Wader bonanza at GWSDF Auchnerran

By Marlies Nicolai, Research Assistant at Auchnerran

The last couple of years at GWSDF Auchnerran have highlighted the huge abundance of breeding waders on the site, with lapwing, curlew, oystercatcher, woodcock and snipe present in droves. 2017 counts on 480ha of land reveal:

  • Lapwing: approx. 60 pairs
  • Oystercatcher: approx. 20 pairs
  • Curlew: approx. 10 pairs
  • Woodcock: 26 roding males

Here are a few photographs from the 2017 monitoring season, illustrating the fantastic array of species and some interesting behaviours witnessed this year by the research staff:

Lapwing Defending Territory1
Lapwing defending territory

Incubating Curlew
Incubating Curlew 

Curlew Chick
Curlew chick

The Lapwing is currently our focal species and a lot of effort was put into finding nests and following their progress by the team of field workers.

Lapwing Nest
Lapwing nest

As part of this work, we estimate the age of Lapwing chicks into five categories:

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4

Stage 5

Camera Trap Image Of Lapwing On Nest With Chicks
Camera trap image of Lapwing on nest with chicks

Lauren Fisher & Ruth Highley
Lauren Fisher (Masters Student) & Ruth Highley (Field Assistant Intern) looking for nests.

Checking Curlew Chick For Ticks
Checking Curlew chick for ticks and overall body condition

Rare Sighting Of A Snipe Chick
Rare sighting of a snipe chick

Please support our demo farm at Auchnerran

Help us show how farm income and wildlife can go hand in hand.



at 20:41 on 19/09/2017 by Andy Tyrell

What do we have to do to get the message across that legal predator control and habitat management improves protected species as well as gamebirds, How many more scientific studies meticulously monitored by the GWCT teams will it take to shoot down Packham and his deliberate diatribe of mis-information.

Droves of wodcock

at 11:23 on 19/09/2017 by John A Burton

I would echo Peter Smith's comment. Has anything been published on the numbers. Being of an age when I can recall lapwing being a relatively abundant farmland bird it would be great to know more


at 14:30 on 18/09/2017 by Stephen Wilkes

Just proves what holistic land management does for all our precious and threatended wildlife. RSPB/Countryfile and the rest please note and acknowledge. Steve Wilkes

Auchnerran's Waders of Conservation Concern

at 10:22 on 18/09/2017 by Peter Smith, East Sussex

Wonderful heartening news and photos to brighten up the familiar depressing reports we receive regarding our nesting waders. As well as ideal habitat, can we presume that an active programme of legal predator control is in place, without which successful fledging is rare ? Is Marlies able to quantify the success ? I've never before read phrases like "large abundance of breeding waders" and "present in droves" applied to birds such as woodcock. Some numbers would be useful, especially the critical fledging rate per pair - is it high enough to sustain and hopefully increase the present breeding population ? Perhaps all will be revealed in a paper to come. Final thought- how do these smart ladies find time to do their nails !

Auchnerran's Waders of Conservation Concern

at 15:05 on 15/09/2017 by Keith Cowieson

Marlies. Fantastic photos and brilliant results for a whole slew of waders of conservation concern. Great work. Definitely going to visit next spring!

Make a comment

Cookie Policy

Our website uses cookies to provide you with a better online experience. If you continue to use our site without changing your browser settings, we'll assume you are happy to receive cookies. Please read our cookie policy for more information.

Do not show this message again