Blacktoft Sands, East Yorkshire

RSPB Blacktoft Sands is part of the Humber Estuary and an area of international importance for wildlife. It’s also one of the most important sites for wetland birds in the UK. The site is naturally quite dynamic with the wetland dependent on tidal flood water to keep the wetlands wet and to provide food for birds and wildlife. In recent years, there had been problems with lack of connectivity between the estuary and the wetland habitats meaning it has become more difficult to control water levels and allow fish and invertebrates to move into the lagoons and pools.

RSPB had identified some areas where new pools and scrapes could be created that would enhance the site along with other forms for management including grazing with ponies and reed cutting. A successful application to Valencia Communities Fund for £20,590 allowed this work to be undertaken as well as the management of a larger area of reed-bed by cutting, desilting an existing lagoon, creation of new seasonal pools, clearance of existing ditches and the installation of new sluices.

The dry summer of 2018 was a bonus to the project as it allowed the major land suite of habitat creation works to be completed with relative ease. During the high tides in September 2018 water flowed up newly cleared ditches and through the sluice pipes flooding many of the newly-created pools. These new areas have quickly been used by wintering birds including the largest number of curlew recorded on site in over 15 years, as well as species such as snipe and teal.