Rare herons nest for first time

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Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

FOR the first time ever the UK is host­ing a nest­ing pair of pur­ple herons – and they’re at Dun­geness. The strik­ing birds breed in south­ern Europe and visit the UK in small num­bers each year. But the nest­ing pair which re­cently made their home on the Dun­geness penin­sula are set to be the first to lay eggs and raise young in the UK. The RSPB has set up a roundthe-clock species pro­tec­tion scheme to pro­tect the vis­i­tors, with Kent Po­lice help­ing to safe­guard the nest. Sa­man­tha Dawes, RSPB con­ser­va­tion man­ager in the South East, said: “We have a cen­tury-long her­itage of pro­tect­ing birds in Kent. “Pur­ple herons are high up on the list of birds that we ex­pect to see set­ting up home in south­ern Bri­tain as the chang­ing cli­mate pushes them fur­ther north. “This high­lights the im­por­tance of wildlife havens like Dun­geness in pro­vid­ing space for species dis­placed by global warm­ing.” Ex­perts say the num­bers of breed­ing pur­ple herons are ex­pected to in­crease in the UK in the years to come. PC Michael Laid­low, Kent Po­lice’s en­vi­ron­men­tal crime co-or­di­na­tor said: “We would re­mind the pub­lic that any at­tempt to in­ten­tion­ally dam­age an oc­cu­pied nest or re­move eggs con­sti­tutes a crim­i­nal of­fence. “I would urge any­one in the area who sees any sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity to call the RSPB or Kent Po­lice on 01622 690690.” Sa­man­tha added: “At the moment there is lit­tle for vis­i­tors to see as the birds are sit­ting tight on the nest. “So please don’t come hop­ing to see the herons as you are likely to be dis­ap­pointed.”

A pair of pur­ple herons have nested at Dun­geness

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