Terns, spoonbills and visiting hoopoes will be given protection
Sunday 3 December 2017 00.04 GMT
Little terns and black-throated divers are among the seabirds that have been given greater protection after a stretch of coastline in Cornwall was awarded special status to safeguard its wildlife. The newly designated marine special protected area (SPA), which stretches for 24 miles between Falmouth Bay and St Austell Bay, is home to more than 150,000 rare seabirds.
Great northern divers and Eurasian spoonbills are also visitors along with sandwich terns and common terns. All are amber-listed by conservation groups because they have suffered significant losses of numbers and range in the recent past.
The newly designated stretch of land covers an area equivalent to 55,000 football pitches and has been set up to help minimise disturbance to the birds that feed there and who use the Cornish coastal areas as a safe haven during winter. The region is considered to be a bird-watcher’s heaven because rare birds, blown off course during their migration, also make occasional unscheduled stops. These infrequent visitors include the exotic-looking hoopoe, with its long pinkish-brown crest, that every so often gets diverted en route from Africa to northern Europe.
The latest expansion of Britain’s marine special protected areas will make a significant addition to the UK Blue Belt programme, which already protects 23% of UK waters, and which consists of more than 300 sites across land.