Habitat in the Humber

We’re supporting a partnership project to create new habitats for a colony of avocets on the Humber Estuary, important for conservation and valued by local people and tourists.

Whitton Sands from the air
Avocets

Avocets are one of Britain’s rarest birds and Read’s Island on the Humber Estuary is home to an internationally important breeding site for the iconic species. The island’s salty pools are ideal for breeding, while the estuary’s mudflats offer a rich source of food for young fledglings.

However, as part of a 150-year natural cycle, tidal flows are washing away parts of Read’s Island, whilst nearby Whitton Island is growing. Over time, the avocet colony will no longer be able to nest on Read’s Island.

Supported by funding from The Crown Estate, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) will be creating new lagoons and ponds for the avocet colony on Whitton Island in September 2016. These new habitats will also bring benefits for up to 20,000 waders and wildfowl present on the estuary, including target species such as bitterns, bearded tits and cranes.

Whitton Sands from the air

Without The Crown Estate’s support, there would have been no suitable home for this much-loved bird on the Humber Estuary. ”

Roy Taylor, RSPB Denby Dale

Gary Thompson, Asset Manager at The Crown Estate, said: “As active, responsible land managers, we are pleased to partner with the RSPB on this project to create new habitats for avocets on Whitton Island, important both for conservation and for local people and visitors. The Humber’s avocet colony is a shining example of how industry and nature can thrive side by side.”

Roy Taylor of RSPB Denby Dale, said: “With its striking black and white plumage and upturned bill, the avocet is also the symbol of the RSPB and one of our great conservation success stories. Without The Crown Estate’s support, there would have been no suitable home for this much-loved bird on the Humber Estuary. This would have been a loss not only for the natural world but for the many thousands of bird watchers who travel to the area each year, eager to follow the progress of this elegant wader, contributing to the green economy.”

Whitton Sands is part of the Humber Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Protection Area (SPA), and lies within the Humber Wildfowl refuge. The area is owned by The Crown Estate.