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New bird hides at South Lakes nature reserve

The covered osprey-viewing hide under construction. Credit: Cumbria Wildlife Trust.

Two new bird hides have recently been installed at Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve near Witherslack, giving visitors a great viewing point to see an array of woodland birds, as well as the nature reserve’s popular summer visitors, two breeding ospreys.

One of the new hides is trained on the osprey nest where Cumbria Wildlife Trust expect these majestic birds of prey to return to breed in late March or early April. The other overlooks a new bird feeding station, which is attracting a wide range of woodland birds, as Reserves Officer Paul Waterhouse explains: “The new feeder has been incredibly popular and among the interesting birds we’ve seen recently is the scarce tree sparrow with its chestnut-brown crown, a much shyer bird that its cousin, the house sparrow. As well as the attractive green and yellow siskin, we’ve also seen brambling, goldfinch and redpoll.

The covered wooden screen is like a mini hide, so visitors can sit and watch the birds in comfort, while not disturbing them.”

Along with the two new covered birdwatching areas, visitors can also enjoy new benches and picnic tables which have been installed around the 350 hectare nature reserve.

Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve near Witherslack attracts thousands of visitors each year. Credit: Ian Alexander Waite

Paul says: “We are very grateful to an individual donor and to Tarmac Landfill Communities Fund for their grant of over £17,000. Their funding has helped us make the visitor experience here at Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve even better. Most of the Tarmac grant has been used to clear 15 hectares of invasive plant species, such as rhododendron and western hemlock, allowing us to ensure that this precious peat bog can thrive and stay such a wonderful habitat for Cumbrian wildlife.”

As part of the Tarmac Limited Landfill Communities Fund grant, Cumbria Wildlife Trust is also producing backpacks for children, so that young visitors can get the most out of coming to the nature reserve. They will include binoculars and spotter sheets and they will be available to hire at the nature reserve from the start of the osprey season.

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