GOGGLE-eyed plovers are making a comeback in Wiltshire and, to celebrate, a mural is being painted in the heart of Salisbury.

After a poor season in 2013, the elusive stone-curlew, aka the goggle-eyed plover, has had a successful breeding season in the county.

There are just two populations of the species in the UK – one around Wiltshire (the Wessex population) and the other in the Brecklands of East Anglia.

With a fine summer and good invertebrate food availability, the Wessex birds have been busily producing young to boost the population.

To celebrate, the RSPB and Salisbury City Council have teamed up with London-based street artist ATM to paint a mural of the bird on the wall of the public toilet block at Queen Elizabeth Gardens, next to Lush House Car Park. Work started on Monday.

The Wessex Stone-curlew Project has been running for 30 years, during which time the population has increased due to partnership work by land managers, farmers and conservationists. Stone-curlews nest on the ground in open areas, including cultivated fields, where eggs and chicks are vulnerable to farm machinery.

By working together, RSPB surveyors can locate the nests and mark them for farmers to avoid. Many landowners have also put in special nesting plots that provide safe habitats for the birds.

The work was funded by the EU LIFE+ securing the future of the stone-curlew in the UK.