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Flora & Fauna - Birds & Sightings

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The water meadows, with their mixture of river margins, ditches, damp meadows, hedges and trees, attract a wide variety of bird life. Since 1980 records of bird sightings have been kept, and over this period a total of 89 species have been listed. This is quite a respectable number. 

Click here for list of main species sighted on the meadows

Admittedly, nine of these have only been seen once, including

Mute Swan

Mute Swan

Mandarin Duck

Peregrine Falcon

Short-eared Owl



Of the remainder, 30 are regular breeders and several more have been observed breeding on occasions.

In recent years three ground-nesting species - Mallard, Moorhen and Coot - have been at the mercy of foxes, but until this became a problem several pairs of each raised their young every year. Mute Swans seem able to defend themselves against foxes.

The commonest breeders, with ten or more pairs, are Blackbird, Dunnock, Robin and Wren. Not far

behind these are five different warblers, including Reed and Sedge Warbler, Woodpigeon, and a variety of thrushes, tits and finches. Prior to 1980 Redshank used to breed regularly, but now they are only seen in small numbers during the winter. Another bird that has been lost much more recently as a breeding species is the Skylark. A very secretive bird that is sometimes seen, and has been suspected of breeding, is the Water Rail.

The meadows are an important feeding area for large numbers of House Sparrow and Starling at all times of the year, for Swift, Swallow and House Martin in summer, and for Lapwing, Snipe, Fieldfare and Redwing in winter. Other species seen in winter include Siskin and Redpoll, both of which feed on alders.


Kingfishers in the Watermeadows

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