches!) of these plots spread about the farm, each one being about 1 ha (2.5 football pitches) in size. This means they are full of wild grasses, flowers and weeds. Lapwings are native ground nesting birds and their numbers are very reduced because of the lack of safe nesting places. At this time of year we roughly cultivate the plots with a tractor to encourage growth of weeds and rough grasses in time for the birds to make their nests.
The important thing with a Lapwing plot is their location as they have to be away from woodland, hedge rows and power lines to stop predators eating the eggs. Birds such as rooks, crows, kites and buzzards can sit on a tree or power line, see where the nests are and eat the eggs and young.
Our plots have been a great success – we have been in the scheme for nine years and now have flocks of Lapwings on the farm which we never saw before.
Do you know many different names a Lapwing has got? The typical contact call is a loud, shrill “pee-wit” from which they get their other name of Peewit but it is also called a Peeler, Tuit and Green Plover.