ALK­BOR­OUGH FLATS

Dis­cover the UK’S largest man­aged re­align­ment site

Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Bird­ing - GRA­HAM CAT­LEY

ES­TAB­LISHED IN LATE 2006 as the largest man­aged re­align­ment site in Bri­tain, Alk­bor­ough Flats has de­vel­oped into a renowned bird­ing lo­ca­tion with a list of 200 species recorded in the sub­se­quent nine years, in­clud­ing many first class rar­i­ties. The larger part of the site con­sists of mud­flats that are cov­ered by high spring tides and large ex­pand­ing reedbeds. Waders in­clude flocks of up to 1,600 Avo­cets in au­tumn, Black-tailed God­wits and reg­u­lar pas­sage Ruff (up to 100), Green­shank and Spot­ted Red­shanks, the lat­ter also in win­ter, while au­tumn and win­ter Teal num­ber in their thou­sands, with Wi­geon and Shov­eler also im­pres­sive. TOP TIP For a panoramic view of the whole site look from the Maze, Ju­lian’s Bower, signed lo­cally The reedbeds have breed­ing Bearded Tits and Wa­ter Rails with Reed War­bler and Reed Bunt­ing com­mon in sum­mer. Lit­tle Egrets and Spoon­bills peak in early au­tumn. The re­main­der of the Flats is made up of wet grass­land and some large ar­eas of salt­marsh, the for­mer hold­ing large flocks of Lap­wing, Golden Plover and Curlew, while Hen Har­rier and Marsh Har­ri­ers hunt the lat­ter in win­ter when Wa­ter Pip­its hide in the veg­e­ta­tion and flocks of Snipe are oc­ca­sion­ally flushed by the hunt­ing har­ri­ers. Cetti’s War­bler is a new res­i­dent. Vis­i­ble mi­gra­tion is al­ways note­wor­thy and re­cent rare fly-over birds in­clude Black Stork and Bee-eater, though Red Kite and Crane are more likely. High spring tides can flood the site to­tally and re­duce bird num­bers; check tide ta­bles be­fore plan­ning a visit.

Marsh Har­rier Bearded Tit

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