Doffcocker: Rafts and Reeds

Habitat Management Doffcocker Lodge LNR 23rd April 2023

Common Tern
Common Tern at Doffcocker Lodge

Tern Rafts – Doffcocker Lodge already has 3 rafts for common tern and today we completed and installed raft number 4. Common tern winter in West Africa before returning to Europe to breed. They usually nest on shingle beaches along the coast but disturbance by humans has forced these agile and elegant sea birds to look further in land for suitable habitat.

Tern rafts are floating wooden frames, surrounded by a fence and covered in cockleshells, they also have short pieces of terracotta pipe for shelter. The population at Doffcocker varies but in 2022 we had around 10 breeding pairs which successfully hatched several chicks.

The rafts were completed on the shore then floating out into position and secured in place with 4 concrete anchors. The grouping of 4 rafts will allow the terns to breed away from predators, as we were leaving the site 2 common tern arrived and landed on one of the rafts.

Phragmites Reedbed
Phragmites Reedbed

Reedbeds – Doffcocker Lodge is an old industrial lodge consisting of 2 water bodies divided by a causeway. The reedbeds at Doffcocker were planted around 30 years ago by BCV, at that time they were just a few square metres of rhizome planted in straw bales. The bed now covers the shoreline of the small lodge from one end of the causeway to the other part part of the larger lodge. Our reedbed work today involved finishing a line of dams in along the compartment in the main lodge to raise the water level locally, and also pushing back the tree line on the north side of the small lodge to the allow the reeds to spread further, a continuation of work we started last year.

Reedbeds can support around 700 species of invertebrates, amphibians, birds, mammals and fish.