Wader Wonderland at RSPB Lochwinnoch!
If you have visited RSPB at Lochwinnoch reserve recently you may have noticed some heavy machinery out on the reserve and have been curious as to what is going on.
Fear not, this is all for the good of the wildlife!
Much of our work at Lochwinnoch is carried out to try and improve the habitat for our water birds, whilst simultaneously trying to encourage as many different other birds and animals as possible. The key to trying to maximise the number of different types of birds and animals on the reserve, is to have a mixture of different types of habitats, resulting in a “habitat mosaic”. At RSPB Lochwinnoch this means a mixture of longer and shorter vegetation, with pools and channels in the dryer ground, or islands in the water.
As part of the Garnock Connections project ‘Breeding Success at Lochwinnoch’ we have carrying out work on our Aird Meadow wetlands to provide more “edge habitat” (aka. mud) and more water. By moving some soil to lower the banks around the existing channels we have created gentler slopes. This has created more available wet edges and opening up access to soft, nutrient rich soil for foraging waders such as lapwing, snipe and curlew. It will also provide edges and shallow water suitable for dabbling ducks such as teal, wigeon and mallard.
Although the scrapes are new and barely settled, dunlin, snipe, curlews, lapwings and whooper swans, to name but a few, have all been taking advantage of the new habitat. Given more time for the wildlife to settle in and for the plants to re-establish, a richer, more diverse habitat will appear, providing food and shelter for even more species in the years to come.