Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Another step closer to completion at Hilgay

 Nick Carter, Conservation Officer (Fens)

The perimeter abstraction point
Last Friday - 28 March -  saw another significant development of the wetland site at Hilgay with the turning on of the abstraction system. This will enable us to abstract water directly from the River Wissey into either the perimeter ditch, throughout the year, or the storage lagoon during the winter. Abstraction during the summer will enable us to keep the site wet but it is during the winter that we will be able to build up water levels significantly which will aid the spread of reeds across the site. The aim is to now finish all the construction and fencing works by the end of April. 

Little ringed plover, photo by Nick Appleton
In my last post I was anticipating the arrival of little ringed plovers and sand martins. Friday saw the first little ringed plovers on site. In the morning only one bird was visible but by the afternoon there were at least four. Nearby there was a lapwing sitting on four eggs with other pairs also dotted around the site. No sign of any sand martins yet but hopefully they should arrive soon if they are going to breed. Several species of duck are still present including mallard, teal, wigeon, gadwall and shelduck which may also stay to breed. Several pairs of redshank and at least one pair of oystercatcher are also present along with small parties of snipe which will probably be departing soon. With south easterly winds forecast for the next few days more spring migrants should start arriving onsite, including those that just pass through such as wheatears.

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