RSPB Lochwinnoch's Warden, Dan Snowdon, tells us about their upcoming habitat creation project!


Habitat creation at Lochwinnoch

In the coming weeks we’re awaiting contractors onsite to create a new pool in the sedge bed on the Aird Meadow. We’re very excited, as this is the first bit of habitat creation on the ground undertaken at the reserve since major groundworks in 2012, and by creating some open water in an area of the reserve largely dominated by vegetation we’re hoping to encourage more wildlife to use the area – and also to come out into the open so our visitors can watch from the comfort of the new viewing screen we’re building once the pool is complete.

area of cut vegetation
Area of cut vegetation where the new pool will be dug. Credit: Dan Snowdon.

The pool itself is designed with a shallow slope and a wavy, ‘scalloped’ edge to maximise the amount of shallow, open water wildlife can feed in, as well as some deeper areas to ensure water remains available for most of the year. At the moment unless water levels are very high everything is covered by vegetation, which is great for some species that like cover but not so great for anything that likes open water or the interface between water and vegetation to feed in.

otter in water

Otter on the Aird Meadow loch. Credit: Richard Bennett.

Birds like snipe and water rail will hopefully be tempted out into the open, dabbling ducks like teal and mallard should love the shallows and the island, and rarer wildlife like little egrets or the resident but rarely-glimpsed otters might be encouraged to hunt around the edges where fish venture out from the cover of the reeds. Dragonflies and damselflies should also benefit from the new pool, and we’re sure the local amphibians will love it too. We’ll keep you updated!

Update: Due to Covid-19 this work has unfortunately been put on hold, but we hope to resume it as soon as we can and can't wait to see the wildlife that will visit !