Bird Habitat Created at Crowdy Reservoir

During the autumn and winter the grassy banks of Crowdy can attract flocks of Lapwing and Golden Plover, while Goosander, Teal and Great Northern Diver can be seen on the open water. Snipe, Curlew and Lapwing were all occasional nesting birds at Crowdy in the past, although in recent years, and in parallel with the situation nationally the nesting numbers are tumbling downwards. This is of concern to us and therefore we intend that through a combination of our actions that include; light seasonal cattle grazing, the blocking of ditches, and the restriction of public access, we will help contribute areas of much need good quality habitat in which these wading birds can find food shelter and suitable nesting sites.

As part of the Crowdy Reservoir creation in 1973 several islands were landscaped, near to the north-western shoreline with the purposes of providing habitats for birds. However over the years since, the majority of the islands have disappeared below the surface, and the few that remain have become overgrown with vegetation. In order to restore one of these islands wardens from the South West Lakes Trust worked together with volunteers from the Cornwall Bird Watching and Preservation Society. The first step was to use brush cutters to remove the vegetation from the island and then construct basic timber structures to receive 2 tonnes of inert pre washed gravel. This gravel was shifted the 1km between the car park and the island through a combination of multiple wheelbarrow trips and boat journeys across the reservoir. In the past the nature reserve once hosted the largest colony of nesting Black-headed gulls in Cornwall and therefore we hope to encourage a few nesting pairs back, which would provide an enjoyable spectacle from the nearby bird hide.

Crowdy is open all year around to visitors and parking is free from the car park located near the dam at the western end of the reservoir. We politely ask visitors not to walk into the nature reserve (green area on map), for both the reasons of ensuring public safety (widespread areas of obscured deep water everywhere) and maintaining an undisturbed area in which wildlife can thrive. Most of the birds that nest in the nature reserve do so on the ground and therefore when caused to take flight, they may abandon their eggs.

 

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