Nature has returned astonishingly
quickly to the land which was left disused when peat
cutting ended. A mosaic of ponds, reed-beds and willow
bushes has developed. What has emerged is a fascinating
regenerated landscape which has – within a few
years after the end of peat mining – become home
to many rare species of birds.
Even today, very little vegetation
has grown up in those areas where a relatively thick
layer of peat remained when peat cutting ended. These
places which are almost devoid of vegetation are often
subject to extreme temperature fluctuations. Nevertheless,
they provide an important habitat for a range of birds
such as the little ringed plover and the stonechat.
An important feature of the Weidmoos
is its many areas of standing water. Dam-building work
that has been undertaken as part of the LIFE project
has further increased both the size and variety of these
areas. This is an ideal environment for a range of water
birds such as little grebes and gargeny. The water edges
and mudflats are important feeding grounds for migrating
The extensive reed-beds of the Weidmoos
are a breeding area for marsh harriers. They also provide
a perfect environment for a variety of warblers and
water birds, as well as being an important part of the
bluethroat’s habitat. Great white egrets which
overwinter in the Weidmoos hunt for food in the reed
In the south of the Weidmoos is the
only small remnant of the former bog. The central part
of this area still represents a typical bog. On the
periphery, however, even this remnant of the bog has
lost much of its character through drainage of the area.
The wetland meadows are an important
habitat for many of the bird species found in the Weidmoos.
Curlews which nest in the surrounding fields hunt for
food here. The meadows provide an excellent breeding
site for lapwings. Since the ending of peat cutting
the wetland meadows have been regularly mown (once a
year in autumn) in order to prevent them becoming overgrown.
Since peat mining ended, both
small and large thickets of willow have grown up, and
these now form an important habitat for many bird species.
Although bluethroats nest on the ground, the areas of
willow interspersed with reeds form an important part
of their habitat.