Share Marsh habitat creation, migrant waders, wildflower meadows and more...

Carlton Marshes by Steve Aylward

The Share Marsh habitat creation work is finished and it's already attracting a variety of migrant waders and dragonflies. Read on for wildlife news from across the Suffolk Broads, Carlton Marshes habitat creation updates, and to hear about the volunteers that make it all happen!

Despite the wind this last week, we have still been seeing good numbers of Dragonflies and Damselflies. Walking through Sprat's Water look out for Willow Emerald Damselflies perched at about eye level or higher in Willow or Alder. They may be scouting for a place to lay their eggs, as Willow Emeralds lay their eggs in the bark of trees overhanging water, favouring Willow and Alder. The larvae then falls into the water the following year. We've also had ongoing interest in the Vagrant and Lessor Emperor dragonflies which have been seen here recently on the newly created scrapes. On these new scrapes, and on the old scrapes too, we have been seeing lots of migrant waders including regular sightings of Green Sandpiper. Listen out for their high pitched call as they fly fast over the scrapes. Green Sandpiper breed in Scandinavia up in trees, using old birds nests and squirrel dreys. Look out for this years young waders too with paler colouring like the Avocet chicks below and the Lapwing youngsters with their short, stumpy crest. 

It's the time of year again when volunteers are busy clearing the wet meadows and fen at Carlton Marshes, whilst I have been cutting them. Sat in a tractor raised above the reeds can be a great place to spot wildlife. Earlier this week I saw a Bittern amongst the reeds at Oulton Marshes opposite the viewing platform. Bittern are often seen here, but be prepared to scan the reed edge of the dyke for a while as these birds are not easy to spot, unless you've got a tractor. Cutting the meadows in the smaller tractor also gives me great views of frogs and toads, hopping or walking in front of me. The hop of a frog or walk of a toad is the best way to tell the two apart if you are unsure. Gunton Meadow and Sprat's Water are both great places to spot these amphibians along the edge of ponds or the miniature broads.

The habitat creation work on Share Marsh is complete! The diggers have left, scrapes have been joined to dykes, turf ponds are complete and already the birds are utilising this ideal feeding area. Migrant waders including Green and Wood Sandpipers have been seen feeding on the new scrapes, as well as Little Ringed Plover and 40+ Lapwing. It won't be long until Peto's Marsh, the triangle of land between the Waveney and Oulton Dyke, is complete too. The last stage of the work will be to raise the water levels slowly throughout the winter period, especially on the Reedbed which will have water levels about 30cm above ground level, hopefully making it perfect for Bittern and Crane! To get a good view of some of the new scrapes on Share Marsh head to the pumping station along the River Waveney. Also check out the bottom of the first page on the Mervyn Lambert website, for recent drone video of the habitat creation.

Contact:

Ellen Shailes at ellen.shailes@suffolkwildlifetrust.org for more information about volunteering across the Suffolk Broads reserves or

Barry Bradnum at waveneyvalleygroup.swt@gmail.com for more information about the Waveney Valley Wildlife Group

Current volunteering roles:

Dog Ambassador - Carlton Marshes nature reserve and across Lowestoft

Otter monitoring volunteer - Carlton Marshes nature reserve

Learning volunteer - Carlton Marshes nature reserve and across Lowestoft

Heritage Fund

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters and a £4 million grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, our vision to buy and restore 384 acres of land for wildlife in the Broads National Park is taking flight.