Worcestershire Record No. 3 November 1997 p. 4
Harry Green, BTO Regional Representative in Worcestershire
Help is needed in Worcestershire for this important 1998 survey.
Lapwings were once of the United Kingdom's most widespread and familiar farmland birds, but there has been a steady decline in numbers and the lowland farmland breeding population is known to have decreased by over 50%. Various changes associated with agricultural intensification are thought to have caused the decline, particularly changes in the timing of cereal sowing and changes to grassland management, however the precise causes are not fully understood.
The Lapwing decline has been monitored by the BTO's Common Birds Census (CBC), but the CBC does not fully cover the entire breeding range of Lapwings. The fortunes of Lapwings outside the area covered by the CBC are not known and it is possible that Lapwings may be undergoing a more serious decline than currently documented.
The 1998 BTO Survey of Breeding Lapwings will cover England and Wales. Scotland being covered by the RSPB using different survey methodology. To produce a standard national survey for the whole of the UK, the BTO is currently seeking funding to carry out additional surveys of Scotland and Northern Ireland. The results of the survey will provide a valuable baseline for the future and a more accurate national population estimate. The last major survey was carried out by the BTO in 1987 (Shrubb and Lack, Bird Study 1991; 38, 20-37).
The 1998 BTO survey aims to re-survey all of the squares initially selected for the 1987 survey using tetrads as sampling units (2x2km squares, 400ha). In 1987 one tetrad was randomly selected from every 10x10km square (on the national grid) containing land (not sea!) resulting in a total of 1,713 tetrads. In addition to estimating the size of the present breeding population the survey will enable calculation of any population trend.
An additional element of the survey will be re-surveying 27 sites (area of at least 80ha) surveyed in 1956-65 and again in 1987.
The fieldwork for the survey will be during April 1998, with tetrads in the south being covered in the first half of the month and those in the north being covered in the later half, to allow for latitudinal variation in breeding activity. On a single visit the observer will record the number of breeding pairs in each of the four lx1 km squares of the tetrad, within general habitat types (eg winter cereals, saltmarsh, ley grass, etc). Behaviour indicative of breeding is defined as displaying or alarming birds, incubating females or males on "look-out duty. Observations will be recorded on specially prepared recording forms and on maps which will be provided. Additionally, field-workers will need to record habitat types on the map and may be asked to record the number of other breeding wader species, although this information may not be essential.
The tetrads covered in the 1987 survey and to be repeated are: SO6262, SO7046, SO7850, SO7468, SO7070, SO8030, SO8640, SO8652, SO8066, SO8676, SO9832, SO9240, SO9658, SO9664, SP9276, SP0846
The BTO Survey of Breeding Lapwing in England & Wales is part of the National Survey of Breeding Lapwings in 1997 & 1998 which is funded by the RSPB,
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