BWEUF Results

BWEUF survey coverage map

BWEUF survey coverage of 2837 tetrads
 (red = surveyed, blue= not surveyed)

The survey was targeted at better understanding the breeding wader population on upland farmland in England, known as ‘in-bye’. As highlighted recently many wader species, including the focal Curlew, Lapwing, Redshank and Snipe, are in decline and conservation action is urgently required to attempt to halt or reverse the situation.

The in-bye habitat has been little studied, but there are indications that it supports substantial numbers of breeding waders. In addition, much of the farmed land is under agri-environment management, so there is considerable potential for improving the prospects for breeding waders.

In 2016, a total of 522 tetrads out of 2837 tetrads, each containing more than 80 hectares of in-bye habitat, was surveyed.

Some impressive counts of breeding pairs were recorded (see table 1) with population estimates (table 2) representing over 50% of the national population for Curlew, Lapwing and Snipe. Apart from Oystercatcher, in-bye wader numbers have fallen since the 1980s. However, there is evidence that conservation action via agri-environment schemes may be having positive effects, particularly through management aimed at providing feeding and nesting habitat and also through restoration of grassland.

Species

Tetrads occupied

Total adults

Total pairs

Curlew

427

7,393

3,211

Lapwing

375

17,583

6,874

Oystercatcher

306

3,919

1,621

Redshank

141

1,104

579

Snipe

246

1,673

1,303

Table 1 - Summary of total adults and breeding pairs counted in 2016 from 522 tetrads.

Species


Numbers of pairs
 


Numbers of adults
 

Median

5th percentile

95th percentile

Median

5th Percentile

95th Percentile

Curlew

15,040

10,552

20,748

38,227

26,897

53,296

Golden Plover

174

29

441

6,044

995

15,306

Lapwing

27,243

18,144

37,918

73,830

49,387

101,857

Oystercatcher

6,828

4,044

10,604

18,916

10,586

31,563

Redshank

1,604

628

3,092

3,410

1,226

6,930

Snipe

4,528

2,064

8,091

5,979

2,968

10,266

Table 2 - Population estimates for adults and breeding pairs in all in-bye habitat in England (2837 tetrads)


A paper is planned and the more detailed survey report will shortly be available. We are extremely grateful to all the volunteers, RSPB and Natural England staff who contributed to the survey, as well as landowners for allowing access.