The call of the lapwing is an amazing evocative sound of the spring and summer. They whirl through the air crying, “pee-wit” declaring that this are of the field is theirs. Lapwings are beautiful waders with broad black wings that look like Ping-Pong bats, they have an iridescent green back and a long thin crest on their head.
Martin Mere is a great stronghold for the lapwings as we have nice short grass which they love for their nests so they can see any predators approaching. They normally ay 4 eggs and they are laid in a shallow depression in the grass. The eggs are amazingly camouflaged!! After 26 days the eggs hatch into the cutest chicks you’ve ever seen, little bundles of fluff. The chicks are self-reliant straight away and can feed themselves. They can be seen running around the grass and on the mud hunting for insects. Mum and dad will be nearby to brood the chicks if they are cold or chase off any predators.
We have around 30 pairs at Martin Mere and most years they fledge around 1 chick per pair which sounds low but is really good productivity for lapwing.
The reserve looks amazing at the moment, on woodend marsh there are lots of passage waders including common sandpipers, ruff in breeding plumage and dunlin. We have 3 pairs of marsh harriers that can often be seen skydancing as they are displaying to each other.
The reedbed is alive with sound as many of the summer warblers have come back from Africa and are shouting away. The chorus includes reed warblers, sedge warblers, reed buntings, Cetti’s warblers, willow warblers, water rail and bearded tits.
It is the perfect time to get out into nature and enjoy the sounds of the summer!