Rare wading bird’s breeding success at Welney WWT

A RARE wading bird has enjoyed breeding success on a Fenland reserve.

A pair of black-tailed godwits have successfully reared a brood of three chicks at Welney Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) site. It is the first time it has happened on the site for a number of years.

The Ouse Washes did not flood at all earlier in the year which has helped the birds successfully rear new offspring.

A new wetland area on the site, called Lady Fen, has been managed by the Welney WWT, and along with a perfect environment has helped the birds thrive.

Leigh Marshall, WWT reserve manager said: “It’s great to see these birds using the wetlands that we have created.

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“Black-tailed godwits are a site-specific nesting bird, so if their nesting habitat is flooded they will try to find other suitable areas as close as possible to the original site.

“The fact that they have chosen to nest on this recently created wetlands site when the Ouse washes are flood-free is testament to the hard work that has been undertaken throughout this project.”

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The charismatic birds are relatively large waders with long legs and an unmistakably long straight bill, which is perfectly adapted for feeding on invertebrates in the mud.

The birds migrate from Africa in the spring and the males take on a rusty-orange hue to the plumage on their head and neck ready for the breeding season.

Lady Fen’s 197 acres was converted into wet grasslands as part of a join venture by the WWT and the Environment Agency - which was supported by Natural England and Norfolk County Council - in 2008 to create additional wetland habitat in the Fens.

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