COASTLINES such as the River Dee are vitally important for the world’s migratory waterbirds, a survey has revealed.
Experts from the British Trust for Ornithology, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, the RSPB and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust estimated 12.5 million waterbirds used the UK’s wetlands during the five winters leading up to 2009.
The large figure, which adds up to more than 25 times the population of Liverpool, included up to 85 species.
Cheshire Wildlife Trust planning and advocacy officer Paul Corner said the report further emphasises the importance of our coasts and estuaries, particularly in light of the recent shelving of plans for a tidal energy scheme on the Mersey.
“What this survey shows is that our coasts and inland waterways are as vital to birds as any international airport hub such as Heathrow or LAX is to those of us travelling the globe,” he said.
“Estuaries like the Dee and the Mersey bring an added benefit over inland wetlands due to their dynamic and constantly changing state, which means that even in the severest of sub-zero winters they largely remain clear and hold open water.”