Reserve improvements

Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) perched on small rock in shallow stream, England, UK
Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) perched on small rock in shallow stream, England, UK
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A Yorkshire nature reserve has undergone several improvements, thanks to the Groundwork Tesco Bags of Help scheme.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Sprotbrough Flash nature reserve has received a host of improvements, for both wildlife and visitors, thanks to the scheme, which uses money raised from the 5p bag charge in store.

Over the years,the habitat on the flash has matured from mud to reed bed and in some areas to willow carr, meaning the species seen on the flash have changed. Reed bed and willow has been removed on small parts of the flash, opening up the area and allowing birds that like open, muddy lakes to thrive. The work has seen results already; a grey wagtail has been spotted searching for food on the mud - a species not seen for over two years on site. It is hoped birds like sandpipers and snipe will also return.

A brand new viewing screen has been inserted on the site, providing excellent views of the lake and the bird life on it. An osprey platform has also been erected at the edge of the flash. Birds pass through the site every year on the way to and from Scotland, on their migration from Africa, and it is hoped the platform will entice a pair to stay and breed. Even if it doesn’t, the platform will be used by buzzards or other birds.

Jim Horsfall, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserves officer, said: “Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is a charity that relies on the support of its members and volunteers to continue restoring wildlife for the benefit of everyone in generations to come. “Money from the Tesco scheme has enabled us to do some really exciting things at Sprotbrough.

“Birds not seen for years are returning and we will soon be putting out a tern raft, in good time for terns to come and nest on.

“The raft will help prevent predation of tern eggs and young by badgers and foxes. It also allows a different surface for the birds to nest on. Hopefully some common terns will use the raft, perhaps even from this year.”

Visit www.ywt.org.uk for details.