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Author Topic: The Call of the Curlew  (Read 5530 times)

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
The Call of the Curlew
« on: May 20, 2020, 12:09:49 pm »
My daughter is hoping to study Ecology at university in September.


She has a real 'thing' for the Curlew and hopes in the future to become involved in their conservation.


And so ...... a really open post to ask for your thoughts on the Curlew.


Where are you based?
Do you hear them?
Do you see them?
Do they nest successfully near you?
How have their numbers changed in your area?
If they've declined .... Why do you thing this is? What are the contributing factors do you think? Predators? Land use? Farm management? Leisure activities?
What do we need to do to help them keep going?


Thanks ........

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: The Call of the Curlew
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2020, 12:19:55 pm »
Where are you based? 200m up a hill near Stirling
Do you hear them? Yes
Do you see them? Occasionally
Do they nest successfully near you? Don't know
How have their numbers changed in your area? Don't know
If they've declined .... Why do you thing this is? What are the contributing factors do you think? Predators? Land use? Farm management? Leisure activities?
What do we need to do to help them keep going? Don't know, but if there was anything we could do to encourage them, we absolutely would!
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
Re: The Call of the Curlew
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2020, 01:14:20 pm »
We live at 1000' in Southern Scotland, in an area of mixed farming, high on grazing livestock, and increasing Xmas tree plantations.


25 years ago when we first came to live here, there were always a couple of pairs of curlew, and we saw and heard them every day in their season.  They nested in the open fields around us.
For the past few years, we have rarely heard the curlew, sometimes when they first arrive, but they don't stay.
A couple of years ago, a pair was seen to be nesting about a mile away in a field destined for hay.  One day, my husband saw the owner rolling the grass, with desperate curlews trying to stop the tractor by diving and threatening - to no avail of course.  The nest was crushed, after a few days the curlew pair left.  We heard them earlier this spring, but not more recently.
That nest was definitely destroyed by 'farming methods' ie rolling the grass crop after the curlew had nested.  There are other activities which may damage nests such as spraying.


Being ground nesting birds, of course their nests are subject to predation from foxes, badgers, corvids etc, but that has always been the case.  What seems to be the cause of falling numbers and an increase in failed nests is the changes in timings of farming practices, also perhaps the use of giant machinery. In the past, the tractor driver was not high up and often had an open cab, so could see ahead to notice ground nests and avoid them.  Birds such as curlew, oystercatchers, whaups, larks and yellow hammers all nest on the ground and are suffering decreasing populations.


I saw a proggie somewhere about saving the curlew and it involved the education of farmers to understand that these birds are seriously at risk.  For many people working the land, curlews are part and parcel of the sounds they hear, and perhaps they have not noticed decreasing numbers.  Just to get the message out there is a good start. For this programme, an active curlew nest was identified and posts hammered in to mark it, so tractor workings could avoid it.  Very simple.  Then for timings, the nest could be observed so that once the hatchlings were on the move, the crop could be left undisturbed for a while, or cultivations carried out in such a way that the birds could avoid the machinery.
There is a lot of goodwill out there, so most landowners would probably be co-operative if approached in the right way, but some legislation about the timings of cultivations might help too.


All best wishes to your daughter - she has a wonderful ambition  :trophy:


« Last Edit: May 20, 2020, 01:17:20 pm by Fleecewife »
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the the lifeblood of your land.

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: The Call of the Curlew
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2020, 03:25:59 pm »
Thank you both.


We are at about 800 ft in Mid Wales ..... sheep country and some cattle.


We hear the Curlew infrequently here from early spring through to the autumn. This year we heard them on one occasion during the winter months too. We love their call.


We've been asking neighbours who have always lived here and are now in their 70s and 80s about their memories of the curlew. Apparently they were very common and heard constantly when they were children and young adults. They've told us the best places to try and spot them and we got up at 4 inthe morning ada few daysadays and went in search. We were so lucky and at about 6 am spotted a pair flying over the hillside right where we had been told to look. My daughter was so excited!


We've been following a conservation project called ..... CurlewCountry. They are based on the  Shropshire/Marches border. They have a webpage if anyone is interested and also a FB page. There is a live webcam of curlews on their nest. Interesting blog page too.


Our neighbours feel that the decline here is due to the more intensive nature of the hill grazing these days and changing methods eg. Land drainage, no ploughing
Also that an unchecked badger population has devastated ground nesting birds.




arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow. Recruiting now - please send border-guard applications to ...
Re: The Call of the Curlew
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2020, 05:09:02 pm »
 So many country-side sounds to enjoy:
the lowing of cattle the bleating of sheep the screes of buzzard and peregrine and the bark of a fox with collared doves and wood pigeons making their mark while chickens chook as they scratch and male blackbirds screech as they fight the new honking of ravens all over the land the thin peel of swallows as they swoop and turn, but none to match the thrill of hearing a curlew call.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2020, 08:11:52 pm by arobwk »

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
Re: The Call of the Curlew
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2020, 06:20:00 pm »



This is a link to the curlew cam:
https://curlewcountry.org/curlew-cam-2019/


Do you know @in the hills  what stage of incubation she is at, and when the eggs are expected to hatch?  I watch the Ospreys at Loch Arkaig, and sometimes peregrines on various cathedrals, and it's wonderful now to be able to watch a beautiful curlew on her four eggs.  Thank you for that - I shall donate to help with the work of the group.
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the the lifeblood of your land.

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: The Call of the Curlew
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2020, 06:39:34 pm »
Thank you for putting the link there FW.


I've asked the question on their FB page for you. I'll let you know when they reply. They are beautiful aren't they?


If you contact CurlewCountry they will add you to their mailing list if you are interested ..... email.
We've been added recently and we're looking forward to updates.


There is a webcam following some of our Welsh ospreys if you fancy a bit more osprey action ..... Dyfi Ospreys.

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: The Call of the Curlew
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2020, 06:40:20 pm »
I like that arobwk!

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow. Recruiting now - please send border-guard applications to ...
Re: The Call of the Curlew
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2020, 07:05:29 pm »
This is a link to the curlew cam:
https://curlewcountry.org/curlew-cam-2019/

She (or he) is trying hard not to snooze right now !!  :)


[Do the males share the incubation ?]

Buttermilk

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: The Call of the Curlew
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2020, 07:48:04 pm »
25ft above sea level, flat land in the Vale of York.
Hear them every day
See them everyday
Yes they nest near here and manage to rear young.
Numbers seem to remain the static.
Farmland, currently cultivated grassland and some old pasture land.
This year the biggest problem for them has been dogs getting walked over the fields off lead.  Normal years the biggest predator of them are the badgers.
Best way to protect them is not to tell anyone where they are.

Polyanya

  • Joined Mar 2015
  • Shetland
    • The Creative Croft
    • Facebook
Re: The Call of the Curlew
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2020, 09:50:48 pm »
We are about 15mtrs above sea level, I can see the sea from the window of our remote Shetland crofthouse which is mostly old pasture.
I see and hear them every day, and their numbers are quite static but plenty. Lots of breeding pairs on our croftland, which is only accessed by sheep, the odd cat and other wildlife e.g. otters, polecats, blackbacks, ravens, crows etc.
I would say they are successfully breeding but prone to predation from the big birds - as I've observed the ravens and big gulls harassing parents near the nest site. I've never counted them though - they are called Whurp in Shetland.

We also have lots of Whimbrels.
In the depths of winter, I found there was in me an invincible summer - Camus

www.thecreativecroft.co.uk

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
Re: The Call of the Curlew
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2020, 12:11:15 am »
Thank you for putting the link there FW.


I've asked the question on their FB page for you. I'll let you know when they reply. They are beautiful aren't they?


If you contact CurlewCountry they will add you to their mailing list if you are interested ..... email.
We've been added recently and we're looking forward to updates.


There is a webcam following some of our Welsh ospreys if you fancy a bit more osprey action ..... Dyfi Ospreys.

That's me signed up for the email info, thanks. And thanks too for asking the FB question - I don't do FB and when I've tried I can't quite see how it works  :dunce:

 I already visit the Dyfi ospreys every few days, their camera, that is.  I love it when a train goes past!  I was recently watching a programme about that rail route (Hubby is a chuffy-train fan  ::)), although I didn't realise that's what I was watching, until suddenly I recognised the view from the osprey cam! Fun to see it from outside.

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the the lifeblood of your land.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
Re: The Call of the Curlew
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2020, 12:30:05 am »



I just checked the curlewcam at after midnight, and she's wide awake looking around for predators.  How stressful!  And how different to hens which go into a little trance when they're sitting.
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the the lifeblood of your land.

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: The Call of the Curlew
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2020, 10:43:39 am »
Where are you based? Pennines, 1000ft
Do you hear them? Yes
Do you see them? - yes
Do they nest successfully near you? - I think so
How have their numbers changed in your area? Not sure
If they've declined .... Why do you thing this is? What are the contributing factors do you think? Predators +  Leisure activities
What do we need to do to help them keep going? - Control predators, Inc crows, foxes. Get through to idiot dog walkers to keep their dogs near them, and not run loose round nesting grounds.
As an aside, recently bawled someone out for their lab running about a known nesting site, he was nearly 300mtrs away, luckily wind was behind me, he got the dog and walked away.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2020, 04:15:27 pm by Penninehillbilly »

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: The Call of the Curlew
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2020, 12:50:34 pm »
Arobwk ..... We have been doing quite a lot of research and it would seem that, yes, both parents take a turn in the incubation of the eggs.


Apparently you can see them swap over sometimes on the webcam.


I'm no good at attaching links on here but on the website for CurlewCountry there is a guide to observing curlew. It's fascinating. It shows for example the adult curlew trying to persuade sheep to move away from their nest site. Annoying them basically so that they follow them in the other direction. It shows the swap over of the male and female on the best. Mating behaviour and so on.

 

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