Two brand new 'wildlife islands' for swans and other birds have been created in Brayford Pool, Lincoln.
The purpose-built habitats will allow waterfowl to 'preen' their feathers in a safe place and will be vital once the old Brayford Wharf East slipway, which is currently used by the birds, is demolished to make way for a new pedestrian bridge over the railway line.
In addition, the man-made islands will be sited further away from public areas, meaning the swans are less likely to be disturbed by humans than when using the slipway.
The artificial habitat has been provided by Biomatrix Water on behalf of Network Rail.
They can currently be seen floating by the landing stage on Brayford Wharf North, and have been planted with 14 different species of reeds, grasses, small trees and flowers, including yellow iris and pink water mint.
Beneath the rafts, a special area has been created for the establishment of aquatic biofilms, which help to prevent algae growth while also providing shelter for fish.
As well as the planted sections, the islands also have a ramp for ease of access by swans and the many other birds in Brayford Pool, as well as preening and resting areas.
They are expected to eventually be towed out to the Pool's current natural island to form a small archipelago.
Managing Director of Biomatrix Water Galen Fulford said:-
"It is important to note that we expect it will take some time for our avian friends to get used to and utilise these new water features. Similarly the aquatic plants are typically in their dormancy in December, and it will take around two growing seasons for the plants to reach maturity. In this time, the planted sections of the islands will be protected from avian grazing with a perimeter fence and netting, which may be removed once the plants are fully established. The preening and resting platform sections will be open and accessible immediately.
"It is all positive and it's great that Network Rail are undertaking this project, which will not only replace what will be taken away, but will also further enhance the environment."