Farlington Marshes features
This site is a coastal grazing marsh and lagoon. The marsh has several pools, both freshwater and brackish, and a broad stream, which provide feeding and roosting sites for waders and wildfowl. The reedbeds are used by bearded tit, sedge and reed warblers for breeding. This grassland provides grazing for several thousand brent geese in the winter and breeding sites for redshank, lapwing and skylark during the summer.
Things to look out for
- A list of recent bird sightings is put up on the chalkboard in the site ‘hut’.
- This reserve has a regular volunteering group who help manage the site by removing weeds, replacing fences and undertaking scrub control.
- Many flowering plants have been recorded here including unusual species such as sea barley, bulbous foxtail, slender hare’s-ear and corky-fruited waterdropwort.
- Many species of grass grow on the reserve forming a mosaic of different grassland communities. The rare perennial beard grass can be found growing on the site.
- Internationally important populations of migratory birds, particularly large populations of dark-bellied brent goose and black-tailed godwit.
- Thousands of waders can be seen on the lake at high tide especially in the autumn.
- The Deeps are particularly good for wildfowl over the winter months with good numbers of teal and wigeon
Spring – migratory waders
- In spring, lapwings perform their acrobatic aerial display over the marsh as they choose their partner.
- Aerial displays from skylarks with their typical song flight through the spring.
- The open grassland is maintained by grazing cattle from early spring. This helps maintain it at the right length for returning brent geese to graze over the winter months. Scrub control creates a mosaic of habitats suitable for a range of wildlife.
Summer – breeding birds, butterflies and dragonflies
- In summer islands in the harbour have large numbers of breeding gulls and terns.
- The flower rich meadows and hedgerows become alive with insects. Many species of butterfly can be seen across the reserve.
- Dragonflies and damselflies can be seen zipping across the reserve
- Late summer sees the return of many waders from their breeding grounds and the opportunity to see the odd rarity.
Autumn – migratory waders
- Brent geese return in their thousands from the Arctic in October - you will see them scattered throughout the marsh feeding on the lush grass.
- The cattle come off the marsh in early autumn to make way for the returning birds who overwinter at this site.
Winter – waders and wildfowl
- Thousands of wading birds roost on the reserve during high tide. As the tide recedes, look for them flying back to the mudflats to resume feeding. Wildfowl are in abundance over the marsh particularly around The Deeps.