With the breeding season coming to a close on Wader Lake, all of the avocet adults and fledged young have departed site.
Despite the floods at the end of June, 60 of the 82 pairs of nesting common tern have successfully fledged 50-60 young this year.
Post-breeding flocks of lapwing and redshank have filled the space left by the avocets and terns, so there’s still plenty of bird life to be seen on the lake.
The long-staying black-tailed godwit has been a hit with visitors and a wood sandpiper, which evaded being spotted by the wardens, was photographed by a visitor on Wader Lake.
Hawthorn Wood has been busy with adult woodland birds bringing their fledged young to the feeding station. This has attracted the resident sparrowhawk pair and they have been seen catching the inexperienced young birds and taking them to feed their own chicks.
Reserve habitat management
Hay cutting is underway on the meadows (when the weather permits).
The rank grass on Forgotten Meadow has been cut and the flower-rich areas of grassland have been left for the seeds to form and give a safe haven for wildlife.
East Down grassland has also been cut and our reserve volunteers will assist with raking the cut grass off the meadow this week.
NB. Please note that the week beginning 6 August, essential habitat management on Wader Lake will be undertaken. Starting with cutting the grass bank in front of the bird hides, this will open up views of the lake from the hides and also give important roosting areas for the waders and wildfowl. This will cause some disturbance to the bird life on the lake during the work, but the birds quickly return once work stops.
Saline lagoon update
Work begins shortly on repairing the new footpath that was washed away in the recent floods. Once this is completed, work can then begin on creating the visitor access gates and enhancing the river view area next to the gully. A new track has also been created down the bank of Hawthorn Wood, where a gentle gradient sloping path will be installed.
Allowing time for the wildlife to establish and for the rest of the work to be completed, we are looking to open the new lagoon in mid-autumn (date tbc). I would like to thank our visitors and members for their ongoing support and patience during the closure of this area and I am sure this incredible new habitat will be well worth the wait.