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Natural equivilant of the York Minster is being encouraged to thrive.


7:16am 2nd February 2011

As the world  marks the importance of wetland areas everywhere, Natural England explains how birds recorded at their internationally important Lower Derwent Valley National Nature Reserve near York 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.

Craig Ralston, Senior Reserve Manager at the Reserve says:

“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 in the high Arctic. We can use this information to target international conservation efforts around the birds’ migratory routes” 

Natural England are also marking the day by opening their new reserve base.  The new centre overlooks the Derwent and 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 www.naturalengland.org.uk.

About the reserve

Lower Derwent Valley National Nature Reserve (NNR) is one of three internationally important wetland sites in Yorkshire and includes a series of meadows, pastures and woodlands on the border between North Yorkshire and the East Riding.  In winter the grasslands flood, as water that would otherwise backup in York spreads out across the meadows.  The flooded meadows also support nationally important numbers of teal, Bewick's swan, wigeon, pochard and golden plover. The land is traditionally farmed

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.  The other sites in Yorkshire are the Humber Estuary and Malham Tarn.


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