During the winter we worked under challenging conditions with the area’s farmers blocking ditches, creating scrapes, cutting rushes, introducing cattle to graze the rushy patches and felling conifer plantations where predators can hide. We are so very grateful to our farmers – the project simply wouldn’t exist without them!

On 21 April, which happens to be World Curlew Day, we found our first nest for this year and installed an electric fence around it in order to keep mammalian predators at bay. This was the start of weeks of hectic activity for the team and by the end of May we had installed 16 electric fences around nests scattered across the project area. This was an epic attempt at protecting nests from predation. Local people may see the white posts in a circle around nests in the most unexpected places!

We are still really busy because once the chicks hatch 4 weeks after the eggs are laid we are fitting tiny transmitters to their backs. This is a new activity for the project here this year but we are hopeful we’ll get some fascinating and useful information about the fate of the chicks by tracking them via radio signals like this. Local people may see people wandering around the place waving an aerial around!

This is not only tiring work since the team are working long hours but from time to time they are also made low when they find a nest that has been predated or a dead chick. It’s difficult to keep one’s spirits high when the curlews you start to get to know and work so hard for get predated!

In future we hope to bring news about how the curlew pairs have faired in relation to rearing chicks successfully.  Cross  fingers several of them survive and mature to fledging stage.

This year we have also attempted to place a livestream camera on one of our curlew nests. Due to the strength of the 4G signal in the area it doesn’t present the best picture and it regularly sticks for a moment or two but it gives watchers an idea of what the parent curlew is doing on the nest. [Update 22 June 2023: Unfortunately, we had to switch off the livestream, as it wasn’t working well.]