Inspired by Curlew Country – Blog by Jonathan Groom

Curlew Habitat consisting of rough grazing, rush pasture and a bit of blanket bog and heather.

My name is Jonathan Groom and I am the Monitoring Officer for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, and also the regional representative for the British Trust for Ornithology in Shropshire. I used to work in Shropshire and have lived there for several years now and become quite attached to the county and its birds. I have been a supporter of the Curlew Country project and the Landscape Partnership Scheme for several years. As a very active member of the BTO’s nest-record scheme, I spend a lot of my spare time each spring monitoring nesting birds of as many species as possible. Knowing full well the effort and energy that it requires, I have nothing short of admiration for the efforts of all of the participants involved in this project. The amount of data collected during the last three years is fantastic, and whilst it sadly does not present a very happy situation for the curlew, the information and evidence that it provides to support the theories into curlew declines are vital.

Like many, I was entranced by the Curlew Cam, and the sight of the chicks exploring around the nest during the first day or two was wonderful! I was also excited to hear that the protective measures undertaken this year have been successful in producing some fledged young. I hope that this is sign of things to come but only time will tell.

In my work for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, I also get to go out and monitor breeding waders on our reserves including Curlew near The Roaches, in the Peak District. Sadly, I don’t have the capacity to spend enough time trying to locate the nests and monitor them, but I can at least be fairly sure of the territories occupied. This year I was happy to see that we had two territories on our reserve, but sadly the evidence suggests that they failed (see the previous blog post about failed breeders congregating in July).

We are a partner in the South West Peak Landscape Partnership Scheme, which have their own ‘Working for Waders’ plan targeting Curlew and Snipe. It is early days for the project yet, but we hope to be able to play a part in helping these beleaguered species, not just on our reserves, but across the wider area of the South West Peak. I certainly intend to keep in touch with the folks at Curlew Country and draw upon their experience and knowledge to help us instigate our own nest-monitoring regime. Maybe we can get our very own ‘Curlew Cam’ as well? Watch this space!

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