Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Effects of lagoon creation and water control changes on birds at a former airfield at Orford Ness, Suffolk, UK: Part 1 – breeding pied avocets, common redshank and northern lapwing

Published source details

Warrington S., Guilliatt M., Lohoar G. & Mason D. (2014) Effects of lagoon creation and water control changes on birds at a former airfield at Orford Ness, Suffolk, UK: Part 1 – breeding pied avocets, common redshank and northern lapwing. Conservation Evidence, 11, 53-56

Summary

A former military airfield at Orford Ness had naturally developed into a coastal grazing marsh, but limited water control and high evaporation caused it to be highly prone to drying out in summer. With the intention of attracting higher numbers of breeding waders, six large shallow pools and two deeper ponds were created by building low bunds linked by new ditches and water control points. To replace water losses to evapotranspiration, new sluices were built into the river walls to allow estuary water to be drawn into two new lagoons at high tide, and from there into the ditches and pools to maintain desired water levels. The number of breeding waders in the modified areas increased from an average of eight pairs in the two years prior to the works to 23 pairs in the year after the creation of pools. Pied avocet numbers increased from zero to five pairs, common redshank from five to 13 pairs, and northern lapwing from three to five pairs.