Nature with Nik Mitchell: The wonderful sight of Lapwing

A winter spectacle of Lapwing Photo Nik Mitchell


During the cold winter months on our marshes, fields and filling our skies you can find the wonderful sight of a “deceit” of Lapwing. These massive flocks, regularly be seen over Pegwell Bay, can really take your breath away.

It’s a real winter spectacle and shows how important these habitats are for our wintering birds. Lapwing are resident in the UK but we are lucky to get big numbers here in winter as the cold pushes them south, both from the north of the country and their continental breeding grounds.

Photo Nik Mitchell

By spring flocks will shrink and they will disperse. Watching the large black and white flocks wheeling through our winter skies is an amazing sight, the distinctive round wings and irregular wing beats make them easy to identify. I always think their “peewit” calls make them sound like little electronic robots.

Photo Nik Mitchell

The name Lapwing is from an Old English term meaning ‘leap with a flicker in it’ because the winter flocks appear to flicker between white and black when the birds flap their wings. If you want to see this winter spectacle, I strongly recommend a visit to Pegwell Nature Reserve. Try to choose a still sunny day and take some money for a nice hot drink.

Thanet nature expert Nik Mitchell, from Minster, runs the Wildlife Conservation in Thanet page on facebook.

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