Sunday, 6 May 2012

RSPB says heavy rain has been disastrous for birds


Heavy rain and flooding has had a disastrous impact on many of the RSPB's nature reserves, the charity has said.
Nests and breeding grounds have been destroyed by rising water levels, the bird protection group added.
The BBC's rural affairs correspondent Jeremy Cooke said the recent deluge of rain had come in the wake of acute water shortages.
Among the worst affected is the Ouse washes in Cambridgeshire, which is an important wetland habitat.
The reserve is used as part of a flood relief system for the Great Ouse river and the Environment Agency was forced to open sluice gates which prevented flooding upstream, but meant the nesting grounds of many wading birds were washed away.
Redshank, lapwing and rare black-tailed godwits were among the victims.
Jon Reeves, RSPB's site manager at the Ouse Washes, said: "Following centuries of land drainage across the UK, the Ouse Washes is now the most important stronghold for these birds after they have been largely forced out of other sites.

Rare bird sanctuaries battered by floods

SOME of Britain’s most threatened wildlife has been ‘catastrophically’ affected by the recent flooding.

Several of the RSPB’s 211 nature reserves have been battered with heavy rainfall, including the internationally-important Ouse Washes in East Anglia, which is now under two metres of water.

The rising flood waters have drowned the nests and breeding attempts of an estimated 600 wading birds, including 37 per of the lowland snipe population of England and Wales.

Other waders affected include large numbers of redshank, lapwing and the internationally-important black-tailed godwits.

RSPB’s Ouse Washes site manager Jon Reeves said: “Following centuries of land drainage across the UK, the Ouse Washes is now the most important stronghold for these birds, after they have been largely forced out of other sites.

“Literally, we have all our eggs in one basket and we’ve lost them. It’s devastating to watch the nests succumb to the rising waters without being able to do anything to prevent it.”

Other reserves to have suffered flooding include Minsmere, on the Suffolk coast, where avocet and black-headed gull nests have been washed away. Fairburn Ings, near Leeds, and Pulborough Brooks, in West Sussex, have also been affected. Waterbird nests, including waders, such as lapwing, have been destroyed at these two sites.


http://www.farmersguardian.com/rare-bird-sanctuaries-battered-by-floods/46764.article

Minsmere, Ouse Washes & Fairburn Ings amongst RSPB reserves flooded

Hundreds of threatened birds' nests drowned in flood
May 2012. The ongoing floods are having a catastrophic impact on some of Britain's already-threatened wildlife, says the RSPB.
Redshank, snipe, lapwing and black-tailed godwits.
Several of the Society's 211 nature reserves have suffered severe flooding, including the internationally-important Ouse Washes in East Anglia. The reserve, which is home to the largest concentration of nesting wading birds in lowland England, is now two metres under water. The rising flood waters have drowned the nests and breeding attempts of an estimated 600 wading birds, including 37 per of the lowland snipe population of England and Wales. Other waders affected include large numbers of redshank, lapwing and, most importantly of all, internationally-important black-tailed godwits.
Jon Reeves is the RSPB's Ouse Washes site manager. He said: "Following centuries of land drainage across the UK, The Ouse Washes is now the most important stronghold for these birds, after they have been largely forced out of other sites. Literally, we have all our eggs in one basket and we've lost them. It's devastating to watch the nests succumb to the rising waters without being able to do anything to prevent it."
Flood plain
The Ouse Washes is used by the Environment Agency as part of the flood relief system for the River Great Ouse, which flows from Northamptonshire, through Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Cambridgeshire to the sea, near Kings Lynn, in Norfolk. In summer, the Ouse Washes nature reserve is grazed by cattle to create the ideal conditions for ground-nesting birds. The RSPB manages the site to keep the water levels at an optimum height for wading birds to create damp grassland and wet features without flooding. However, the Environment Agency has to open sluices to allow water onto the washes to prevent flooding elsewhere in the 150 mile catchment of The Great River Ouse. Jon Reeves added: "The Environment Agency is working hard to identify replacement land for the birds to nest to take the pressure off the Ouse Washes. Until this replacement land is in place, the birds will continue to face an uncertain future."

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