A report published in the River South Esk Catchment Partnership’s autumn newsletter has revealed the importance of Glen Clova in the Angus glens as a site for breeding waders.
The floodplain of the River South Esk between Braedownie and Gella Bridge is considered to be one of the most important areas in Tayside.
A comprehensive survey of the site in 1996 estimated there were 390 pairs of breeding waders (lapwing, oystercatcher, redshank, snipe and curlew) in this area.
A repeat of this survey was carried out in 2012 as part of a wider Tayside Wader Survey.
The results of this survey indicate the number of pairs of breeding waders in Glen Clova have dropped by approximately 40 per cent to 230 pairs.
This follows the national trend in populations of breeding waders recorded in many areas of the country, largely as a result of changes in farming practice, increased drainage and afforestation reducing the availability of suitable breeding habitat.
Despite declines, Glen Clova remains an important site for breeding waders and in particular lapwing in comparison to other areas surveyed across Tayside.
From 65 sites surveyed, lapwing abundance reduced by 66 per cent and breeding lapwing have gone from 41 per cent of sites.
RSPB consider the protection of the remaining high quality breeding habitat found in Glen Clova a conservation priority.
A survey of the breeding waders and habitat in Glen Clova was repeated this year and the information collected will assist with conservation work on the ground, including providing advice to land managers on habitat management and the targeting of agri-environment schemes.
More information can be found at www.rspb.org.uk/taysidewaders