Wader Wonderland at Alkborough

We were back in Alkborough over the weekend, and included a few outings to the Alkborough Flats during our trip.

The area is flourishing. The reed beds have grown even larger, and now cover almost the whole area apart from the mud, water and the meadows. And, as you will see, the wildlife here is flourishing as well.

I'll start with the waders. The first hide along the main path at the flats offers a great view over the scrape, and every time we were down there, without fail, there were hundreds of birds covering the area. They included Dunlins, Redshank, Godwits and hundreds of Lapwing, who are obviously doing very well for themselves here.

And every five minutes or so, these birds would all take to the air, obviously spooked by something; probably the Marsh Harriers and Peregrines that call the flats home. It became a regular, beautiful aerial display, as the sky was filled with feathers.

Marsh Harrier amongst the flock

Whilst the waders were feeding at flying at the front of the scrape, the Marsh Harriers were busy hunting over the dense reed beds that surround the water. Over the three of four visits to the flats, we saw at least 3 different individual harriers, each hunting over different parts of the overall area. They were, as usual, wonderful to watch, and we saw them every time we went down, without fail.

We mostly saw females; identified by the brown bodies and creamy yellow heads. Marsh Harriers have always been at the flats since we first visited, but at the moment, they seem at their most abundant.

The Alkborough Flats have again given us some great views of some great animals. Lapwings, who are severely declining across the country, seem to be doing well here. They are joined by various other waders, ducks and gulls, and of course the Marsh Harriers, who are a real treat to watch hunt. I thoroughly recommend a visit if you're ever in the area.


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