Heavy rain affects bird reserve breeding sites

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RECENT flooding has affected hundreds of nesting wading birds at nature reserves, the RSPB has said.

The wildlife charity said several of its 206 nature reserves had been flooded, including the Ouse Washes in East Anglia, which is under two metres (6ft) of water after the wettest April on record.

An estimated 600 wading birds on the reserve have seen their nests and breeding attempts destroyed, including almost two-fifths (37 per cent) of England and Wales’s lowland snipe, as well as redshank, lapwing and rare black-tailed godwits.

The RSPB said it could take three to six weeks to get the water back down, even if it stopped raining, potentially too late for the birds to attempt to nest again.

The charity’s reserve managers have been attempting to manage water levels at a number of wetland nature sites in the face of drought, and conditions have now swung from one extreme to the other with land flooded.

Fairburn Ings near Leeds is one of the sites affected.