Creating the perfect habitat for ground nesting birds

As part of the winter maintenance programme, our amazing team of volunteers have been out on Number 1 Pit Island clearing willow scrub.

What's the history?

Before Brockholes became a nature reserve, the strip of land between the path and the lakes was disturbed by quarrying.

The land then got re-profiled and the plants naturally colonised on the bare ground. A tussocky mix of tall herbs and grasses established, and this was good for botany and invertebrates.

When the Lancashire Wildlife Trust took over Brockholes, we left the land unmanaged (we had no means of managing it), and in time, willow and Alder tree seedlings colonised as their seeds blow in the wind and grow throughout the whole area. These then quickly grew into big shrubs.

 

Oystercatcher

 © Dave Bennion

Why are we pulling the scrub up?

Clumps of unwanted shrubs are called 'scrub' and scrub can be a really big problem on nature reserves. Scrub often out-competes other plants and degrades habitats. Here it started to shade out the reedbed at the lake edges.

When scrub grows, it becomes tall enough for crows and magpies to nest in. Although we love all wildlife, it doesn't work for crows and magpies to nest near the big island because they eat the eggs and chicks of rare ground nesting birds such as lapwing, common sandpiper, oystercatcher and redshank.

This is why it is really important to remove this scrub to help our ground-nesting birds to safely rear their young.

Our volunteers have been doing an amazing job creating the perfect habitat for our ground nesting birds on this island over a few years, in all sorts of weather.

Take a look for yourself

The volunteers are out on Number 1 Pit Island clearing the willow scrub for our rare ground nesting birds.

Wildlife Spotlight