Country diary: the lapwings are back, but without a warm welcome


Abernethy, Strathspey: Six pairs have returned to this bog to nest, although their stay here is far from secure

Recently I have been watching six teuchits – peewits, lapwings – at the bog close to where I stay. They returned in late March and early April to nest; in fact, “teuchit storm” is an old Scots phrase that describes the inclement weather around that time.

First there were three, then three pairs. They flap up and tumble and wheel in blacks and whites. Up close the iridescence of their feathers quivers in the sunshine. All the while they beep and “chae-widdlewip”, sometimes so close that I can hear the whoop-whoop of wind through their feathers. An old bird guide from the late 1970s tells me they’re one of the 60 most common resident species, but now the British Trust for Ornithology tells me their conservation status in the UK is red.

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