June 25, 2008

Avocets Home After 200 Years

TWO pairs of iconic wading birds have set up home on the Tees for the first time in 200 years.

The avocets, striking black and white wading birds which are the emblem of the RSPB, are rearing eight chicks on a lagoon owned by SABIC UK near the Seal Sands.

This is the first time since records began in the 1800s that avocets have successfully nested on the Tees Estuary.

The lagoon was created in 1999 by the Industry and Nature Conservation Association (INCA) with funding from the Northumbrian Water Environmental Trust and Natural England. It is managed for wildlife by SABIC UK.

Ray Malcolm, SABIC UK Petrochemicals Brinefields and Cavities Plant Manager, said: "The result with the avocets this year is absolutely brilliant and the site is also home to skylarks, shelducks, oystercatchers, terns and plovers. Many of the Sabic staff take a real interest in the wildlife on the site and are justifiably proud of our very special achievements this year."

Dave Braithwaite of the RSPB said the charity is delighted by the new arrivals.

"The habitat creation and management that has led to avocets nesting here has drawn a number of partners together with the common vision of seeing wildlife flourish within the industrial landscape of the Tees Estuary," he said.

"It is a real lesson in how, with the right ideas and resources, wildlife can happily co-exist 'cheek by jowl' with industry."

The RSPB and the Teesside Environmental Trust are creating a new nature reserve at Saltholme, near where the avocets are Breeding.

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