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2020 / 2021 Edition

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Rare birds spotted nesting at Herefordshire Quarry


Tarmac workers help protect a pair of oystercatchers at Wellington Quarry, near Hereford

A PAIR of rare oystercatchers have spent more than a month nesting at a Herefordshire sand and gravel quarry. The wading birds – which are a protected species in the UK – were first seen at Wellington Quarry, near Hereford, in early June and have remained at the Tarmac-owned site ever since.

After the birds were first spotted by workers at the quarry, a 30m exclusion zone was put in place to prevent any disturbance to their nesting site.

Enrique Moranmontero, Tarmac restoration manager for the quarry, said: ‘Colleagues on site have taken to working around the exclusion zone to ensure that the birds are properly looked after and, importantly, left undisturbed.

‘We are doing everything we can to protect the nesting opportunities for the birds through our careful restoration works while undertaking our extraction operations.’

Soils excavated from the site are being used to create the margins of a lake as well as a gravel island that will provide additional nesting opportunities.

Pairs of oystercatchers scrape out a simple nest at the top of a beach or on the bank of a river or lake, and line it with tiny shells or pebbles. During April or May, the female lays about three eggs and both parents help to keep them warm until they hatch.

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