Norfolk wetland to be created for birds at Sculthorpe

Sculthorpe Moor
Image caption The new habitat is being created at the reserve near Fakenham

A trust set up to protect birds of prey is building a £1.9m wetland habitat to conserve a wide range of species.

The Hawk and Owl Trust is expanding its reserve at Sculthorpe Moor in Norfolk by an extra 4.5 hectares (10 acres).

Ponds and plantations are being built to provide crustaceans and insects as food sources for wetland birds.

Sculthorpe conservation officer Nigel Middleton said: "Conservation is often about creating attractive animal habitats and sustainable food chains."

The new work will increase the size of the reserve four-fold and create natural habitats for a wide range of creatures from the bottom of the food chain to the top.

Image copyright Education Images
Image caption Sculthorpe already attracts marsh harriers (pictured at nearby Cley Marshes in north Norfolk)
Image copyright Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust
Image caption The trust hopes to attract waders and other wetland birds such as black tailed godwit and widgeon
Image caption Wetlands attract crustaceans and invertebrates at the bottom of the food chain to bring in creatures further up

The trust wants to attract water fowl and waders as well as lapwing and plovers by creating a wide range of crustacean and invertebrate or insect food sources.

"We already have birds of prey, at the top of the food chain, breeding here such as marsh harrier, red kite, tawny owl, little owl and sparrowhawk.

"By attracting large insects such as dragonfly we hope to increase the numbers of hobby that feed off them."

The trust is best known for successfully creating nesting sites for peregrine falcons at Norwich Cathedral and the BT Adastral Park buildings at Martlesham in Suffolk.

But they are now becoming more involved in conservation and the future of species under threat.

"We are funding two students from Easton College for a year to give them hands-on experience of conservation work as part of their degree," Mr Middleton said.

"This will boost their CV for jobs we see being created in conservation."

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