Curlew Country Introductions: JP

What does JP do all day?

Specialist Generalist – Farmer liaison – Facilitator

So Monday morning!

First job of the day was to beg, borrow or steal an emergency de-humidifier and deliver it to Egg HQ, where it’s to be used to help control moisture levels in the incubator room. I managed to borrow one from a family member, saving a few quid to the project in the process.

Then its pop up to the office and print out a couple of feedback forms for a recent course run for members of Curlew Country Farmer Facilitation Group. (Farmer Cluster).

The group has 26 farming members with about 3000 Ha of land under their management

Then a drive to a group members farm to get a signature and a comment on the course for the scheme funders.

While on site I have a chat with the landowner about his plans for the farm, which includes a new pond, an extension to his hay meadows and a small orchard. We get round to discussing a blocked drain that he wanted to clear and reinstate. A walk down the field revealed an old damp stream bed and emergent wet flush where the field drain has collapsed. I’m immediately thinking this is a superb opportunity to create a scrape to increase the foraging opportunity for Curlew as it sits within a regular nesting territory and would complement the bio-diverse Hay meadows to make superb Curlew habitat. Luckily the landowner agrees with some of my ideas and we discuss possible ways to pay for it. Time to put in a funding bid, so back to the office for a bit of creative thinking, start up the computer and make few phone calls.

Computer work is interrupted mid-afternoon by a phone call.

A very nice lady living on the southern edge of the Forest of Bowland, has a Curlew nesting in her field. Even better she can watch it through her window. She has stopped her tenant from silaging the field but is worried that there are a lot of predators, particularly a local fox and a good number of corvids living around the areas. What should she do to help the Curlew chicks get away?

Because we are a small team we haven’t the capacity to travel up and fence the nest. Fencing with a five-strand electric fence had proven to be an effective way of protecting the nest from mammalian predators. Some care has to be taken so as not to disturb the birds on the nest, so I don’t advise this course of action in this instance.

I give some advice on possible predator control options and the contact details of our partners within the Curlew Recovery Partnership who may have helpful contacts local to her and the call ends with her promising to let us know how they get on. (see update below)

Update. The chicks hatched the adult birds having been seen driving off crows, which is a positive sign. The owners have also found a second nest on their land. That’s 2 nests in 9 acres – just goes to show the benefit of the right habitat and sympathetic management.

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