Posted: Thu 30th Jun 2016

Deeside AM becomes “guardian of the marsh” champion

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jun 30th, 2016

Alyn and Deeside Assembly Member Carl Sargeant has joined a national conservation project by agreeing to become a species champion.

The Dee Estuary in Mr Sargeant’s constituency is one of the most important sites in Britain for the bird during winter when it supports between 1.5 per cent and 3.5 per cent of the European population.

Redshank are known as the “guardian of the marsh” because their distinctive call is usually the first to be heard if a potential threat appears.

Carl Sargeant Redshank landscape

They feed on molluscs, crustaceans, insects, spiders and worms that they find by probing in soft mud, or long grass. Redshank can be seen on the Dee all year round.

Between April and July they build nests and raise chicks on the saltmarsh and grassland habitats and in the winter they can be seen in very large flocks on the estuary and mudflats.

This is because the birds that breed in Britain are joined by birds from Iceland, which migrate here to escape the harsh Icelandic winters.

Since the 1980s in the UK breeding redshank numbers have reduced by around half and wintering redshank numbers by around a quarter.

“The redshank is a common site on the Dee Estuary with its distinctive orange-red legs,” said Carl Sargeant.
“While numbers are reasonably healthy, these are greatly reduced from a generation ago and there are factors including encroachment of non-native plant species on mudflats and tidal flooding that can have a negative impact.

“That’s why I’m happy to support the RSPB in its campaign and its work with the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and Bangor University to understand how to improve habitat management at redshank breeding sites.”
Laura Cropper, advocacy manager, RSPB Cymru, said:

“We are delighted that Carl Sargeant has agreed to be a species champion for redshank, a species which calls many of Wales’ estuaries its home.

RSPB Cymru is pleased to be a part of the species champions initiative which seeks to raise interest in Wales’ incredible wildlife within the Senedd.

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