Redshank chick by Graham Osborne

As our regular visitors will know, for the past 5 years or so we have spent a significant amount of time each spring putting up temporary anti-predator fences on the South Brooks.  This followed on from nest monitoring studies which showed a high level of nest predation and that the majority of nest predation was mammalian (primarily fox, occasionally badger). Our wardens set up a 2 km electric fenceline around a section of the South Brooks and a further 1km section around West Mead pool. This has resulted in an upturn in breeding wader numbers.

This summer you’ll see new fence posts and stock fencing being put up as a permanent anti-predator fence around the southern area of wet grassland. The materials used will be more robust and able to deal with floods, will reduce the annual workload for our wardening team and enable a larger area to be protected for breeding birds.

There will be noise and wildlife disturbance at both West Mead and Winpenny hide whilst posts are being banged in. Work has just started at the very southern end of the reserve but will move towards the hides this week.

The fence may not look the most aesthetically pleasing but hopefully you’ll understand that this work is being done for the benefit of some of our most precious and charismatic birds, and hopefully we’ll be able to watch our lapwings, redshank and avocet raise their broods successfully in years to come.

The anti-predator fence has been funded in part by the Sussex Ornithological Society.