Lapwing are in Need of a Life Raft

Lapwing Chick by Mike Snelle

Lapwing Chick by Mike Snelle

What the raft will look like - image courtesy of Bob Reed

What the raft will look like – image courtesy of Bob Reed

The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales have started raising funds for an exciting new project, at Parc Slip Nature Reserve, that just might help a declining species pull back from the brink.

Parc Slip Nature Reserve, owned and managed by The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, boasts a stunning variety of habitats, from wetlands and grassland to woodland and wildflower meadows. The 300 acre nature reserve, formerly an opencast coal mine is also home to over 1000 species of wildlife, including great crested newts, grass snakes, bee orchids and Lapwing. Lapwing are a firm focus for The Trust as they were once a common farmland bird. However in recent decades these habitat types have been disappearing from the Welsh landscape, resulting in a drastic decline of Lapwing in Wales. In the mid-1990’s Parc Slip had up to nineteen pairs of breeding Lapwing, but in spring 2014 just one pair of Lapwing nested at the reserve.

Over the past 2 years, the staff and Lapwing Champion volunteers at Parc Slip have been working throughout the autumn and winter to carry out vital conservation work to increase the number of Lapwing that successfully breed on the reserve. The project, which has been supported by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, SITA Trust and Bridgend County Borough Council, has so far involved over 350 volunteer hours.

The next stage of our Lapwing project is to create an artificial floating island on the Northern Wetlands Lake at Parc Slip to provide a safe area for the Lapwing nests and eggs. This raft would be out of reach of land-based predators and the Lapwing would be able to defend off aerial predators. The rafts would be made from floating materials and small ledges on the sides would prevent Canada Geese from accessing the raft and occupying the nesting space. The cost to create and install these rafts is £2000 and we are hoping to raise this money and have the rafts installed before February 2017, when the Lapwing will return to Parc Slip.

Lorna Baggett, People and Wildlife Officer at Parc Slip said “We know that Lapwings are in trouble. Their habitat is depleted and their numbers are dwindling because they are failing to successfully raise any chicks. Providing a raft on the Northern Wetlands at Parc Slip would give them a safe and suitable place to nest, with minimal threat from predators. We are very excited about installing the rafts but we can’t do it without your help, so please, if you can, donate towards the raft project – Thank you.”

If you would like to help us achieve this project to build a raft for Lapwing please donate by texting ‘RAFT00’ along with the amount you would like to donate to 70070, via PayPal or donate via our JustGiving Page.

For more information about Parc Slip, or to become a Lapwing Champion and volunteer on the reserve visit Parc Slip's page.