Habitat improvement complete at Summer Leys

Habitat improvement complete at Summer Leys

Gull Island Summer Leys Ben Newton

Major habitat improvement works at Summer Leys, Northants have now been successfully completed

Signficant habitat enhancement work has taken place on two areas of Summer Leys nature reserve, Northamptonshire, thanks to funding from Natural England (as proposed in June this year: see page link with background information foot of page). 

On Hawthorn Island trees have been cleared and chipped, with some stumps retained; the island is now an open, smoothly sloping area of island habitat, which will complement the other existing habitat on site and increase the area for waterbirds to breed, roost and feed. This island sits slightly higher than most other islands on site and is expected to be an excellent winter waterbird roosting site.

The Gull Island restoration is now complete (a continuation of work to remember Jake Ward, who was involved with Summer Leys since its creation). This work has reprofiled the island to slightly reduce the peak height and to increase the amount of available shallow sloping habitat; measurements and calculations were done that ensure the island will now be very slightly submerged at the peak winter water level, which will suppress vegetation growth. In spring and autumn there should be shallow muddy areas which will provide excellent feeding habitat for breeding and passage waterbirds.

Both islands will have re-growing vegetation cut once a year in August to maintain an open habitat providing optimal conditions for waterbirds. Interestingly snipe, Gallinago gallinago, have already been seen using the newly created habitat and we look forward to many more sightings during the coming months.

The access causeway used for the work has now been lowered to reinstate the island habitat. Some further cattle pen and fencing work is planned for later in autumn 2021 ( further details in due course). For any queries or further information please contact Northamptonshire@wildlifebcn.org