Call for volunteers by group hoping to help lapwings and curlews

A group that is working to stop the disappearance of Lapwings and Curlews in the countryside is calling for volunteers.

A lapwing. Photo: Celia Todd.
A lapwing. Photo: Celia Todd.

The work of the Three Parishes Wildlife Group to chart the birds was stopped by the Covid lockdown in 2020. But now it is about to start up again.

A meeting will be held in St Martins near Oswestry in March to launch te 2022 survey.

Leo Smith, one of those involved in the project, said: "If you enjoy seeing lapwing and curlew, and would like to do something to help stop their disappearance from the local countryside, we would like your help.

"We need to know how many breeding pairs there are, and where, before we can try and help them. We looked for them up until 2019, in an area roughly bounded by Oswestry in the south, the border with Wales to the west and north, and the three parishes of Weston Rhyn, St Martin’s and Gobowen, plus an area to the east, towards Ellesmere. We found three pairs of curlew, and about 30 pairs of lapwing.

"Our work was disrupted by Covid-19 in the last two years, but we are starting again this coming spring. People who have helped previously will be asked to help again, but new helpers will be very welcome."

Participants take on a survey square of two kilometres and visit it three times, using lanes and public footpaths.

"You choose the dates, to suit you, around April 1, May 1 and June 15. Each visit takes less than half a day, so it doesn’t take much time. It’s easy to do, and participants are provided with simple survey instructions and a map to record sightings on. If possible, we’d also like volunteers to record kestrel, cuckoo and other target species, but that’s an optional extra."

A meeting will be held at 7.30pm on March 17, at St Martins Village Centre, Overton Road, St Martins.

"We will describe these birds and where we’ve found them previously, explain what’s involved to new participants, and launch the 2022 survey. If it can’t be held, or new helpers can’t attend, they will be briefed by email. There will be a practical, socially-distanced, training session, explaining how to go about the survey, and record what you see, around the end of March, if you feel you need it. If you definitely want to help, please let us know before the meeting."

More information can be found at

Curlews and lapwings, once a familiar sight, are vanishing from our countryside. In Shropshire, the breeding population of curlews has fallen from approximately 700 pairs in 1990 to around 160 in 2010, and that of Lapwing from an estimated 3,000 pairs to only 800 over the same period; declines of 77 per cent and 73 per cent respectively.

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