Record number of birds recorded at Wallasea Island after major habitat creation project  

A record number of waterbirds has been recorded at RSPB Wallasea Island during surveys in December 2023.

38,000 birds were recorded, which included species such as teal, shoveler and wigeon. This recent count beat the previous record of 32,770 from January 2020.

This record success comes following the Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project, which saw areas of intertidal mudflats, lagoons and saltmarsh habitat created.

The recent December WeBS survey, which involved a total of nine surveyors counting birds across the reserve simultaneously, also recorded the highest ever numbers of individual species, including 700 avocets and over 2,000 black-tailed godwits.

Over half of the birds are found in a 165ha area of the reserve called Jubilee Marsh, a combination of saltmarsh, mudflats, lagoons, islands and grassland. This habitat creation was part of the Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project that saw three million tonnes of soil from London’s Crossrail scheme used to raise land levels before the sea wall was breached in July 2015.

This allowed the land to naturally flood with tidal water, which caused a mosaic of habitats to be created, providing a rich feeding and safe roosting space for birds.