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Suffolk Coast & Heaths: volunteer wardens needed

Updated: Aug 31, 2021

Volunteer wardens needed to protect Ringed Plover in the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB please contact

The Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB has been expanded by about 38 sq. km (14.6 sq. miles) – almost a tenth of its size – to include the Stour Estuary, stretching from Manningtree to Harwich in Essex, and a tributary of the estuary called the Samford Valley. This means that both the Suffolk and Essex banks of the Stour estuary are now part of the AONB.

Both estuaries are subject to increasing levels of recreational disturbance with walkers and dogs being the main culprits. Alex Moore de Luz (Biodiversity Officer for the Suffolk Coasts & Heaths AONB) has already met with Suffolk Rural, Wildlife and Heritage Police to discuss disturbance issues and nesting shore birds at Shotley.

Ringed Plover - copyright John Richardson

As Natural England’s RO (Responsible Officer) for the Stour estuary I welcomed the opportunity to meet Alex to discuss opportunities for the provision of protected breeding sites for Ringed Plover in the Stour and Orwell. We hope to expand the project to other suitable locations in the Stour and Orwell estuaries and hopefully elsewhere in the AONB. Mark Nowers RSPB has already made me aware of a potential site on the Suffolk side of the Stour and there is a potential site at Wrabness where I am in discussion with the owners of the foreshore to encourage Ringed Plover to return to nest after an absence of 12 years.

Alex and I discussed designs for fencing to prevent access to walkers and in particular dogs. Design and materials are very much a work in progress at the time of writing but I hope to meet with Alex again with Emily Deacon (RO for the Orwell) to consider our options. We will also be joining forces to write an article for the Harrier

Alex has previously posted a request for volunteers to help with monitoring breeding Redshank which should link in well with the now evolving Ringed Plover project.

If you would like to get involved please contact or get back to me directly.

Chris Keeling

Projects Officer

Suffolk Bird Group

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