Lapwings spread their wings at Sandwell Valley
4 July 2012
Media & Communications Officer
Lapwings have taken to their newly improved home at RSPB Sandwell Valley nature reserve.
Work to improve the wetland home of lapwings has paid off this spring with an upturn in their fortunes.
Over last winter, the lapwings’ favoured wet meadow was much improved by the removal of large patches of invading willow bushes and the creation of new ditches and pools.
This work was made possible by a generous grant from The Veolia Environmental Trust (see note 1), which paid for the hire of an excavator to come on site to carry out the willow removal and earth moving.
This spring, eight pairs of lapwings returned to nest at the reserve, spending much of their time feeding on the wet meadow and one pair even nested there too, others nesting on an the island in the lake.
It’s not just lapwings that have been making themselves at home at the reserve, oystercatchers bred successfully and raised three young and little ringed plovers have just hatched with three chicks.
Ducks have also benefitted from the wetter conditions, up to ten drake gadwall ducks have been using the marsh. The reserve has also recorded 50 snipe using the marsh during the winter months.
Nick Martin, RSPB Site Manager said: “The winter work on the marsh has made a bigger difference than we dared hope for.
“The benefits of digging out the willows extended out more widely, creating a new area for little ringed plovers to nest.
“The work also improved the connection between birds nesting on the island and the rich feeding areas on the wet meadow – so vital when birds need to find plenty of worms and other creepy crawlies to feed their hungry chicks. Thanks to The Veolia Environmental Trust, the reserve is in real tip top condition for birds and other wildlife.”
Executive Director of The Veolia Environmental Trust, McNabb Laurie, adds: “It is really great to hear the improvements, supported through the Landfill Communities Fund, have already made such a difference to the local bird population. I am sure that the new feathered residents will be a welcome sight to all who visit this fantastic reserve.”
Please use the following link to access images of lapwings:
- The Veolia Environmental Trust has been supporting community and environmental projects for over 14 years. Under the Landfill Communities Fund, landfill site operators can donate a percentage, currently 5.6%, of their landfill tax payment to these projects. Since the Trust was established in 1997, Veolia Environmental Services (UK) plc has supported it by contributions of over £48 million to 1355 projects.
The Trust has helped fund a diverse range of projects, including the repair of woodland footpaths, the renovation of community halls and the installation of playgrounds and play areas. For more information, or to find out how to apply for funding, visit the Trust’s website www.veoliatrust.org
- RSPB Sandwell Valley – less than 5 miles from the centre of Birmingham and as you stroll around the reserve it’s hard to believe you’re so close to where the M6 and M5 motorways join.
You’ll find the hedgerows full of finches and thrushes in winter and warblers in summer, including whitethroats and blackcaps. From the Lakeside hide you can see flocks of ducks, geese and swans and wading birds all year-round. The nature reserve stands at the eastern entrance to Sandwell Valley and is a great starting point for exploring this unique wildlife corridor which runs all the way through to West Bromwich town centre.
The valley has acres of woodlands, meadows, pools and streams, as well as two working farms (with visitor centres) and a network of trails, there’s much to see and do here at all times of the year.
Contact RSPB Sandwell Valley: 0121 357 7395, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/s/sandwellvalley/