Rare birds already showing up on half-finished new reserve in Somerset20/09/2012 17:07:25 Rare birds arrive before diggers finish creating new Somerset nature reserve
September 2012. A rare white-rumped sandpiper is the latest unexpected arrival on the Steart peninsula in Somerset. It is currently recovering on a flooded field, despite being surrounded by one of the biggest construction projects in the south west. The bird, which has been blown off course on its migration from Canada to South America, has been attracting bird watchers since the weekend.
Creating one of the UK's largest wetland reserves
Tim McGrath from Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust has been working closely with the Environment Agency, which is creating the nature reserve before handing it over to WWT to manage. He said: "It is rather unexpected. We're in the middle of construction so there are a number of very large diggers rumbling around the site. There's one small field that hasn't drained and it has been simply teeming with birds over the last weeks, despite being surrounded by all this hubbub.500 hectares
"We're thrilled though. With birds like this turning up now, just imagine how it will be when the diggers are gone and we have 500 hectares of wetland, rather than just one field."
Local photographer and birdwatcher Tim Taylor took the photos of the white-rumped sandpiper. He said: "It's exciting to see all the work underway. Somerset is already such a great place for birding, boosting it further will be a dream."
The construction team has been working hard over the last few weeks. They are taking advantage of the dry weather to landscape the former fields into channels and embankments. The landscaping needs to be in place before the current sea wall is breached next year, letting in the tide and creating coastal wetland.
Pectoral sandpiper& other rare birds
White-rumped sandpiper and a curlew on the Stearts nature reserve - Photo courtesy of Tim Taylor