World Wetlands Day
Wildlife in many of Oxfordshire's ponds, marshes and floodplain grassland is thriving thanks to a national wetland restoration scheme.
World Wetlands Day: Wednesday, February 2
Wetland scheme is wildlife success
Wildlife in many of Oxfordshire’s ponds, marshes and floodplain grassland is thriving thanks to a national wetland restoration scheme.
At the Upper Ray Meadows nature reserve near Bicester the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust created wet muddy havens for rare birds including curlew and lapwing to feed. On Gallows Bridge Farm, part of the reserve, 36 new ponds were dug to make new habitats for colourful wildflowers and butterflies, and beautiful damselflies.
In west Oxfordshire a group of trained volunteers drove dumper trucks and diggers to create a chain of 11 ponds for wildlife on the Chimney Meadows nature reserve as part of the Pond Conservation Million Ponds project.
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The Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust is one of 12 local wildlife trusts taking part in the three-year �1.78m National Wetland Restoration and Flood Alleviation Project, funded by Biffaward.
Christopher Williams from Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust says, “Schemes like this are helping to reverse the damage done to our wetlands, which have been in serious decline.
“Places like the Upper Ray Meadows and Gallows Bridge Farm are alive with wildfowl and wading birds at this time of year. World Wetlands Day is the ideal time to reflect on their value, and to get out and enjoy them.
“On the Upper Ray Meadows this winter we’ve seen more than 2,000 lapwing and impressive flocks of golden plover, wigeon and teal. These are wonderful birds and it’s rare to see them in these numbers. Birders have spotted black-tailed godwit and dunlin as well as barnacle and white-fronted geese.”
The National Wetland Restoration and Flood Alleviation Project contributes to The Wildlife Trusts’ vision for A Living Landscape, which aims to restore, recreate and reconnect the UK’s fragmented habitats. At present, the 47 Wildlife Trusts in the UK are involved in more than 100 Living Landscape schemes, many of which include wetland restoration.