Rare birds and bees spotted at Thames Water sites

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Wood Sandpiper

Two of Britain’s rarest animals have taken up residence at two Thames Water beauty spots.

A wood sandpiper was filmed at Staines Moor in Surrey while shrill carder bumblebees have been spotted at Crossness Nature Reserve in London.

Footage of the sandpiper on the banks of the River Colne was captured by birdwatcher Shaun Ferguson on Saturday, August 3.

The bird is on the conservation amber list, the second most critical category, and is protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Fewer than 30 breeding pairs are believed to visit the UK each year.

Ian Crump, Thames Water’s biodiversity field officer, said: “The wood sandpiper is very rare in this country due to the loss of habitat so it’s really special to see one on a Thames Water site. The work we have done to improve habitats will increase the number of individuals and species which can be supported on this estate.”

Meanwhile visitors to Crossness Nature Reserve in Bexley saw the UK’s rarest bumblebee.

The reserve in south-east London, held a bee walk event on Tuesday, August 6, to spot the shrill carder bee, which is named after their high-pitched buzz.

The insect has lost much of its habitat to human development and can now be found at just seven sites across the country, including the Thames Gateway, in which Crossness is located.  

Thames Water runs five nature reserves and two recreational fisheries as well as supporting a further 22 in partnership with environmental groups such as Wildlife Trusts.