Plans have been submitted to continue restoring the Point of Ayre National Reserve to provide a more valuable site for wildlife and visitors.
The application (21/00929/B) includes rebuilding of a gravel bund to screen people from the lake and prevent disturbance of the wildlife; creating ponds to provide new habitat; moving existing spoil piles to add new islands, providing valuable nesting habitat in the spring and safe roosting places for the rest of the year. There will be no planting on the newly exposed areas with vegetation being allowed to establish naturally.
The overall site amounts to approximately 98 acres and comprises former quarry workings which have naturalised and now include a large lake with uneven ground, some having naturally re- vegetated and with a path network running around the water.
As part of this, Manx BirdLife would create two or three new groundwater-fed ponds to provide a new freshwater habitat to encourage and support increased biodiversity, which would be amplified by the network of ponds and water bodies.
The new islands, which would be approximately 50cm above the waterline and will include the existing peninsula once a channel is cut separating it from the shore, would provide a habitat for ground nesting birds with some protection from mammalian predation (mainly hedgehog and rats). The ground immediately south of the peninsula is to be lowered to become wet and the spoil used in the new islands.
The sites would provide a safe roosting place, particularly in the winter, on the leeward side providing sheltered loafing sites for waterfowl. This is particularly important for species which are specifically protected under the Wildlife Act including Gadwall, Shoveler and Curlew.