Greater wildlife watching experience now available at East Chevington nature reserve

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Staff and volunteers at Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s East Chevington reserve have been batting the freezing cold and rain since the end of last year to ensure two brand new bird watching hides are in situ before the spring arrives.

The hides were made possible as part of the wildlife charity’s five year Catch My Drift project, a three-year initiative backed by £418,000 from National Lottery players, via The National Lottery.

Work on the hides started in October 2023 with the removal of two old hides, construction of a new platform on the south east corner of the north lake and the two brand new hides all being installed by bird hide specialists Gilleard Bros Ltd.

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Now in place and ready for spring, the new structures will be welcomed by the reserve’s thousands of visitors who will be able to marvel at otters, kingfishers and a wonderful array of wetland birds. In the recent past, hundreds of golden plover gathered on the reserve on their migration and a bittern turned up for a few months,

New wildlife watching hide at East Chevington. Picture: Sheila LuckNew wildlife watching hide at East Chevington. Picture: Sheila Luck
New wildlife watching hide at East Chevington. Picture: Sheila Luck

Since funding for the project was awarded at the start of 2020, Sophie Webster, Catch My Drift project officer and her team of 60loyal volunteers have worked tirelessly to conserve and enhance the wildlife on the 185-hectare site.

From releasing 330 harvest mice and sowing wildflower seed over 25-hectares to recording three species firsts for the site - purple hairstreak butterfly, anemperordragonfly and grass vetchling and North East Fungal Study Group 100 species of fungi on the site, the project has helped turn the former East Chevington Opencast Coal Site into a haven for wildlife.

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