#grazeroftheweek this week is Mac the Highland, who lives at Parc Slip Nature Reserve in Bridgend, South Wales.
Mac, with his fieldmates Hamish and Dougal, are Lapwing Champions on the nature reserve. The three cows graze a large field near the Northern Wetlands, which is a breeding site for endangered northern lapwing. They are owned by a local farmer and graze the nature reserve through a mutually beneficial grazing agreement.
Lapwing are ground-nesting birds which were once common across the UK. As is unfortunately the trend all across Britain, they have declined with the habitat loss. Lapwings require short turf in which to nest, enabling them to see predators approaching from a distance. Predators are then deterred with an aerial dive bomb attack which is quite impressive to watch! Grazing by the three highland cows helps to maintain the short turf that lapwings need. The droppings of the cows also provide a source of invertebrate prey for the chicks.
The field is surrounded by electric predator fencing to try to give the lapwing more of a fighting chance, though we wonder if Mac’s impressive horns are enough to keep any predator out of the field!
Could PONT help you with conservation grazing on land that you manage? Get in touch to find out more.
Don’t forget you can submit your grazers for our grazer of the week feature by posting on social media with the hashtag #grazeroftheweek. Don’t forget to tag @pontcymru in your posts on Facebook or Instagram.