14 Daily Express Friday, August 23, 2019
ILD piping calls, the tang of salt spray
and constantly changing skies are the
trade marks of our coastal mud flats,
where waders and gulls work the
marshes for food delivered on the
tide. At the RSPB’s Wallasea Island
in Essex the aim is to make this salt marsh even
wilder. It’s part of the Rewilding Europe pro-
gramme – reintroducing creatures from bison to
bears, vultures to wolves to the continent’s
wetlands, steppes and mountains.
At Wallasea there are no wolves
in prospect but the 300 acres of
intertidal marshes, mudflats and
creeks are home to spectacular
waders such as the black and
white avocet with its long
upcurved beak, piping redshank,
and huge white spoonbills with
long bills perfect for sifting
through the sediment.
Arable farmland has been
reclaimed and more than three
million tonnes of earth from the
tunnels of London’s Crossrail
have been brought in.
Wallasea is one of seven
Rewilding Europe projects in
Britain, including restoring
Scotland’s Caledonian Forest,
home to the capercaillie
gamebird, “Wild Ennerdale” in
the Lake District and 3,500 acres
of farmland at Knepp in West
Sussex which is becoming a
haven for threatened species such
as nightingale, turtle dove and
lesser spotted woodpeckers.
Across the Channel, Rewilding
controversially includes helping
bears, wolves and bison return to
lost homelands. On our crowded
island bringing back wolves or
lynx can be as divisive as
Brexit. We have far too many
deer which wolves and lynx
can feast on. But many farmers
are horrified by the prospect of
Apex predators salivating over
their sheep. The release this week
of white-tailed eagles on the Isle
of Wight triggered similar fears.
The only way it can work is
with proper compensation for lost
livestock but that may not suffice.
There’s also no point returning a
species if the causes of its
disappearance remain. But if our
wildlife is to have a chance we
need more rewilding. We’ve
turned vast areas into virtual
no-go zones for the original
inhabitants – the birds, bees and
butterflies which have graced our
land for millennia.
It’s time we made amends.
BRITAIN’S oldest blue tit was revealed yesterday
as nine years old when caught by a British Trust
for Ornithology ringer last summer. The bird was
in the same Northumberland wood where he was
ringed as a youngster. Other record-breakers
include a black-headed gull (32), a Scottish
guillemot (nearly 30), a red-throated diver
(nearly 36) , a red kite (25), and a greylag goose
(19). Our oldest bird was a 50-year-old Manx
shearwater seen on a Welsh island in 2008.
IS the EU set to sanction the sale
of baby elephants taken from the
wild? An international conference
this week voted to end this cruel
business – but the EU spoke
The Humane Society fears the
vote could be reopened next
week – and says the EU’s 28
nation bloc is likely to back the
trade. That would be shameful.
YOU can tell how healthy a
bird is by how it sleeps, say
Austrian scientists in Current
Biology. A songbird low on fat
reserves risks its neck by
tucking its head under its wing
for a deep snooze.
Healthy birds sleep with
their heads up so they are
more likely to spot a predator.
I’M allergic to shopping
- I’ve even got a note
from the doctor. So full
marks to the Swan Walk
shopping centre in
Horsham, Sussex which has a
While my wife and daughter
traipsed around the dress shops
my son and I played table
tennis. Everyone was a winner.
PASTA could help cut the
tsunami of plastic in our seas.
Edible pasta straws made
by the firm Stroodles last for
more than an hour in a drink
and are biodegradable.
Brits use 4.7 billion plastic
straws a year. A few stirs and
then they are thrown away to
last for centuries. Pasta has
to be a better alternative.
GREEN TIP: Enjoy yourself
while helping the planet – drink