A PAIR of ringed plovers have bred in the far west of Dorset for the first time.
The wading birds have raised four chicks at Chard Junction Quarry.
Site owners Bardon Aggregates and Dorset Wildlife Trust turned a disused part of the quarry into a community nature reserve about a year ago.
Bardon Aggregates are still extracting gravel from are another part of the quarry, but when the company heard of the plovers’ nest, quarry manager Tony Pearson ordered an exclusion zone to make sure the pair weren’t disturbed.
He said: “It’s fascinating see how these birds have progressed, considering the natural predators that share the same area, including foxes, badgers, crows and buzzards. We just hope they will become regular visitors now.”
Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Joy Wallis said: “The birds could leave any time now, possibly to winter on the coast, but we hope they will be back to breed here next year.”
Ringed plovers have increasingly chosen to nest inland on sand and gravel pits, even sometimes on old industrial sites, as well as on coastal beaches.
The species’ future has been concerning conservationists; ringed plovers have amber status, indicating they need places to feed and breed.
Chard Junction Quarry nature reserve is near Chard Junction, at grid reference ST 345045. Open daily, free of charge, it includes a path, bird hides, woods, ponds and establishing grasslands. There is no other nature reserve nature in the area.
Reserve leaflets are available from Chard Tourist Information Centre.
More information can be obtained from Bardon Aggregates on 07730 832767.