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Landmark extension for one of Britain’s most important sites for water birds - Natural England

Pink-footed geese. Credit: Natural England
Pink-footed geese. Credit: Natural England

Ribble Estuary National Nature Reserve (NNR) extended to give greater protection to more than a quarter of a million migrating water birds.

Natural England has today [9 December] confirmed that one of the most important sites in Britain for water birds - the Ribble Estuary National Nature Reserve (NNR) in Lancashire - has been extended by nearly a fifth.

The additional areas of internationally important saltmarsh and newly created wetland habitats now added to the NNR, bolstering the nature reserve’s impressive stature as the third largest in England at 5,231 hectares.

The NNR is one of Britain’s most important sites for water birds, with many rare and threatened species breeding or wintering there each year. Over a quarter of a million migrating water birds gather on the marshes each winter, including the iconic sight and sound of tens of thousands of pink-footed geese that migrate to the estuary from Greenland and Iceland during the autumn. The Ribble Estuary is also an important site for declining birds including lapwings, ringed plovers, sanderling, and redshanks, as well as being one of the UK’s strongholds for water voles.

Today’s declaration is a result of a partnership of many landowners and stakeholders across the estuary – including Natural England, The RSPB, and LDWA – who have collaborated to secure greater protection and management for the Ribble Estuary’s rich habitats.

Posted on: 09 December 2020

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