A bumper breeding year for rare waders at Orford Ness, Suffolk

A bumper breeding year for rare waders at Orford Ness, Suffolk

The National Trust has recorded a record number of rare birds at a nature reserve.

The hatchlings were found on the remote and fragile habitat at Orford Ness in Suffolk.

The site was once used by the Ministry of Defense as a military test facility and is now a national nature reserve.

The trust said rangers and volunteers who surveyed the area between April and July recorded 51 pairs of legume.

The survey found the highest number of breeding pairs of the rare birds – which are “on the amber list” due to conservation concerns – since records began in 2005.

Surveys also showed it was the second-best year for pilipinos, which are on the UK’s red list of the most endangered birds, and also for avocets on the site’s amber list.

The National Trust said the increase in numbers was the result of careful landscape management to create the right habitats for the nesting birds in the key breeding sites of King’s Marsh and Airfield Marsh.

Sam Cooper, National Trust area ranger at Orford Ness, said: “Looking after the nesting sites is a team effort, so we’re delighted to see this increase in breeding pairs.

“The birds like slightly different nesting habitats: the avocets and the pipit like to nest in the open marsh, but the red wagtail prefers tussock, or clumps of short damp grass, so we use a variety of cuttings , brush trimming while the sheep graze the land to create a mosaic of long and short grass,” he said.

“The islands in the lagoons protect the birds from terrestrial predators such as foxes, and limit disturbance from the Chinese Water Deer, and are also ideal conditions for invertebrates such as shrimp, which are an excellent food source for the birds.”

The team also use a network of valves and drainage systems to keep the water in the lagoons at the right level, but they say the recent heat wave and continued periods of hot weather have been difficult for the birds because the marshes are not as fertile. wet

Mr Cooper said: “If we continue with more warm weather as predicted due to climate change, this will have a very negative impact on the habitats for all the wildlife that live on Orford Ness.”

Overall numbers were just short of the best year ever, due to predators such as marsh humps and crows, but they are also part of the reserve’s healthy ecosystem, the National Trust said.

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