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Diggers to make things wetter and better for wildlife at RSPB nature reserve

A digger creating ditches at Campfield Marsh (photo David Morris)

Work has begun to improve the home of a variety of birds, due to the arrival of diggers at RSPB Campfield Marsh, and is set to make the site an even better place for wildlife.

The nature reserve, near Bowness-on-Solway is important for birds such as lapwings, curlews and redshanks, all of which are sadly suffering declines in the UK. The exciting new work, funded by Natural England’s Countryside Stewardship Scheme and the DEFRA Peat Fund, will create a network of ditches and shallow pools, transforming key areas into ideal feeding and breeding sites for these wading birds as well as over-wintering ducks, dragonflies, marshfritillary  butterflies and marshland wildflowers.

Dave Blackledge, Site Manager at RSPB Campfield Marsh said: “Thanks to this funding, we have been able to bring in diggers from specialist ecological contractors Openspace GB, to make areas that are wetter and muddier, which is brilliant for the special birds here.

“Over the years at Campfield Marsh, we’ve found that in places where water has been able to build up rather than drain away, we get high numbers of lapwings and redshanks breeding, but it hasn’t always been possible to direct the water where it is needed. Through this exciting new project, we’ve designed a network of ditches and shallow pools that allow us to better capture the water and make some areas wet and some areas dry at different times of year as needed. Doing this also creates perfect conditions for plants to grow up, which provide seeds and it also encourages insects, both of which are vital food sources for the birds here. Rare marsh fritillary butterflies, a range of dragonflies and other wildlife will also benefit so it is a really beneficial project for a whole host of wonderful wildlife.”

The reserve remains open as normal throughout the work, which is taking place now that the wading bird breeding season has finished. For more information on Campfield Marsh and to keep up to date with the work, visit rspb.org.uk/campfieldmarsh.

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