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Humber International Airport

Last modified: 18 July 2011

Green sandpiper wading

Green sandpiper

Over the next few months the Humber estuary will be transformed into a bustling avian airport as thousands of birds stop off to refuel on their migratory journey south.

Arriving from as far away as North America, wading birds come to the Humber to feast on the calorie-rich insects and invertebrates that live in the mud of the estuary.

Harriet Billanie, the RSPB’s Humber Programme Managers, says: “The mud on the edge on the Humber might not look particularly inspiring to us but it is extremely important for wildlife. It is estimated that a square metre of estuarine mud has the approximately the same number of calories as 16 chocolate bars. Many of the birds that arrive on the Humber are on their way to Africa and Asia and they rely on these feeding grounds to give them enough energy to complete their journey.” 

One of the best places to get close-up views of these amazing globe-trotting birds is at RSPB Blacktoft Sands where they feed on the exposed mud in the lagoons.

Mike Andrews visitor officer at the reserve explains: “We regularly have between 10 and 20 different species of wading bird visiting Blacktoft Sands during late summer.  

Over the next few months we are running a series of events so we can introduce visitors to such long-distance travellers as the spotted redshank and the green sandpiper. Why not come along to one of our Wader Wednesdays running every fortnight or one of our weekend wader walks.”  

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