Friday, 3 May 2019
Lapwings at Walton Downs
A dull and cool morning on Walton Downs was enlivened by six Lapwings (including three 'sitting' birds) on the Langley Vale Wood site. A few of the fields have not been planted to create woodland, and two of them appear to have enticed Lapwings, which is now a scarce breeding bird in Surrey. Historically Langley Bottom Farm has played host to this species as a breeder, but recent years has seen mostly failure. The 'best' field (Downs Field) has now largely been planted with trees, so it remains to be seen if these open fields can provide a safe environment for the waders. One pair are on a smaller plot of land and I would hazard a guess that they will not succeed, being close to hedgerow and plenty of loafing corvids. However, the other two pairs are on the field pictured below, with good all-round vision, well away from hedges and trees, plus the vegetation in the field (wild flowers and grasses) is just starting to appear. I met Paul Stephenson on site who is keeping a close eye on the birds. The Woodland Trust are aware of the Lapwings and will hopefully do what they can to enable successful breeding.