Kate Gwyn is WTSWW's placement student and is currently working on a very exciting project. The Lapwing project at Parc Slip is aimed at encouraging Lapwing to breed and increase the numbers of their declining population. We know that they have successfully bred in previous years on the reserve but they struggle to raise their chicks, one main reason for this is due to predators.
As some of you may be aware WTSWW will shortly be installing a new Lapwing Raft at Parc Slip, thanks to many kind hearted people who donated towards this cause! The raft will provide Lapwing with a safer place to breed, but in the mean time Kate has been creating 'dummy' lapwing eggs and placing them in the fields while the lapwing are absent from the reserve.
Kate explains why she has been doing this:
As Lapwings are under serious threat from habitat loss across the UK, the aim of this project is to reduce the pressure in other aspects of their life history. It will attempt to reduce predation rates on eggs and nests during the breeding season to help boost the number of chicks which hatch. Fake Lapwing sized eggs have been created out of plaster of paris and have been painted to replicate Lapwing eggs. The eggs are pegged into the ground in nest formations around the Lapwing breeding ground at Parc Slip. Regular monitoring has shown that predators have already begun to investigate the ‘nests’. The aim is for predators to become bored of the fake Lapwing eggs, as they get no food reward, and stop associating Lapwing nests with a food source at this site. It is early days for this project but the potential rewards could significantly help the Lapwing here.
By providing inedible eggs at present we are hoping that predators will leave the real lapwing eggs be. We will be sure to keep you all posted on this as well as the raft installation that will be happening at the end of January.