As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday 22 July 2013

Mersey & Dee Estuary coast declared as a RAMSAR site

Recognition for an internationally important wildlife site between the Mersey and the Dee

July 2013. Over 2,000 hectares of the Hoylake, Wallasey and Seaforth foreshores have been formally recognised as an internationally important area for wildlife following the decision to designate the area as a Special Protection Area (SPA) - in recognition of its international importance for birdlife - and as a Ramsar site, in recognition of its importance as a wetland habitat.

Following an earlier consultation led by Natural England, the formal designation of the site as an SPA and Ramsar site was confirmed by Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for the Environment on 5th July. The decision means that the area is now part of the network of European Natura 2000 conservation sites and joins the network of internationally important wetland sites recognised under the Ramsar Convention.

Mersey & Dee Estuary - 20,000 waders in winter
Located on the northwest coast of England at the mouths of the Mersey and Dee estuaries, the new Mersey Narrows and Wirral Foreshore SPA and Ramsar site is home to internationally important populations of knot, bar-tailed godwit, little gull and common tern and regularly supports over 20,000 waders and wildfowl during the winter.

Sand and mudflats, saltwater lagoons, saltmarsh and shingle banks
Sitting next to a busy shipping channel, the site contains a varied range of wildlife habitats some of which have been generated by the surrounding industry. Sand and mudflats offer feeding grounds for waders at low tide; saltwater lagoons are exposed at different times, whilst shingle banks and manmade structures provide roosting sites at high tide. Saltmarsh and a freshwater lagoon each support their own communities of plants and animals.

Environment Minister, Richard Benyon said: "The Hoylake, Wallasey and Seaforth foreshores are important habitats for a wide range of birds. I'd like to congratulate everyone who worked so hard to ensure that the area has been given Special Protection Area and Ramsar status."

Natural England Chair, Poul Christensen said: "Sitting side-by-side with a busy port, this is a fantastic site for wildlife, and I'm delighted that it is receiving the international recognition and protection it deserves."

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