The Wader Scrape at Pensthorpe Natural Park

Wader Scrape

The star location for year-round bird watching

A former favourite with BBC’s Springwatch viewers, our Wader Scrape is an insect rich habitat in the summer for breeding waders and great for migrating waterfowl in the winter. The Scrape offers a chance to see avocets, oystercatchers, kingfishers, little ringed plovers, shelduck, marsh harriers, redshank and more.

The Wader Scrape is an open area of shallow water with shingle and sand islands for breeding waders. The water levels are carefully managed to create muddy edges for avocets, little ringed plovers, lapwing, godwits, sandpipers, and snipe.

In the winter, the water levels are raised to remove the vegetation on the islands for the next spring. This is also good for wintering waterfowl especially teal, wigeon and shoveler. Goldeneye and smew also visit our Wader Scrape.

Birds of prey that can be spotted include marsh harrier, peregrine, buzzard, sparrowhawk, and kestrel, all year round, with occasional visits from red kite. Hobbies are common visitors in the summer, with sightings of honey buzzard possible from May to September. Hobbies come here from Africa hunting dragonflies as well as small birds like swallows and sand martins over the lakes at Pensthorpe and our Wildflower Meadow.

The reed fringe of the Scrape is good for over wintering bitterns and water rail. Habitat management of this area includes scrub clearance to keep the area open for waders and waterfowl, creating flight lines and open views for birds to see predators.