As part of the planning application for the Fairham Green housing estate in Ruddington, the developers included a naturalised green area of some 12.5 hectares, which is a larger area than the footprint of the housing itself.
Not that this was done out the goodness of the developers’ heart; rather it was to make the houses insurable against flood risk. But hey – never look a gift piece of wilder land in the mouth. The area was created last year and principally consists of grassland, some trees and a pond/wetland area.
So, I was surprised on Saturday 3rd June when a local resident told me that not only had they seen adult lapwings on the site a few days ago, but there were also chicks. Now as far as I know (I’m not a birder), lapwings are only seen occasionally in Rushcliffe and I can never recall them being sighted in the Ruddington area (it’s difficult to miss the sight and sound of the lapwing).
Anyway, a local Notts Wildlife Trust (NWT) member had a walk over and confirmed there were half a dozen lapwings on the site. Although she didn’t see any chicks, she noted they were driving a crow away, which suggested they were defending something. Indeed, their continued presence on the site also suggests this. Remarkable!
She also noted a little egret (not so surprising) and some skylarks (which are widespread in Rushcliffe), but all only a year after the creation of the new site from arable land. Whether the lapwings will continue to nest once dog walkers start roaming the site and cats take up residence is a moot point, as these birds are ground nesters.
The site is also interesting because, again by good fortune, it links into the woodland corridor (old railway track) that runs through Ruddington towards the Country Park and is almost adjacent to the Fairham Brook wild corridor. It therefore links to the Fairham Brook Nature Reserve, the Silverdale Local Nature Reserve and the NET tram wildlife area, which in turn links to Wilwell.
It’s also 300 to 400 metres from Wilwell Farm Cutting Nature Reserve over a field. So, as its wildlife value develops over time, and presuming it isn`t messed about with or gets sandwiched between more housing, the site will provide a useful stepping stone for birds and beasts in the future.
NWT Reserve Warden, Wilwell Farm Cutting Nature Reserve