Wednesday, 2 February 2011

World Wetland Day - Lower Derwent Valley News

York birdlife goes international!

Today (February 2nd) is World Wetlands day and the River Derwent’s birds are showing up in wetlands around the globe. World Wetlands Day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar, and is celebrated annually, this being its 40th Anniversary.

As the world marks the importance of wetland areas everywhere, Natural England explains how birds recorded at the internationally important Lower Derwent Valley National Nature Reserve are also turning up in 24 other countries.

Wally the whimbrel is a bird who has come to symbolise flights across the globe having recently been tracked by radio transmitter as far as Guinea Bissau on the west coast of Africa. Shoveler ducks ringed at the reserve have been found in Archangel, on the northern coast of Russia.

“It’s fascinating to understand where birds fly off to when summer or winter ends, we’ve tracked birds from here to Iceland, west Africa and Svalbard. We can use this information to target international conservation efforts around the birds’ migratory routes” says Craig Ralston, Senior Reserve Manager at the Reserve.

Natural England are also marking the day by opening their new reserve office. The new office base overlooking the National Nature Reserve will enable schools and the local community to learn more about resident and visiting wildlife and the internationally significant wetlands of the reserve. The new building will be formally opened by the Lord Mayor and Sheriff of York and will include a temporary exhibition of historical photographs from around the valley.

Cllr. Susan Galloway, The Lord Mayor of York, said “ The Lower Derwent Valley is York’s natural equivalent of York Minster – and an internationally important and much-loved asset of which we are very proud. We are committed to playing our part on the world stage by looking after its future and on behalf of the City of York I send our good wishes to colleagues through the world with whom we share a common responsibility."

On the weekends either side of World Wetlands Day, there’ll be host of fun-packed family events on the Reserve. For details, see the Yorkshire and Humber events pages at Natural England.

More news and information will follow this evening.....

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