A Weekend on Wallasea

Wallasea Island is a low lying coastal floodplain situated north of the River Thames estuary. For generations it has been used as arable farmland, protected by a sea wall, but now it is undergoing a transformation. The aim of the project is to engineer the land back to tidal floodplain, salt marsh and mud flats, which will provide habitat for nationally and internationally important bird species.

The RSPB is driving the project, the largest of its type ever attempted in Europe, and hopes to be finished by 2019.

So why was I there this weekend?
Well, it’s simple. Before the land can be engineered and flooded to create the perfect habitat for wetland birds, we need to move out the existing wildlife.

I have been working for Thomson Ecology whose team are doing an outstanding job of translocating the reptile species to a receptor site, out of harm’s way. Hundreds of black mats, placed out in the field margins are checked three times a day for reptiles seeking warmth and refuge under the mats. The majority of individuals are Common Lizards although three Adders were collected on Saturday and successfully released at the receptor site.

The stunning scenery, blazing sun and enthusiastic work force made for a great weekend.


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