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New place to hide for bird watchers

PUBLISHED: 15:30 30 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:48 03 March 2010

BIRD watchers could today spot without being spotted in a new area on the banks of the River Orwell - and in considerable comfort, too.

Ornithologists often have to be hardy creatures to keep a watchful eye on the county's birdlife, out in all weathers and all times of the day, numb with cold in the winter and early mornings.

BIRD watchers could today spot without being spotted in a new area on the banks of the River Orwell – and in considerable comfort, too.

Ornithologists often have to be hardy creatures to keep a watchful eye on the county's birdlife, out in all weathers and all times of the day, numb with cold in the winter and early mornings.

But from today they can study more of the wildlife at one of Suffolk's most important nature reserves thanks to the opening of a new hide which offers something of a luxury for the birdwatchers.

For the hide at the 200-acre Trimley Marshes reserve can comfortably seat 20 people and has been insulated, too, to keep out the coldest weather.

It overlooks the reserve's reservoir – a hive of activity at this time of year for coot, tufted duck, teal, pochard, cormorant, gadwall and shoveler.

The hide, which includes a volunteer workshop, has been built by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust with funding help from Suffolk Environmental Trust – which gives grants through landfill tax credits from Viridor Waste Management – and the Heritage Lottery Fund,

Trust officials hope it will appeal to both local lay people and specialist birdwatchers and encourage greater use of the reserve, which is renowned for its importance for waterfowl during winter, breeding and migratory seasons.

"It will greatly enhance the quality of the visitor experience, giving viewing access to a previously inaccessible area and capitalising on work the trust have undertaken to improve wetland habitat at Trimley so far," said reserve warden Mick Wright.

The barn-style workshop will become the vital work base for ongoing management operations and for volunteers who carry out a great deal of practical work on the site.

Trimley Marshes is a wetland reserve which was created from arable farmland alongside the River Orwell in 1990 to mitigate against the loss of mudflats which were destroyed as a result on the expansion of the Port of Felixstowe.

The variety of wetland habitats includes open water, mudflats, reed beds and grazing marsh.

Water levels are controlled by a system of sluices which allows wet conditions to be maintained for wintering wildfowl including wigeon and brent geese and later for breeding waders such as redshank, avocet, oyster-catcher and black-tailed godwit.

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