For those of you that have visited Boyton recently or are planning to visit soon, you will have seen that there has been a lot of activity happening in the fields that you can see along the river wall heading south towards Hollesley. These fields totaling 33ha were purchased back in 2015 and run alongside our existing Boyton Reserve.

Just to give you a quick vision of our overall project plan - the idea with these fields is to create a series of freshwater scrapes, and also wet grassland to benefit the different species that can be discovered using the lower Alde-Ore estuary. Creating these scrapes will nicely link up the amazing habitat along the coast including shingle street, Hollesley, Hollesley scrape, Boyton and the existing flash, and of course Havergate Island.

Eventually, overall, the outcome will provide ideal conditions for a wider range of bird and invertebrate species. The project has 2 aims: firstly to help offset the loss of designated species such as the Avocet from Havergate Island, caused by the recent colonization by large gulls, and damage due to the frequency of winter storm surges; secondly, the project will help to reverse the decline of breeding lapwing and redshank on the Suffolk Coast. In time, we hope to potentially see sandwich and Common terns establish and possibly little terns and ringed plover if we are lucky! It will provide extra suitable habitat for a range of passage and wintering wildfowl and will attract the more exotic yet increasingly common Spoonbills.

Due to funding, this work is being undertaken in stages. Over the past few years since purchasing the fields, work has taken place to isolate the land drains and ditches from the adjoining arable fields ensuring we can independently control the water level. Foot drains and scrapes have been dug to help keep the fields wet, especially in the spring, and we have already witnessed an array of birds using the fields, including breeding waders such as redshank and lapwing.

Most recently we have been generously funded by Viridor and Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB, and so we are delighted to report that we have now started work on a new freshwater scrape, and another step closer to our overall vision.

The scrape will be similar to that created at Hollesley Marshes back in 2013. Hollesley Scrape has been exceptionally successful and in good years, we have seen up to 40 pairs of Avocet nest, and have also recorded good numbers of other waders and wildfowl. In winter, we witness an array of geese species including white fronts, and during the Spring it is a regular spot for spoonbill to loaf.

 

Elsewhere at Boyton we have installed an anti-predator fence around the flash. The 660m fence was erected by the team in just 5 days! The rationale behind the fence, was the flash being very popular with breeding Avocets but unfortunately also being prone to foxes and badgers. We hope that the fence will go someway in decreasing the predation from ground predators and help to increase productivity.

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