Woodlark makes welcome return to Broadwater Warren near Crowborough

woodlark by Chris Gomersall
woodlark by Chris Gomersall

WOODLARK have returned to a nature reserve near Crowborough.

Initial sightings of four Woodlark were reported on February 16, the first time they have been reported at Broadwater Warren since the RSPB bought the site and started a restoration project in 2008.

Since this first sighting, the beautiful song of the Woodlark has been heard regularly on the reserve with early mornings being an ideal time to listen out for them. Cousins of the more familiar Skylark, the Woodlark’s song is equally as clear and melodious.

RSPB Weald sites manager Steve Wheatley, said: “This is a wonderful moment for the new reserve. We hope the Woodlark population will build and build. Not only that, we hope this is the start of a great return of wildlife to the area.”

Woodlarks used to breed in the area but recently the population has declined rapidly due to widespread conifer planting. Despite its name, the Woodlark actually prefers open ground to woodland and this little bird has become increasingly rare.

The RSPB has been busy improving surrounding woodlands by removing overgrown conifer plantations on the reserve and planting native broadleaved trees that will appeal to a wide range of birds and other local wildlife.

Steve said: “We’re only in the second year of a ten year restoration project so it’s great to see and hear the wildlife responding so quickly. A big part of our job this summer is to help visitors enjoy these amazing birds and the other wildlife around the reserve. We’ve got an interesting programme of events coming up this year at Broadwater Warren which includes dawn chorus walks, Nightjar evenings, and events for children.”

The RSPB are very grateful for the support from funders including the Heritage Lottery Fund, SITA Trust and Veolia Trust. RSPB regional director Chris Corrigan said, “Without this support and the support of RSPB members and friends, none of the restoration work would have been possible.”