Monday, 1 February 2016

World Wetland Day

Wetlands are under enormous pressure across the world. Destruction and draining, pollution and over use for recreation are all responsible. You will notice that these, along with climate change, are all things that we, the human race, are responsible for. We have to stop this selfish and aggressive attack on anything that does not make us a quick profit... now!

This time last year Elis and I visited our local wetlands. There are many famous and major wetlands across the country and the world, but it is these small, local wetlands that are most vulnerable and it is the local communities who are the custodians of these places and also the ones who stand to lose the most if they disappear.

One of the places we visited last year was Linford Lakes Nature Reserve which is now run by the Milton Keynes Parks Trust (MKPT).

Linford Lakes Nature Reserve.

This place was once a real mecca for waders. There were about three pairs of Little Ringed Plovers (Charadrius dubius), four pairs of Common Ringed Plovers (Charadrius hiaticula), nine pairs of Northern Lapwings (Vanellus vanellus) and six pairs of Common Redshanks (Tringa totanus) breeding at the site in the 1980s.

Little (left) and Common Ringed Plover

Linford had the distinction of being one of only three breeding sites in Buckinghamshire for the declining redshanks. Today there are no redshanks, lapwings or either species of plover at the site!

Common Redshank a potential return to breeding in our home town is an exciting prospect.

Wader Quest will be working the MKPT to help restore this and other sites to their former glory by management of the habitat and by providing better breeding conditions. Work will start soon with the restoration of plover and lapwing nesting areas on the bund which has become overgrown and unsuitable for waders (see top photo above), and we will be accompanying the development and keenly watching to see the results.

Northern Lapwing has declined by 50% in the last 30 years. We need to provide habitat to reverse this.

Recently we were involved with the Youth Rangers project run by MKPT when they built 40 chick shelters on one of their Saturday sessions, these shelters will be distributed around the various potential wader habitats in the Milton Keynes area. We hope that one day we'll be able to get a cute picture of a chick using one, that would be very satisfying indeed.

One of the chick shelters built by the Parks Trust Youth Rangers ready for deployment.

Happy World Wetland Day, get out there and enjoy your local wetland, the more it is appreciated the easier it'll be to preserve it.

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