The main focus for a substantial number of my visits to the farm is to keep tabs on how the breeding Lapwings are getting on. The area I monitor for Lapwings includes a single field on the neighbouring farm which adjoins the main land holding managed by Potter Brompton Farms. The Lapwings aren't bothered about land ownership and birds over the boundary frequently use North Screed and other nearby fields, so form a single population.
In 2011 the breeding population numbered 27 pairs. Productivity was also good, with almost one chick per pair reaching the well-grown or fledged stage.
The situation in 2012 is looking less rosy. In March it looked as though we were on course for a stable breeding population in comparison to 2011, with 25 pairs showing signs of breeding behaviour. However, the heavy rains during April flooded out a significant number of nests. In addition a Stoat has been observed predating eggs from one nest in the past few days, and is likely to be responsible for other failures this year. So, the breeding population has dropped to a disappointing 13 pairs.
Thus far the only Lapwing chicks I have observed have been in the talons of a Sparrowhawk. However, there are still a number of adults that are behaving as though they have young, so hopefully there will be some successes from these pairs. Nevertheless, at this stage productivity looks highly likely to be significantly down on 2011.