Some of you who have visited over the last month or so may have noticed that we have been doing a bit of work with a large excavator on the lagoons. Well this has been the main part of the five year funded work program funded by WREN Environmental and is known as Back to the Future, mainly because we aim to create a future landscape using some ideas from both the past and future.
Our main focus has been on improving the wetland complex for the benefit of many of our key wetland birds and wildlife such as bitterns, bearded tits, water voles and toads. Grazing of the Koniks has been another part of the project in an attempt to create more natural management of the wetland system and introduce lots of mosaics in the vegetation
However this phase of the project was designed to rehabilitate one of the brackish lagoons by removing the accumulated silt and land forming the ground to help create better feeding conditions for both breeding and migrant waders.
The team have put a lot of effort into trying to design a lagoon that will provide the maximum amount of feeding area for the waders and by lowering the lagoon back down to it's original level we should be able to keep a shallow water level for much longer than we have been able to recently.
We are all really excited about the potential of the work for the birds that use the reserve and have our fingers crossed that it will give some excellent birding for next year when the food levels have built up again.
Here's a couple of pictures to give you an ideal of the work on Townend lagoon
Just after excavation
And now with a bit of water in it............
Its also time to give a bit of an update on the konik grazing part of the project as I feel that this is really starting to give some very positive indication of just what the grazing is achieving, especially with a bit of careful water control by the team.
Recently I have been concentrating quite a bit of time birding at Ousefleet to record bird usage of the area grazed by the ponies in winter. The hope was that their grazing and dunging would help create perfect conditions for chironomid worms and also soil worms to flourish as well as lots of beetle larvae, and I have to say that maybe this late summer things are looking positive.
recent peak counts of waders include 111 snipe, 72 curlew, 27 ruff, 7 black tailed godwits, 300 lapwing, 12 spotted redshank, plus smaller numbers of redshank, golden plover, greenshank, green sandpiper, common sandpiper ringed plover, single red necked phalarope, wood, and pec sand, and today 150 roosting dunlin. Duck counts have been over 500 teal and 500 mallard plus good numbers of shoveler, and gadwall and the odd pintail. The surrounding vegetation has been used by lots of bearded tits and warblers while little egrets and spoonbills have fed on the pool. In the spring over 80 avocets fed on the pool. So some promising results here!
Below - one of the ponies the other evening with the seasonal scrape at Ousefleet covered in teal.