Hodbarrow Nature Reserve
Hodbarrow Nature Reserve was the site of a large iron ore mining operation between 1855 and 1967. The reserve includes a lagoon and the surrounding scrub and grasslands. Its varied habitats, through which paths lead, provide homes for many types of wildlife.
Autumn and winter see waterfowl such as wigeon, goldeneye, red-breasted merganser, and pintail on the lagoon and the adjacent Duddon estuary. Other waterfowl like the coot, pochard, teal, grebe, swan, and goose also frequent the lagoon.
Autumn is also the time when species whose numbers are fewer come to visit. Greenshank, curlew, sandpiper and black-tailed godwit are a few. Waders such as dunlins, redshanks, lapwings, golden plovers and oystercatchers roost on the island in front of the hide. The large number of birds at the reserve attract birds of prey such as the peregrine falcon.
The willow and gorse plants provide cover in spring and early summer for whitethroats, sedge, and willow warblers. Terns nest here. The little terns are particularly important because of their fall in numbers. Other breeding birds include black-headed gulls, eider duck, great crested grebe, grelag geese, and mallard.
Hodbarrow plays host to natterjack toads who breed in small pools. The area is also noted for its butterflies with 19 species that include the dark green fritillary.
More than 270 species of plants grow on the former mining site. Summer visitors enjoy marsh orchids, bee orchids, and pyramidal orchids.
Hodbarrow is located two miles from Millom, A5093.
For further information on the reserve contact:
RSPB Cumbria Coasts Reserves Office
North Plain Farm
Bowness on Solway
Tel. 01229 778011
Photos courtesy of Graeme Dougal and David Packman and Frank Riddle
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